Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More on Watercolor Monotypes

Left: BP's Legacy, mixed media monotype © 2014 Elana Goren
Right: Two examples of watercolor monotype plates with pigment reactions
I've discussed watercolor monotypes using pigments on this blog here and here. This post is a continuation of the discussion I started on my previous posts. And I would like to add to these previous discussions that if you would like to experiment with watercolor monotypes, you should use a new piece of plexiglass and not one that has been used previously for traditional oil-based monotypes. This is because any residual oil from an old plate will repel your attempts at applying watercolor/water media to your plate. I strongly suggest that once you have supplied yourself with a new watercolor plate, label it as such and reuse it only for watercolor/water-based media monotypes.

As for my work, I have been doing alot of experimentation with the abstract qualities of watercolor reactions on a plexiglass plate especially while working with the way pigments react to each other. I've noticed that blue pigments seem to like to repel others and this makes for interesting patterns that emerge on a plexiglass while the watercolor dries. But as I mentioned in a previous post, you need to experiment with different pigments and see for yourself what kind of results you can come with.

I have increasingly been interested in layering my color and using the watercolor abstractions as a base or (underpainting) for adding layers of color to create depth and atmosphere. It is difficult (not impossible) to layer watercolor monotypes over previously printed watercolor since you need to wet the paper before you print and this can destroy or very much weaken the image that was first printed on it. So, I decided to start printing oil-based monotypes over the watercolor base and layer my color that way. For oil-based monotypes, you do not have to wet the paper in order to print (though if you are doing an oil-based monotype on a fresh sheet of paper, wetting it will make it print better). 

Printing over watercolor on dry paper is tricky. You do not want your ink to be too stiff or tacky or it will not print cleanly and might even take some of the top layer of paper off in the dryer areas. I have been using a mixture of pigment, etching ink and block printing ink (trans base) to create my oil-based colors; a mixture that has been working pretty well. I had started by using litho inks but these are really too stiff for this layering process since they work best with damp paper.

The print on the left at the top of this post, was created with a base layer from a watercolor monotype that was a bright blue mixed with some rust colors similar to the plates shown to the right of it. I started to layer oil-based colors using some of the same pigments but obviously using reds and yellows more heavily. The fish skeleton is a linocut (relief) print. What I found interesting is that the blue pigment in the watercolor underlayer came through all of my consecutive print layers as shown in the two details below.
BPs Legacy, Detail

BPs Legacy, Detail 2