Since I love playing with monotypes, and since I am so enamored with everything by Wayne Thiebaud, I immediately fell in love with this book while browsing amazon. Not many people know that Thiebaud actually has made a sizable body of work in printmaking.
Wayne Thiebaud, Sardines, watercolor over hard-ground etching, 1990
It’s interesting to see his trademark subject matter and aesthetic translated into this medium- a medium that is in many ways similar to painting. Interestingly, part of the “revision” of these works becomes apparent as Thiebaud works into the prints with other mediums, like pastel and watercolor:
Wayne Theibaud, Six Candied Apples, watercolor over hard-ground and drypoint etching, 1990
The forward, written by Thiebaud, starts:
“I think the most compelling part of drawing and painting is the continuing thrill of learning how they can be made. Working on prints is an extension of this constant search.”
It’s this clear enthusiasm for the formal, raw process of painting that makes Thiebaud so easy for me to admire. A true painter’s painter… Who also makes amazing prints.
Monotypes are a medium that I have been playing with off and on for a few years. For those who don’t know, a monotype is a kind of print that, rather than being made using a printing matrix (like woodcuts), instead involves basically painting a non-textured plate with inks. The plate is then placed with a piece of paper and run through a printing press, producing a one-time, unique printed image. It’s basically the closest printmaking comes to painting, and is probably the least structured or technical form of it. I personally don’t own a printing press (the small ones run in the thousands of dollars,) but a good friend who is kind enough to let me into her studio every once in a while lets me use hers. Here are some pieces from the most recent session:
The above was the first one I made. I wanted to see how my recent “Doe Eyes” series would translate from watercolor to printmaking. I basically painted some pretty straightforward, normal eyes and lips and decided to let the press add the more unique, abstracted aspects to the image. This one didn’t satisfy me in that the end result looked too “normal,” so I decided to really glob the ink on in the following prints:
I added too much ink to the lips, and the run through the press made a really happy accident by creating this tongue effect. Miley Cyrus would love them.
Above is the “ghost” print made from the same plate. It’s made by running the same plate through the press again. The ink residue left over makes a lighter, ghost-like version of the first print. I often favor the ghost prints over the others.
Maybe someday I’ll have a great studio space and enough money saved up to buy my own press and do these more regularly, because they’re so fun. It’s often exhilarating to see the image that the press will give you. My tendency with painting faces is always to make them look controlled and clean- I have a hard time abstracting them. With monotyping, I can paint a pretty structured image and then let the press create the abstract elements for me!