Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Vagrant Monoprints: Day #2

Up to my elbows in printing ink, Day #2 starts with an image painted directly onto the plate with a brush (copied by eye from an existing painted image). Not too happy with the way the ink separates but lay a sheet of cartridge paper over it anyway and press down with my hand:

Sure enough - it's a bit what we would call in these parts "scabby"! I keep in mind it is all a learning experience, but I won't do that again, certainly not with this type of ink. Start again:


Now we're whistlin' Dixie! After inking the plate and placing a sheet of clean cartridge paper over it I re-draw over the top of a tracing of the original and use my fingers to press down where I think important. That's what the big dollopey blotches are. It's got a certain je ne sais quoi with measels! But a vast improvement on the previous ones. There's still so much ink left on the plate I make a "ghost" print:
Obviously less distinct but usable in the way I have read Degas used certain prints as a base for some of his pastels. We'll see. With that "success" I try again, this time working on the backside of my tracing which brings the image back to something like the original:


Oops, missed one line of the left arm but not bothered as it creates a bit of ambiguity which I like. Got some reservations, but I press on! I read somewhere else ( I do a lot of reading!) that Neocolours can be used effectively for monoprinting, and since these water-soluable pastels are a great favourite of mine I think I will give it a go. Having drawn my image directly onto the plate I immediately have misgivings: I don't believe the dry pastels will transfer adequately. So I spray some water over it then take a print:


The result is a ghostly image which I quite like probably because of the colour but it really isn't good or strong enough as an image. Perhaps this can be worked over with pastels to make a better image.

Which brings me to the BIG problem I am having niggling away at the back of my mind:

WHAT'S THE POINT OF ALL THIS?

Why not just draw your image, in colour, onto a sheet of paper and be done with all this faffing about?

I'm sure you are about to tell me, so I am all ears!

Please note: There will be a two day hiatus while I go off and celebrate my 60th birthday (whatever happened to that callow youth with the skinny waist? I can hardly see my feet now!)

Back on Sunday with the next installment!

8 comments:

Andrea Kobayashi 小林アンドレア said...

Happy Birthday David!
Your monoprints are looking good. As for the question of faffing about; isn't all art making faffing about? I think your images are looking good!
cheers
Andrea

vivien said...

these are developing nicely - keep on faffing and experimenting - it's all good stuff :>)

Melinda said...

Yes. I agree with Andrea. All art is experimentation and we are obviously obsessed with the process. There is something really wonderful in a pressed image, one layer of distance from the brush while retaining all of the signature of the maker. You just can't go wrong.

Edgar said...

I love monoprints! I think one of the reasons we do them is that the resulting print isn't quite the same as the original plate... contrasts change, lines fill, blobs smear... and you've transferred the tones and textures from a hard plate to a pliable paper: you can hardly fold the former, and you can hardly get midtones from opaque ink on the latter.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement - I appreciate them very much!
As 'Champion Faffer of Scotland' I think that monoprinting is probably very suited to me since the activity and extended process of drawing/painting on a sheet of glass, taking a print, cleaning it off and starting again from scratch with all the resulting textures, ambiguous lines and marks, which I couldn't make up, is ultimately very satisfying for someone who has never really learned to paint properly!

Thanks for the Birthday greetings Andrea. I was whisked away to the Island of Arran for a surprise party with my family and had a wonderful time!

my croft said...

I am completely enchanted with print 1 from Day 2, which I believe is some kind of mystical Beaux-Arts Fox-Creature.

I'm about to take a one-day workshop in monoprinting using a gelatin plate (not the photographic kind of gelatin, the kind of gelatin that is usually lurid-colored cubes served in a chilled dessert cup.) I can't wait.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

To quote Harry Nilsson (from The Point)"You see what you wanna see, and you hear what you wanna hear!"

Hello and welcome, my croft. Good to have you aboard!

Now that you mention it, I think you are right - it is a Beaux-Arts Fox Creature. Spooky. I'll need to get Agent Mulder onto it!

And I can't wait to see what comes out of your lurid-coloured workshop. Pity the paint-flinging class didn't go ahead. Sounds like my kinda thing!

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