Below are shown only a small selection of monotypes.
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Monotypes are made by making a print onto paper from a plate, plastic, glass or metal, on which there is a wet painting in oils. The plate is in no way engraved or etched thus only one print can be taken.
Therefore the print is unique.
However, it is possible to take a second print which comes out very pale.
This is called a ghost print.
Artists often use this ghost print as an underpainting, giving the artist the chance to re-work the image on the paper using other mediums (pastel, watercolours, coloured crayons . . .) to create an entirely new work of art.
I prefer to paint on the plate again after the first print, (1st pull) has been pulled, to make use of the subtle, pale tones and to achieve a second unique print.
These I have simply called second pull, (2nd pull) to distinguish them from the first pull, as they are not the pure ghost image and are therefore unique because of the reworking.
There are a lot of unpredictables involved and the spontaneity of the process demands energy, improvisation, gesture, expressiveness and directness. The artist must appreciate the lushness and sensuality of working with ink as well as having a good drawing knowledge of the subject matter, and finally a healthy instinct for composition.
In short, making monotypes is not as simple as it first appears!
Edgas Degas (1834 - 1917) created some 300-500 monotypes and he called them "painted drawings".
The size of the plate I am presently using - and therefore the impression it gives is - 180 x 302 mm. The paper size is 250 x 358mm.