Sunday, 4 October 2009

Water Based Monoprints

These are jpgs of the printmaking I first did once I got out of the hospital well actually it was about say 3 weeks afterwards.  I somehow thought that using watercolor based crayons onto styrene as well as perspex plates would be kind of easy going and simple to clear up - which it was.  I was trying all kinds of release agents not being sure as to what was best and also with archivability  in mind.  I tried using screen printing transparent medium or base (as a release agent) - I had to leave it to dry overnight and next day unfortunately it was 'still wet' so that was only of use if I was working with a wet blending type image.  In other words it was of no use at all.

I also tried using something called "Ecover" which is an organic or environmentally friendly washing up liquid.  Another  release agent I had a go at was 'starch paste' ( this had been purchased many years ago, it was made by Ocaldo, based in the UK.  They make budget priced,  art activity products for kids in primary schools and some unfortunate ones in secondary schools and colleges of further education too.   I know this from when I was a lecturer at Ealing and Richmond colleges in west London ).  I seem to remember that it dried OK as well BUT as I'm not too sure as to how Ocaldo produce this then I could not be sure as to its archival qualities.  
note:  "starch formulas " were mentioned in Julia Ayres's book "Monotype" (Watson Guptil)  which is what made me think of trying this out. 

As I had been researching Moku Hanga (Japanese woodblock process)  particularly in relation to how the pigment is applied to the woodcut blocks (with a half baked idea in relation to monoprinting onto wood).  I thought that perhaps this might be helpful as a release agent, as such.  In Moku Hanga I think rice paste is maybe mixed with the dry pigment.  I think I also used it when I was doing those experiments with loose pigments a few months back. 

I also knew that rice paste was used in Moku Hanga as part of the process of applying (brushing)  the pigment onto the plate
The  rice paste I used was called "Nori"  purchase from Intaglio Printmakers suppliers in London.
I usually use it for my chine colle with intaglio.

 Of all of those that I tried I would say that rice paste was best in a way because it is archival and it dries fairly quickly onto the surface of your substrate which means that you can work onto that  - without being inhibited by a sloppy swirly sticky base so you have more control of the mark making.  I was able to make the color "washy" if I wanted or more like dry marks as in "unblended".  (pictured above: Aquarelle water based crayons applied "dry" onto a  plate prepared by rolling on rice paste and allowing it to dry - does not take long )   You printmakers out there will understand all of these peculiar words ...!!

This next image I seem to remember was done using the Ecover washing up liquid which is not too bubbly or perfumed etc etc.  I thought this might be the most organic and perhaps least damaging to the paper/ pigments in archival terms.

Anyway I let it dry overnight. I  worked on a polystyrene plate.   After I applied it to the plate ( just a thin coat)  and let it dry over night.
Next day  I worked onto the 'plate' with Daler Rowney "Luma" concentrated watercolors. ( this product is no longer being made by Rowney)  I worked these with water into  washes.  These were dried over the next night. 
It came out well.  As I may have mentioned already it had excellent 'release' properties.

This one I honestly can't remember which so called release agent I tried out.  

I used a polystyrene plate and it was one that I had previously worked into with a ball point pen or an etching needle point though it was actually the opposite end to the needle point (so it was a rounded point and not a sharp one).  Does that make sense - hope so. 

Anyway I worked over that with a thick "Caran d'ache" water based crayon which has this lovely Monestial blue.. ......... its almost has a 'double ghost" type edge but it's still more or less OK - I like it anyway and I  still have the 'plate' and could print it again, more carefully, if needed.

This one was done onto Gum Arabic
 I had this on my shelf because ages ago Agata, this Polish printmaker I know through the web, who's based in Aberdeen, told me about a process using it, which I wanted to try out. 
I purchased it again at Intaglio Printmakers suppliers in London.
It seems good  -  I tried it out on polystyrene  I let it dry overnight and then worked onto the 'plate' with Caran d'ache water based crayons.  I  let that dry over night, and the following day ran it through the etching press it  came out well.

Screen printing base medium

 As mentioned above the brand I used was Lascaux screen print base......allowing it to dry overnight (though it stayed wet!!) and then blended the watercolor media into it and had to let it  dry overnight.  It also worked out well.

General Notes

I found it best not too have the pressure too tight and also to allow the damp blotted paper, to sit  on the plate for three minutes under the blankets on the press bed  PRIOR to running it through the press ( I came across this very important pointer in the Intaglio book. by Robert Adam and Carol  Robertson (Thames and Hudson) 

The best approach seemed to be to  i.e., to let the plate that has been worked on with  watercolor media DRY OVERNIGHT  as opposed to putting it immediately through the press,  because otherwise one gets 'squishing' of the wet media outside of the plate area, as it is goes under the roller pressure.  
Obviously this particularly applies to watercolor based media.  I imagine using the more recently available water based inks by Rostow and Jung would be a different matter altogether.

The same would apply to oil based etching inks as long as, of course, they were applied thinly.
I used a lightweight Fabriano paper and then some heavyweight Hahnemuhle paper to try these 'experiments' out on.   

Tomorrow or in the next post I will show some monoprints made onto a lovely textured plastic (it's probably Mylar)  which are larger, I did these when I first went in again to FDPW following my spinal op.

Most of the images were thought of as 'backgrounds' to make prints onto, or to throw away.

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