About Monotypes

This technique is highly versatile. The materials, the tools available to apply them and the techniques to transfer to paper create a long list.

Water color, oil paints, blockprint, etching and litho inks are a few of the materials that can be used to paint a monotype. Brushes, rollers, dabbers, palette knives and cloth begin the list of potentials tools to apply and remove the paint from the plate. An etching press or a number of hand tools can be used to transfer the painting to paper.

The piece below, Full Moon Rising, was painted with oil etching inks applied to the plate with rollers, brushes and finger tips. The moon was created with a drop of paint thinner and a rag removing the lavendar in that spot to allow the white of the paper to be the moon. All of the white shapes in my work are where the paint is removed and the paper allowed to show.

Click on any thumbnail on this site to see a larger image.

Moon Rising (detail)

MONOTYPE – The Painterly Print


A monotype is a “one of a kind print”. A painting that is created in no more than a few hours on a flat Plexiglas or zinc plate, then transferred by press to paper. The image on the paper is the art.There are always questions to answer about monotypes; what is the process, why use the materials I use, why go through this multi-stepped, time constrained, risky process? The image reverses left to right and that can be confusing. There is a chance the ink will not transfer to the paper as intended; the dark colors may not be dense enough, the ink may slide, distorting a carefully painted shape. Why give up the control of painting an image directly on paper?

I use this technique because everything about this process is dynamic, breathing life into the image. There is an unlimited choice of tools to paint with; rollers, fingers, rags, brushes… each adding its own gestural quality. These tools can also be used to lift paint, creating subtle light or brilliant whites. The process is fluid, moving back and forth between application and removal of color adding to the liveliness of the image. The painting must be done quickly, as the workability of the inks will diminish after several hours. When the image is complete it will be transferred to paper using carefully adjusted pressure on an etching press. The plate is then wiped clean and the idea exists only on a single piece of paper.

The reasons for working in this technique also influence my choice of subject matter. The dynamic quality of things has great appeal to me. I’m interested in these images being alive, caught at a moment in a continuum where light, color and shape change.

These monotypes are from the summer of 2007.

All are painted on plexiglass plates with Charbonnel etching inks and printed with an etching press onto Rives BFK paper. The image can only be printed once (read more in the About Monotypes page). The images come from Nova Scotia.

The above monotype is one of the series TIDES AND RIVERS, the image below is from the RUNNING DOG, RISING MOON series. See these and the next group, RISING MOON, in the Pages. The plate size for all of these series is 6×16 inches.

moon rising 1.jpg

All images are copyrighted