M O N O T Y P E S
M O N O T Y P E S
I have been making monotypes for almost 50 years and I like making them because the ink is as easily wiped away as it is added, allowing the image to quickly go through many changes. Monotypes are the perfect marriage of painting and printmaking. They require the same sensibility as a painter, working in full color directly on the plate, yet the prints have unmistakable qualities that can only be achieved by printing the color on paper.
I found that making an edition of a print that requires multiple color plates in order to produce the final print, much too slow for my sensibilities. For me, working with color is an emotional and experiential process, light waves and vibrations, tuning-in to subtle feelings and intuitions, and requiring me to be present, patient, yet ready to act quickly in a fleeting moment. Monotypes allow me to work spontaneously, in full color, and directly on the plate, similar to painting. I use all kinds of tools, like rags, Q-tips, fingers, paper, wood, etc. There is also a time restraint because the thin layer of ink can dry out if you work on the image too long. This requires making sure that there are no dried out areas on the image or these parts will fail to fully transfer the ink. If this does happen then these dry areas must be repainted to ensure a good transfer occurs. But don't take too long or other areas of the plate might have by then then dried out as well.
Once there is an image on the plate ready to print, it is placed on the bed of an etching press, then covered with fine paper, woven blankets, and run through the rollers of the etching press, transferring the color from the plate onto the paper, and producing one unique mirror-image print. The plate can then be cleaned and a new image created; or the residual "ghost image" that remains after the print is pulled, can be reworked as a kind of serial evolution, creating a series of unique prints.
Monotypes, with its rich and versatile techniques, are conducive with my long-standing interest in gestural mark-making and rich textures. I always push the limits of this medium yet I feel I have only scratched the surface.
To view a series of monotypes made using shapes cut out of sheet metal, click the center link below.