The prefix mono may indicate a singularity, whether it be sound, image, scene or expression. Of course, something singular also can be unique.
The latter will be celebrated this weekend when Norwalk's Center for Contemporary Printmaking hosts its annual "Monothon 2012" auction and party, a major fundraiser that puts the focus on about 100 monotype prints.
To create the images, artists either drew or painted onto a printing plate, which was teamed with a sheet of paper and then put through the printing press. What is revealed is a one-of-a-kind image.
"When it comes off the press and you pull that paper, there is always an element of surprise," said Betty Ball, an artist from the Rowayton section of Norwalk who is participating in her second "Monothon."
Her work this year was inspired by images she photographed from her cellphone while traveling on a high-speed train. "It's been very exciting to work with these blurred images with their vivid color and energy " she said. "There is this fluid feeling when you get that movement."
Bell, who was a painter for many years before trying her hand at prints, said the process is a familiar one.
The image is readied by applying inks to a canvas, which in this case is an acrylic plate. But the press adds an unforeseen element. One can never be sure how the inks will align, or what "happy accidents," as master printer Anthony Kirk sees them, will occur.
The prints were largely created during last month's marathon printing sessions. Kirk, who also is the center's artistic director, said the sessions keep everyone busy, given there are four artists, two master printers and volunteer assistants.
He said there often is a range of abilities, from novices to master artists, but all are equally committed and capable of creating quality work.
"There is this great energy," Kirk said. "So many come out and support us, helping to raise money for the center. This helps keep programs going and helps to keep us open."
The yield of the sessions is at least one donated print from the participating artists which will be part of the silent auction on Saturday, Nov. 17. There also will be a few paintings and prints from young artists. There will be a live auction with auctioneer Guy Bennett and refreshments.
For an early look, the prints will be up at the center and available for perusal on the website.
Some of the live auction items include monotype prints, including one by honorary co-chairman Wolf Kahn; a painting by author and illustrator James Prosek ("Ocean Fishes," "Trout: An Illustrated History"); "Portrait of Mohammed Ali," a photogravure print from a photograph by John Shearer; studio tours and vacation packages.
Prints by Fairfield County-based artist Malcolm Moran are expected to be found in the live and silent auctions. A painter and sculptor, he found printmaking late in his career, but was quickly enamoured.
"Painting is a process with lots of surprises, but they tend to pop out in a different fashion and they take a lot more time," he said. "You can make a print in a day ... and whatever you end up with you end up with. There are a lot more surprises ... and interesting things happen that you didn't expect to happen. I like that."
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Center for Contemporary Printmaking, 299 West Ave., Norwalk. Saturday, Nov. 17, 6 to 9 p.m. Silent auction 6 to 8 p.m., live auction 9 p.m. $35 at the door. 203-899-7999, www.contemprints.org.