Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bet You Can't Print Just One

Monoprint on canvas and muslin using textile paint
approximately 11 x 13 inches

In my recent profile of artists Jette Clover she shared with us that she does a daily practice by making a small collage each morning. I like the idea of that but I have at this time not made that commitment. I have however found a way to "practice" and explore that I want to pursue and that is through making small monoprints. My intention is not to do them daily but I have discovered that when I work at this scale with this technique that making "just one" is not possible. It is sort of like eating only one of those famous potato chips.

What you are seeing in the first image is actually two pieces of fabric, one canvas and one muslin that have been laid side by side, photographed and photoshoped quickly to appear to be one composition. The idea is that these are primarily studies which could be taken forward into small finished works or kept as they are and studied for inspiration.

In this first piece the textile paint was smeared onto an acrylic plate and pressed onto the canvas. There was still paint on the plate so I made a print onto muslin. I love the ghostly appearance of each side and actually printers call these second prints from a single plate - "ghost prints". It is easy to see that they are similiar but there are wonderful gradations in each that are different enough to keep things interesting.

I plan to try this again so here are the things I will immediately be thinking about.
  • Begin with using only Black then introduce other values or other colors
  • Make many prints and ghost prints on same type of substrate
  • Try a variety of substrates including paper
  • Print one image directly on top of first print but perhaps turned 90 degrees or upside down
  • Print many images on larger pieces of fabric
  • Print two different prints on the same substrate
  • Experiment with different brands of textile paints and acrylic paint or thickened dye
This list gives you the idea.

Monoprint on Canvas - Two French Curves
approximately 8 x 8 inches

Monoprint on Canvas - Two French Curves detail

In this print you can see that indeed I did do some of the procedures I listed. I printed the initial surface with red textile paint twice. I then used an acrylic french curve painted with textile paint and printed it onto the canvas. Finally I "framed" it with small black lines printed from the edge of my acrylic plate.

Monoprint on canvas using textile paint
approximately 8 x 4 inches

This small print is also made using canvas and textile paint. The paint dries quickly so that you can add additional layers in one session. Here the black and orange appears to be a landscape
and the white layer gives depth and movement to the composition. I still have not decided how much "hand" is too much hand for my tastes. It is very different from dye for sure.

One of the things I really like about these small pieces on the computer is that you can "see" them at any size you imagine. To me the first piece can be seen as 18 x 24 or larger etc.

When you prepare to work with this process I suggest you cut many pieces of the materials you want to print on and have them ready to go. Lay out one color or a few colors and begin. You might find yourself with a nice stack of prints at the end of your exploration and ideas for a larger work or ideas for another session of small prints or both.

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  1. Excellent post, Terry, thanks so much. Periodically I fool around with monoprinting but never take the time to do as much as I'd like with it. Now I'm reinspired!

  2. I can´t - print just one, when I do that... but when there are too many it can become a hindrance to further creative use of them, at least it´s like that with me... - there´s black fabric paint on my shopping list already, now I´m aware of one more reason why I need it...

  3. Thanks Connie and Ger. I understnd about having "too many". I have many others that I didn't show. After I print I sort them and the ones I respond to are kept out and the others put away for another time.

  4. I love these Terry! Printing is such an inspiration to me - and makes great collage material.

  5. Thank you for reminding me how much I enjoyed doing such pieces previously. I will now return and do some more.

  6. These are good, Terry. I especially respond to the last one. Maybe its the landscape reference but I really like the white over black and the contrast between the top and bottom halves. So that's what you're doing out there!

  7. these are good enough to eat!

  8. Maybe because whispers of spring are rising from beneath the great weight of snow ... but that lovely black and orange piece made me think of a bird and a nest.

    I'm going to try this for my daily explorations in March. I was thinking of doing the Rorschach method but I may like ghosts better.

  9. Printing on fabric is a really wonderful way to get your ideas out quickly-almost like sketching. Don't forget to add some stitching:)

  10. Interesting post. I think it would be difficult to stop at just one, and I find that the last pieces seem to be the best, perhaps by that point one is going with the flow and not thinking so hard.

  11. Thank you everyone! It's always so interesting reading your comments and hearing your thoughts.

    One of the "perks" of being a photographer is the ability to make many images quickly and selecting what is working from a group of images. Most of the processes we use with fabric do not offer that same type of spontaneity but I think the monoprint technique does.

    I appreciate your responses!

  12. Good for you, Terry. I like your list and find that having a list like that when trying new techniques and/or mediums is very helpful because I sometimes get hung up on just one thing once I start working. I hope this avenue leads you to a very exciting place.

  13. Thanks Nancy! Sometimes I think I need to put a GPS system on myself ;-)

  14. I love your little experiments and especially like the simplicity and directness of monoprinting. I have been playing around with monoprinting myself for about 3 weeks now....... have printed lots of stripe patterns with many layers of color. Lots of possibilities!

  15. brilliant using a french curve as a plate is a wonderful idea

  16. Thank you Diane and sukipoet! It is indeed the directness of this process that I love and I wish I had a HUGE stack of french curces of all proportions and sizes. Maybe the french curve fairy will hear my wish ;-)

  17. Terrific post, as always, Terry. Love seeing this work. What a cool way to start the day...

  18. Thank you Gayle! I hope to try and complete some of these for small finished compositions soon.