Monotype fish

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In my last post, I promised to show some stuff from my workpile. I thought I would just start from the top, with the little fishy.
work pile
To start with the fish shape: I found it on our laminate floor.
floorfish
Now that I see it again, it doesn’t seem all that obvious, my mind must have been really open when I found it. As soon as I did, I just loved the droopy eye, the long thin tail, the snout and I had to use it.
First, I drew it in my sketchbook.
schetsboek
I then decided to use this fish for a new technique I wanted to try. I had read about this technique in two seperate books: Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones and Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim, and I liked the way it looks. For example, look at this beautiful print by Annie Koelle (second image in the interview).
Both artists use different approaches though. Heather Smith Jones makes the monotype print using a piece of plexiglass while Carla Sonheim uses (tracing) paper.
So I tried a few different methods to see the different results.

I only have a very small piece of plexiglass, so I had to draw a small version of the fish to fit it on there. First, I made the black print, but I used crappy, cheep acrylics (it was closest by) so the result wasn’t very good. I then grabbed a different color, which turned out better.
plexiglass fish

On a day that I was working with my Gelli Plate, I thought I would try the method on there. I could guess it wasn’t going to work, the surface of the Gelli Plate is very soft, but I tried it anyway. And it proved I had guessed right, it does not work.gelli plate fish

The technique:
With a plexiglass surface, you put the paint on the glass, put a piece of paper on top of it and draw (or trace a drawing) on the back side of the paper to make the print. (I used tracing paper on top, so I don’t actually draw on the paper itself.)
But you can also make a print by drawing your picture on tracing paper, painting the back side of it, placing in on a piece of paper, and then tracing the lines of the image with a pencil to make the print. (The next fish is mirrored because I used the wrong side of the tracing paper..)
tracing paper fish

I don’t use actual tracing paper though. Tracing paper isn’t that easy to find around here. You can buy it online but mostly in large quantities and the shipping costs are usually quite high. Luckily I work in a (discount) bookstore and similar looking sheets can be found in between of some of the new books that arrive at the store, used for protection. Instead of throwing them out, I took them home to use them for this project.
But I know that many people don’t work at a bookstore, so I thought I would try using baking paper too, which I think also looks sort of similar to tracing paper, is easy to come by, and it’s cheap. The result of that is actually in the first picture of this post, on top of the pile. That paper is sturdier, so the result is darker.

Even though I tried this technique a while ago, I never used the monotype fish to make a finished art piece. I just don’t know where to go from here. Sadly that is the case for several ideas that I have, I just get stuck with the idea. Maybe it’s because of the multitude of options I feel I have. Maybe it has something to do with not really knowing my materials through and through, I have only scratched the surface with many of them, and I just don’t know them well enough. I feel like I just don’t have the artistic confidence to know what to do, which way to go.
I hope somewhere along the way I will find out what is best for my little fishy, he’s just so cute.

One Comment

  1. I love moments when I look at the stucco on a wall and see a giraffe holding a heart shaped balloon or a teddy bear parachuting from the sky. Five minutes later when I look it might not be there but I always have that moment in my heart of seeing a happy giraffe or a sky diving teddy bear. And you will always have your droopy eyed skinny fish.

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