2010 © Astrid Volquardsen


The idea for the monotypes first came to me during an exhibition visit in Paris. Reading some information about Degas‹ work, it struck me, that some of his pastels were done over monotype. Degas applied an oily ink to a metal plate with a brush or rag and put it through a press. After that he used a mixture of pastel, gouache, and distemper to color his monotypes. I was surprised to learn that some of Degas‹ pastels were even done directly over oil paint. Unfortunately I can’t recall which those pictures are. (Imagine you’re in Paris and have caught a stomach flu!)

So I thought why not try oil paint instead of oily ink.
I just put some oilpaint (Sennelier) on an extra plate, added turpentine, and applied this with a brush an a piece of glass. Instead of a press I simply used an ink roller.
I tried various grounds for the monotype, but the Pastelmat seems to take it on best.
I varied the mixture of turpentine and oil paint and it seems best to work with pastels the more the oil paint is thinned down with turpentine.

The bottom right was done with the most amount of turpentine.
(Winterfarbimpressionen I)
2010 © Astrid Volquardsen


I waited for about a week till I applied the pastel, but I’m not sure if there won’t be some alterations. I’ve got the feeling the one monotype with the most »pure« oil paint alters already. (I guess, every experienced oil painter could have told me that.)
A number of Degas‹ monotypes have suffered from cracking and subsequent flaking. Well, they still looked beautiful to me.

6 Responses

  1. loriann
    | Reply

    Thanks for posting your process. I never would have guessed how dark blue it was underneath! I will have to try some pastelmat for printing.

  2. Astrid Volquardsen
    | Reply

    Hi Loriann,
    Degas monotypes seem to have been pitch black as far as I can tell and at some of his pastels I wouldn't have assumed that.

  3. Maggie Latham
    | Reply

    Astrid, thanks so much for your e-mail, and for posting the English version too. I love this concept. I've been playing around with gouache on Wallis sanded paper…then soft pastel…but I love the idea of an abstract monotype underneath.

  4. Astrid Volquardsen
    | Reply

    Hi Maggie,
    thanks for sharing your method.
    I did some guoache underpainting as well and it's probably easier to handle, because it dries so much more quickly.One can be more impulsive.
    I kept the monotype abstract, because I didn't want these small studies become too detailed.

  5. Casey Klahn
    | Reply

    I wonder if all (or how many) of Degas' pastels were over montype?

    I am eager to see all that you paint. Tell Marc he did a great job on the video, because we see the artist and the painting equally well. Your technique is very forthright.

  6. Astrid Volquardsen
    | Reply

    Hi Casey,
    no, not all of his pastels were done over monotypes. But some smaller ones of the bath tub scenes or from the theater.
    Thanks for your comment on the video. Marc recived it with a great smile, because we both were discussing about the aspect, if one can see enough of the picture.He found the artist is important too.

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