printmaking

Making a block print for Monoprints

I love working in the soft linoblock to find my duck.
I love working in the soft linoblock to find my duck.
A block is a piece of wood, linoleum or styrofoam used as a matrix for a print. Ink, a mixture of pigment suspended in a water-soluable base with gum arabic, is used for block and Collagraph printing. 
Inking a lino cut
Inking a lino cut
            The ink is applied to the block with a brayer, the block is flipped and positioned on the paper and then a baren or spoon or even just your thumb is used to press the paper into the block to transfer the ink.
Linocut of duck and test print
Linocut of duck and test print
The number of images printed from the block is called an edition. These identical images are pulled by the artist (in my case) and then numbered in pencil directly on the print (for example, 1/10 through 10/10)
I've got a dry print of my duck, centered it and taped it under the screen.
I've got a dry print of my duck, centered it and taped it under the screen.
            In many of my prints I make a block print (take a look at my duck) and then a monoprint over it. By adding the monoprint over the block print I’ve make each one unique. These are numbered with “V.E.”, meaning various editions. I learned this technique in a program with Linda Kirstin Blix. You can find her at her website.
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You can see that I didn't paint my screen where the duck would be, and I did this loosely because I like the effect of not having a tight image. The areas left unpainted on the screen will be the white of the paper on the finished print. Those clear areas also allow the black ink of the underlay print to remain crisp.
You can see that I didn't paint my screen where the duck would be, and I did this loosely because I like the effect of not having a tight image. The areas left unpainted on the screen will be the white of the paper on the finished print. Those clear areas also allow the black ink of the underlay print to remain crisp.
I've pulled the monoprint, in this case fabric dye painted on the silk screen, over a print I did in ink of my duck linocut. You can see that I masked off the shape of the duck before pulling the print.
I've pulled the monoprint, in this case fabric dye painted on the silk screen, over a print I did in ink of my duck linocut. You can see that I masked off the shape of the duck before pulling the print.

So What is a Monoprint?

 
Using a photo of poppies from my garden as a reference I paint the dye on the screen is a loose painterly way. The screen is raised from the table on shims so that the tabletop doesn't interfere with my painting.
Using a photo of poppies from my garden as a reference I paint the dye on the screen is a loose painterly way. The screen is raised from the table on shims so that the tabletop doesn't interfere with my painting.

Monoprints and Monotype are the most painterly among printmaking techniques. They are essentially printed paintings; one-of-a-kind prints conceived by the artist and printed by the artist. No two prints are alike: although some images can be similar. The appeal of the monoprint/monotype lies in the unique translucency that creates a quality of light very different from a painting on paper or a print. This combination of painting, printmaking and drawing mediums is spontaneous.

Monoprinting is a unique process using a combination of painting and traditional printmaking processes. I used a Silk Screen frame with a stretched mesh fabric (historically silk) and paint with a brush, sprayer or wooden sticks on the screen with Procion “H” fabric dye solutions.

The liquid fabric dye solutions are in a pot pallet but you can't see the colours easily so I've done a colour chart beside my pallet. I use other cups to mix colours. Or I layer colours on the screen as I paint.
The liquid fabric dye solutions are in a pot pallet but you can't see the colours easily so I've done a colour chart beside my pallet. I use other cups to mix colours. Or I layer colours on the screen as I paint.

These dyes are responsible for the brilliant colours. Once the dye is dry, I use a traditional print making technique. A single sheet of Acid-free paper is placed under the screen and taped down. The screen is held up, and using a squeegee I flood the screen with wallpaper paste. In a monoprint, it is the flood stroke that allows the dye to soften. The wallpaper paste, Dynamic 212 premixed, is tested for lightfastness. I then lower the screen onto the paper and pull the print, using the squeegee again with firm pressure to push the dye and paste through the screen onto the paper. You now have an original fine art print. It will be numbered 1/1, named and signed in pencil.

I've finished my painting of the fabric dyes on my screen. As the dyes dry they get much lighter than the finished print will be.
I've finished my painting of the fabric dyes on my screen. As the dyes dry they get much lighter than the finished print will be.

I learned these techniques in a program at the Haliburton School of the Arts with the fabulous instructor, Linda Kristin Blix. You can find Linda's work on her website.