Monotype Basics

The three etching presses in The Pull Room can produce monotype prints. Monotype is an easy way to get your creative juices flowing, either as a warm up exercise or finished piece. 

In all printmaking, paint (or medium) is applied to a matrix like an plexiglass or copper plate, which is then transferred to paper (or canvas) by applying pressure. In the case for monotype, the matrix is a smooth nonabsorbent surface onto which the artist applies paint directly. Monotypes are unique prints, meaning that no two prints are exactly alike.

Monotyping is a versatile printmaking technique that can be used to create a wide variety of images. The artist can use a variety of tools and materials to create the image, including brushes, rags, sponges, and even their fingers. The artist can also use a variety of inks and paints, as well as solvents and other materials to manipulate the image.

Fiona and Molly manipulate monotype plates. The plates are attached onto cardboard for easier handling.

Monotyping can be used to create a wide variety of artistic styles. The artist can create realistic images, abstract images, or even mixed-media images. Monotyping can also be used to create prints that are both beautiful and expressive.

Some of the most famous monotype artists include Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, and Edgar Degas. These artists used monotyping to create a wide variety of images, including landscapes, portraits, and abstract compositions. Their monotypes are now considered to be some of the most important works of art of the 20th century. Jasper Johns is a contemporary artist who utilized this method. 

Monotyping is a versatile and expressive printmaking technique that can be used to create a wide variety of images. It is a popular technique among both traditional and contemporary artists, and it is a great way to explore the creative process.

Learning Monotype at CAL

Two monotype classes will be held in July, led by printmaker Phillip Robertson, who teaches at Northern Vermont University at Johnson. This class is open to all community members ages 16 and up. All materials will be supplied. Phillip will lead you through various applications and manipulations of paint on the matrix and will help you to pull the resulting prints. Finished prints will be wet, which you may leave to dry or take home with you. Please wear clothes you are comfortable painting in. 

Class 1: July 8, 2023

Class 2: July 29, 2023

Last week the T.W. Wood and the CAL staff learned to pull monotypes with Phillip, and here’s some of what they made. 

We can’t wait to see what you can do!