Jean Sausele Knodt
These prints represent a new beginning for my work as an artist, an exploration that begin in February of 2005. I have been drawing images from my garden and then heading off to the Lee Arts Center’s printmaking studio in Arlington, Virginia. As I work, I’ve been asking myself a few guiding questions:
When have I - when do I - feel most connected to the process of searching for and producing images?
From what I see in the world - what grabs me? What color? What line? What gesture?
How representational will I present what I see? How referential? How abstract? What combinations work?
When do the forms and elements in a piece speak and gain energy? When does the image become animated? What is a true response to the source?
What do the images suggest as new directions for my printmaking? Could the prints suggest ideas for my painting?
Preparing and printing images works to engage these questions for me, and also to form new ones. I find printmaking easily lends itself to explore many alternatives and possibilities, to build a series around a few ideas, and to take an image and print it in various combinations of color, line, or shifting forms. It is an animated process in itself. The life of the studio, and the energy generated in producing the images, specifically through Chine Collé and Polyester Plate Lithography, suits well how I like to move about, look at, and express my world.
Polyester Plate Lithography was initially developed for commercial printing. What appeals to artists, such as myself, is it’s immediacy, simplicity, semi-transparency (the plate itself,) and low (no) toxicity. The polyester plate looks and feels very much like a piece of heavy velum paper. One is able to draw directly on the plate employing any implement that is carbon based - such as a sharpie pen, graphite pencil, ball point pen, or even a tush-like wash of toner, Future floor wax, and alcohol. Indeed, the plate is thin and flexible enough to go through a copy machine or laser printer to register an image. For this reason, many artists use this form of lithography to employ photographic images for printmaking. Once an image is on the plate, it is then immediately ready to receive ink, with no use of chemicals. From there, the process is much like printing a traditional lithograph: rolling ink onto a plate sponged with water, registering the plate onto printmaking paper, rolling the paper through the press, and lifting the print. Most of my prints go through the press four or five times with multiple “states,” or individually inked plates of different color or value, to produce the final image.
Many of my prints also engage the process of Chine Collé, translated “Chinese Glue.” I first paint directly on pieces of very thin rice paper with acrylic or watercolor, and then layer torn pieces onto an established litho. Chine Collé pieces are applied with archival wheat paste. As the entire assemblage rolls through the press all binds together, and another litho image lays on top.
The combination of hand painted Chine Collé pieces and multiple litho plates, helps me establish an individual direction for each piece. This way each print takes it’s own path, some more dramatically different than others. It has become a responsive process much like painting. My small editions become a series of work - a family of ideas - based on the employment of one group of prepared plates, various color ideas, and Chine Collé pieces. As a result, the notation “Edition Varies” (EV), often follows the edition number on the prints. Depending on what is at hand, however, some pieces become one of a kind images (1/1) with no further editions.