T1-MMT-P4-p1-e1 Monoprint mark-making – exploring further

I went out for my final session for exercise 1 with a prepared list of experiments and ideas. Naturally things changed as work progressed.

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Print p4-27 plan

Print plan

Print p4-26
First was an attempt at an advanced technique – viscosity monotypes. There was information on the technique on the akua website (www.akuainks.com/viscosity-monotype-working). The idea is to roll thin colour on the plate (not thin in the thickness of the layer, but in the fluidity of the ink), and make marks in it. Then roll thick, stiff ink over. The differing viscosities cause the inks to repel each other and you get distinct colours. I’d enjoyed printing clear complementary colours in the breakdown screen printing class (17-October-2015) and would love to do similar in a monotype.

The plan is shown above – a central panel of red orange using the thin Akua liquid pigment, with a big squiggle cleared through it. Roll on the thick blue intaglio ink, which would fill the sides and the squiggle. Then make smaller squiggles in the blue to pull it all together.

print p4-26 Cleaning the roller

Print p4-26 Cleaning the roller

Problem – when putting on the blue the roller picked up the red-orange ink. To avoid muddying colours I’d do a single roll, then clean the roller on a scrap piece of cartridge paper. After a few rolls the scrap paper looked interesting, but there was little of the orange left on the plate.

I decided the scrap paper looked good enough to be its own sample.

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Print p4-27

Print p4-27

Print p4-27
The plate was printed on damp Stonehenge paper – 245 gsm, 100% cotton, using the ezicut press (8 layers of wool batting).

All sorts of technical problems here. Most of the red-orange has gone. The blue is very uneven – I stopped inking very early, concerned about leaving any of the original pattern. There are probably all sorts of adjustments to the two inks that an experienced printer could attempt. Looking at it now I could have done extra rolling up the two sides and just a little less up the middle, but probably session 3 was just a little early to attempt this.

On the other hand, even if not according to the plan I think parts of the print are really rather lovely.

Print p4-27 detail

Print p4-27 detail


I can see myself layering up like this again to create complexity and depth in a work. Possible the “roll off” (see previous sample) could be done on the same picture in a different area.

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Print p4-28
The plan had been to do similar technique prints on damp and dry Stonehenge paper as a comparison. Given the damp print didn’t work out I decided to explore something else on the dry Stonehenge – breaking out of that confining rectangle.

Print p4-28

Print p4-28

Print p4-28 flipped

Print p4-28 flipped

The entire plate was rolled with blue. Then a green mix was rolled onto a piece of non-slip drawer liner (previously seen in sample p1-69 and elsewhere). Next I followed up an idea from print p4-21 (25-October-2015), and used a cut piece of craft foam to lift some colour from the plate – lighter jagged edged areas lower left and top right. A chopstick was used to create a variety of lines reflecting the shapes already on the plate. Finally I used the craft foam again top right, first rolling it with green ink then gently pressing on to the surface. The print was taken using the ezicut press (8 layers of batting) onto dry Stonehenge paper.

As a composition it doesn’t work. I’m having trouble getting my mind around the reversing in printing, so tried flipping the image on the computer. I prefer it that way, but it’s still visually uncomfortable. Perhaps something as simple as a little of the green in the drawn diamonds at the bottom would help pull it together.

There are some pluses. The foam worked well both to lift and to add colour, and given it is so easy to cut that gives a lot of flexibility. I like breaking the rectangle, and the texture provided by the liner which is thin enough not to leave a huge gap of plain paper around it.

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Print p4-29

Print p4-29

Print p4-29

I worked hard on the ghost print to improve balance, and I think it is better but still not right.

First I took the ghost print using a baren on cartridge paper, the liner being turned over and moved from its original spot. Both the foam and the liner were used as stamps a number of times. I really like some of the layering of texture and colour at the detail level.

Print p4-29 detail

Print p4-29 detail

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Print p4-30

Print p4-30

Print p4-30


In this sample I wanted to experiment further with paper. The print was taken on coloured lace fan paper backed by a piece of rice paper (which I’m presenting as print p4-31).

Ink was rolled on unevenly in a sequence of colour blending from blue at the bottom to a yellow-green at the top. Cloth and a variety of wooden tools were used to create a landscape – ruffled lake in the foreground, bending reeds at the water edge, lesser detail of trees as the view receded to mountains behind. The ezicut press was used to take the print.

None of the detailed mark-making is visible on the fan paper. Larger marks look more like accidental unprinted blotches. It’s now a few days later and the paper has absorbed the ink well, with clear printed colour on both sides. I thought a backlit view would be of interest, but the fan shape takes over and the colour is lost. The print could be layered over other materials, stitched into, perhaps even felted into. This could be very useful.

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Print p4-31

Print p4-31

Print p4-31
This is the rice paper used as a backing to the previous print. Unfortunately an extra smudge of ink was transferred onto it when I brought everything in from the garage. I need to allow more hanging time for all ink to be absorbed, and to recognise if there is excess that needs to be removed.

