Show features variety of printing methods

Elise Barnett

This past Wednesday, the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery hosted a monotype workshop in conjunction with “The Printed Image 3” exhibit currently on display at the gallery.

“The Printed Image 3” is a large show composed of various printing methods from artists all over the country whose works were chosen through a submission process. The exhibition is displayed at both the Sabatini Gallery, located within the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, and at the Mulvane Art Museum on the Washburn University campus.

Though there have been a few workshops and activities held in conjunction with the show, the monotype workshop was instructed by Pat Nobo, a local artist and Washburn alumna, whose work has been featured in numerous Topeka galleries as well as galleries in other parts of the United States.

Before learning the process of making a monotype,  Nobo had to explain what a monotype or monoprint was.

“As the title suggests, they are called monoprints because you literally can’t make more than one of them,” said Nobo. “You need a plate, you need ink, you need some pressure and you need paper. That’s makes it sound simple, because once you’ve established that, you can do just about anything.”

She pointed out a monoprint image of a wolf that was part of the exhibit and showed how each brush stroke made on the plate was visible and the amount of color was more intricate than a repeatable print would allow.

Usually that kind of print work would be done using oil-based paint and then paint thinner or turpentine would be used to thin out or remove the paint from the plate to create a unique print design, however, workshop participants used a water-based paint.

“We’re using water based paint so we don’t have to worry about the fumes from the turpentine,” said Nobo. “It creates it’s own problems. Paper is usually wet which means, using water based ink, you get an instant reaction between the two.”

To keep the water-based paint from smearing or bleeding on the paper, participants printed the designs using dry paper or paper only lightly dampened by a spray bottle.

There was a variety of paper available to print on with variations in thickness, size and color. The medium weight paper seemed to be the most popular, but Barbara Waterman Peters, an artist and Washburn art professor, experimented using ultra-thin Japanese silk paper.

As each participant began creating their individual designs, an array of techniques, styles and tastes went in to use. Some created colorful abstract prints while others came with strict designs in mind.

It took some experimenting to see how the quick-drying  paint would print on to the paper and how each texture technique influenced the final print, but after a few trials, everyone was making prints they were satisfied with.

“The Printed Image 3” exhibit will continue on display at both the Sabatini Gallery and Mulvane Art Museum until Jan. 16.