I watched an artist on YouTube recently working with oil and watercolour, making monoprints which were inspired by Paul Klee. I was itching to try this resist technique out and this evening, I decided to maybe try and make an actual ‘picture’ that I could present for the coursewwork for this eercise.
I started out with Galleria acrylic canvas paper. Using a very old plastic bag I found in my art cupboard, that had gone very soft. It was rather grubby and had blobs of paint on it but I was going for some kind of texture, so thought it might be interesting to see how it worked.
In all cases, I am using paper that is just over A3 in size and the actual picture plane is about A4. I applied the last bit of pure oil paint (D-R Georgian) in black that I have left (I don’t think you can use water-soluble oil with this technique). I applied it with a flat painting knife. To be honest, this is the best part of the whole thing, you can’t rush the application of the paint onto the plastic, else you’ll tear it. So, you just have to calm yourself down into some kind of Zen state and play with the paint, it’s very relatxing!
I had previously printed out a reference photo and after laying the plastic down on the paper, I placed the photocopy over the top and traced the outline of the figure using a pencil. This canvas paper made for all kinds of feathery lines.
I mixed a very watery dilution of Cotman’s yellow and some cobalt blue and put this on the surface. Afterwards, I dripped some isopropyl alcohol into the wet surface, just to give a bit more interest to the surface texture.
I quite liked this one but wanted to try it again using a smoother finish paper.
I got out some of my new CassArt mixed media paper, which is a really strong velvety paper. I used the same technique but this time I used an old sheet of foil that was laying about.
I have now run out of black pure oil paint (I’ve got oil bars but didn’t want to be bothered with opening one up) – so used burnt sienna mixed with red (also DR Georgian) and plastered this onto the foil, this time I tried to be a bit sparing with the paint.
It was harder to get a smoother application onto the foil with the knife, which left tiny fine lines on the surface. I chose a different composition/reference photo for the second attempt. I ditched the pencil for cocktail sticks and an earbud (with the cotton end removed) to draw the image onto the paper below.
This time, I also took note of a skill that Mr. Tirels* uses when he does these monoprints – he rubs some of the oil of the printed image and creates a mid-tone. I used the soft edge of the cotton-bud to do that and some tissue paper. Then I used a light wash of Cotman’s yellow and some ultramarine blue. I tried to be a bit more direct with the paint on this one – using red and a mixture of blue and brown for the jeans and feet/shadows.
I did a few ‘ghost’ prints from the foil but they didn’t really work. I then tried a plastic ziplock bag that I had in the cupboard and applied a mix of burnt umber and red to this. For this test piece, I decided to use cartridge paper cut from an A2 pad.
I used the same reference photo that I’d used for the previous piece.
The surface seemed to really clog up with the paint, not surprising really. I would have liked this one the most if i hadn’t ended up with some kind of zig-zag line over the model’s face. I rubbed some of it to get a mid-tone and then applied a very watery ultramarine mix over some parts of the paper – which, of course, doesn’t like water, so couldn’t do much with this one.
I really liked the second attempt the most, it gave the cleanest result. I’d like to spend time developing this technique on larger grounds. There are myriad possibilities – i could use masks and isopropyl alcohol to create more surface texture. I need to practise with the way I do washes – I didn’t really work on that part of it much tonight. I would also like to see how alcohol inks react when doing this type of monoprint portrait.
Apologies for some of the fuzzy images.
Source for the inspirational video I refer to at the start: https://youtu.be/SdHWTwGArsA (*Dan Tirels)