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What are monotypes?

Known as the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques, a monotype is essentially a hand-printed painting. The appeal of the monotype lies in its unique translucency that creates a quality of light very different from a painting. The spontaneity of mark-making and layering of printing inks creates a surface that is unlike any other art.

I roll or dab oil-based inks onto a smooth plastic surface (perspex or plexiglas) with no permanent marks or indentations. The inks stay wet for a long time and can be manipulated in many different ways. I use cloths, cotton buds, sticks and pieces of card to lift ink away. The ink is transferred onto damp cotton rag paper through an etching press. Some artists produce their monotypes all in one go but mine are built up in several layers working from light to dark. I create patterned areas by cutting and tearing textured papers and fabrics, applying ink and printing them. The large trees are created using a series of paper masks and stencils. The small trees are made by pressing with a hard pencil on the back of the paper with the print face down on an inky surface. Since the colours are applied in layers there are powerful interactions between colours especially in the foreground where the colour and mark-making is at its most intense. Sometimes the colours seem to vibrate with intensity as they play off against one another. The video below gives an overview of how I work on a series of monotypes. This process is by no means typical of monotype but is unique to my artistic practice.

Go to monotypes to view the collection

Monoprints and monotypes:
Although these two terms are used interchangeably, there is a big difference between them:
A monotype is essentially ONE of a kind: mono is a Latin word which means one and type means kind. Therefore, a monotype is one printed image which does not have any form of matrix. On the other hand, a monoprint has some form of basic matrix such as an etching plate that is repeated in different variations. Each one is unique but there are some repeated elements.

What are etchings?

An etching is a hand-made print pulled from a metal plate that has grooves made by a chemical reaction. The word "etching" is both a verb (the action of eating away at the plate) and a noun (the finished print)

My etchings are printed from one or two copper plates that have been bitten with ferric chloride. I use  acrylic resist fluids to protect areas of the plate from the chemical reaction. There are different techniques used to create the lines, textures and tones and the plate is bitten many times to create all the indentations. Once etching is complete, I remove the resists and ink the plates by hand using up to 12 different colours. These are rubbed in and wiped back very carefully each time the plate is printed. The ink is transferred onto damp paper through an etching press (a bit like a mangle) under high pressure. A number of near identical prints can be made (called an edition) but each one is printed separately by hand. Where I have used two plates, the paper is printed twice so that there are two layers of colour.

Etching is an amazing medium that offers so many mark-making possibilities. I can interpret the landscape using an appropriate technique for each area: fine lines for the winter trees, even textures for the farmed land and soft wash-like marks for the sky. The etched marks have a slightly raised quality when printed and give the precision and depth of tone that I’m looking for.


The video below shows me inking up and printing my two-plate etching "A Time of Plenty"

View my collection of etchings

What are giclee prints?
giclee prints

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from visitors to my studio is "What's a Giclée print?" usually making a brave attempt to pronounce it properly! It's a french word meaning "to squirt or spray" and you say it "G-clay" with a soft G as in Giselle. The word describes a fine art digital printing process combining pigment based inks with high quality archival paper to achieve reproduction prints that are stable and light fast. They can also be called Archival Pigment Prints.

The Giclée printing process involves spraying microscopic dots of pigment-based ink onto high quality art paper or canvas. The image is colour corrected to attain the closest possible match to the original. The digital information is fine tuned to the type of paper or surface on which the image is to be printed, further ensuring fidelity to the original. The original is usually a painting but in my case a unique handmade print called a monotype is scanned and reproduced.

The paper used for my prints is Innova Soft Textured Natural White 310gsm, it has a high PH value of 7 (6 or higher is accepted is being archival) it is free from optical brighteners (these cause the paper to yellow with time) and is tested and certified to have a archival value of in excess of 75 years in combination with the inks used, these are Epson Ultrachrome K3 pigment inks. 

My print editions are a maximum of 100 each one signed and numbered. They are not mass produced in a factory but printed in a photographer's studio in small batches with great care and quality control. I check every print and ensure its fidelity to the original.

Go to giclee prints to view the collection.

Rebecca Vincent mounted giclee print Promised Land UK landscape art print
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