Wednesday, May 25, 2011


"Nest #3"

Two Saturdays ago I spent time in the print shop making some monoprints. I don't consider myself to be proficient at monoprinting since I've not spent a lot of time in this printing genre. Still, I figured it was blog worthy stuff, since I finally got two monoprints which I really liked.

First time I did the monoprint thing, was in a workshop in Reno, Nevada. Martin was working in Nevada for two months, and I had all day to do what I wanted. The Nevada State Museum offered a one day workshop with paper and ink included, with a nationally known teacher from a top notch school in California, and since I loved printmaking, I decided to take the one day workshop for $60.00, in September 1990. I used my cross country drive as my reference material, but I can't say I made great prints.

The second time I tried monoprinting it was in Columbus, OH with my great friend, Edie Dean. I brought NO reference material, and did large sheets of women's heads and shoulders, was disappointed in the results. In contrast, I was totally impressed by Edie's marvelous abstract landscape prints created so effortlessly. My experience was, with intaglio (etching) and reductive (linoleum and woodcut prints) processes, and I just couldn't get my mind wrapped around how to think about monoprinting.

This time, I knew I needed to bring reference material. I picked out four 17" x 11" sketchbooks from the 90's. In the studio I went through the books and picked out possible drawings that I thought would make some good monoprints. It WAS a nice trip down memory lane, and I had it narrowed down to two or three images to work from.

Once I had gathered all my supplies: ink, rollers, paper, and the large plexiglass plate, I made the decision to revisit a theme that I had explored rather extensively in 1996 & 1997: a series of birds nests.

At that time I worked from several robins nests. The birds had been building nests on my front porch light and also on a beam under my deck. The deck beam turned out to be an awful location as squirrels or raccoons got to the nests and ate the eggs before they could hatch. At that point the robins abandoned the nest, and I collected it.

These nests turned into many drawings, which led to a semester full of etchings, drypoints and a couple of mezzotints. I always intended to paint the nests in oils, but so far, there has been no painting. I should really begin this post with some of those older prints, but . . . I'd need to take the photos.

Instead, below is the first monoprint I got two Saturdays ago.
It's not what I expected, but I had something to work with.

"Monoprint Nest #1"
Black ink on White Rives BFK Paper

Here's the second print. I got some advice from a very fine printer, Sophie Knee.
Left the original image on the plate and did some test of rolling on transparent inks.

"Monoprint Nest #2"
Colors were mixed from Thalo Blue and a cool red, maybe alizarin?
I didn't look at the color name on the can.

Posting Nest #3 again so you can see the progression.

And here's what happened when I pushed it further.
"Monoprint Nest #4"

All of the prints were created one on top of the ghost of the previously run image, except of course for the first. I would like to have had more time to work that afternoon, because I felt I was just beginning to get the process in my brain.

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