Quite a lot of ink came through the fan paper. The colour is softly broken and I think quite attractive. More of the original mark-making is visible, as can be seen in the detail photograph below, but it is not effective competing with the strong fan pattern. If using this technique again it would be better to focus on colour play and omit mark-making.

Print p4-31 detail

Print p4-31 detail

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Print p4-32

Print p4-32

Print p4-32

I find it very satisfying to bring forward techniques from earlier in the course, and in this print I reprised the crumpled paper of assignment 1. This is 50 gsm bank layout paper, originally A3 but crumpled and spread to be roughly A4.

I used a mixed green ink on the plate and made some broad and finer marks reminiscent of grass. It was printed using the ezicut press. The ink transferred quite well but there was some build up in a few creases and this was the source of contamination on p4-31.

You may be able to make out the vertical marks that were made, but extra interest comes when the creases are gently stretched out.

Print p4-32 opened

Print p4-32 opened

Print p4-32 opened detail

Print p4-32 opened detail
Click image for larger view

Print p4-32 shaped

Print p4-32 shaped

Clicking on the photo to the left will give an even closer view. I find the broken pattern and colour very effective. The reverse side also has interest, the green still visible although subdued. Being two sided certainly makes the paper more versatile for further use. However I think you can’t go past the shaping introduced in the original crumpling exercise. I’ve tried it with an LED inside as a kind of lamp, which has potential with the right lightsource – the one I had introduced some unattractive hard shadow lines. External directional lighting worked better.

Breaking the boundary of the rectangle and now moving out into three dimensions is very satisfying. I struggled to engage with the printing initially, but layering, colour mixing and now this is beginning to create a connection.

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Print p4-33

Print p4-33

Print p4-33

This is the ghost of the previous print, taken on rice paper using the ezicut press.

There are some flaws – a crease in the paper and that dratted smudge. Of interest is the visibility of the original mark-making, augmented by the patterning created by the crumpling of the original print paper. This proves to be an excellent technique for creating an overall pattern. I also find the rice paper pleasant to print on, despite needing some care in handling. This could be a good candidate for the accidental marking seen on print p4-20 (25-October-2015).

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Print p4-34

Print p4-34

Print p4-34

This print is on A3 cartridge paper, and was produced in three separate pulls. The initial idea was again sourced from assignment 1, this time folding paper. Could I fold and print paper to create bands of pattern and colour, with a result that could be displayed to present different views from different directions?

Print p4-34 folded

Print p4-34 folded
Click image for larger view

A little thought and experimentation showed that three colours, or at least three pulls, would be needed to cover the paper with no overlap. Think of each folded unit as having a Z profile. The top bar presents for printing – in this photo blue (click on it for a larger view). After refolding, what started as the diagonal bar will be printed with yellow and the base bar with green.

For this test I tried to be very simple and bold with mark-making, creating a series of broad lines with a different slope on each colour. The prints were taken using a baren and possibly I could have got more complete transfer with some extra manipulation. I should have waited longer between prints as there is some contamination of colours.

Print p4-34 part unfolded

Print p4-34 part unfolded

Despite flaws the basic plan was sound. I have bands of colour which can be loosely folded to present different views. An extension of this could be any of the more complex folds which at least temporarily will sit flat. With refolding in different configurations some intriguing possibilities could be developed.

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Print p4-35

Print p4-35

Print p4-35
This is the ghost of the previous print – all three layers over-printed onto cartridge paper using the baren.

I took a ghost print of virtually all prints made in this session, but haven’t presented those which were too faint or too streaky to be of interest. I like the one shown here quite a lot, at least in part because it seems like a folding of time encapsulating the process and larger space of the original print. Layering and complexity is important in my response to these prints.

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Print p4-36

Print p4-36

Print p4-36
This print was an investigation of the mark-making I saw in Degas’ monotypes (22-October-2015).

Degas_ Woman Reading detailThe composition is based on the cropped detail I took, but the overall proportions are changed and the width of the shoulders has gone terribly wrong.

Tools used were cloth to wipe areas and brushes (both ends) to make marks. The print is on rice paper and was made using the baren.

I found this an absorbing exercise. I particularly like the clean wiped area of the light at the top, with the contrast to the denser colour even more effective with the broken lines around and extending from it. I also like the uneven surface of the brushed triangular area bottom left. The “solid” areas of colour are actually grainy, and I think this soft look is very effective on the light rice paper. There are some fragments of thicker ink that the brush left on the plate which I think detract from the result and the whole middle mess doesn’t work, but the combination of colours and method is pleasing.

breakT1-MMT-P4-p1-e1 Monoprint mark-making – exploring further
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Project 1: Monoprinting
Exercise 1: Mark-making
Exploring further

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