Monoprinting and art therapy

As I have acquired an excellent etching press, Bowen Island Art Therapy offers an unusual way of exploring art making: monoprinting. This is a simple, low-tech, direct type of printmaking that is easy to learn. It is freeing as an art therapy tool, as it lends itself easily to a flow of process, and to moving smoothly from one image to the next.

Briefly, the technique is simple…simpler to do than to describe. The artist creates a painting on a plexiglass plate, much the same as painting on paper. In monoprinting the work is done with ink rather than with paint. Ink can be applied with brushes, rags, rollers, cheesecloth, or even q-tips. Also, unlike working on paper, the ink can be applied to the plate and then easily removed or partially altered. This ability to add and subtract ink quickly creates a free flow as the artist responds to the image’s progress.

When the plate looks right it is placed face up on the press, a piece of paper is layed over it, and then both are cranked through the press. The pressure of the press transfers the ink to the paper, which is then peeled off the plate to reveal the print. That print might then be complete, or it can be drawn on, painted on, or even collaged.

After printing, the plate retains a ghost image of the print, which often invites further development. Looking at the plate’s remaining soft image, and comparing it the fresh print, one can begin again to add and subtract ink. In effect, the each print is a response to the previous print. The result is often a series of prints that are unique, yet related.

It’s an exciting process that is conducive to experimenting, and to a playful approach to art. All materials are provided: inks, plates, inexpensive paper, tools, and rags.

Marty Levenson
registered art therapist,

©  Marty Levenson,Bowen Island Art Therapy, 2021. Do not reproduce without written permission from  Marty Levenson

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Marty Levenson's Bowen Island Art Therapy: information about printmaking and monoprinting in art therapy