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.
12 replies on “Monoprint Experiment with Golden Open Acrylics”
these are beautiful. I hope to take a monoprint workshop next month
Great experiment. I hadn’t thought about using them for monoprinting. I’ve got some and I think I’ll give it a try some time. Did you dampen the paper before making the print or use it dry?
In her demo, Tesia was asked about wetting the paper first and she said no, that wasn’t needed with these. She also said that it was even more of an experimental technique than regular monoprinting, harder to control, and not something to use if you want fine detail. Because she’s a strictly abstract artist and likes to “fly by the seat of her pants” and happy making patterns with circles and squares, I can see why they would work for her.
I haven’t done any monoprinting, but I really like the Golden Opens for painting!
I think the prints are cool! Thank you for sharing the step by step.
Well, they look pretty good to me, Jana. Of course, I’m an incredibly messy-mono-printer!
I prefer oils and if it’s clean-up that bothers you, try using baby oil. I now use the grocer’s generic stuff;it’s cheap as chips and I don’t aggravate my asthma and hands with turps. (I still use linseed oil to thin, of course.)
Monoprints are fun but they are random and hard to control. Whereas a painting has the ‘right’ colours on top, a monoprint will give you the underneath colours on top. Sometimes they turn out well though and the accidental effect can’t be duplicated in an ordinary painting.
Hi – The ‘paint on plexi plate 3’ is rather a lovely painting.
Oh, this is very interesting! And you’ve convinced me to try some of the Golden Opens … if not for painting, but for this!
I wonder if Strathmore’s Aquarius paper would feel better than the Rives? It has a softer hand, but a tiny bit of texture that might hold your detail better. I’m also finding that Stonehenge takes moisture better than I used to believe it did — you just have to let it settle and dry before you do anything vigorous with it…
Thanks for the tips about the paper. If I try the Opens again for
printing I’ll experiment with the paper you suggest. Jana
Very interesting work. Its really nice.
Thanks for this sharing. I too tried to monoprint with the open acrylics with disappointing results. Still hope to find some way to use them tho.!