Textured and Combination Mono Prints

For this final exercise I have been asked to bring together all learning from this first assignment in the “Introduction to Printmaking” with The Open College of Arts. At this stage in the process I had realised I had taken quite the departure from my initial research and experiments using still life, and become quite preoccupied with the bodies, as I mentioned previously my personal work usually features. So for this final exercise I wanted to make a conscious effort to attempt to merge the two, taking inspiration from both my still life studies and the idea of these bodies or people in the frame. I decided to revisit some of the photography and re-establish some of the painting pots into different arrangements. When I first started working with them the different compositions reminded me of places, for example the tower – leaning tower of Pisa and then some of the more haphazard paint pot arrangements reminded me of mountainous scenes. I considered this further and thought about how I may reinvent these images with the paint pots resembling some kind of imagined landscape with the bodies featuring in them somehow and interacting with the terrain.

Before I started to experiment with the bodies I wanted to establish how exactly I would portray the landscape scene. I continued as I did in my first experiment in First Mono Prints, with the paint pots featuring quite simply in the middle of the page. In the following examples I used a combination of different colours, painting directly onto the plate. To explore this further I also used a sponge to add texture onto the painted surface, and also played around with merging the paintings melting them into each other. I wasn’t really satisfied with how they were looking though so considered how I could develop the use of colour and tone.

Considering colour further I thought about how perhaps using the same colour with varying tones would work with depicting the landscape, so I tried using the pinks/reds, as featured below, but again I wasn’t quite happy with this, it seemed a little flat still. I wondered if perhaps printing and reprinting over the surface would offer some depth which is what I moved on to next. Using a wider palette I also used darker tones, for more impact, but again this didn’t feel right.

I started to wonder whether using a mask would be more appropriate. In the below examples I painted various colours directly onto the plate, instead of using a roller, firstly signifying each paint pot, and then placing the mask over the top. I much prefer the crisp edges which have been achieved by using the mask. In the second experiment, I haphazardly pushed the inks around on the plate in no discerning way, and then replaced the mask over the top, unfortunately I hadn’t put the mask the correct way down so you can see some of the residual paint from the previous print around the edges. I do like however this merge of ink, and then the crisp edges that contain it (imagined without the mistake).

Below are some sketches I prepped to consolidate my ideas, of how the final outcome might look. We have various people either, skiing, rock climbing, hiking and abseiling.

To test my ideas I attempted to recreate the sketches into print by painting directly onto the plate to create the paint pot landscapes and then reprinting with the small people in place. This was a really great exercise as it reminded me of the importance of taking into consideration the mirroring effect of mono printing. For example the print on the top left, all of the people here should have been printed in the opposite direction, so they don’t quite marry up with the landscape. This was really good to remember though when it came to making my final prints.

Following on from the above experiments at this stage I had decided to use masks to depict the landscape. I originally thought I would paint onto the plate for the landscape and then use masks to depict the bodies as I had worked previously on Positive and Negative Masked Mono Prints and Two Coloured Masked Mono Prints. However as I considered this further, I thought the bodies would be incredibly difficult to depict using masks as they would be quite intricate and delicate, and actually using either back drawing or painting onto the plate to depict the people, and masks with their crisp edges to depict the landscape would work much better. I also thought that the paint pots just sitting in the middle of the page were a bit lacking and I wanted to fill the entire frame with ink, so I set about creating some landscapes. I kept the shape of the paint pots and the outline, however for ease I merged them into one solid mountainous landscape. However there was still a challenge in marrying up the 4 different elements, the land, the mountain, the sky, and the sun, which I think actually I have managed quite well, aside from the sun in parts. I found it quite difficult to know where to place the sun mask without having a relational point. However I do think that the sun having movement is ok as that is the nature of the sun anyway.

I purposefully tried to experiment with colour, imagining these paint pot landscapes inhabiting real places, for example, a Scandinavian ski scene, British country side hills, American dessert abseiling, and African mountain climbing. with regards to the little people that inhabit these imagine places, I experimented with both back drawing and painting directly onto the plate. I liked the idea of back drawing however really wanted to retain the clear punchy blocks of colour, and didn’t want to potentially mar any of this background with any accidental black ink from the back drawing. So I decided painting directly onto the plate would be best. They were quite tricky to paint as they are so small, and I found it difficult to ensure consistency in the amount of ink I have used so some of the bodies are slightly patchy and blotchy. Looking across the collection they do slightly vary in size also, It would be good I think to consider how I could develop the people a little more so they would be more streamlined and unified. I particular like how this outcome has come together through the different mini projects, I didn’t realise at the start this is where I would end up but I really like the end result. I especially enjoy how the little group of people remind me of me and my friends going on these great little adventures around the world!

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