I carried on my recent screenprinting adventures by signing up for a second course at City Lit. This would consist of 5 sessions, 3 hours long. This time I wanted to try to get away from thinking about printed layers as in a linocut print; which is sort of what I did when I made my flower screenprint. Though I am pleased with that result, I wanted to explore more what screenprinting can do as its own medium. Two things I was interested in exploring was painting into the screen and pulling monoprints, and making a halftone photo-stencil which would convey tones.
I wanted to use my recent squash watercolour work for my photo-stencil. I combined in Photoshop a collaged image that showed a range of tones as grayscale and so should work as a halftone image. Halftoning is where the image is made up of a variety of dots, similar to printed newspapers. The final image below in black and white is the image I used to make a halftone photo-stencil.
For the first layers of my screenprint; I combined painting into the screen and pulling monoprints; and then using a paper stencil to print a slightly transparent teal colour on top. This meant that all the backgrounds would be slightly different.
I really like these backgrounds, but I was worried that as they have strong colour and bold shapes, my squash photo-stencil would get too lost when printed on top. In screenprinting to get an opaque colour you need to add white, which makes it difficult to get strong opaque dark colours.
I wanted to print my photo-stencil in red; below is a screenprint of just the stencil on its own; and then printed in red on top of my printed layered background. I admit I was disappointed, I did think that the red squash did not jump to the foreground enough; so I switched to the darkest and most opaque ink – black. I printed my series in black ink; but on reflection I now think I prefer the red inked squash! I would be very interested to know your thoughts on these final images?
I have really enjoyed screenprinting and I think it suits my figurative style of drawing, especially when combining monoprinting, paper stencils and photo-stencils. I look forward to continue to work with monoprinting and paper stencils in my home studio; probably combining with linocut printing too.
(© Catherine Cronin)