Saturday, 11 October 2008

One of My Own Large Monoprints

This is a large monoprint I created during the period 1997-99. It's about 80 x 100 cm. I can not remember what kind of paper it's on although it is a fairly heavy gsm. I had access to a litho press in the printmaking studio at Wimbledon School of art and one of the technicians there Simon Burder, mentioned that you could actually use this to make monoprints so I thought that I would have a go.

Seeing it again makes me think that working in this way i.e., where I was just rolling up the plate with oil based extender, and then working into the plate with oil bars or oil sticks themselves as well as using a rag to rub away, would be an interesting method to explore again.

Using the image of the grid or chess board as a starting point and connecting a figurative element was a strategy that I explored time and time again. I had sketchbooks with 'Karisma' water soluble graphite pencil drawings ( no longer being produced - sadly) filled with these kinds of images with weird kinds of figures. I even made a bookart work of sorts, using trace monotype, as well as some made using acrylic , watercolour and indian ink - all in black and white.
I scanned them into my computer a while back. I have never done anything further with them though. I don't have a title for this piece as of yet by the way.
One irritating thing is the 'line' which runs across the centre, towards the right. It wasn't something that I noticed at the time. Looks like something was taped to the press bed perhaps ?! Anyway it rather spoils it. So maybe I will work on it further. I don't know yet.

There was a time when I used to employ oilbars a lot. I would make trace monotypes using etching ink and sometimes a tiny bit of microcrystalline wax mixed in with it.    This gives a gorgeous "velvet" like quality to the prints.   The thing with that technique though is that you have to add the correct amount of microcrystalline wax other wise it can go too waxy and thick making it impossible to work with.   Conversely if you don't put enough you hardly notice any difference.

Oh the other thing is to place some newsprint ( I mean a newspaper is fine it doesn't necessarily have to be blank newsprint or anything) and rub the ink rolled plate to get rid of the surface excess ink before you place your paper onto it to do your trace monotype.
Of course its best to use lightweight paper about 100 gsm or equivalent and it's a good idea to have a little 'bridge' made by using e.g. a couple of objects (about 1 inch or 2 cm's high) either side of your inked up plate, and then place e.g., a steel ruler or something similarly rigid across, so that you don't place unwanted 'pressure' on your paper and thereby marks resulting on the paper (which is face down on the ink). It really is best to do this or you will end up wasting your time and your paper. Best to practice initially using ordinary photo copy or printer paper.

I must look for those 'velvet' prints and consider working more with this technique but do it using a press. We have a lovely etching press at the FDPW print workshop, can't call to mind it's brand name but it would be interesting to see what difference it would make to run the 'ghosts' of the trace monotypes, through that press. I have even purchased paper for doing them - hence my doodle proofs to test the papers that John Purcell Paper sent me.

By the way anyone that is interested in trying the microcrystalline wax mix with the etching ink do get in touch so I can tell you how to prepare the wax so that it is then mixable with the etching ink.


  1. Hi Aine! I like this print.

    Your mix of the wax with etching ink sounds fascinating! Do you think it would work in intaglio wiping of collagraphs? I've also been thinking about adding cold wax to prints afterwards - have you ever done this?

  2. response to adding wax to prints. I posted about way back in the early days of this blog.The piece I am referring to is right there next to me now on a shelf to my right. I think it is supposed to remind me that I want to do some more of it. Actually now that I look at it - I think that image would make a lovely relief print.


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