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A true monoprint is unique. But coming up with a new idea for each monoprint can be exhausting! So I have used my painter’s tape technique to create variations on a monoprint theme. I hope the traditionalists in the printmaking world will forgive me.
One of my latest variations uses a landscape/perspective matrix, with similar colors but different techniques. Images may help me explain…
Solvent drops and a view from an airplane
Boulder to Birmingham (title inspired by the classic Emmy Lou Harris song) considers an imaginary view from an airplane. I used translucent Thai Unryu paper to create the illusion of a curved airplane window. The cloud-like papers were a ghost print from an earlier monoprint. Ghost prints are made when you print the plate again without re-inking. I use thin Masa (mulberry) paper because it has a smooth texture and captures lots of ink while being thin enough to collage. The spots on the surface — are they raindrops? — were created by solvent.
Cheesecloth brings an entirely different vibe
Rising uses a similar color blend roll for the first layer, except that before it was printed, I pressed a piece of cheesecloth into the inked surface. The folds and textures are created in this first printing. (I removed the cheesecloth before printing.) I sent the print through again, this time printing a light blue-tinted white over the entire surface. The icy blue at the top made me think of ice, so I used maps with coastlines or glaciers, places that are disappearing. The green/yellow shapes with straight lines are from a ghost print of an experiment with viscosity printing. (Stay tuned for more on viscosity printing, which is fascinating!) Other areas were created using mylar shapes pressed on inked surfaces, pulled apart and then printed.
Collage textures can lead the composition
In Temporary Dominion, the inks were green to yellow green. I printed a light blue tinted white layer that was disturbed by solvent over the first layer. The effect is most noticeable toward the bottom of the print, where it gave me the idea of dissolving. Maps were chosen of both cities and open landscapes, trying to create a harmonious combination between blending with the adjacent colors, but also creating a colorful pattern. My ghost print in the center bottom of the print made me think of satellite images of places that used to be inhabited, but are now in the process of being reclaimed by nature. Humans have been on this planet for only a moment in geological time. It remains to be seen how long our tenure will be before nature will retake everything. Sobering indeed.
New process brings a whole new studio tempo
The process of creating these monoprints is starkly different from reduction linocuts. The initial color layers were created in July at Penland. The texture layers were created over several weeks in August. Maps were chosen and everything collaged over two weeks. Throughout the process, I could always ask “Where is this going? Does it need something more? Does it need something less?” (Ideally this should be asked before glueing.)
I am reveling in the spontaneity of this process. Any other monoprint collage artists out there?