Monotype: San Juan Capistrano Bell

San Juan Capistrano Bell 4x6 Monotype with Watercolor & Pencil
Note: I apologize for the older, multiple posts going out via email to all subscribers. I've heard from many of you, and I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. My blog was charged with erroneous copy right infringement by someone unkind. By law, Google has to "un-publish" all posts tagged by the accuser.  As I file counter claims on each post, and the matter is straightened out, the posts get re-published by Google, and re-sent to subscribers. I wish I had more control with this situation. (If you want to read more about this copy right harassing trend, search google for the words "Erroneous DMCA Takedown".)
I was introduced to monotype printmaking when I took a summer class offered by master printmaker James Lorigan at College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA about seven years ago. Having only made woodcuts prior to this, I loved the method right away for it's painterly results.  The moment I rolled dark ink on a plate, wiped the light areas away from the wet ink, and pulled a print, I was hooked.  Then, I discovered that I could alter the resulting monotype with other media! Cartwheels & dancing! 

I took Jim's class in consecutive semesters until I maxed out my welcome in the college database. (You are allowed to repeat classes only a few times.) With no press and no master printmaker to continue my exploration, I didn't print for a fall & winter, and it was making me grouchy.  Each time I saw a monotype, an etching, collagraphs or various printmaking methods, I'd groan and sulk. To save my family from the grumbling, I bought printmaking books, and borrowed time on my friends' presses. That helped a little, but really, I had to come to terms with the fact that I wanted a press in my studio, so I started researching & saving for one. 

San Juan Capistrano Bell monotype before adding color
One of my favorite books purchased during this press-less, no-printmaking spell was The Printmaking Bible, by Ann d'Arcy Hughes (see below). It's a big book, filled with instructional photos and step by step methods for a variety of traditional and experimental printmaking styles - some without the need of a press.  One of the first no-press-collagraphs I made was a result of this book, and I was thrilled to be making prints again. 

4x6 zinc plate with dark field monotype in process
After pouring through the book, and buying another one featuring the etchings of Anders Zorn, I couldn't wait to buy a press and make some prints.  So, I picked up the phone, called Takach Press in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and ordered an etching press.
Takach press arrives in crates
When the truck arrived with the press, I handed the drivers home made citrus lime cake and sodas to thank them for transporting her safely. I can't convey how excited I was. They moved the crates into my garage, ate their cake and left, and I got to work with a claw hammer to open up the separate parts of my new press.
Corralling four men in my neighborhood - including my husband -
to carry parts downstairs and around narrow landings to my studio.

The christening of Del-Press-Co, with studio cat Scout inspecting the libations
My printmaking friend, Igor Koutsenko, told me (in his lovely Russian accent) that before pulling the first print, it's an important tradition to "bathe the press" with a toast. He recommended vodka. We were out, so we opted for tequila. I think it worked just fine. :)

Art Quote
I devoted free moments, particularly evenings, to etchings, both reproductions of paintings and directly from life. I attached little importance to this pursuit, but was entertained by the surprises inherent in this game of chance, that lines that I incised with a steel needle on a treated black copper plate became light red against a dark background, and when printed would be black on a white field, and reverse to boot; it was like playing blindman’s bluff, a game which delighted me then, and still delights me now. ~Anders Zorn


Julie Ford Oliver said...

What an entertaining post. I enjoyed it verymuch and I do not do prints

Heather said...

What a great post and series of photos. There's a lot of detail in your painting. It looks wonderful!

Ellen Shipley said...

Del-Press-Co -- love it! 8-]

James Neil Hollingsworth said...

Saw this in my mail this morning and had to comment. It's so beautiful! I absolutely love it. Well done. Neil

Barbara Muir said...

Sorry about the problems you've been having. Wonderful entry. Love the print, and your discussion about the press. How super.


Alan Takach said...

Cheers to "Del-Press-Co",
Happy Printmaking
The crew @ Takach Press.

Dan Kent said...

I love the history of how you started printing, and the arrival of the press!!

Beautiful montotype!