Choose an image to work from. This can be one of the ink studies you made in Exercise 3.1, a photograph, or a magazine image of a face. Try the monotype technique described above and see how it goes. It may take you a while to get it right so don’t panic if things don’t go well first time. Don’t throw anything away! While you are working think about the following.
Do you need to mix the paint with more white spirit/turps? Or less? Where would you like to remove bits to create a highlight or definition? Which bits would you like to paint onto after you’ve created the print? Carry on until you’ve made five images you are happy with.
Making a monotype
- Clean glass surface with turps/white spirit and let it evaporate. Place found image (portrait or landscape) under glass.
- Register where the A4 paper will go for printing – right angle with 2 bits of masking tape on diagonal corners, keeping paper equal on top and sides and slightly lower at the bottom.
- Use oil paint – fluid and sloppy (use zest-it or Liquin to thin the paint) – and apply lots of paint loaded onto brush. Use 5p sized blobs of oil paint and mix with thinner on brush – use a rounded-edge/pointy brush to apply.
- Paint over image, using rag to remove excess if need to see image below for painting.
- Stop painting when enough covers the glass. Wipe edges of painted image clean before printing the image.
- Use paper tweezers? To hold paper above the painted surface. Place it gently where desired and press onto the painted surface using a baren to press down (protect back of printing paper with tissue paper).
- Press all areas of the paper – across and diagonally in both directions. To get an indented printed look, press heavily the paper over the edges of the glass.
- Use paper tweezers peel paper away holding the top two corners.
- If needed, work into the paint some more, adding detail/taking bits away.
- Clean the glass with rag and turps and wipe all off and let dry/evaporate before reusing glass.
- Clean the printed image (rag and turps?).
- Paint over/remove as necessary to create a clearer image (better definition, darken or lighten the image).
I decided to do two trial prints from images that had attracted my attention to try out the monotype technique and become familiar with it. The images I chose to trial with were sourced from the photojournalist Paula Bronstein’s website [www.paulaphoto.com]. I came across her work in the 14 January 2017 issue of Amateur Photographer in Roger Hicks regular ‘Final Analysis’ column. He was critiquing Bronstein’s ‘Girl looking through restaurant window, 2002’ from her 2016 book Afghanistan: between Hope and Fear from the University of Texas Press. Hicks was writing about the aesthetic excellence of this photograph and I was taken by the girl’s image looking in through a rain streaked window to the comforts within:
The second trial print was made from another Bronstein photograph, this time from her Mongolia: a different world collection. My interpretation of this image tries to capture what I see as an old woman seen through a bus window streaked with condensation:
I had to overpaint both these trial prints as the image left on the card, while obvious, was quite faint. On reflection I did not use enough oil paint and Liquin mixture to obtain the right consistency of paint.
Looking back through my ink studies from Exercise 3.1, I chose eight from the twenty sketches from which I hoped to select the required five monotype prints that I was happy with. I didn’t chose a single image to work from in this exercise because I wanted to challenge myself with trying to capture a wider range of effects and images.
The eight selected ink studies were:
Final monotype prints
‘Catching flies’ – A4 card printed on 40x30cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and Ultramarine, Crimson and Yellow oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘Looking for something’ – A4 card printed on 25x20cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and Flesh Tint, Titaniun White and Ivory Black oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘T’was the morning after…’ – A4 card printed on 25x20cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and (Flesh Tint remains in background), Phthalo Blue and Titanium White oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘Itchy nose’ – A4 card printed on 25x15cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and (Phthalo Blue remains in background), Flesh Tint, Orange, Medium Yellow and Titanium White oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘Full on catching flies’ – A4 card printed on 25x20cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and Orange, Burnt Umber, Ivory Black and Titanium White oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘Kinda weary’ – A4 card printed on 25x20cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and Permanent Green Light, Burnt Umber, Violet, Crimson, Ivory Black and Titanium White oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘What have I done?…’ – A4 card printed on 40x30cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and Permanent Green Light and Ivory Black oil paint thinned with Liquin:
‘Ouch!’ – A4 card printed on 40x30cm glass plate, using a size 5 hog brush and Ultramrine, Burnt Umber, Flesh Tint, Orange, Titanium White and Ivory Black oil paint thinned with Liquin:
Of these eight monotype prints I have a favourite five.
I find the warm crimson and yellow colours contrasted with the cool blue quite pleasing and I like the way some of the background yellow shows through on the face. The eyebrow and lips needed to be overpainted to bring them forward.
Feeling, and looking a bit rough round the edges here, I didn’t need to add any overpainting with this image but I did use a broken-off comb to make additional marks with the paint that added some different texture.
This unusual self portrait was painted on a smaller sized glass plate and sits within its blue background quite nicely. As can be seen, the card for printing moved slightly as I was rubbing it over the plate glass, which might have ruined the image. However, happy accidents do occur and I really like the vein-like markings of the red forehead and yellow hand. I did have to overpaint the white outline of the hand, eyes and eyebrows a little just to bring them forward in the image.
This self portrait could have been called ‘Fit to burst!’, what with the hot colouring of the face. Some added marks were made to the eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth to pick them out more strongly.
Another self portrait with a hand? I remain influenced by one of my favourite paintings – Gustave Courbet’s self portrait The desperate man – and there is something a wee bit psychedelic about the way the background printing turned out with the image breaking through. Some additional highlights in white were required. It was only once the paint was dry did I realise the one big flaw with this image – I don’t have blue eyes! Is that what they call artistic licence?
I have left out ‘Looking for something’, ‘Kinda weary’ and ‘What have I done?…’ from my chosen five monotype prints, not because I think they haven’t some merit, but they didn’t quite do it for me in their monotyped form – all a wee bit messy and overworked I think.
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
18 January 2017