After watching a demo of how Golden’s new Open Acrylics can be used for monoprinting (since they stay wet 10 times longer than regular acrylic paint) I was excited to give it a try. I love monoprinting but working with oil-based inks can be messy and the cleanup isn’t fun so using acrylics seemed like a great option.
I think Golden’s Open Acrylics have a lot of promise as a painting medium, and seem to combine good features of oil and acrylic, but I wasn’t at all happy with the way they worked with monoprinting. As a matter of fact, these two preliminary painting layers (above and below) on the plexiglass plate, pleased me much more than the prints I pulled from them. I had much better luck previously when I used printing inks (see previous posts Persimmon Monoprint, Magnolia Monoprint and Turtle to Swan monoprints).
Below are steps along the way:
To read the details about the photos above, or find out how you can watch the video demo that inspired me to try this by artist Tesia Blackburn, please click Continue:
1. I bought a very limited palette: Permanent Magenta, Phthalo blue, Hansa Yellow Opaque, White and Black. The round white thingee on the right is a “Baren” which is used to burnish the paper against the printing plate instead of press. A wooden spoon or hands can work fine too. Above the palette is a reference photo and some little shapes I cut out to print from.
2. In order to print multiple layers in one monoprint it helps to set up the registration using tape, as well as taping down the plexiglass plate. I outlined where the plate would sit and outlined where the paper should line up with the blue tape. Then I used a bit of tape rolled up to hold down the plate and hinged the back of the paper along the top so I could flip it up and away between painting the layers on the plate.
3. The first layer as it printed from painting the motif freehand. Rather pale (fortunately) because I realized that the image as painted and then printed was reversed from the photo I was using as a reference (duh!)
4. I drew the outline of my design with a sharpie on the back of the plate. Then I realized it too would be reversed when printed so I flipped the image on my computer and drew it again, this time reversed so it would print correctly. Oridinary rubbing alcohol will easily remove the “permanent” ink.
5. Another layer painted on plexi
6. The painted plexiglass with the print ready to be flipped back down and printed (I cropped the image in Photoshop to avoid wasting all the white space between plexi and print).
7. Another layer of paint on plexi
8. I added white to the paint on the plexi and tried printing to see what that would do.
9. A larger image of the paint on plexi
10. Where I stopped with the first print, final version. Wasn’t happy. Started over.
11. Second print, several layers, final verison. Wasn’t happy. Started over.
12. Third try at the magnolia, several layers, final print. Still not happy. The white just made things mucky.
13. Experimented with a whole bunch of different techniques; additive, subtractive, drawing on the back of the paper with a stylus, and finally, hating the results, just painted directly on it. Didn’t like that either.
14. Original photo
15. In Photoshop I applied the filter “Artistic/Poster Edges” and then flipped it horizontally. Doesn’t it look cool just as it is?
Perhaps a harder paper might have been better, but I tried the very soft Rives BFK that Tesia Blackburn recommended in her demo. I don’t think I’ll try monoprinting with these paints again, but I will definitely try painting with them.
To see the video of the demonstration by Tesia Blackburn that inspired me to try this, click here and then select the video on the left that looks like an empty studio. There’s a minutes of nothing before she starts the demo. The sound quality isn’t great but there’s a lot of good information there.