Sunday, January 1, 2012
Gator Monotype, Step by Step
Since I'm not keen on watching television football, I took advantage of the windy gray day to work on another monotype. Years ago when we visited the Audubon zoo in New Orleans I snapped a photo of a pair of alligators. Between working on a print of turtles earlier in the week and writing about Swamplandia! yesterday, I just had to dig out the 'gators from my files. You can see a 5x7 inch black and white copy of the photo at the top of the photo. I drew their outlines on a sheet of Yupo with a black Sharpie, then lay down a thin layer of monotype base, and black monotype paint over that, then worked by using brushes and a sharpened twig to lift out the light areas. Then I left to allow the paint to air dry.
When the plate was dry, I put a piece of masa rice paper in the sink to soak, then let some of the water drip off, and then placed the damp paper over the prepared plate. Then I used an old wooden doorknob to apply pressure to the two layers, causing the paint to release onto the paper. You could rub either side, but I rubbed the Yupo side, since it is sturdier.
It's easy to gently separate the layers to check and see if the paint is transferring. When you are satisfied, pull the paper sheet from the Yupo layer. The Yupo can be washed with soap and water and used again. The damp print goes between sheets of clean kraft paper or paper towels, with some weight on top so it dries flat. Sometimes I just wait, and sometimes I cheat and speed the drying by gently ironing the damp print between clean paper towels until it is dry and flat.
This is what the Yupo plate with the Sharpie design and the freshly pulled print looked like this afternoon.
This is what the print looked like after I went back into it with some watercolor pencils for subtle color, diluted black acrylic ink to deepen some dark areas, and white gauche to lighten other areas. I tinker with the prints until I am satisfied with the shapes and contrasts, but I do not strive for details, since part of the charm of these prints is their rather unpredictable irregularities. Irregularities seem just right for creatures like alligators. I may still go back and adjust the back of the bottom 'gator.
Happy New Year to all of you. I wish us all healthy, energy, and courage to keep working and not fear failure.