It was one of those kismet moments when what you asked for shows up. I had written a blog early in January about my intent to learn something new each month this year.
Through a series of bread crumbs along my trail, I found a post on a Facebook page for the Bighorn Library in Exshaw, and saw they had one spot left in a workshop being offered by printmaker Carole Bondaroff. Carole’s etchings were in the library as part of a TREX travelling art exhibit supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
The funny thing was, that I have been wanting to learn more about monoprinting, and here was the opportunity. I messaged the Facebook adminstrator, and secured the spot!
It was a Friday night workshop and the library filled up with 10 lovely women from the area, one of whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. What a joy! Here’s what Carole taught us.
We were to use simple materials, including tempra paints and water, plus a monoprinting plate made from plexiglass. Carole had beveled the edges of the plexiglass so that the paper wouldn’t tear when it was run through the press.
We had only a few hours, so quickly got to work on a design for our plates. My piece would be based on a reference photo I took of a field near Drumheller. It was so fun to muck with paints again!
We would paint the plexiglass plate and leave it to dry because we would be using dampened paper to pull the print off the plate. Carole provided a variety of brushes, and we could remove painted areas with Q-tips, and even add coarse salt to the plate — all to get different effects.
Once the plate was dry, we would each take turns bringing the piece to Carole’s awesome table-top press to run through the rollers. This was a lovely winter scene by one of the attendees.
When it was my turn, I pushed the crank with great joy! So fun to have this press to play with! (I want one!!)
When the piece had gone through one side, we took a peek at the art to make sure it was transferring, then laid the paper and blankets back across the art, and cranked away sending it back through the press a second time to really press the image into the paper.
My friend, Christine, checks her print…a gorgeous abstract image with blues, greens and whites that reminded me of the ocean.
Here is a look at the plates after we printed them. Although most of the paint transfers to the paper, there can sometimes be enough paint left to get a ‘ghost print’. This is printed with a second piece of paper and another pass through the press, without changing the original plate. I thought the plates were gorgeous, too! But, they were trotted off to the washroom to be wiped clean at the end of the workshop, ready for more of Carole’s workshops.
The ‘Western Field’ monoprint 1/2
The ‘Western Field’ monoprint 2/2 (aka ghost print)
What a fun workshop! And, always a thrill to try something new with a room full of great women! This is something I will definitely be doing more of. It’s a wonderful way to bring painting into my printmaking practice!