What’s Left on the Plate

mono1

 

 

Monoprinting is offset printing. You apply paint to a substrate (in this case, a gel plate) then lay some paper on top of the substrate, apply a little pressure, and transfer the paint to the paper. Repeat this step many times and you have a layered, multi-colored original print.

Some residual paint is almost always left behind on the plate after printing a layer of color. And I like to use that residual paint to my advantage. What’s left on the plate becomes a guide for subsequent color layers. I’ve broken out some of the steps for this 3″ x 5″ print (above) to show you how I can start, with just one overall color and no plan for a final image, and allow some of the residual paint to guide my design.
stepA

 

The image above shows what’s left after I printed a layer of Quinacridone Magenta. By the way, I use Golden Open Acrylics, both for my monoprints and my acrylic paintings. The paints are slow drying – so they won’t dry on the surface while I’m slowly thinking of what the next step should be.  The paints also give me the freedom to mix colors directly on the plate (and often on the paper as well). I try to use lighter, brighter, transparent colors for the first layer.step1

 

The photo above shows the sky left on the plate after printing. I brush mixed a few colors to make the sky and those colors mixed with the magenta on the plate to create a violet cast to the sky.
step2

With a small, flat brush and some Transparent Red Oxide I created the mid ground – and this is what was left after printing.  With the remnants of the sky paint still on the plate, I could see where to place the Oxide to let some of the magenta show through at the top of the mid ground.

step3

 

With an old bristle brush and a little Sap Green, I added the foreground. The image above is what’s left after printing the first layer of the foreground. I used this color to register subsequent foreground color layers without having to guess about placement.

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Do It Once, Then Repeat…

Hot

Enough of frost quakes, ice sheets  and layers of snow, I’m going Hot.

 No, I’m not going anywhere tropical, I won’t be taking a cruise, I’m simply changing my color palette. Time to bring out the oranges, reds and yellows to warm my heart while I ignore what’s happening outside the studio window.

 Here’s a start to my warm wanderings, appropriately titled “Hot”!  It’s a 6” x 6” monoprint created using a Gelli plate, Rives BFK paper and Golden Open Acrylics.

 With monoprints, I rely on serendipity to guide me to a final image. Seldom do I know where I’m going before I begin. And that means, often, a great many layers of color before I can say “finished”.

 To help ensure that each layer is printed on top of the previous layer, I built this simple registration system that I wanted to share. It’s my Home Depot art jig – a piece of Melamine board; lattice strips and angle brackets.  For the six inch and 8 x 10 inch Gelli Plates, I used a 12 x 14 inch piece of Melamine and attached lattice strips. Then I attached angle brackets to the lattice strips. The Gelli plate will butt up to the lattice strips. To ensure a white border around the print, I decided on the width of the border then measured that border distance from the Gelli plate and marked the spot several times along the top and side lattice pieces. I attached the  brackets so that the inside edge of the bracket lined up with the marks on the lattice.

 To use the registration jig, position your Gelli plate then tape off the lattice strips so you don’t get paint on them. Apply paint to the plate. Remove tape. Position the upper left corner of your paper into the angle bracket, making sure the paper edges also line up with the straight brackets.  Print the paper. Remove the paper without jostling the plate. Then repeat for every new color layer. The print layers should line up each time. To help with paper placement, place a pencil mark on the back of your print to indicate which corner of the paper fits into the angle bracket.

RegistrationRegistration

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The Village: A Print

The Village“The Village” 6″ x 6″ monoprint on paper. Again I used Golden Open Acrylics. I like the slow drying time of the paint…it allows me to manipulate the color on the paper after printing…and I can work slowly on the plate before printing to develop my image. This image has about 10 layers of color. And except for the initial background layer of Indian Yellow, all the colors were added to the plate using a small, half-inch flat brush.

 

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One Layer At A Time

SolitaryI’ve decided to challenge myself a bit to see if I can create a daily painting. But…I won’t be doing a painting…and I won’t be publishing it daily. Instead, I’m going to work on creating monoprints – single pieces of art built up by printing layers of color on paper until an image appears…and, with any luck and good management, it’ll be the image I had in mind when I started out! LOL Although I’ll make prints every day, I’ll only publish a completed image a couple of times a week, an image that I’m happy with.

All the images will be 6″ x 6″ and printed using Gelli Plates and many layers of acrylic paint. I’ll use brushes and rollers and paper towels and credit cards to create the image…and we’ll see what happens! I’ll talk more about the process in a later blog post.

 

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Block Printed Pillow

Ink pillow

Let’s combine an exercise in wood carving with some DecoArt Ink Effects, a type of transfer paint used for designs on fabric.

Printmaking, particularly block printing, is something I’ve enjoyed for decades. Using the hand tools to carve into the wood, linoleum…or potato is a great way to pass a relaxing hour or so. In fact, I often carve a design with no intention of printing the image. And that’s how these trees came about.

Months ago I cut these trees into a piece of Masonite. When I wanted to try printmaking using the Ink Effects paint, the trees were the perfect size – the design fit the only white fabric scrap I had!

The concept of Ink Effects is simple. Use the Ink Effects to paint your design onto a piece of paper. Let the design dry then transfer to a non-cotton fabric using an iron. I wanted to see if printmaking techniques would also work. I love the texture you get with a hand-printed image.

I taped off the edges of my carving to be able to print a clean image then used a stiff-bristled brush to drag the Ink Effects over the carved image. My intention was to create some streaks and white spaces in the design – a mono print effect. You can probably see the texture better in the picture below.

Ink pillow

I placed a piece of white printer paper over the wet ink and pressed firmly with a brayer. When I lifted the paper this was the result:

Ink pillow
Some of the paper stuck to the Masonite when I lifted the sheet, as you can see in the picture below…but hey, that’s just more texture. The bottom picture is the carved Masonite after I printed the image on the paper. I let the paper dry for an hour or so then used a hot iron and transfered the image to the fabric…twice. You can see the pillow has six trees but the carving only has three. I thought I’d get a ghost image with the second transfer, but the image came out almost as intense as the first.

A joint effort between my wife and I resulted in this pillow cover. If you’d like to see more about Ink Effects check out this website.

Ink pillow - print

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