And she’s off!

After much delaying due to..well, just stuff…. I finally got started with the Printmaking 1 course. This was last week, just haven’t had time to blog about it until now!

Anyway, first project: Monoprints.

First task – assembling the materials. Luckily I already had most of the things I needed… a) a small linocut starter kit that I got from the V&A shop last year that includes a little roller  and some water-based inks, and b) a set of A4 sized glass placemats that will do for the printing plate and for mixing inks. I also already had a baren from previous experiments in lino cutting at home.

Next: mark making. This was lots of fun – no pressure as I knew I wasn’t trying to create anything in particular, just experiment with ink consistencies, colours, blending and use of different brushes and tools.

first monoprint marks

first monoprint marks

Here’s the first one – the first thing I found when I pulled the print was that large areas of yellow hadn’t printed at all as i’d just not used enough ink, and they’d dried out very quickly indeed. Perhaps I’d not used enough pressure too.

Othe areas that I’d diluted with water have a nice speckled texture to them, but too much water and the  ink just pooled.

I tried a second print from the same plate to see the ghosting effect – could be quite useful for building textures/backgrounds.

Using the roller

red and black monoprints - mark making

The two above were done by rolling on some colour first (the red thicker than the black, but both having been diluted a bit with water, giving that nice grainy texture), then making marks with wet and dry brushes, my fingers, the ends of paintbrushes and pieces of kitchen paper. I quite like these two.

Printing from the mixing plate

Inky mix

Just before packing up I used my brush to blend the inks left on my mixing glass plate, then took a print from there (on the left). You can see that by this time the inks are quite dilute, so lots of grainy textures ..except for the much denser blue swirl which looks lovely. I really liked the way the colours were blending directly on the plate. The second print (on a purple paper) was done by just adding some more inks into the mix – again, nice blending of colours, and the paper has picked up some nice background “ghost” tones too.

Reflections

I felt quite cheered by these experiments – I can’t remember the last time I tried to paint anything to be honest, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed the experimental nature of this exercise, the feeling of freedom in manipulating the inks directly on the plate, and particularly in blending colours directly too. And of course, the excitement you get when you pull that paper to see the result, which can never be fully predicted….

The only downside… printmaker’s pinky. A little blister from the times when I eschewed my baren in favour of my fist. You live and learn!

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