Jan Arabas

Jan Arabas

Melrose, MA
Ancestry of the Birds, Monotype with Chine Colle on Found Paper
18 x 22

I wanted to work with the idea of ancestry and I used the birds in my aviary as my subject. I made monotypes of the current residents of the aviary, and imagined their parents and grandparents, that inhabited the same space over the past twenty years. I drew the more recent birds with more detail, and printed cognates or ghost prints for the oldest generation. Then I used the chine colle process–a way of gluing papers together –to layer the monotypes and a found paper that I love, waxy, with images of plants. I wanted to finish with something reminiscent of an ancestor scroll.

I begin by rolling out Akua Intaglio inks.
I use charged, ink laden brayers, a sort of rubber roller– to draw images on plexiglas plates.
When the brayer is loaded with ink it can make all sorts of thin and thick shapes, such as feathers.
With less ink, the brayer makes translucent marks. It can also pull ink away to lighten ink already on the plate. For example, it could create a highlight along the back of a birds body or the top of its beak.

I print with a Takach etching press, onto Hahnemuhle and Okawara papers.
Finally, I glue (chine colle) the papers together with archival white glue–PVA glue.
This piece also incorporates a found paper, red, with a pattern of fantastic plants.