Barbara McPhail: Printmaker

Barbara McPhail: Printmaker

I have a small printmaking studio in my home in Canandaigua, which has excellent light and looks out onto the street. My main medium is monotype, although I also use collagraph, linocut, woodblock and etching.

View of my etching press and the street
View of my etching press and the street

My monotypes are mostly created from shapes made from tagboard, and textures like wallpaper, fabric and netting. I start with drawing, but quickly go to designing with shapes as soon as the idea evolves. The shapes are inked up with brayers and placed onto inked plexiglass.

Shapes for "Fire and Ice" on the inking island
Shapes for “Fire and Ice” on the inking island

The print “Fire and Ice” was made of 6 inch square sections that were glued down to form a large print. Below are the sections before I glued them together and added the fire, which was painted paper collaged on at the end.

"Fire and Ice" sections before gluing together
“Fire and Ice” sections before gluing together

Sometimes I overlay images onto an existing print. First I draw out the idea and play with shapes on paper before deciding how I want it to look.

Working out the idea for adding a layer of shapes
Working out the idea for adding a layer of shapes

The beauty of monotype is the fascinating and endless possibilities, which keeps my creative energy flowing and my mind going…going…going.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Barbara McPhail’s prints in our current exhibition the Upstate New York Printmaking Invitational (runs through October 7).

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Closed 7/28 through 8/3:

We will be closed to the public Friday, July 28 through Thursday, August 4 as we install our next exhibition, Inspired By Nature. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, August 4 from 5 to 8pm!