Making Mixed-Media Monotypes on Canvas for the ART*SPARKS Solo Show


"Spring Recital" ©2011 Marian Osher completed mixed-media monotype on painted canvas, 11" x 14"

Marian Osher printing a monotype on her etching press. photo by Julie Hipkins

In the beginning there is only a piece of frosted mylar that I coat with gum arabic. This becomes the printing plate. Sometimes I lay a pencil sketch under the translucent mylar. Next I turn on the music and draw and paint on the mylar until I am happy with the image. The image is transferred to dampened paper with my etching press. It is always exciting to pull up the paper from the plate
and see how the print has turned out! Next, I “put the print to bed” between layers of blotters under heavy books until the next day.

Now I have to decide which parts of the print will be raised and which lowered. Then I tape the monotype to a piece of acid free foam board and CUT THROUGH THE PRINT and the foam board with a mat knife for the raised layers. This is the scary part, because once I cut, I can’t turn back.

Filing the edges of the foam board cut shapes.

I breathe a sigh of relief and lightly sand the edges of the foam board shapes before sealing these edges with Golden GAC 100.

Unassembled monotypes and painted foam board shapes.

It’s time to paint the edges of the foam board and the stretched canvas with acrylic paint. I choose colors related to the monotype, with more music, of course.

Assembled monotypes drying in the studio over night after preservation coats are applied.

The cut pieces of the print and the foam board are reassembled and securely attached to the canvas with acrylic soft gel media, creating the raised layers. Other parts of the print are directly mounted on the canvas with the gel medium. Drying the assembled work under weights prevents warping.

Because this artwork is presented without conventional framing and glass, I consulted with technical experts from Golden Artist Colors to learn about a six step process to preserve and protect the artwork. Two of the steps occur after the monotype is printed, flattened and dried. The final four steps of the process are applied after the assembly of the artwork is completed.

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