Adventures in Printmaking

June 25, 2023

Creativity is intelligence having fun – Albert Einstein

Kathy, did you have a plan in mind when you started this new collection?

"My only plan was to throw caution to the winds and find new excitement. The winter months had dragged me down and I wasn't sure if I was going to pull myself up in time. It is always hard to pinpoint one moment that flips the switch from the doldrums to action, but sometime in April I found my studio legs."

What happened?

"I said to myself, 'It's out of my hands what happens in the world, so I might as well have fun.' I'm sure I also felt the looming deadline of a July opening. As soon as I started working again, the passion kicked in and the ink began to flow. I also attended another Solarplate workshop with Dan Welden who never fails to inspire me."

Branching Out, Solarplate etching

What is different about this show as compared to your 2021 "Surface Tension" exhibit?

"My previous exhibit included primarily Solarplate etchings/monoprints, some with mixed media (caran d'arche pigment pencils). My new works introduced monotypes. I suppose you can say bolder and more vibrant color came to play in these prints."

Can you describe the difference between “Monotype” and “Monoprint”?

"They are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two. A monoprint is one of a series—therefore, not wholly unique. In my case, the monoprints begin with an etched Solarplate. This underlying image (usually printed in black) remains the same and is common to each print in a given series. Color is printed in register as another pass through the press. Other design elements can be added making each print in the series slightly different. This is where you see I have labeled them with E.V., meaning Edition Variable along with a series number (EV II, EV III, etc)."

Branching Out, EV II Solarplate monoprint

"A monotype is one of a kind, a unique piece of artwork. It is the simplest form of printmaking, requiring only pigments, a surface on which to apply them, paper and some form of press. It is also the most painterly of the prints. I have had the most fun with this process as it is fast, spontaneous, and the results are often unexpected. It also works great for adding layers and textures.

Fly Away Home, Monotype
Shaking the Papyrus, Monotype/mixed media

"This is tough to explain—it is actually a ghost of a previous pull through the press. Dried papyrus was placed over the inked plate, along with paper hole punches, then run through the press again, creating a multi-layer image. Watercolor was added after final print was dry."

Some mixed-media and mark-making tools (including 3-hole punches)

What advice would you give anyone interested in pursuing the process of printmaking?

"Commit to a lifelong learning through reading, workshops, visiting galleries. There are also plenty of instructional videos online. Find a printmaking studio in your neighborhood and then love to experiment!"

Miriam Davis
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