Trace Monotype: Balladeer (& museum-goers are asked what they see in art)


Balladeer 4.25×4 Trace Monotype with Watercolor (available here) (sold)

My grandparents met in a Connecticut textile mill as teenagers. They were not yet 20 when they married. He was from Canada and spoke only French, and she was from England, so communication was challenging in their early years. Right up to the end of their lives, they held hands, patted the empty seat next to them beckoning the other to come sit close, and they made each other laugh, especially while reminiscing. I loved visiting them, typing frantically on my lap top, to harvest everything they giggled when I asked “Where were you when you first kissed?” (In the back of a horse-drawn sleigh on a snowy Thanksgiving night in 1934) and “What was your first date like?” (Shared crackers and pickles during a lunch break on the loading dock of the mill) and “Tell me about the first home you shared as newlyweds?” (A single room jutting from the roof of a building at the train tracks, referred to as Our Little Penthouse).


A simple trace monotype; beginning to add watercolor

This little monotype was inspired by a photo of my grandfather on my grandmother’s aunt’s porch (she lived with relatives after being orphaned) when they were courting.  He and his brother played in a band on the weekends, so he stopped by to woo his crush on the way to a gig. My grandmother said he played so well, and sang so sweetly (in French) that her Aunt would come to the door over and over again to peer at them on the porch, making sure there was no romantic swooning or touching going on. 🙂 They were married for 74 years. Music can be a potent marinade for love. ????


Trace monotype with watercolor – bringing simple line work a little colorful panache.

Here’s a little timelapse video (2 minutes) of watercolor on trace monotype fun. If you don’t see the video window above, you can watch it here.  If you’re not familiar with trace monotype, you can watch a video tutorial here. No press required. 🙂

Check the links below for a few of the art supplies I use when working in monotype, or adding watercolor to prints:

rubber gloves


Plexiglass for your table top -or- 12×12 acetate sheets to tape down & roll ink out on

akua ink

4 inch soft rubber brayer

rubber tipped wipe-out tools

newsprint for test prints

Arches cover paper (textured surface, great for both dry & wet media on top of monotype prints)

Arches 88 paper (very smooth surface – not recommended for wet media, but great for colored pencil or pastel on top of monotype prints)

blending stomps

Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Prismacolor blending pencil & sharpener

Watercolor set

Art Eraser

Art Masking Tape

Drawing Bridge

Drawing Board

*Reference Books*

The Painterly Print

Monotype: Mediums and Methods

Printmaking Bible

Print Workshop

Monoprinting: Printmaking Handbooks

If you have any questions about the process, please leave them in the comment section, and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly! Happy art-making!

You can find me here:…

And then, here’s a fun article from the New York Times featuring museum-goers comments on artwork exhibited in a show titled Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible at the Met Breuer Museum. When you see work you’ve admired and loved in a museum – especially something you’ve never seen in person before – what goes through your head? What does the art make you feel? Is your reaction ignited exclusively by the success of the process the artist deployed, or the emotive and narrative elements of the image itself?

Thanks ♥ for stopping by,


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Art Quote

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art. Emotion is the starting point; the beginning and the end. Craftsmanship and technique are in the middle.

~Paul Cezanne

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11 Responses to Trace Monotype: Balladeer (& museum-goers are asked what they see in art)

  1. gaelle1947 September 2, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    Your story brought to mind my father’s story of having traveled (hitchhicked) in the US during the Great Depression in his late teens with a fellow musician, playing for room and board. My dad played the banjo, and was also a French Canadian. He just turned 101! I’m listening to the audio version of book you recommended a few blogs ago “The Greater Journey”. All I can say is OMG! It’s pure delight – Can’t thank you enough for putting that one in my radar. I’m sure you are familiar with this artist/printmaker’s work: Charles W. Bartlett – Just received this blog today about his work: There’s a book about his life listed there and I’m putting it on my reading list.

    • Belinda DelPesco September 6, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Gayle! I *knew* we were creative sisters! I’m so glad you’re enjoying The Greater Journey! I loved that book! And yes, I know and love Charles Bartlett’s work… I have the book Printmaker in Paradise, and his block prints of Island life, surfing and travels around the world are incredibly inspiring!

  2. knfolsom September 2, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    So fortunate that you realized what a treasure your grandparents were before it was too late – the stories you captured help their love live on and enrich your lovely work. Made my day – thank you!

  3. Cristiane Marino September 1, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    Answering your question, there is nothing like seeing the original painting….The details: light, lines, color….etc…they are so different from a printed page in a book!

  4. Cristiane Marino September 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    Oh Belinda, what a lovely story….
    And the monotype is very beautiful! Thanks for the vídeo!

  5. Carey Jackson-Adams September 1, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Great story, Belinda! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Phyllis Elliott September 1, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Whenever I see a familiar painting in the Museum, I am bowled over to discover I don’t know the piece at all. It’s not just the interplay of light and color differing from the printed page; it’s the scale. We study art in books, where a painting may be reduced to fit an 8.5×11′ page, or blown up to show detail. That is valuable — but the power of experiencing the actual work in situ is always a revelation.

    That includes your work, my artist friend!


  1. Monotype: Between Friends - and a video tutorial on Trace Monotype - Belinda Del Pesco - June 23, 2018

    […] try. After the printmaking ink was dry – you’ll see a sequence where I added layers of watercolor and pastel to the print.  My hope is that by demonstrating added layers of color,  you’ll […]

  2. Trace Monotype: Florence Winter (and a new monotype tutorial video) - Belinda Del Pesco - June 4, 2018

    […] be shy; leave your questions in the comments here, or type them into the comments under the video windows. The answers to your questions might help the next person who reads the comments […]

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