The monotype print making process produces original, hand-made, one-of-a-kind, images.
Making a watercolour monotype print is a complex and lengthy process. It involves applying water colour paint and/or water colour crayon in layers to a sanded Plexiglass printing plate.
Each layer of colour must be dry before subsequent layers are added. On average, at least 8 layers of colour are applied to a printing plate before it can be printed.
When the plate it ready, damp printing paper is placed on it, and the plate and paper are run through the intaglio press. The press consists of two rollers (similar to an old-style wringer washer) with a metal sheet, called the press bed, which moves between the rollers. Specialized felt blankets are placed between the paper, which is resting on the printing plate, and the rollers. As the plate and paper pass between the rollers, the moisture in the paper reactivates the paint and several layers of the paint adhere to the paper. Unlike conventional prints, not all the medium is removed from the plate, which allows several prints to be made from one plate.
Once the plate and paper have gone through the press, the paper is carefully peeled off the plate to reveal the image. Additional images can be printed without adding more water colour to the plate. Each print will be different from the preceding one depending on how much paint is transferred to each new piece of paper. The differences can be subtle or striking. Once the print is dry, the artist sometimes adds to it through the application of paint or collage elements, or by drawing on it.