Saturday 26 June 2021

Colour mixing and monoprinting

Following on from the introductory 'Find Your Joy' online painting course, run by Louise Fletcher, which I completed in June, I have been pondering on how to draw out some learning and apply it to my printmaking. 

I have always mixed my own colours from ink tubes, buying only a limited colour palette. Today I tend to buy Intaglio oil-based relief ink - and use white, black, poppy red, ultramarine, golden yellow and burnt umber, as well as extender. So I decided to try one of the exercises from the course and mix as many colours as possible from a small palette. I did this on scrap strips of Canaletto 300 gsm paper. On each strip I focused on 2 colours plus black and white. I've ended up with some amazing reference strips - like the ones in the photo, to remind me of the myriad colours I can mix with these.

Colour mixing reference strip - one of many!

As part of the process I also decided to use the mixed colours to create a series of experimental monoprints, using a perspex plate, mini rollers, printing onto damp Fabriano unico paper. 

Here are just some of the images I created. They were 'rolled' directly onto the plate from my imagination and were all intended as semi-abstracted landscapes. In some I tested out the addition of texture by scratching into the ink on the plate.

I worked quickly and focussed on the process more than an outcome. I was particularly keen on the harmony of the colours and the tonal variations I could achieve within a minimal colour palette. I was also happy with the varied textures and the suggestions of stone walls, foliage and movement within the landscape I was able to make using a mix of tool, from card to a chopstick!

These monoprint experiments were a powerful reminder of the importance of exploration and embracing the unexpected - going with flow of printmaking. 

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