9 Things to Give up for Your Art – and a Light Field Monotype with Watercolor

light field monotype of a calico cat
Furry Blessings 7.25 x 9 Light Field Monotype with watercolor (sold)

Procrastination Steals Art-Time

Here is a list of share worthy articles to help set your upcoming art plans into action, written boldly, and then pinned prominently in your work space.

  • Do you make art plans for yourself, and then procrastinate till you run out of time? And then you toss the goal in the Maybe Later bin? This article outlines methods to tackle procrastination by understanding what that stall & delay is made of. If we unfold and examine the paper fan blocking the view of our own goals, we might be able to smooth the paper folds enough to re-write the plan, and follow through.

When we procrastinate and put in less effort, we’re doing it as a form of self-protection, according to Voge. That way, if we earn a bad result, it doesn’t mean we’re not talented, able or worthy; we were just too busy or distracted to do our best.

Daryl Chen
Drawing a light field monotype with water soluble crayons on plexiglass
On a milky-white opaque sheet of Lexan – a brand name for sturdy plexiglass. I’m starting a light field monotype by drawing with water soluble crayons. The waxy pigment will give watercolors something to hold onto, so they won’t bead on the surface of the Lexan.

Nine Things to Give up for your Art

  • This piece lists nine things you should give up in order to be a successful artist. Several artists I follow are cited in this article, and the message echoes the same struggles I’ve written about here many times.

Successful artists don’t frame things around “not enough.” There is never enough time, not enough money, not enough confidence, not enough of whatever it is at that moment to make or do what you need to do to be a successful artist.

Artwork Archive
Adding watercolor to a monotype on plexiglass before printing against paper

Adding layers of watercolor (gently – one pass of the brush) on the darkest areas of the cat. And letting the paint pool and mix on the aqua-colored background. Trying to control the process in monotypes too much will lead to frustration, so it’s best to take a deep breath, and let yourself Play.

Monotype Printmaking Collections in American Art

  • Antique and Fine Art magazine published an anniversary edition in 2015, featuring a detailed overview of monotypes made by historic artists like Degas, Prendergast, Cassatt and Merritt-Chase. It’s been digitized so you can see the monotypes, and read the article – American Monotypes in the Baker Pisano Collection – here.

Of all the print processes, monotype is the most spontaneous and simple. Its ability to capture a deft stroke of the artist’s hand gives it great appeal to the skilled sketcher, while its simplicity makes it an ideal platform for the sorts of experiments that have intrigued American artists.

Andrew Stevens
Spritzing a light field monotype with water to re-wet the pigments before printing
I spritzed the plate with a fine mist of water just before printing, because the pigments dried, and I wanted to print this monotype on dry paper. Depending on the printmaking paper, some watercolor pigments can travel through a soaked & blotted paper, all the way to the back. When the pigments disperse into the fibers of the paper – it can result in a fuzzy edges, and a dull finish with less saturation and vibrancy in the print. Your matchmaking between choice of paper and choice of pigments has an enormous effect on your monotype print.
After a trip through the press, pulling a sheet of paper from an inked plate to reveal a monotype

After a trip through the press, a fair amount of water-soluble crayon and the watercolor released from the plate, and transferred to the paper. When the pigments dried the next day, I enhanced contrast with watercolor, but left it pretty loose, resulting in the monotype at the top of this post.

Water Soluble Wax Crayon Options

I’ve experimented often with a variety of water soluble wax and oil crayons to pull light field monotypes from plexiglass plates. For hand-transfer – without a press – these pigments don’t work as well to print from metal, drafting film or gelli plates, because they stick to the plate and resist transferring cleanly to the paper. Plexiglass works best. In the case of the gelli plate, the crayons are too hard, and they mar the surface of the gelatin. I’ve watched printmakers lay metal printmaking plates on a food warmer, or a griddle, to heat the matrix so they can draw on a hot surface with water soluble wax crayons, or oil pastels, and then print before the plate cools, while the wax is still molten. This can be done – and some of the prints are stunning – but it’s crucial to have excellent ventilation. #nastyheadache New water soluble crayons available now come in metallics, or opalescents, and they print beautifully on black paper too. With Arches 88 paper, all you need is a fine mist spritz, and a paper towel blot before printing, and most of the crayons transfer beautifully. With a metal spoon – you can transfer beautiful pigments from the plate to the paper at the kitchen table with all sorts of crayon-media. I’m filming the second in a series of monotype courses now, and this light-field, color segment has been so fun! I cant wait to share it with you!

Monotype printmaking options are endless, and very exciting. Below, I’ve listed some of the water soluble wax and/or oil based pigments you can consider for your next monotype experiments. If you have a monotype party, share your results and let us know how it went.

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post!


P.S. Sign up here to be notified when my Monotype Printmaking Course series is released. The first video course is an introduction to Dark Field Monotype. The second is Light Field Monotype. All of them use hand transfer (no press).

P.P.S. Bluprint just released subscriptions for artists and crafters. You select a project based on their seasonal menu of curated offerings, and they send you a box with everything you need to make the project. And then you can log in to see video tutorials associated with your box o’ goodies. Additionally, you can watch/learn from anything else you’re curious about from their entire library. See more about it here.

Art Quote

It’s worth remembering that if someone knows how to do something, that means, with sufficient effort, you could probably learn it too.
You might not be willing to put in the time and effort, but it’s learnable.
“I went to art school. That means that everything I can do with a pen you can learn to do as well.” Alex Peck.

Seth Godin
Spend More Time with your Art Supplies
Click the puppy to sign up for your free mini-course for six tips to paint more often

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