Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Artistic Explorations: Monotype Printmaking (1)

As you know I have been printmaking since last year. Recently I signed up for the follow-up course at Grays School of Art which runs from October until March. When I saw a printmaking course advertised by Bridge House Art, owned by Eleanor White who I met a few years ago during another workshop, I realised I didn't want to wait that long!

Entrance of Bridge House Art ©Fenfolio2015

So from 13 until 17 July I travelled to Ullapool and learned all about monotype printing from printmaking artist Kittie Jones who was our tutor. The course was very well organised. They had given each of us (10 ladies in total) their own art box. Every day we started with a slideshow of work by various artists to give us an insight in their processes and inspire us. We then had a coffee break with freshly made cake and for lunch (mostly outside!) we had delicious homemade soup and salad. The use of the printing studio was also included and was a great space because it used to be a petrol station/garage!

Etching press in printmaking studio ©Fenfolio2015

Old etching press in printmaking studio ©Fenfolio2015

The studio is a converted petrol station ©Fenfolio2015

Vintage petrol station in front of studio ©Fenfolio2015

We were really lucky with the weather and it rained just one night only! Every morning I walked to the studio and back along the sea and river and enjoyed the wonderful views. Perfect to tune in for a creative day but also for winding down after a day of focussed work.

Great views during my morning walk ©Fenfolio2015
Ullapool ©Fenfolio2015

A lovely footpath along the river ©Fenfolio2015

On the first day we travelled to Rhue, North of Ullapool, for some sketching exercises en plein air such as blind contour drawing, continuous line drawing, gesture drawing and drawing from memory.

En plein air at Ardmair Bay ©Fenfolio2015

My office at Ardmair Bay ©Fenfolio2015

Sketch I made in charcoal and ink on concertina booklet ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up of sketch in charcoal and ink ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up of sketch in charcoal and ink ©Fenfolio2015

Unfinished sketches on back of concertina booklet ©Fenfolio2015

One of my gesture drawings ©Fenfolio2015

On the third day we travelled to Ardmair Bay for some colour exercises. Some how I really struggled with that. We were supposed to focus on large shape sand colours, but instead my attention was on every detail I saw in the landscape. In the end I was very frustrated (and I was not the only one) and destroyed my sketches and paintings. A glass of wine is then the only remedy to relax again!

The perfect remedy after a frustrating session ©Fenfolio2015

Kittie showed us the process of monotype printing with and without press and intaglio printmaking with a collagraph plate. Here she demonstrates how to make a hand burnished monotype print with a perspex plate, oil-based ink or oil paint, linseed oil, Zest-it, a brush and a cloth. This method gives a painterly effect and is very easy to do at home.

Kittie demonstrates application of paint onto perspex

Kittie demonstrates markmaking in paint

Kittie demonstrates pulling print and making adjustments

Guided by our sketches from the days before we started working. Here are a few of my monochrome prints.

Printed with oil-based ink and hand burnished from perspex

Printed with oil-based ink, chine collé and hand burnished

Collagraph print, run through press ©Fenfolio2015

Display of work from participants ©Fenfolio2015

After we finished our colour exercises outside we went to the studio for monotype printing with oil-based etching ink, rollers, masks/stencils, hand burnishing and etching press.

Inking table ©Fenfolio 2015

Hard at work in studio ©Fenfolio2015

Here are a few multi-layer monotype prints I created without the press.

Multi-layer monotype print, hand burnished ©Fenfolio 2015

Mult-layer monotype print, hand burnished ©Fenfolio 2015

And these are my multi-layer prints that have been run through the etching press. I also made some ghost prints (more transparent due to less ink) after I had run the first print (opaque ink). For both prints I then added a new layer in a different colour with new marks and different masks.

Mult-layer monotype print, run through press ©Fenfolio 2015

Multi-layer monotype ghost print, run through press ©Fenfolio 2015

Multi-layer monotype print, run through press ©Fenfolio 2015

Multi-layer monotype ghost print, run through press ©Fenfolio 2015

At the end of the week we were asked to set up a small exhibition in the workshop so that we could see everyone's work and get feedback from Kittie. It was quite overwhelming to see so many beautiful prints in different styles and hear the positive feedback from the expert!

I love the abstract style in Cath's work ©Fenfolio 2015

Beautiful colours and markmaking in Jennie's prints ©Fenfolio 2015

Attention to detail is Margaret's forte ©Fenfolio 2015

Julia's prints are captivating ©Fenfolio 2015

Hilary's style is very expressive ©Fenfolio2015

Painterly quality in Val's prints ©Fenfolio 2015

This print (hand burnished) created by Jane is my favourite of all!

After a very intense and fantastic creative week I was exhausted but also very inspired to continue experimenting with this medium in my own studio and at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen. I might even have a few new prints ready for North East Open Studios which is coming soon now!