Thursday, January 19, 2012


Click image to enlarge

Monotype on Stonehenge paper
Image:  approx. 16" x 22". Sheet:  22.5" x 30"
Inquire about this piece

The above monotypes are one-of-a-kind prints.  The image is painted with printing inks on a plexiglass plate, using various brushes, rollers and marking tools.  A sheet of acid-free printmaking paper is then placed over the image and pressure is applied to the back of the sheet to transfer the inked image to the paper.  Each print is unique, since the original painting cannot be exactly duplicated.  Sometimes a second print, called the "ghost" is pulled from the residual ink on the plate.  The ghost often becomes the starting point for another print, as it is modified and re-worked.  Several of these prints deal with variations on a similar set of forms and structures.


Sheila Vaughan said...

Ok Don, technical question = I don't quite understand the process. If the paint is applied to a plate then the print must be "pulled" whilst the paint is still wet? If so do you then normally clean the plexiglass plate off for re-use? And following from that if a second ghost print is pulled, surely that is pulled onto paper, so how does it become another starting point for a new print? I am sure I am asking something stupid so please forgive me!

Don Gray said...

Not stupid at all, Sheila. Let me explain further. After the design is painted on the glass (clear acrylic sheet, actually) a sheet of printmaking paper is laid over it while the ink is still wet (it is very slow drying). I then use hand pressure, rubbing all over the back of the paper, to transfer the design. I use the bottom side of a pint-size glass jar with the lid on it to apply pressure. Some people use a wooden spoon, a printmaker's baren, or if you're lucky and have one, an etching press.

I use a couple pieces of tape to hinge a side of the paper to the border of the acrylic sheet. It can be lifted away to study or to do more painting on the plate, then dropped back down still in register.

After the first print is pulled there is residual ink left on the plate. Sometimes I place another sheet of paper over it and make a "ghost", which is a softer, paler version of the first print. The ghost can be re-worked and added to as well by doing more painting, if I wish.

The plate can be cleaned of ink at any point in the process, and a completely new painting begun. I sometimes draw a simple line design on the underside of the sheet with felt marker, so when the ink is cleaned, the structure remains.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Ah, ok, thanks Don. I can see it better now you have explained about "hinging" the sheet and lifting periodically to see what's happening. So the real "difference" between this process and say straight oil painting is in the different feel of the inks and the different feel of the support (not canvas or board but plexiglass) I guess.