It’s pretty confusing even to printmakers. As I described last week a Monotype is created on a smooth surfaced plate. A Monoprint is made by creating a plate that has a buildup of textures or collage elements affixed to the surface. This plate is a matrix capable of producing multiple prints as in an edition. However, Monoprints may also be inked in such a way that it’s impossible to exactly duplicate further prints.
The freedom to apply ink creatively and in a painterly manner appeals to me rather than the tedious production of a print edition. I prefer to use a brush when inking a plate. I create a pallet of selected inks and blend colors as I do when painting. I find the subtle nuances that develop create a very rich affect. I also don’t clean my plates and love the way older colors blend in with each new inking for subsequent prints. If I use a brayer it is usually the last step to capture the high relief areas with a different tone or hue.
Because these prints cannot be editioned I designate them with E.V. (Edition Variable) instead of the usual numbering method as 1/1 for Monoprints or 1/50 as in an edition.
I’ve been experimenting with plates of different shapes – not just rectangle or square. And I’ve developed a way of adding graphic elements to the margins of my prints. The Marginalia may be drawings, or chin collé that I feel contributes to the subject matter or echoes the elements in the print. As with Monotypes I feel free to follow my own path and not be held to the laws of the print police.
One series of Monoprints explores a more intimate desert landscape here in Arizona – not the usual vistas but the smaller things I’ve learned to love – they way water moves in a shallow river, the tracks deer make through our property and burrows the rabbits dig for homes.
Next week: The ideas that take me to my studio.