A Pretty Rash Down My Spine

That got your attention.  These words form the oddly tossed-off hook in the song “My Spine” by singer/provocateur Bjork.  They lend themselves fittingly to the piece that is the focus of today’s post (see below).

The work is a pretty rash of color, created as a monoprint.  Monoprints are a strange form of print in which the image is created on one surface, then transferred to another.

  1. The first surface is typically a non-porous sheet of glass, plexiglass, or plastic.
  2. Paint or printing ink is then painted or drawn onto that board.
  3. The resulting picture is then pressed against a piece of paper.  Sometimes this paper is dampened, which makes it take the ink differently.  A burnishing tool is rubbed all over the area where the paint or ink is sandwiched.  I prefer a fairly flat wooden spoon for this.
  4. Finally, the paper is peeled away from the plexiglass or whatever, and there you’ll find a mirrored image of what you just painted.

I don’t really understand the purpose of the monoprint.  They can’t be endlessly reproduced like normal prints, because the image is more-or-less erased when you transfer it.  You might as well just keep it on the original surface.  But, it’s the kind of exercise that art teachers love to subject their students to.

A few words of caution when making monoprints:  Be aware that these things are highly susceptible to smearing.  The paint or ink will squish around between the two surfaces as pressure is applied, just like jelly squirts out when a kid grabs his PB&J too forcefully.

To avoid stained shirts – or rather, muddy pictures – make sure not to use too much medium and be careful about how much pressure you use when burnishing.

You will notice in the Bones Monoprint that a lot of the areas of color are painted on in broad swaths.  However, there are some white lines in the form of floral patterns in the upper left and scratch marks in the lower right of the composition.  These were created by drawing into the paint while it was on the plexi.  That’s the white of the paper showing through.

This picture was put together quickly, capturing some of that slap-dash spontaneity present in the Bjork song.  The print’s purpose was mainly to be a lively burst of color with plenty of rhythmic movement created by repeated shapes and decorative patterns.

“Bones Monoprint” was based on the same still-life that formed the basis of “Still Life with Bones and Grapes”.  In fact, a second monoprint was cut up and the pieces were used to make the collage.

The white slash down the center is a prominent feature.  What do you think it does to the overall look and meaning of the piece?

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This entry was published on March 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm. It’s filed under Bold Color, New Mexico, School Assignments, The Artistic Process, Tools & Equipment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “A Pretty Rash Down My Spine

  1. Pingback: I Thought About You and Me 100 Ways « Gabriel Garbow | Artworks

  2. Adore Bjork! Now, must go and listen to that song…

  3. Interesting learning about the monoprint technique. Without you mentioning it, I would not have recognized the bones and grapes. I’m don’t think I’m wild about this technique, but I do like the vibrant colors of this piece.

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