Skip to main content

Book of the Week: 'Monotype', by Julia Ayres



“Monotype: Mediums and Methods for Painterly Printmaking,” Julia Ayres (Watson-Guptill, 2001). Buy the book here.
The book that I’m recommending this week is a practical guide to monotype/monoprint (purists say that they are two different kinds of prints, though I tend to say ‘monoprint’ to mean both). A monotype is a print that: starts with an application of ink on a surface, either rolled or painted; is further manipulated by adding to it or wiping parts away; results in a one-off print. This differs from intaglio or relief printmaking because you can make an image very quickly by just painting with pigment, laying paper over it, and applying some pressure.
Julia Ayres provides a useful introduction to the history of the monotype, and follows that with chapters containing specific instructions on the different ways of making these prints: additive monotype, subtractive monotype, contact monotype; working with watercolours, oil based inks, and lithographic inks; using different surfaces as the substrate, such as mylar, plexiglass, paper, and metal plates; combining the basic ‘paint on a surface’ technique with collage, chine colle, masks and stencils; how to print using a printing press, or just with the pressure of your hand. It’s beautifully illustrated at every turn, and while it’s not strictly a step-by-step handbook, it contains enough information to get one started on exploring this easy and versatile medium.
'Santa Fe Tiger Lily', Julia Ayres, monotype, 24" x 18"

I bought this book myself some four years ago, and a lot of what I learned from Julia Ayres I now use in monotype/monoprint classes that I have taught. But you don’t have to be a teacher, or even own a printing press, to get a lot from it. All you need are some watercolour tubes and brushes, a piece of plexiglass, some Japanese paper, and a wooden spoon, and you can start creating painterly prints on your kitchen table.

Comments

  1. Philip, thank you. You have made me want to drag out my tubes of watercolors, and find the remaining necessities for trying this! As if I did not already lack time in my life to do the things I want to do. Now you've added to my list! Merci...(I think).

    ReplyDelete
  2. PHIL, Thanks for the nice blog. Ran across it in a random search on monotype...Julia Ayres

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.


A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

A List of Every Drink in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"

I first read Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" when I was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it. For the last couple of years, I have had the incredible privilege of teaching a class based around Hemingway in Paris -- while living and teaching in Paris itself, close to the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where most of the action of the novel's first half takes place.

Of the many things that one notices about the book, the colossal amount of drinking is something that stands out. These people didn't just drink like fish: they drank like whales, as if the ocean they swam in was alcohol and they had set themselves the task of drinking the seas of the world dry of it. During my read-through of the book before class started last year, I tried to underline every mention of drink in the book. And now, purely in the interests of science, I am listing the entire menu of booze mentioned directly by name. Some preliminary observations:
Most of this is…