Fighting Out of the Doldrums

For the past few weeks, I have completely lost my creative motivation and any ambition to push on with my course. Following her second fall, I have had to devote a lot of time to supporting my Mum in Law who lives a long way away, and it just seems to have sapped any creativity. So, I need to shake myself out of this slough of despond, and I have decided on a strategy. I am not going to worry about tackling course work, I am going to make a list of all the things that I actually want to do, and try and do some of them:

  • make a pair of trousers with that lovely material I found a couple of months ago
  • play with the silk screen that a friend recently gave me
  • do some printmaking
  • play with coloured pencils for sketching
  • have breakfast sitting in the sun by the pond
  • go for a day’s walking
  • do some more printmaking
  • sign up for a print exchange
  • book myself onto a workshop or two.

Writing this, I realise how very much I have been missing printmaking. I haven’t done a concerted stint for two years as I have been studying sculpture and then drawing, and I really, really miss it. I wanted to study as a way of developing my printmaking but that has got swallowed up recently. A bit of plate-making or monoprinting might be just the ticket. Feeling better already.

I have a couple of days without fixed commitments that I plan to dedicate to printmaking, and if it relates to course work, so much the better, but I am not being driven by course work. Printmaking is (like watercolour) a planned exercise, so here is my plan.



Monoprint some backgrounds for use with small plates and drawings, using non oil based media, so that I have more choice of what other media I apply subsequently.


Make some small plates (10cm x 10cm) exploring my ‘found drawings’ inspirations (size is that required for Green Door Print Exchange)


  • cut a number of plates from acetate, say about 6
  • organise mark making materials (nitromors, pva, carborundum, gesso, drypoint needles, dremel (check battery))
  • cut a stack of paper to c 20cm x 20cm, proofing and archival (check stock)
  • make a registration sheet
  • select sketchbook work, photograph and reverse or scale if necessary
  • set up bench (aka ironing board) and damp pack


Experiment with silk screen. I am thinking open screen, drawing or painting on it with media which is then transmitted to the support by the medium.


  • select and develop image
  • fix removable pin hinges to screen and a base board
  • select soft, water removable media (graphite, pastel, brusho, felt tip pens, w/c pencils)
  • assemble tools (brushes, spray bottle, squeegee, masking tape, Cif, scrubbing brush, droppers)
  • select papers
  • make registration sheet or mechanism (hmm, how does that work for screenprinting, look up..)

Having a clear plan is empowering! Yes! Let’s do it!

Notes on Execution:

Using Nitromors:

Best results achieved by stamping the fluid on with shapes or dipping fabric shapes in the fluid, deepest etch achieved be leaving in contact. Develops quickly, c 10mins. Acetate sheet didn’t work, surface stretched rather than etched. Other plastic successful (polypropylene? perspex?, from recycling store). I know that others use perspex.

Applying with brush or pen didn’t create interesting marks, but can create areas of tone/texture.

Has very soft edges – no sharp definition possible. Bubbles! Great!

Need to leave for several days for the plastic to fully reharden.

Drypoint can be added when fully set.

Worked over newspaper and found it has bonded beautifully to the back of the perspex – opportunity?

Nitromors print samples. Very soft marks made by stamping fluid on, harder, darker marks made by soaking fabric or thread in fluid and leaving in contact.

For inspiration for my prints, I looked to my current sketchbook work on found drawings. The results are analysed here.




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