Buying art online has revolutionised traditional markets, making it possible for buyers to view work that otherwise might be hung on a gallery wall hundreds of miles away, attracting a limited and often ‘local’ audience. It does however limit the questions that a buyer can ask about how the work is created, especially when artists are using mediums that the buyer may not be familiar with. This is why contacting the artist can be helpful prior to making a purchase. 

Manchester 1 by Sarah Waite
Manchester 1 by Sarah Waite

My own work is created using a variety of techniques. Some of those are well known, particularly mediums such as ‘oil on canvas’ or ‘ink drawing’. However, my current work is created using fine art printmaking techniques, these are much less familiar processes. An artist’s original print is very different from the common idea of ‘print’. A print is usually a limited or mass produced item printed digitally by a manufacturer, the artist has no part in the process other than supplying the original image to be copied. An ‘artist’s print’ is a very different product, where the actual process becomes the artwork. If you buy an artist’s print you are buying a piece that has been created by the artist in it’s entirety. As an example of this I will explain the process of making a monoprint.

Cornfield by Sarah Waite
Cornfield by Sarah Waite

A monoprint is a unique, original artwork. I am hugely excited by this process. The resulting works have a fabulous fluidity of line and a very special texture that can be much more dramatic than a painting. My own monoprints are ‘trace’ monoprints’. I create these by firstly rolling oil based ink on to a piece of glass (my trusty G-Plan coffee table!), laying a piece of paper over the top of the ink and drawing onto the paper with a variety of tools, often a biro or a rubbing tool. The reverse image is created as the tools ‘pick up’ the ink from the glass surface. I remove the paper and review the effect, sometimes it’s perfect at this first stage and I treat it as a finished artwork. Sometimes I re-ink the glass, replace the paper and work into it further to create the desired effect. 

Sky Blueness by Sarah Waite
Sky Blueness by Sarah Waite

It’s a very spontaneous technique that can be tricky to control, for every beautiful, saleable print I create there will be 5 in the studio dustbin! This doesn’t worry me, the element of chance and ‘happy accidents’ keeps me excited every time I lift the paper.

You can view a series of my monoprints, created in response to a dramatically dark rainy day in Manchester some weeks ago by clicking into my gallery. With some of these images, I also painted on excess inks to gain the ‘wet’ feel to the landscape.