Sunday, December 30, 2007

Project "Mama" and the making of a Monotype

This is a portrait I worked on this past semester, but I couldn't post anything about because it was a surprise Christmas present to my mother. This is the first time I've done a real portrait of her. And the reference is one of my favorite photos of her that I took 2 or 3 years ago.
I wanted to document every (or almost every) stage of my monotype process. So this print worked well for documentation. I tried to photograph it after each new color layer had been added. The paper size is 22 x 30 inch. I think it has about a 3 inch paper border, not quite sure about that right now, would have to re-measure. There are 3 close to identical prints of this image. Since I print it on an offset press I am able to dived the ink layers of the monotype up between 3 to 5 sheets of paper. The quality of the photos is not the best because I just shot them quickly in the shop, mostly as it was on the printing press, so the lighting wasn't good and varied depending on time of the day as well. But this is as close as it gets to seeing how one of my prints evolves.
I believe overall it was about 15 or 16 seperate ink runs, I forgot to photograph it a couple of times towards the very end, when I was just pushing the darkest darks to become richer colors. So the following photographs show the color progression, until the final outcome.

the actual wiping/printing process

the first layer, I constantly switch between the 3 sheets of paper to evenly distribute the peeled off ink layers until there is no more ink on my matrix.

the first dark red layer, the ink looks strong on the matrix. but imagine that ink devided by 3 sheets of paper, and it's really not that strong at all. Which can get quite confusing when people try this technique for the first time. We always tend to start with not enough pigment in our inks. Personally I go by the rule if the mixed ink looks just right I need to make it more intense and add more pigment.

As matrix I use linoleum glued to an aluminum plate (old litho plate) and then I draw my guide lines onto a sheet of mylar and mount that onto the linoleum. This maps out the image for me which is crucial during each ink layer. I roll up a color flat of ink, with a roller large enough to fit my entire matrix in one pass. That insures that the ink is distributed nice and evenly. I ink it up until I am satisfied with a nice thick layer of ink. Put down rather a bit more ink than you think is necessary remember that gets divided between 3 -5 sheets of paper.
Once the block is inked up I use old t-shirts, rags, shop towels and most importantly Q-tips (I use 4 different brands, sizes, qualities of q-tips depending on what I wipe and what I am looking to achieve) to wipe away the ink in all the areas that I do not want printed.

the freshly inked up matrix... with hmm GREEEEEN.

Just finished wiping the green here.

The green ink on the blanket of the offset press. Ahh my mom's face is on the blanket!! ;) Depending on the green or blue she went through several stages of creepiness on the matrix, until she came together on the paper to almost as beautiful as in reality ;).

This is my little pallet. I tend to mix all my inks before I start making an image. Rarely do I change my mind and remix an ink, instead I might alter the sequence of which color gets printed first. I mostly work warm to cool and light to dark but sometimes certain effect demand switching it up a bit.

That is the roller I used to ink my matrix. ;) It a good work out!

A rather bad photo of the finished print hanging during my final crit.

And finally.. on Christmas Eve... face to face :).


Anonymous said...

Mei schau i guad aus, Ha!
Bussi und Danke nochmal deine Muttttti ;-)

Maria Doering said...

;) du schaust imma guad aus!
<3 - your daughter

wee-fi said...

beauuuuuuutiful :D

Racheal said...

it is beautiful!
did mama love it??

Maria Doering said...

Mama loved it very much :).
thank you.