Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Cloud monoprints and mixed media - an experiment with technique

In the clouds   foil covered plate on the left and monoprint with mixed media on the right 12x12cm   ©2019LisaLeQuelenec

Finally the ink was dry enough to take some photos and move onto the next stage..... Above are some results of a fun mornings experiment. I was short on time and needed to be inventive as I had run out of acrylic medium. I had had an idea and was desperate to get something down on paper but without the medium to seal a plate I needed a work around in my approach.

I had read a while back about a technique called foliography where by you lay down leaves, grasses and organic matter onto a plate and cover in tin foil before inking up and running through the press. I think the idea is that the foil adds strength to the delicacies of the plate and by not varnishing it you aren't adding any accidental brush marks that could detract from subtle veining etc in the plant matter. I wondered if this idea would work for me and thought I would give it a go.

Using a 12x12cm piece of greyboard I 'drew' a quick design with a hot glue gun. The glue dries very quickly and so I could quickly move to the next stage of covering the whole plate with some tin foil. (The one I had was quite a thick one, I think the thin stuff would tear a bit too easily.) Carefully as I wrapped the foil onto the design I was burnishing it into the recesses of the plate and smoothing out any little wrinkles that could hold ink where I didn't want them.

Glue gun design on mountboard (detail) ©LisaLeQuelenec

On the left is a close up detail of another plate I have waiting in the wings to be experimented with.  This one is on a scrap of mountboard so you can compare, I hope, the  difference in depth between the board and the glue. The plate I used for this experiment had some areas that were very thick like this one.

Then I inked up the plate with a brush and wiped with a rag, taking out highlights and sometimes adding a bit more ink here and there. Now to run it through the press (using dampened paper) .... It worked pretty well and I managed to get 5 prints before the glue started to move around and tin foil began to wrinkle under the pressure of the press.

So not a great technique if you wanted to make an edition but for very small sets or for monoprinting and generating ideas I think it has its merits. Speed of plate making being the most useful - I can see with a bit more playing how this could be useful to do in a workshop situation when you are always working against the clock.

One of the things I particularly liked about using the glue gun to make the image was the variety of mark that could be made manipulating the glue and the very deep emboss that could be achieved. This is definitely something that I will utilise again. I wish I had had the forethought to make an impression without any ink at the start - I have made a mental note for next time.

In the clouds   monoprint and mixed media 12x12cm   ©2019LisaLeQuelenec

The ink on the prints took the usual ten days to dry so I impatiently waited to work back into them with colour pencil. After seeing the depth of the emboss I knew this was something I wouldn't be able to resist. It also meant that I could carry on experimenting and exaggerating the tonal and colour differences that began in the inking process. I now have more ideas to develop at a later date maybe in print or paint - I will let them percolate a while before deciding.

We have had some spectacular rainstorms the last couple of days and are forecast the same for the rest of the week. I was caught out yesterday walking the dog in rain so heavy that I couldn't see for a few minutes. It was really quite extreme. Watching the build up of cloud and the changing light before hand was quite dramatic as were the flooded roads on the way home. The rest of the day was pretty much blue skies and sunshine. more clouds to ponder....


Chris Lally said...

Very generous of you to describe your process in such detail, Lisa! I enjoyed every word:) And how thrilling to get such great results with an experiment.
Trusting you will stay safe (& dry) this week with that wacky weather!

Debbie Nolan said...

Lisa thank you for sharing your process. These are just lovely. I didn't realize that it would take ten days to dry with the ink. I know I also would be impatient waiting. Your lovely blue shades are just perfect for the feel of sea and clouds. Hope you have a great start to October. Take care - Hugs!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Chris, thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have been wet and muddy for a large portion of the week but it hasn't been cold yet. It's inpiring weather to me and four paws has been enjoying it immensley :o)

Hi Debbie, ten days is the average for drying. I put the damp prints in a sandwich of tissue under heavy boards to dry flat and change the tissue for dry every other day. Frustrating as it is sometimes it is a good thing as it means I have to slow down and be more focussed and there is always the next plate to be working on..