These are some of the new prints I showed at Aldeburgh last week. They combine the direct drawing of lithography, with the painterly, unpredictable marks of monoprint. So each print is unique, 1/of 1.
I've never felt convinced about the merits of hand making identical prints, especially since most people have a bubblejet printer. Giclee. You can give it a poncy Academy Francaise name, but it's still duplicating. My friend Steve said 'giclee' is french for ejaculate. That sounds about right. It's the printmaking process that motivates me, it's difficulty and unpredictability. If the prints all look like clones, where's the fun in that ?
This process is called lithography, but it has nothing to do with stone. It does use a flat plate though, unlike relief or intaglio printmaking. I'm drawing directly onto an aluminium plate, which I've abraded with wet and dry and pumice powder. I'm trying to get the surface as near as I can to toothy cartridge paper, which isn't as easy as it sounds.
I really enjoy mixing the different monoprint inks on the painting slab, experimenting with plate oil and extender to start building layers, like glazes. This series includes some metallic ink. Each mix is unique too. Different amounts of tack, stiffness, density will repel or cover each other on the plate, so colours can be seperated and layered. Hayter called it viscosity monoprinting, and he really understood how to control that process. But there are no repeat performances for me. He was in control of this process but that kind of control doesn't feel important for me.
This is painting by other means and just as labour intensive. The pulse of similarity and difference between each print is so compelling as they come off the press. Exciting, challenging, like improvising against a really good rhythm section.