Creating Monoprints for "Estampes+" ( May - June 2018) Paris
I spent nearly two weeks making these monoprints. First I made a series of backgrounds by painting watercolour onto Yupo paper that I placed onto a polypropylene plate. I also placed some small styrofoam rings onto some of them whilst they were still wet..........
Once they were completely dry - these were then run through the etching press onto dampened blotted paper Fabriano and Hahnemuhle paper.
A practical TIP for those of you making watercolour monotypes - is to use a digital timer to allow them to sit on the press bed, in position with the dampened blotted paper on top and then covered with the blankets - for 3 minutes. This is to give time for 'reactivation' of damp paper on dry paint.
I think I made about eight watercolour backgrounds to potentially develop further into finished monoprints. BTW - it really is best to use a digital timer because its only too easy to get distracted by a phone call or someone asking you a question and so on and so on.............make sure it beeps and put it in your pocket etc......
I did the turquoise watercolour backgrounds first and decided that maybe these were just a bit too bright / intense ...........
Well you can see for yourselves. I did end up using some of them although it was the 2nd batch that I painted the following day - which I used moreso, for the backgrounds.
The next batch of watercolour backgrounds were a mix of ochre blue, yellow and burnt umber. I have to say theres something very pleasing about working on the Yupo paper and you can easily remove it, in areas where you dont like the 'look' of.
On some pieces, I also used a little washing up liquid "Fairy" brand (UK the most expensive) - that's how I got all of those tiny bubble marks. Having decided which of these watercolour backgrounds to use it was then a matter of incorporating various elements into the 'picture space'.
Here an image of a young girl I had drawn and painted ages ago combined with an offset impression of a spider and a piece of cotton string that had been 'coloured' with watercolour crayon.
I have to admit this is a pretty tricky strategy as everything has to 'not move' once it has been put in place on the re-soaked and blotted watercolor background. It turned out sufficiently OK to 'pass muster' as they say. I use rice paste on the girl image to adhere to the paper. It's always best to not use too much paste because otherwise there is always the risk of it 'sliding or skidding' as it runs through the press and making a total mess.
This image which I had been working on lately didnt seem to integrate well with the watercolour backgrounds so instead I chose to use an aquatint plate made using the addition of water and washing up liquid as the aquatint was developed on the copper plate. I think she looks really haughty.
This was one of the watercolour backgrounds that I did use although I'm still not quite sure about this one.
It was good to use some of this roughly textured chine colle paper that had this nice graduated umbre/olive shaded colour.
It's an image of a female of sorts thats been around in my 'encyclopaedia of ciphers' for quite some time.
Thus far it is untitled.
Here (I really liked this back ground) I have incorporated my little emperor (PuYi)
who in case you dont know was the last emperor of China. What a life he lived. It's an image I am fond of and that I have used previously although I am not sure as to whether it has featured in any of my finished artworks.
I incorporated a drypoint (on textured polypropylene) of a sphinx of an Ancient Egyptian cat
. My brother gave it to me as a bookmark, he had purchased for me in London at the British Museum.
That material really holds the ink well although I didn't bear that sufficiently in mind whilst making this print.
Really I should have done a more thorough wipe-away of the ink on the flat surface - which would have resulted in a paler impression of the plate.
However having said that I find that I have become more accepting of the overall appearance of the finished piece, than I was initially. The little bird (etched copper) was inspired from looking at a book about medieval illuminated manuscripts
, another longstanding love of mine.
It doesn't have a title as of yet although maybe I might call it "Dislocation" or words to that effect. That shape around the bird is a piece of thin cardboard that I varnished with Lascaux acrylic hard ground and when dry I rubbed some water-soluble crayon onto it.
This piece is called Sunday best and it began with this image of a 5 yr old girl (Charlotte May Pierstorff)
, known by the name "May",who was sent in the postal service in the USA in the early 20th century by her parents.
See full details HERE
They couldn't afford the train fare and were 'sending' her to relatives for a few months to be looked after by them. Perhaps it then made it possible for them to travel searching for employment. I am just speculating not knowing of the real story of her family. It was a lot cheaper to 'send her' using that method. With her being a child of course the USPS had to deliver her at the address. I imagine that the parents had not written the 'senders address' onto the 'package'. This was during the very early year of the U.S. postal service.
I loved the story + her photo integrated so well with the picture space I'd created in the watery cream + black coloured background that I'd made a while back so that became another one of the pieces that I sent to Paris.
"Waiting for the Ancestors"
The final images - well the one on the left, is the last of the four required images sent to Estampes+ 2018. This was also an earlier previously created watercolour background monotype.
The little animal figure on the left is lino print onto acid free tissue paper, that image was inspired by looking at ancient Chinese funerary objects
- in this case a container for the ancestors ashes. The little red circle is imprinted with a tiny dry pointed circle on polypropylene - I love how easy it is to cut this material to a desired shape.