Experimental Art - Monoprints With a Twist

Body of Pink - Doodle Therapy - Patricia Kay

Looking for a quick shot of creativity with very little effort?  Try the old art of monoprinting.  It's easy, has the element of surprise and you'll find yourself making one after the other.

Monoprints are nothing new.  The method I use is like the one you might have done in grade school, where you put drops o paint on a folded sheet of paper, and then peel back the paper to reveal your design.

The twist is the addition of different painting mediums to create intricate designs with lots of texture and luminosity.  You will be able to create designs with very organic-like texture that would be difficult to reproduce by hand.

I love the spontaneity and instant gratification of this technique.  If you are not a painter, but would like to experiment with painting, this is a great way to start.  If you're an artist looking for something new and fun, this back to basics technique with a twist might just be the creativity booster you've been looking for.

For this experimental art exercise, you won't need any special plates or brayers, just a pad of bristol vellum paper, paint (suggestions below) and various paint mediums (listed below).

You will need:
  • Any size bristol vellum paper or whatever you prefer
  • Paints - acrylics (artist or craft) or air brush paint
  • Your choice of painting mediums - gloss, gel, glazing, pouring, iridescent
Here's how it's done:
  • You will need two sheets of paper.  You will use one for your paint and mediums, the other, you will place on top of the paper with the paint.
You will need to work quickly so that your paper doesn't stick together.
  • On a covered or protected surface, squirt, drizzle or drop paint randomly across the paper.  Then do the same with the medium.
Caution:  too much paint and you'll end up with a solid mass of paint; too little paint and your paper will stick together.  Use less paint near the edges of the paper to prevent paint from oozing out when pressure is applied.
  •  Carefully, line up your second sheet of paper to place on top of the painted sheet - if you would like it to be a mirror image, line it up exactly (all corners matching).  Don't take too long doing this or your paper will stick together.
  • Use your hands intuitively to press and sweep across the top of your paper.  Paint will ooze out from the sides, so make sure your working on a protected surface and have paper towels ready for cleaning off your hands.
This is the magical part of the process because it is the way that you quickly sweep across, lightly pat or finger dance across the paper along with how you sprinkled your paint and medium, that will spontaneously create your monoprint.  Your hands become the press.

Caution:  Pressing too hard and too long will cause your paper to stick together.

Now, for the ooh part:
  • Just peel back a corner to reveal your surprise design.
The end result will give you random areas where the medium has blended with the paint or is clear on the paper.

Using the airbrush paint creates these great textured and transparent areas.  However, rather than buying a lot of extra paint, try using a gel or glazing medium with your acrylic paint for a similar look.

What is really cool about your twin paintings is that you can cut exact portions from each sheet of paper to use in collages or side by side display (like the one above) and no matter which way you turn them, they will match.

In the example above, air brush paint from the bottle was used with iridescent medium.  Air brush paint will work differently than acrylics in that it doesn't move or spread easily.  You will tend to get a lot of round splotches if you don't use enough paint.  You can mist some water on the paint before you press.  You will also find that it is tackier than acrylics when dry. 

In the example below, Liquitex acrylics were used with gloss medium.

Eclipse of the Heart - Doodle Therapy - Patricia Kay

Use your intuition to pick pleasing colors.  Add the mediums or just use the paint alone.  When you add the second sheet on top, use your hands and fingers to express how you feel - light hearted, tense, indifferent - whatever the energy, this is the alchemy that will transform your drizzles and drops into an intriguing design.

I hope you will take the time to try this simple technique.  It will uplift your creative spirit and help you move through any creative block.  Any stress that was lingering will quickly melt away as you get lost in the transformative process of creation.

Don't forget to keep up your Daily Doodle Journal.  If you haven't started, click on the link to find out how.

Happy Doodling!