Monotypes and Marbling, Part Two

I rarely seem content with simply making a print and leaving it alone. More often than not, I like to go in afterwards and continue to experiment with it.

Such is the case with these two monotypes, which you may recall from a recent post. Though I'd like to eventually do (yet another) series with these images, I saw these particular monotypes as one-off pieces, and therefore perfect for experimentation, specifically with marbling.

Basically I wanted to see whether marbled ink would stick to the page when it already had intaglio ink on it. If it didn't work it'd be no big loss, and I could apply what I had learned to future projects or series. With that, I commenced with marbling. Over a few nights, each piece underwent two to three marbling sessions; I spaced it out to let the paper dry between dips.

The original monotype ended up looking like this when I was through with it:

It was not what I expected, the result is less like marbling and more like blotches of color, but it's an effect that I could use in the future.

The ghost, however, looked like this:

The marbling was definitely legible, which excited me. The following night, I did a second dip, and got this:

I liked how the marbling abstracted the original monoprint, distorting the actual place I had seen into shapes and values that only vaguely imply a sense of place. As someone who finds myself struggling to break away from the comforts of representational work, I see here an opportunity to develop my interests in abstraction without completely abandoning the detailed representation I enjoy doing.

I could have left it at that, but again, I felt compelled to add detail, so I took a micronpen and added fish. That might seem an arbitrary choice, but believe it or not, small fish do live in the trickle that is Spring River. By adding the fish then, I reintroduced the specific location of the tunnel into the image, if indirectly. As I drew these fish,  however, I also decided to add cast shadows to play with the work's sense of space. By placing shadows directly behind the fish, I turned the tunnel into a wall, not unlike the very wall upon which I'd first noticed the undulating shadows of the river water. The print is a playful blurring of space, one that simultaneously references both an entire place and a single wall within it. 

The eventual series I have planned won't look exactly like this, but this little piece did help show me what works and what doesn't when it comes to monotype and marbling. I like planning ambitious series, but I usually learn the most from my singular prints, because they become the prototypes for future undertakings.