Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sarah Anderson entertains with humorous show and monotype demonstration

In front of a packed and attentive audience, Sarah Anderson demonstrated her unique way of creating figurative monotypes.

She begins by painting ink on the plate with a brush which she then rolls out with a brayer to create a thin and even surface.

Once all elements of the image are on the plate, she creates pattern and textures by removing ink with q-tips or small pieces of cardboard. This is how she creates the flower design of the dress and highlights in hair. Once all parts of the image are to her satisfaction, she will draw the fine details with a “needle applicator,” a squeeze bottle topped with a fine metal tip specifically designed for the water-based Akua monotype inks used at New Grounds.

The finished plate is now placed on the press bed.

Tanya Landin, the ever so capable New Grounds workshop and gallery assistant, places the printing paper on top of the inked plate. The press blankets are then lowered on top of the paper, and the press is hand-cranked to apply pressure to the inked plate which causes the ink to transfer to the printing paper. Since this is a monotype, the image is created completely out of ink and only one good impression can be pulled from this plate. Theoretically it is possible to print the remnants of the inked plate on a clean sheet of paper; the resulting image is called a “ghost print.”

The finished monotype is lifted off the plate to the amazement of the crowd. Sarah Anderson made this look very easy which comes with years of experience. Check out Sarah Anderson to see more of her work. If you are interested in learning monotypes, the next four day class will take January 17, 18, 24 and 25 at New Grounds.

We welcome any comments you might have about Sarah’s work!

Submitted by Regina Held, director of New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Annual Holiday Sale

Now in its 8th year, this will be the biggest Holiday Sale to date. There is something for everybody amongst the hundreds of etchings, monotypes and other original pieces offered by New Grounds artists. This event runs through January 2.

Info: New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery, 3812 Central Ave. SE, 268-8952, Free.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The one and only Ray Maseman is having a show in Chicago!

Multiple Plate Etching
9 x 6"

Check out for more information about Ray in the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative Small Print Show. Preview exhibition: Saturday, Nov. 22 and Nov. 29, 12 to 5 p.m. Grand opening party: Saturday and Sunday, December 6-7, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Extended holiday hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, through December 21st, 12 to 5 p.m. Exhibition runs through January 31, 2009

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative

4642 N. Western Avenue

Chicago, IL 60625

p. 773.293.2070 f. 773.293.2071



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Come see Sarah Anderson's Figurative Montoypes

20 x 13"

Sarah Anderson's show will be up until Nov. 29th! If you have a moment come on by to view the colorful monotypes that she has created!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our next class is approaching soon! Register now before it fills up!

Non-toxic Etching
In this four day class, students become acquainted with the beautiful art of etching used by Rembrandt and Goya. This class covers many different techniques, such as line etching, aquatint, softground, spitbite, and chine collé.

Class dates: 4 Sundays, November 2, 9, 16 and 23
Class times: 9 AM - 5 PM, includes lunch break
Class fee: $ 275 + tax, includes one 6 x 4.5" copper plate,1 sheet of paper, 2 etching tools, and printing materials.
Instructor: Ray Maseman, BFA
Registration: Payment must be made at time of registration. No refunds will be given if a cancellation occurs less than 96 hours before class.
To register, call 505- 268-8952. Maximum enrollment: 8 students per class. All major credit cards accepted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mary Sundstrom teaches upcoming monotype class!

The monotype class starting on October 18th is a great entrance to printmaking if you are a beginner. Monotypes can also add another dimension to etchings, gravures, and relief prints for those who already have some printmaking experience. This class is fun, informative and you get to work directly with Mary. She is a knowledgable and patient teacher.

Introduction to Monotype - Fall
This liberating medium combines painting and printmaking techniques. In this four day class, students will be introduced to a variety of techniques from basic to experimental, and work with high-quality water-based Akua-Kolor monotype inks.

Class dates: Saturdays and Sundays, October 18, 19, 25 & 26
Class time: 9 AM - 5 PM, includes lunch break
Class fee: $ 275.00 + tax, includes all printing materials.
Paper needs to be purchased separately.
Instructor: Mary Sundstrom, BFA

Registration: Payment must be made at time of registration. No refunds will be given if a cancellation occurs less than 96 hours before class. To register, call 268-8952. Maximum enrollment: 8 students per class. All major credit cards accepted.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sundstrom prints three color image in record time (with assistance)

During Mary Sundstrom’s opening she demonstrated her layered monotype and gravure techniques with a finished print in 20 minutes! Extremely fast, even for the trained printer. Mary’s printing assistant, Tanya, helped by running the plates through the press to get this accomplished so quickly.

