Back again

Back again from trip to Portugal and Spain. Made lots of sketches of countryside as was thinking about how to use the textures in prints.

Also, now, have received books- Julia Ayres Monoprinting, The Printmaker’s Bible by Ann D’Arcy Hughes, and a fun activity book by Christine Schmidt. Have scanned these and learned a lot.

Just as well. My visits to art shops in three European cities have so far produced no more in the way of printmaking materials. They all seem to think the request is very esoteric. So, the other side of the coin of having learned from the books above is that I can’t get most of the materials mentioned and so will have to try to work with what I have.

I will try today to use other paints to print with- gouache, acrylic and watercolour- also using wet/ moist paper. I will try painting from light and from dark- both of which I have tried briefly before. I also want to try using masks differently- painting or rolling onto the masked printing plate.

Started with gouache- very sticky and dry. Difficult to roll on. I wonder if the roller I am using is a bit damaged- it seems to be uneven. Well-used at school, no doubt, but lucky I brought it, as I can’t get another one here.

Subject: Spanish landscape- textures of fields.

Medium: gouache

One colour, removing with a range of materials- screws, comb, toothbrush, tissue… The paint felt very sticky, so I wet a sheet of paper to take the print. Soaked it and wiped it with kitchen roll.

Not effective:

Somewhere amongst the materials, dust had got in. The thin lines made by scraping finer objects like a comb and crew, did not come out, so still too dry.


Tried finer paper for a ghost print- just thin copier paper- and wet it from the back. Decided this paint was too dry.

Tried painting the gouache onto the printing plate with a brush dipped in water. This worked better.

brush painting with gouache

Wet the gouache and rolled on again, very thin layer. Tried just wiping off with tissue and cotton wool, and scratching roughly. Moistened paper with a sponge.  End result shows very clearly the circular motion of the wooden spoon I used on the back. Obviously still not getting texture right.

Medium: acrylic

By contrast with the gouache, the acrylic was not sticky at all. In fact the roller wouldn’t roll, it just slid around. Finally I managed to get a very fine, smooth layer on the plate. Then I tried scraping off- the best implement I found to be a wooden rawl plug, which gave a roughly textured line. The plate looked good. The print didn’t work. The acrylic, being plastic, formed lumps where the paint had been scraped. The paper, although wet, didn’t pick up the colour. I tried wetting it more from the back, but it made no difference. The paint was dry on the plate. It would have to be applied in a very thick sticky layer.

Somewhere amongst the books I looked at today, the claim was made that you can print with anything you can paint with. I’m not really finding that to be the case, so will go back to my limited stock of printing inks.


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