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monotype or monoprint

In the past I have talked about how I like to alternate printmaking and painting and spend time doing one thing and then return to the other with new ideas and I attempt to cross disciplines as far as I can.

I have found in the last twelve months that printmaking has taken over as my primary working method and that painting has very much taken a back seat. My printmaking has taken on more of a painterly quality as I explore the scope and possibilities of monotype printing.

This technique involves creating a 'painting' (essentially) on a flat plate (metal of perspex) and passing it through a press to transfer it onto damp paper. This creates one print from one plate. There is no repeat element.

You might wonder why you would do that. Why not just make a painting? Well, there is a looseness and freedom to working quickly on a slick plate where you can manipulate the medium (inks or paints - you can use either) and create texture within the image which translates into a flat and dynamic finished image. The print will be as unique as a painting and that sort of goes against the 'grain' of printmaking where the attraction is the beauty of repetition. But there you are. I like working that way. In some ways you could say it has a foot in both camps.

Monoprinting on the other hand is not the same. It has an element of monotype (variablility) and a degree of repetition. A plate is created with an etching or a relief which can then be varied by different treatment each time it goes through the press. Different colour ways for instance or the addition of chine colle or overprinting. This method gives you the security of the repeat with the freedom of the monotype.

This series of images made from a sketch of Durleston Lighthouse is an example of monoprinting. The lighthouse has been created with a drypoint etching on a perspex plate and inked up with black oil based ink. The ink is then removed from the surface ( a bit too much in a couple of them!) but remains in the etched areas and colour is added on top.

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