Sometimes it’s fun to begin with a colorful background, place inked specimens on top of the inked background, and pull a print. The square shape was created by taping the shiny side of Reynold’s Freezer Paper in place to create a boundary to contain the strokes of the inked brayer. The image shown below is of my first monotype, made during Sonja Larsen’s 2007 nature printing workshop.

I found the twig on a walk in the woods that surrounded the now-closed family resort where about a dozen eager nature printers gathered to print and learn, celebrate the summer solstice, and have a memorable time.


When I’m demonstrating or teaching nature printing, I often caution people about becoming too exuberated. This condition, described here with a not-quite-official word, often results in brayers fastening to the ink on the palette as the printer enthusiastically pulls their print.

However, I, too, become exuberated; I’m eager to explore the patterns and colors on the palette before devoting time to discovering the beauty of printing a specimen in one or more ink colors.

I’m reminded of the print of the linden leaf shown below. The specimen grew as a sucker at the base of a neighborhood tree. Although the leaf’s diameter was similar to that of a dinner plate, I used a two-inch soft-rubber brayer to apply Speedball water-soluble printmaking ink with a very light touch. By rolling the brayer through a variety of inks on my palette, the brayer proved to be almost as expressive as a paintbrush.

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