Mary begins the demo by showing how she created the gravure plate which is the first part of this three plate image. Gravure is the process of exposing a transparency to a light sensitive plate which is then developed and can be printed like an etching. For this plate, Mary created the image positive, or transparency by drawing a design on a piece of prepared mylar.

Mary begins inking the gravure plate by using a piece of mat board to apply the ink to the plate; she then uses a tarlatan to remove the excess ink from the plate. Her objective is to retain ink only in the recessed parts of the plate which are the image areas.

She has already made herself a registration sheet which has all of her plates and the paper drawn on it. This is used as a guide so she knows where to place her plates each and every time she prints.

To create her monotype she begins with rolling a flat color onto a poly-carbonate plate. Once the plate is evenly inked she takes the corner of the mat board to remove ink from the plate in various places. This is called “working reductively.” Note that the monotype plate does not contain any permanent information. The image is created completely out of ink. Monotypes are also referred to as painterly prints. For more information about monotypes visit our website at

The monotype plate is then placed on the press using the registration sheet as a guide to place it in the right spot.

The second plate is then rolled through the press, transferring the ink to the paper. It would be impossible to create another like impression from this plate now that it has been printed.

Next, Mary shows us one of her paper cuts which she actually uses as a stencil to print from! She struggled to find a way to incorporate the look of her paper cuts into the printing process. She tried using different materials; such as mylar and Duralar to print but the results were never what she wanted. Mary decided to stick with what she knows best, paper.

It took two people (Mary and Tanya) to place the stencil on the print. The stencil can only be printed a couple of times before it starts to fall apart.

Here it is right before removing the stencil…

And here it is! The final print done in a whopping 20 minutes! Bravo, Mary!

Here she is with the models for her prints!

We had a packed house and people loved the art!

Thanks to all the volunteers who came to help make this show possible!

Photography by Bruce Childs

Friday, October 10, 2008

Getting to know Mary Sundstrom

About three months ago I started working here and Regina recommended that I take the Gravure class to get me acquainted with the process and to learn more about working with water-based inks. Before coming here I had only used oil-based inks. I had met Mary briefly before taking this class and she happened to be taking it as well.
Throughout the week long class Mary and I became more acquainted. She is a parent of three children who are all grown-up now. I told her that I have a two and a half year old (at the time, he is now almost three). Mary is a nurturing person. Whenever I was tired she would offer to make me coffee, or when I needed a chocolate fix she gave me her Snickers bar (my favorite)! I came to find out that she taught the monotype class at New Grounds also.
During the class we were instructed to draw on mylar or artex, I have never enjoyed drawing so much and Mary told me to just keep practicing, that I would get it down. She is patient with her students, her art, and the people around her. After the class ended she began to work on her solo show. Whenever I came to work she was at the studio diligently working on her art. This was impressive for me to see and I think I need to be more diligent about making my art as well.
Mary’s show went well on Friday night and I’m glad her hard work paid off. Many friends and family showed up to support her at the opening, her pet fish were there to support her too! They will be living at the gallery for the month and I think it is nice to know where some of her inspiration comes from.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Japanese printmaker Ando Shinji demonstrates a complex process of printing a two-plate etching with a double chine collé!

In this traditional printmaking technique the plate is covered with an acid resistant ground, then worked with an etching needle to create an image. The thus exposed metal is then "eaten" in an acid bath or etchant, creating recessed lines that are inked and printed. Etching was developed during the 16th century; it was made popular by Dutch artist Rembrandt.

This effect of this method produces solid areas of tone. The plate has to be covered at one point with very fine particles (traditionally rosin, at New Grounds hardground is airbrushed onto the plate) so that the almost invisible openings between those particles can be etched. To the naked eye those tiny etched dots will appear as a gray tone. Shades of gray are achieved by altering the length of the etch; the longer the etch, the darker the tone will appear. Before etching the plate, parts of it are blocked out with a resist so that different areas will retain different shades of gray after a succession of etches. A Spitbite is a variation of this process. The etchant is applied with a brush rather than immersing the entire plate in the etchant. This results in soft, painterly marks rather than sharp edges.

Chine collé:
A printmaking technique in which a thin sheet of Oriental paper is laminated to a heavier backing sheet. The collé paper is adhered with a combination of glue and the pressure of the etching press. Usually, the fusion of the two papers takes place at the same time as printing a plate. The purpose of chine collé is to introduce additional colors or textures to the printed image. There are two approaches:
1. The collé paper is the same size as the plate – this approach is usually very subtle and results in a mere tinting of the image
2. The collé paper is smaller than the plate and used as a color accent in specific areas of the image

Printmakers and print lovers were treated to this eye-opening demonstration during New Grounds’ September 19 reception. Ando Shinji creates highly detailed botanical etchings in which he combines several plates with chine collé to achieve a maximum saturation of color. What makes Shinji’s approach so unique is that he uses both chine approaches on one plate (see definition above). In addition, Shinji custom dyes Gampi paper for maximum control of his overall color scheme.

