I have been making monotypes for 40+ 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, especially if each print of the edition requires multiple printings 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, but 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, wood, etc. There is also a time restraint, requiring that the image be printed before areas of the image dry out and fail to transfer to the paper. In this case, these areas would then need to be quickly repainted.
Once there is an image on the plate, ready to print, it is placed on an etching press, covered with paper and 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 rework the residual "ghost" image that remains after the print is pulled, as a kind of serial evolution, and 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 by using shapes cut out of metal, click the center link below.