How a beat up baking sheet joined my supplies

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How did a beat up old, nonstick cookie sheet become a permanent fixture in my art room?


"Billowing Clouds" was created with an old, battered baking sheet and experimentation with a non-traditional painting process: monotype. Monotype is actually a printing process, where a single print is taken from ink or paint spread on a flat surface.

For this one, I squeezed pure indigo (always a favorite of mine), gold ochre, and maroon perylene pigments onto an old nonstick baking sheet--also a bit of a break from tradition since monotype is usually done on glass or an etching plate! Next I grabbed a clean sheet of paper, laid it over the pigment, and pressed it down. Going over it with a brayer helped ensure every part of the paper had contact with the cookie sheet and paint, and squished some of that paint around.

Then I peeled it off to see the results, and to be honest--my first print from this round was really disappointing! I used dry paper and the paint hardly moved at all. Most of the pigment was deposited on this first sheet and it was wayyyyy too thick. I spritzed it with some water to see if it could get some movement and maybe save it, but the thick pigment just ran off the page and made a huge mess.

Well there was still plenty of paint left on the baking sheet, so I figured I'd learned one way not to try this process, and I should try again. All the prints made after the first one are called "ghost prints," which is a bad ass name and another killer reason to make multiples during this process. This time I dampened both sides of the paper before pressing it into the paint. Water is what gets watercolor pigment to flow, so during this second round the paint mixed and mingled like the frisky party it was meant to be. Peeling it off a second time revealed fascinating cloud-like effects that I really loved.

I took a third and even fourth print with these paints and this same process. I liked the third version as well (and eventually it will make an appearance in my shop, if I ever get around to finishing the wax sealing process!) but by the fourth time the pigment was getting quite faint, and it was time to move on to something entirely different.

"Billowing Clouds" and a couple other monotype works are available in my shop currently! You can purchase them by clicking here.


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