Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Making Monotype Prints with Renee Manford

Happy Valentines Day!

My continuing art education took me to Lane Community College today in the Mini-Musemobile.

Renee Manford who was featured in an earlier blog post here and another blog in my Art for the Soul Page is showing me the ropes in the art world. Renee works at a local gallery and has offered to help me get my photographs show with suggestions and by forwarding on the call for artists notices she gets. I have in turn offered to help Renee get a web page put together.

So today I wanted to get some pictures of Renee producing a monotype print, her favorite medium.
"A monoprint is most definitely original art. The printmaking process involved in making a monoprint (sometimes also referred to as a monotype) is named such because only one print is made at a time, after which the process must begin again if the artist wishes to create another print in the edition. The process involves painting on or inking a non-porous surface such as an etching plate, glass, Plexiglas, or the like, and then pressing paper against the painted or inked surface resulting in unique works on paper."

The project she worked on today was a class project and she had to do a self-portrait. She was working from a photograph the teacher had taken. The class is at Lane Community College better known as LCC. As a side note that is the same college my son Isaac attends.

The monotype process starts with a clear piece of Plexiglas or glass. Renee used the photograph as a guide only and worked first on a sketch using a special pen.

I liked the view of the tools of the trade but these are not all the tools as I found out later.

After the sketch was complete Renee mixed the paints she would use on a flat piece of glass that was her palette.

The mixing process is interesting and Renee pointed out how she liked to use red with black for a richer more vibrant color rather than mixing the darker less vibrant blue.

She brought some monoprints she had done earlier. She is the baby in this one featuring her father, mother and big sister.

This one is Renee as a young girl and ....

... in this one she is in the center wearing a green skirt with her sister in blue and her cousin in brown.

Back to the process we find her filling in the background adding a darker base to the image and a lighter grey-green background. Most of the background is done with a hard plastic roller and the detail work is done with a small palette knife.

You can see the roller in this picture as the image starts to come together.

You can see the red/black mixture being spread in this image.

I like the concentration you can see in this shot and it's amazing how an artist can visualize an image and then execute the steps to make it come alive. There are a lot of serious looks amidst the smiles as the monoprint starts to take shape.

Her head tilts from side to side looking for the right place and the correct color to apply to the glass surface.

Finally it's time for the specialty tool - a Q-Tip - how cool to see one used as a painting tool.

So now the black and white photograph has found color in her mind and ready for some final touches.

I took a break and shot some prints hanging in the studio then ...

... walked outside to shot this sculpture just outside the building.

When I got back in Renee was checking the monoprint over for places in need of a tweak or two.

I think this is the hardest part on the nerves because the artist has to make the decision to continue or begin all over.

In a detail view you can get an idea of hundred of strokes, maybe thousands that one print requires.

Looking through one of the presses I got this shot of her doing some of the final touches that went from the tools you have already see to the use of her fingernail for the fine detail.

Finally the work is ready to dry and to speed the process there is always the handy-dandy hair dryer.

Now it's getting exciting as she places the glass on the press positioning it on a cloth backing.

I found this very enlightening that the paper used for the transfer is given a bath in a large tank to soak up some water.

You can see the edge of the tank in this shot as she prepares the paper for printing.

So all is ready for the paper.

This is an exacting part of the process in that you want the paper straight for a good straight copy. This process produces one picture only (there is one exception) so if this part is flawed you may have a wasted day's worth of work.

Her right hand is on the adjustment knob that regulates the pressure as the roller travels over the paper, glass and cloth cover.

There is a big spoke wheel that's used to mover the roller and you can see Renee reaching for it with her left hand in this shot.

This is the finished product of a work that started at 1:00pm and was completed about 5:00pm

I mentioned this was a monoprint process and mono means one unique print. There is one way to get two images and that is to repress the residual paint on the glass. Since most of the paint is transfered to the first print as second image is not the same as the first so they are both mono prints and one of one (1/1) .

Renee graciously made one more run using the ink left on the glass making a "ghost image" monoprint for me to have. Isaac took this picture in the garage at night with low light and the color is a little off in the photograph but I love this picture. It's my own unique piece of art from the hands of a truly fine artist and a friend.

It was a very nice and interesting four hours and I got to meet three of Renee's classmates who came and went during the process. I even got to meet her professor. Thank you Renee I feel at least a little better educated about art. That's not a bad thing since both of my sisters are very accomplished artists.

Scrabble Score ~
Yesterday Scrabble Queen 349 - The Contender 296
Today Scrabble Queen 356 - The Contender 342
Quote of the Day
"The best mirror is an old friend." ~ George Herbert


Anonymous said...

That looks like great fun.

Parapluie said...

We have a 2005 Winnebago Sightseer Special Edition and I am trying to use it as a traveing art studio.I found your blog in listings of Winnebago Sightseers. What a wonderful tribute you make to very talented local artists! Will come back frequently to your bog.


©Paul Viel