Painted monoprint from life: Watercolour

I was staying at Mum’s and was looking for a source to draw and print. She had some colourful flowers that I thought would be a useful starting point. I decided to produce this first still life print in watercolour.

• Firstly I produced some quick drawing in sketchbook – trying to focus on composition. Design is such an important part of the process and is an area that I am weak on.
• I traced the larger drawing and used that as a guide underneath my mylar plate. Then followed the process: use fairy liquid as a base, let that dry; apply watercolours; let them dry; print onto soaked hp w/c paper.
• This technique produced some interesting textures and again I was surprised by the strength of the colours.watercolour
• The final print was not really successful though – it was a bit flat. Perhaps if I had paid closer attention to shadows that would have helped. Also the subject matter and colour are a bit twee and not really me. But a useful first attempt.

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Experiments in mark-making pt.2

Adding colours:

I wanted to use different colours so that I knew which technique was attributed to each mark.

Red-orange – used palette knife – too thick and oily
Blue-green – round brush – drier subtler mark
Yellow – large flat brush – smooth & textured marks

-Still not getting the mix of oil to ink right.
– Further mark-making experiments using different papers. Cheap lining paper had an interesting texture. Smooth paper is better for cleaner prints.

Further mark-making experiments:

• Used shapers to remove ink –provided interesting results.
• Sponges to apply ink – good for creating texture.
• Very large brush – dominant on the A4 plate – liked the visible marks.
• Layering colours on top of each other – need more practice at this – possibly need to use extender to make ink transparent and also probably need to apply more thinly. I will return to this technique at a later stage.
• Had a quick play with backdrawing – like the quality of line produced. A printmaker friend of my Mum’ recommended I ink a plate of thin mylar and then use a drawing implement to push the ink onto the paper. I tried this and liked the result – it offered a different quality of mark. I know I will come back to these techniques later on in this part of the course, but it was good to get some experience of what I possible.
• I had also read that you can print watercolour or gouache paint from a mylar plate onto dampened hot-pressed watercolour paper. The instructions advised to use watercolour straight from tube. I was really surprised by how strong the transfer was in terms of colour. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the result but I liked the potential that this technique offered.
• Neocolor ii watersoluble crayons using the above technique worked well, as did gouache.
• Watersoluble inks – working very small –A6 size produced some interesting results. Working at a larger scale I found it difficult to get a strong transfer as the ink dries very quickly even with retarder added. Adding water to the plate created some interesting textures and drips. Realised the effect is much more subtle and softer than oils. Interesting how less saturated colours print a lot darker and blacker on paper.
• I had a quick play with overprinting with w/s inks– very hard to roll the ink out onto the plate as it dries very quickly.
o Better for textured effects.
o Need to be careful not to apply ink too thickly
o Overprintng could work with these inks – need to carefully plan colours, also need to get some extender to create more transparent effects.
• Used w/s inks on gelli plate. It was easier to get a good transfer and the plate retained interesting textures from the brush strokes.

Experiments in Mark-making pt 1

From previous study with the OCA I have found that taking extra time to practice making marks and trying a variety of media and processes can pay dividends throughout the course so I took some time over this exercise.

Gelatin printing: Using 8” gelli plate & acrylic paint

Black open acrylics on copier paper.

• Good transfer quality.
• Good for creating interesting textures – the plate retains the texture of the objects well and the ghost print provides an almost photographic quality of detail.
• Regret getting a circular format as is quite limiting compositionally.
• Like moonlike forms – possible inspiration for future work.
• Hard to register circle on paper – need to give this more thought and preparation in the future.
• Like reductive method – brushstrokes very clear and visible.

Colour: fluid acrylics

• More fluid paint interesting textures as paper is pulled from the surface.
• Dries very quickly with no medium added – not as clean transfer.
• If thin paint with water, beads up on surface.
• If thin paint with a little open thinners works better.
• Tried using a small rectangular mask over the plate and overprinting – gives scope for greater versatility.
• Used titanium white acrylic with no medium over surface – rolled over surface and quickly pulled a print – old bit of paint from previous printing came through – like this a lot.

Using caligo safe wash oil relief inks on Perspex plate.

Monochrome: blue /black palette

• Added oil to ink – need to be careful not to add too much as it leeches through the paper and the brushstroke marks are not visible.
• Applying ink using different brushes – particularly like the texture from bristle brushes.
• Enjoyed using cotton bugs and kitchen roll to remove ink in certain areas.
• First attempt printed on cartridge paper , burnished with brayer – liked the result.
• Closer inspection – would prefer cleaner print – a bit patchy in places, need to take more care with burnishing.
• The ghost didn’t come out at all.
• Rolled a thin layer of ink over plate and removed ink with cotton buds, baby wipes & kitchen roll. Quite liked the plate but it didn’t transfer particularly well. Possibly removed too much ink – maybe I need to be more subtle with this technique. It has great potential for creating atmosphere.
• I drew into the inked plate with the end of a brush – the result was very subtle, the lines were not clear to see.
• Chose to do backdrawing over next ghost print, which worked quite nicely.
• Final bit of ink on plate – chose to use a spoon to burnish and this came out ok.

Oil inks have great potential. They stay wet longer meaning there is a reasonable transfer.

Next steps:
Like to try a range of colours and papers with these inks. For these initial experiments I used a range of blues which has made it difficult to distinguish each mark, I will use 3 contrasting colours next.