Note that Gampi paper comes from the Gampi plant. It is available in a large variety of colors and weights. A good source for these extraordinary thin papers is

For demonstration purposes Ando brought along impressions with just the chine collé applications (left) - one with and one without the inked plate (middle).

In multi-plate printing, all plates are inked before the artist starts printing. This way the dampened printing paper stays moist and will not shrink between plates.

Shinji begins by inking the color plate with orange ink. This is a shallow plate with few values changes – it was created with aquatints and spitbites. Light, shadow and all details are part of the key plate which will be printed over the orange. Shinji applies the ink with a piece of mat board, covering the entire plate with orange ink.

He then wipes the excess ink off the plate with a piece of rayon. The objective is to wipe away most of the ink in the raised non-image areas while leaving behind ink in the recessed image areas. Shinji uses rayon since it will not wipe the plate completely clean but leaves behind a thin film of ink in the non-image areas. Printmakers refer to this as “under-wiping” with the layer of ink adhering to the copper called “plate-tone.”

The inked plate is now ready to accept the first chine collé of a very thin piece of Gampi paper which has been cut to the exact size of the plate. This paper is very fragile when wet and can tear easily. Shinji invented this trick to place the Gampi paper on the plate without damaging it or smudging the ink. First he immerses the inked plate in a tray of water.

He then places the warm white, yet translucent Gampi paper into the tray and moves the plate underneath the paper until it lines up with the paper exactly. The paper is never touched – it is literally floated on top of the plate.

The plate with the collé paper in place is now removed from the tray. The gampi paper now receives a liberal soaking of diluted Nori paste which is applied with a brush. Nori paste is a Japanese rice glue – it is as common in Japan as Elmers glue is in America. The trick is to dilute the paste to the right consistency – it should have the viscosity of milk and feel slightly sticky when rubbed between your fingers. Excess glue is removed with a piece of balled up rayon which has the advantage of no leaving any lint behind.

Shinji is now ready to apply the second chine collé. It consists of three separate pieces, one for the inside of the lily, one for the outside, and one for the stamens. Each piece has been cut to fit the exact shape of the design, and each has been dyed a specific color using cloth dyes to fit the overall color scheme. The pieces are tiny and have to be applied carefully with a pair of tweezers. Once the pieces are in place, Shinji also brushes them with Nori paste and blots them to remove the extra glue. The color plate is now ready for printing.

Once the plate is printed, the order of ink and collé papers will be reversed. The small pieces of collé will adhere to the support paper, the large piece of Gampi paper will sit on top of them, mellowing the bright colors slightly, and the ink printed over the papers pulls it all together.

Shini still has to ink the “key plate.” This deeply etched plate contains all of the line work and shading. The latter is often achieved with aquatints, but in this case, Shinji created mid-tones with a roulette - a textured wheel that can be drawn across the plate to roughen the surface and produce tonalities. The key plate will be printed in a rich blue black. In all multi-plate printmaking, the key plate is usually created first since it contains the essential information that defines the image. However, it is always printed last and in the darkest color. Shinji starts by rolling the ink on the plate. He uses a brayer instead of a piece of mat board since it allows him to fill the deeply recessed lines.

He now wipes the plate with a tarlatan which is a heavily sized piece of cheese cloth. Again, his objective is to remove the ink from the image areas, but not from the lines that were etched into the plate. Shinji finishes wiping the plate with a piece of Rayon. This time he does not leave any plate-tone behind and he wipes the plate as clean as possible.

The New Grounds intern and gallery assistant, Tanya Landin, above (to the right), provides a running commentary on Shinji’s printing process. Shinji spoke very little English which made this demonstration a huge challenge. We are now ready to print the plates, starting with the orange plate. Shinji uses a precise registration sheet to line up the plates and paper exactly. In addition, he employed a technique called “locking the paper” where the printing paper stays underneath the press roller after the first plate has been printed. The paper simply stays in place while the first plate is removed from the press bed and replaced with the second plate.

The final print was pulled accompanied with much applause. Shinji worked at record speed, he usually pulls a maximum of twelve prints in an eight hour day - this demonstration took place in a little over twenty minutes.

Yoshiko Shimajo, above (to the left of both pictures), who is one of the two printmaking professors at the University of New Mexico, graciously volunteered her time for this reception to translate for Ando Shinji. This would not have been possible without her help.

The New Grounds staff welcomes your comments and questions about this demonstration!
Photography by Bruce Childs