What is monotype? 

Monotypes are paintings on paper.  Monotypes are not multiples:  Look for the 1/1 numbering system which indicates that only one print was produced.  No etching is involved.

What is the process?

Monotypes are created by transferring a painted image from a smooth plate to paper.  The paint may be transferred by hand, applying pressure to the back of the paper as it rests on the inked plate, or an etching press may be used to generate the transfer.  I use both techniques, building layer upon layer of color, making rich, textural, one-of-a-kind prints.  

How many layers do you use?

I have no idea, it depends on the print.  Plus, I don’t count.  Black and white monotypes typically go through the press only once.  Some of my prints have up to 20 layers.

Why use a press if you can paint directly on paper or canvas?  Why all the bother?

There are many effects that would be difficult to achieve without using a press.  Printing the residual paint from a plate gives a very soft, atmospheric impression called a ghost.  Most of my ghosts get covered up.    I also like to draw on the back of the paper, which allows me to create a positive and a negative of the same image.  The lines look as if they have been etched, which would also be difficult to replicate just by painting.

What medium do you use?

I have used Daniel Smith oil-based etching inks for the past 20 years, but they have been discontinued.  I typically print on Rives BFK paper.

What do your images mean?

Some of my prints have stories behind them; others are visual puzzles.  I often like to incorporate text into my texture.  If you look at the back of the print, sometimes you will discover a hidden narrative.  Or maybe just scribbles and crosshatching.  

What inspires you?

Anything industrial:  rebar towers, shipping containers, freighters, oil drums, trains, the cement factory by the West Seattle Bridge.  Also, when I am nicer than I need to be to ex-boyfriends or loud neighbors, I will edit my response via a revenge print.  I’ve been pretty happy, lately, so there’s not too many of those floating around right now. 

What artists do you like?

A brief glance through the pages I’ve marked in The Art Book would reveal:  Karel Appel, Willi Baumeister, Pierre Bonnard, Edward Burra, Marc Chagall, Richard Diebenkorn, Jean Dubuffet, Max Ernst, and Patrick Heron.  Chuck Close blows me away.  My all-time favorites would have to be:  Antonio Gaudi, Paul Klee, and Jasper Johns.  My favorite artist from Pinterest is Barbara Gilhooly!

Where are you from?

I’m a native of Greeley, Colorado.  I attended the University of Tulsa, where I majored in 17th Century English Literature.  

How big is your press?

About as big as a station wagon.  Now that I am in Bellingham, it has a permanent home.

Where is your studio?

My press lives in the garage, and my worktable is in my living room. 

4 thoughts on “MONOTYPE FAQ’S

  1. Do you ever give workshops? I’m in Seattle at least two times a year to visit family. I have been doing printmaking for a few years, mostly mono prints.

    1. Hi, Maria–
      I currently do not do workshops but it is something I have thought about. If I ever decide to, I will definitely post about it on this website. I took classes at Pratt, they were great. Also, you might check out my friend Kathryn Trigg — she teaches workshops sometimes.

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