I've recently been posting a little bit of the progress or methodology used for several of my recent art creations. I've been experimenting with some low-tech printmaking, and completed my 2nd watercolor monotype for the Hot Art show. The image is painted with watercolor on an acrylic/plexiglass plate which has been "primed" with gum arabic to make it easier to lift during the printing process. After the image painting was completed, I soaked sheet of Arches hot press paper (for the smooth surface) for an hour or two. After letting the paper drip and then blotting it to get rid of excess moisture, I placed the damp paper over the painted plate, laid a paper towel over that and then a piece of newsprint - then began the rubbing process to transfer the image from the plate to the paper. I use a smooth marble doorknob (purchased from a local antigue shop) to rub the print. After thoroughly rubbing the entire image area, I pull the print paper from the plate. And Ooollahlah! - a monotype print!
I really like the effect, but have to warn that this still takes some practice to get an acceptable image. I had success with my first attempt at a handrubbed monotype (see my blog entry for September 24, 2011); but my initial 2nd attempt was totally unsuccessful. I learned that it is important to thoroughly soak the paper to rid it of sizing and to make sure it is uniformly dampened; and that textured watercolor paper gave a very crude image due to the amount of detail I was trying to capture - thus this time I used smooth hot press paper. Also, the watercolor paint must be layered on relatively thickly on the plate if you want brilliant rather than "washed out" colors; and you cannot rush the rubbing process. But if you are successful, the colors are wonderful and luminous in the printed image and I believe they have more impact than if directly painted on the paper. I intend to continue to experiment with low tech and non-toxic printmaking techniques. Here is a link to a low-tech "Kitchen Lithography" video - using common materials found in the kitchen. I'll try this sometime soon and hopefully be able to post a successful print using this method as well.
Here is my set up for making the monotype print. The image is painted on the acrylic plate - paint brush; water bowl; and the marble doorknob stand ready. I placed a sheet of white paper under the acrylic plate so I could more easily see what I was painting.
The completed image on the plate. It is important to remember that the image will be reversed during the printing process. That did not matter to me with this image, but if it is important to the completed image, then the plate must be painted using a reversed image.
The completed Monotype Print: Water Lilies at Audubon Pond, Dauphin Island, AL (2011), Watercolor Monotype, 8 in. x 10 in. (approx.).