Edgar Degas's "Three Ballet Dancer (Trois danseuses)," 1878-80.
(Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute)
"Although the monotype process typically yields a single print, Degas often made more than one impression, or “pull,” from a plate. Each successive pull yielded a less intense, more degraded image—both a repetition and a transformation—and these later prints often served as the basis of Degas’s pastel drawings. (Source: Wall Street Journal; To Better Understand Degas’s Prints, MoMA Team Got Hands Dirty)
|Edgar Degas - The Star - Pastel over Monotype|
It is estimated as many as a quarter of Degas' pastels
have a monotype underlayer
|The Breakfast - Monotype with Pastel and Graphite - Edgar Degas|
Belinda Del Pesco posted a video recently about trace monotype printing (see Monotype: Between Friends (& a video tutorial on Trace Monotype). This is when I knew for sure I had been bitten by the bug to pull out my printmaking supplies and get printmaking again!
In the video below, Belinda Del Pesco shows how to make a dark field monotype with mixed media.
Time to Explore!
After watching Belinda's videos, I was so excited to start experimenting and exploring this new process!
I gathered some photos that I thought would be interesting to experiment with dark field monotype in a few of my favourite subject categories:
- animal (Lexie)
- figurative (snowman building)
- architecture (Abiwin porch)
- a portrait (Great grandmother)
- landscape (lavender farm)
|Photos gathered for my monotype experiments|
Mt First Experiment - The Snowman
To make things simple, I thought it best to start my experimentation with some simple black and white photos. I started with the snowman.
I wasn't entirely sure that the creative palette would work with this method (softer than plexiglass or zinc plates) but I had purchased it on sale at Michael's and never used it so I thought it would be a good place to start.
For the mixed media materials, I gathered anything that I thought might be interesting and/or useful: my watercolours, pastels, pastel pencils, conté crayons, watercolour pencils etc
Below is my initial result using mixed media on my ghost print:
|Dark Field Monotype with Mixed Media: First Attempt (Ghost Print)|
|The plate with ink on it|
|The first pull and the ghost print|
Lessons Learnt on My First Attempt
My 'learnings' from this first experiment
- the creative palette is unsuitable for this process. After using it for my first attempt, I washed the plate off, re-attached the acetate liner and used the acetate liner for my next attempt.
- the Akua Intaglio ink is beautiful - does NOT dry on the plate (only when it makes contact on the paper). It cleans up beautifully, has no smell and dried quickly taking all the wet mediums I added later without smudging. The colour - payne's grey - gave interesting results but I think a Mars black would have worked better?
- I completely forgot to dampen my paper before printing (even though I had my spray bottle handy) and I wonder what the result would have been if I had not forgotten?
- Paper matters! I used the printing paper that I had on hand and the SUBI block printing paper - while lovely for my linocut prints - reacted badly to the wet medium I added. The Strathmore printmaking paper I have on hand was great for gelli printing but I suspect it will be disappointing with the mixed media process here as well. I plan to stick to a good mixed media paper or watercolour paper for my next attempts.
- I loved trying all kinds of dry and wet media after my print dried. The inks, as promised, took pastel beautifully. What I really enjoyed using was my watercolour pencils and gouache. I think I would like to continue experimenting along that vein.