People often ask me why I only make one of each of my prints. Why not make a bunch? It would be a much more efficient use of my time. Monotype printmaking differs from popular methods such as silkscreen, etching, lithography, or letterpress printing in that I paint on a smooth surface (called a plate), and then transfer that image onto paper. I do not cut into it, I do not add to it. The plates remain smooth, so they are reusable. My editions are labeled 1/1, since each monotype is an original. Monotype prints are basically paintings on paper made using a transfer process.
Unlike silkscreen, I can use as many colors as I want, all at once. I can do a single pass through the press, lots of passes through the press building layer upon layer of color and texture, or I can do no passes through the press and simply create my image by drawing on the back of the paper.
Most of my prints have layers and layers of paint. Often, I will print something that is totally unrelated to what is already on the paper, just to see what happens. So when people ask if I can make them a print like an earlier print of mine, my response is always, “I can try, but it won’t be exactly the same”. If you are ever at my studio, take a look at the back of some of my prints to see what sort of marks I made for texture, or what I might have drawn. It is very likely that the back of the print is nothing like the front, having been obliterated by 10 or 20 layers of paint.
Right now I am making a version of this print for some friends:
And, good thing that I am doing this post, because now I see that I have actually been working on a version of:
Well, good thing I have three different attempts started. Part of the fun of doing a commission is that I always end up with a couple of extra prints and can give people a choice of prints. I guess it might be time to stretch some more paper!!!