Print is ready to pull off the plate

Demontration/monotypes with hand-cut stencils

This is a series of photos demonstrating

the process of creating a monotype using hand-cut stencils.

Kathleen Thoma creating a monotype in her studio

First I start with my palette of colors. Choosing color depends on my mood or the idea I have in my head. Then I cut out my stencils using flexible, soft sheets of plastic, like cut-up plastic file folders.

Hand cut stencils

I use a piece of plexiglass or glass for my plate.  I apply thin layers of ink or paint onto the plate, playing with layers of stencils until I have what seems to be a good starting layer to put through the press. This decision is often a guess based on experience. What is fun about monotype printing is that you never have complete control over the final outcome. This can also be frustrating of course. Sometimes you don’t like the print, so you have to wipe it off and start over.

Layers of paint and stencils on the plate

Before I go to the press, I pull off any stencils that I want, which reveals more variations in color value that may or may not be hidden underneath of them.

In the meantime, I have been soaking my paper in a tray of water until it is holding enough water in it. Then I press out the excess water between old towels which don’t leave lint on the paper.

Then I’m ready for the press, I cut paper to use for a registration under the plate so the print is positioned where I want it. I also adjust the pressure on the rollers on the press.

Then I cover everything with the press blankets and use the hand crank to roll the printing plate and paper through the press.

Plate positioned on the press bed

Here is how it looks before it’s been put through.

Then I crank it through the press rollers. I pull up the print, starting with one corner to check that enough ink/paint has transferred from the plate onto the printing paper. If it hasn’t, I may decide to put it through again or add more layers of paint or stencils and then put it through again.

If I’m happy with the way it’s looking, I can pull it off all the way. This is the fun part!

Print is ready to pull off the plate


Finished Print

Here it is finished.

View from West Cove window

The sun has decided to show itself for a bit on this cold January day. I think there is nothing better to do in the winter than to make  art.

This post was created at my former studio in CT. I now live in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.     And no- I don’t miss the seasons at all…


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