Final Textured Monoprint

I have continued to work in my little sketchbook, which has taken on a rather nautical theme, with most of my work based on Chatham Dockyard and my weekly walks on Portland.

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For this final print, I thought I would work from an idea based on HMS Gannet at Chatham. I had started looking at the patterns caused by oxidisation of copper on the hull, and in later sketches combined this with silhouettes of windows and fixtures in other parts of the dockyard.

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I come up with an idea for a composition, and did a couple of goauche sketches to make final decisions on placement and proportion of the elements. I then made a couple of small test prints of the techniques I hoped to use to see how it looked. Here they are posted onto my pinboard.

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I am using a textured heavy watercolour paper with deckled edge for this print, as I felt the added texture would be interesting, and convey a feeling of rust and weathering. The turquoise and a lighter shade were brushed onto the glass plate with the brushstrokes all in the same direction mirroring the watermarks on the boat. This was then overprinted with a layer of burnt sienna, which was rolled thinly onto the glass and manipulated with a credit card-type piece of plastic. The texture of the paper meant that parts of the print were more sparsely printed in turqouise, allowing the red tones of the burnt sienna shine through. I enjoyed the contrast of turqouise with it’s near-opposite reddish-brown, and the interaction between the two when layered.

The black circles were printed onto the glass plate with a jam jar lid, and transferred onto the paper. I then inked up the plate in a very thin triangle of black, and used backdrawing for the chains.

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Overall, I am pleased with this piece and think that the composition works well. It felt quite brave leaving such a large area white, but I think it balances with the heavily coloured and textured element. The high contrast between the colours also works against the black and white, with few grey tones. I can’t decide whether I was disappointed with the turquoise ink bleeding to the left of the print. Part of me likes to embrace it as part of the fun of monoprinting as opposed to more precise disciplines like block printing.

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