the beauty of monotypes

Thursday, December 31, 2009

When we first moved into our house, we received these beautiful monotype prints as a gift from the artist, my mother, Rosemary Luckett. I framed them in simple black frames with extra-wide, double-thick mats and they hang proudly now in my dining room. I can't tell you how many comments I have gotten on them over the years.

They have a spontaneous feeling and luminous quality to them that cannot be achieved with any other medium. Monotyping is a printing technique that combines painting and drawing to produce one of a kind prints as opposed to editions.

Rosemary uses the subtractive method in which oil-based ink is rolled onto a zinc plate and wiped off where larger white areas are desired. Brushes, swabs, toothpicks, even carving tools are used to create textures by selectively removing more ink. This is where the method becomes like drawing. Variation in the application of the ink and the unpredictability of how the pressure of the press will act on the lines add to the expressiveness of the images.

The image on the plate is transferred onto slightly damp100% cotton rag paper using an etching press. Another layer of paper and a felt blanket are laid over the plate and paper, then the roller, set to a certain pressure, passes over the layers once going one way, then again going back.

Woman Reading by Edgar Degas
Degas was a notable practitioner of the technique, pushing the medium further than any artist before him. He took advantage of the spontaneity of the medium and achieved some glowing gestural images.

Siesta by Henri Matisse
Matisse, too, did a few monotypes in a completely different style which highlighted his "economy of line".

Light on Tree Cluster by Rosemary Luckett
Rosemary's lush, sensual prints hold their own next to the work of these great artists.

House on Hill I by Rosemary Luckett
And now all my blathering on about Etsy has gotten to her, and she has opened an Etsy shop called Second River Studio where a selection of her monotypes is available for sale! They are not scans of originals, reprinted. They are the real deal, 1 of 1 signed prints.

 Junipers on a Hill by Rosemary Luckett
The full series of Rosemary Luckett's monotypes inspired by the Virginia countryside can be viewed on her web site, along with her paintings, collages, drawings and sculptures.Go check them out...

Happy New Year!

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