Inky Fingers

Life drawing and monoprinting, what better way to spend a Saturday? I’ve just got back from an inspirational workshop at the Art Shack (a wonderfully Bohemian venue complete with chickens and a gorgeous Black Labrador) in Bishop’s Waltham taught by Hampshire based artist, printmaker and tutor Jo Morley and modelled by the lovely Bev.

Our inky adventures began with linear drawing, using a range of different implements to create interesting marks including biros, pieces of wood, rubbers and things that one might find useful during a pedicure.  I particularly liked this “blind” drawing I did with an old biro at the start of the session as while it doesn’t look anything like Bev it is kinda fun and makes me smile.

"linear life drawing"

Linear drawing

After an hour or so of experimenting with line we moved on to Reductive monoprinting and it really was a race against the clock to get an image onto the print plate before the ink dried.

"reductive monoprint of seated female"

Reductive monoprint


We tried out a range of tools but I found cotton buds, a finger covered in a baby wipe and credit cards the most successful tools for removing the ink.

After spending a couple of hours in black and white it was time to get colourful and we moved on to Additive monoprinting and were given three colours to experiment with.  I particularly liked the painterly effects produced using this method and found myself instinctively incorporating the reductive technique with it.

"Seated female using combined additive and reductive monoprint techniques"

Additive and reductive monoprint techniques combined for a seated pose

The rest of the day was spent happily covered in ink as we experimented with these techniques trying to keep up with Bev and her wide range of dynamic poses.  I love the way that the quick and prolific nature of this type of printmaking encouraged us to move out of our comfort zones and experiment widely with mark making.  It quickly became obvious why many artists including Edgar Degas, Tracey Emin and Paul Klee use monoprinting in their work.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and came away with a blister from frantic rollering, black fingernails that are going to take hours of scrubbing to get clean and about 30 images which are all begging to inspire follow on work.  At the moment I can’t come up with a favourite from the day but after spending a few hours last weekend with the charismatic and talented James Hunting at West Dean College, this linear print is currently shouting at me to be stitched in some way.

"linear monoprint seated female"

Linear monoprint, seated pose

Now where did I put that nail brush?………


4 thoughts on “Inky Fingers

  1. bother, would have loved to have done this.. didnt know about the art shack and in bishops waltham too … will this be repeated, its the combination of life and mono that appeals

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