Screen Printing From Darkness to Light – Experimental Screen Printing

From Darkness to Light, Monochromes and Gloss

I have always enjoyed being experimental in my printmaking and enjoy having the subtle effect of over printing in the same colour; for example, white on white or gloss onto acetate. With pale colours, a shimmer or glowing effect can be achieved and I have always adored this.

This is the first time that I have begun to print with black ink on to black paper. As any printmaker knows the quality of the paper is imperative and quality black paper in a reasonable price bracket can be difficult to source and manipulate. For this reason, I have never experimented with it, but with new contacts made and research done, it is time to start experimenting.

Experimental Screen Printing Monochromes Gloss Rhizome
Developing the printing process, Jane Elizabeth Bennett © 2017 Screen printing.

What interests me most about this experimental prints is the reaction of the paper to the ink and medium.

The image that has been selected for this project is from a photographic series documenting Preston’s disused Post Office. The contrasting light within the images lends well to a screen print. The images already have a dream like ‘feel’, something that lends well to digital and physical manipulation.

When printing gloss or pure medium onto black paper the darkest areas of the print are actually a gloss layer. Rather than reflecting light and providing a highlight, the gloss seems to absorb the light; with the black paper appears almost luminous as it reflects more light than the black ink. This effect is accentuated through the medium of photography, but only marginally.

As you move around the print the image changes drastically. From some angles, the medium absorbs and creates a stark contrast with the black paper. In others, the medium disappears, creating an effect that the image is fading into the paper, leaving only a start white hi-light. Out of the context of the image, the hi-light is an abstract geometric shape, void of meaning in the final image.