Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adding and Subtracting

"Still Partners"
10" X 12"

Fear not. We shall not trudge down the math path any further than my telling you the dimensions of these pieces. Instead, the title refers to the monoprint process I've been playing around with lately—adding and subtracting ink.

I've had this tube of sepia ink and some luscious creamy paper I've been aching to try out, so it was time to return to the plate, so to speak, and experiment once again with printmaking. I love making monoprints—not only the immediate result, but also the unpredictable nature of the process. Remember, each print is unique, there is only one (thus the name). (See more here, and here.)

I started with a piece of Plexiglas that I inked using a brayer (like a mini paint roller). I roughed out my drawing and began scraping away the ink with the chiseled end of a brush. The process was mind-numbingly slow. And, because I'd added oil to make the ink a bit more fluid, I found I was taking one step forward and two back as the ink kept seeping back into the places where I'd scraped it away.

I used a cloth to remove some of the ink, but this left large bare patches with little transition between light and dark. Finally, I loosely outlined the subject and used a bristle brush to remove the ink. Eureka! I loved the texture left behind by the brush. Even in the barest places, it left a soft haze of color. The result was much softer than the scrape-away method I've used in the past. The experimentation will continue as I work to establish a wider range of values using this technique.

"Still Partners II"
10" X 12"

After I made the first print, I thought I'd try a different approach. I had the ghost of the image left on the plate, so I applied ink with a brush to re-establish the forms. You can see the ink didn't come out evenly; there are blobs here and there where it was applied too thickly. However, I was able to quickly make another print. I think I like the first one better. How about you?

These images came from a photo taken on our trip to Domeland last fall. It seemed odd that these two trees grew so close and so tall side-by-side and there is nothing else around them. Like an old married couple standing there, they look out over the meadow, the sun warming their backs in the mornings, the sunsets saying goodnight.

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