Print 1. Project 1: More painted monoprints

Still having a few printing problems so I’ve read back through my previous posts in this project to review what continues to go wrong and where I’m improving.  Print improvements are minimal but colour mixing is going very well.

So why can’t I get good prints?  My previous posts speculate that I’m not working fast enough and the paints are drying out, which seems illogical as I’m using oil based products that should take quite a while to cure, but as they are thinly applied perhaps a ‘skin’ is forming over them before transfer to paper.  So I put some oil paint out on my glass plate, stirred it around and left it for a while to see what happened.  After a couple of hours, surprisingly, it was still perfectly usable mixed with a tiny amount of vegetable oil and no skin had yet really formed.  So drying out or forming a skin doesn’t seem to be the issue.

Am I making life difficult by not using smooth surface paper?  Well, I’ve already asked and answered that with a yes.  So I tried a landscape print with bigger, bolder strokes onto 145gsm mulberry paper.

Landscape-6The sky, yellow field, trees and shrubs were applied using less thinned paints and it’s interesting to see the print plate on the left still has good coverage after transfer, particularly the sky and field, but the final image is also better.  Perhaps I’ve been adding too much vegetable oil and thinning the paints too far, essentially meaning there isn’t enough pigment paint suspended in the oil.

I split my plate in four and tried some small tests.

Landscape-7The paper used was 100gsm smooth cartridge.
Top left: Using the paints as I have been doing, to test if it has been a problem with the textural paper previously.  It still looks terrible.
Top right: Thicker paints except for the trees.
Bottom left: Thicker paints throughout with scratching into the green.
Bottom right: Thicker paints but the green was still a little runny I think.

This print went through my press and this has really pushed the wet paint across the paper.

Landscape-8The paper used was 100gsm smooth cartridge.
Top left: Thicker paint on the island and the sea but the yellow and green are still too thin.
Top right: Possibly the paint is a bit too thick here, although the grasses in the foreground have come out a bit better.
Bottom left: Thicker paints with scratching into the foreground green, clouds applied using finger rubbing.  Paint still too thin on the island greenery.
Bottom right: A lot of the painting got squashed here.

I think I’ve got the press set at too high pressure and it’s flattening and spreading the paint.  So if I have even slightly too much paint thinning the press is going to push it around.  I’ll reduce the pressure and see what happens.


Above top: Good coverage, no flattening and spreading of the paint.  I must have got the consistency right here.
Above bottom image: The wetness and oily dilution of the green can clearly be seen.  I need to make it thicker and stickier, and reduce the press pressure.




About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Print 1: Assignment 1, Printmaking 1 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Print 1. Project 1: More painted monoprints

  1. Deb says:

    Your most recent posts have reminded me of doing monoprints in college. For some reason I remember we would soak our paper, like you do for stretching watercolor paper, yet we were using oil based inks (I remember the smell). I remember I really enjoyed it .

    Happy printing!

    • Claire B says:

      Ah, Deb, very good point you’ve made. I did a bit of solar plate printing in a class and we soaked and towel dried the paper before printing. Perhaps that is part of my problem. If I keep the paints thicker and damp the paper I might have more success.
      OK, something new to try. Thanks so much for the tip, very helpful indeed.

  2. fibresofbeing says:

    It’s a long process to develop new techniques and skills – good to see the range of things you’re thinking about and trying. I particularly like the textures and the overall image you got on the mulberry paper at the top.

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