Dating back to the 1600's, mono prints are unique one-off pieces of art. They have been explored by numerous artists including Rembrandt, Edgar Degas, Matisse and Picasso. This flexible and often experimental process, combines drawing and a more painterly approach, with a lovely spontaneity. The image is created by applying water based inks to a metal or plastic plate using rollers or brushes, before being transferred to paper by hand or by using a press.
This is a relief method of printmaking dating to the early 1900's. The image is drawn onto traditional brown or grey lino, which is made of wood flour, cork dust, pine resin and linseed oil, supported by an hessian backing. Areas are selected and cut away using a series of cutting tools and the remaining relief or raised surface is printed using Caligo water based printing inks. Prints can be created by rolling the lino block through a press or by hand burnishing with wooden or metal spoons.
Lino cuts can be a single colour, which requires one cutting and printing stage or multi coloured, which requires further stages of cutting and overprinting.
Gel Plate Mono Prints
Gel Plate Mono Prints
Gel plate mono prints are created using a plate made from gelatin. Acrylic paints are applied to the plate with a roller, before the surface is textured using various stamps and masking treatments; a print is then taken from the block. A print is built up gradually using numerous layers, a range of colours and imagery. This highly adaptable process invites lots of experimentation and exploration, with the advantage that it doesn’t require the use of a printing press.
Woodcuts also fall into the relief printing family, with many artists using Japanese plywood to create their blocks. The cutting and printing processes are similar to lino, but the grain and slightly textured surface of the plywood can make this a more challenging process. The finished prints can be more subtle than lino cuts, with a delicate texture to the printed surfaces.
Fine wire is a responsive material which can be used to sculpt a range of outcomes. It allows for contrasts of strength and sensitivity within the same piece and works particularly well when representing animals and birds.
Blind Embossing involves cutting a lino block, but rather than applying printing ink to the surface and then printing in the traditional manner, the block is run through a press without ink, using increased pressure with a dampened heavy weight paper. The areas that have been cut away are raised once printed, creating subtle visual and tactile contrasts; colour may also be added using watercolours.
My Year in Books becomes Another Chapter at Scarthin Books
For a period of two years I was fortunate to be artist in residence at this unique bookshop in Cromford, Derbyshire. Regular visits to the bookshop provided me with a wealth of experiences and opportunities to create digital outcomes based upon the interior, staff, customers and visiting writers.
I deliberately focused on working on my iPad using Brushes XP, as a means of developing my creative and technical skills and for purely practical reasons, as the residency coincided with a period of significant house renovations and being without a studio. Drawings and paintings were slowly built up with many layers of marks and colours, generating linear and more painterly outcomes.
My connection with Scarthin Books will continue for the foreseeable future, as I begin a period of developing my work using a range of print processes, putting my new Gunning Etching Press through its paces.