The second day of the two-day workshop with Robert Canaga at Whiteaker Printmakers was an exploration of a simple technique with lots of uses. We did monotypes with Caran D'ache water-soluble crayons. My goal with this was to explore ways to add "tone" to my block printing. Wood block prints are usually pretty binary. There is ink or no ink. Black or white. No shades of grey. I'm always looking for ways to use wood blocks, but break the binary and use more shades in the middle.
As soon as I heard that these crayons were water soluble, I realized that I could mix them with water and just paint watercolors. The process is pretty simple. I placed a piece of frosted plexiglass on the block and painted the "wrong-reading" image onto the plexi. Then I coated the water-soluble painting with an acrylic medium and "melted" the painting, allowing the press to transfer it to the paper, suspended in the clear acrylic vehicle.
- Painting on plexiglass
- The finished painting
- Flipped and laid over a block-printed image
- The final result
At the end of the day I was pretty pleased with the results of this technique. I will definitely be using this in some of my work, but probably not all of it. It doesn't do one of the important things that I want out of printmaking - the multiple. Each piece is hand painted, which prevents editioning and will make the resulting prints more expensive than I want them to be.