Friday, May 14, 2010

When It Doesn't Work

"Not Alarmed Yet"
Pastel on monotype, Rives BFK

There are times when monotypes don't come out the way you planned and that can be a good thing resulting in a "happy accident" where you end up with something both wonderful and unexpected. However, this is not always the case with some monotypes, sometimes they just don't come out well at all. So what to do?

I had been taking all my failed prints (monotypes, etchings, woodcuts, etc) and storing them in a drawer with the hope that I would figure out what to turn them into at some later time. Perhaps tear then up and make them part of collages or paint over them and see if there was any more I could get out of them. But the pile in my drawer just kept getting bigger until I decided it was time to dig in and see what I could do with my failed prints.

I started experimenting with mediums that work on top of Rives BFK (the paper I use most for printmaking) and which will work on top of the oil-based inks that I use for my prints. I pulled out my pastels and started playing with layering color lines on top of one of my monotype ghost prints (a second print from a monotype plate that has already gone through the press once). I have been working towards loosening up my drawings and I thought I'd practice a bit with the pastel lines on this monotype. The result is what you see above. A loose pastel drawing that has a monotype "underpainting." I still need to work on this and I suspect I'll improve with practice, but I kind of like the effect that's achieved by using this technique. It also gives me hope that I will finally be able to do something with those "failed" prints stacking up in my drawer. I might have some future successes just waiting to be discovered in that stack.


Amie Roman said...

Another technique I enjoy with some monotypes is pen & ink loose line drawings over the print; sometimes that adds a good contrast to the colour in the print itself. I've also used coloured pencils as well as pastels, and those Caran d'Ache watercolour crayons. It can be fun to play with extra media, especially when you're truly not happy with the monotype result.

aine scannell said...

Hi Spider
I just happened to come across your blog by cross linking from another site. So I couldnt leave without saying HI. Monoprints are great way to loosen up I agree !!
Yours are excellent. Love the ape.

I am experimenting at the moment with trying to make a print using wood but NOT using the conventional wood block route. So far not great .Trying to get somewhere with intaglio wood. You ever tried it out? Would love pointers if you have any.
take care

ps Yep...Amie is a gem isn't she !!.

Stephanie Kasper said...

OK, one more comment on your blog which I have just discovered and wrote on a moment ago:

I have the same pile! I use the backs of "waste" prints for proofing blocks in progress so that I don't ruin a sheet of new paper until I know I really love the image. Another option: print paper will accept so much ink in many cases that you could always relief roll a solid color over the top to partially disguise or totally obliterate the "failed image," and then start over. If you choose an opaque layer, you have new ground upon which to print, draw or paint. If you use transparent base, some of the interesting sections you like in the underlying failed print could peak through with interest before you start a new image, or you could scrape away to openly reveal the small sections of texture or line that you liked while adding to it with new media.

One nice way to add a new layer is not to relief roll it which may cause the paper to get too stiff or thick with ink, but to silkscreen across the top. It has that finer, filmy texture to it and I've not had any problem mixing oil-based inks layered with water-based or vice versa. Silkscreen monoprint is great fun to paint loosely and then squeegee the color across the image using transparent-based medium that will allow you to block out some sections clear of ink as you squeegee down. Fast and forgiving. I hope that makes sense as it's hard to describe.

spiderink said...

I love these suggestions, Stephanie. Thank you for them!