Monday, July 19, 2010
POPPY, detail, monotype print 10" X 12" (ghost)
I finally decided it was time to stop putting it off and break in Big Blue--my 30 year-old, homemade etching press. I have over the last few weeks picked up a couple of plexiglass sheets from the hardware store; some sample bottles of Akua Color monoprint/water-based inks/one inexpensive brayer and dug around my cupboards for some stray printmaking papers.
I have lots of flowers blooming in the garden beds so a quick sketch on a sheet of paper and I covered the drawing with the sheet of plexiglass and using mostly brushes, painted the colors on the plate. It happened in stages: first the red petals; then the black flag of the center and some of the green buds/seedpods/then back in again with more color here or there, finishing with tracing my drawing in black ink with a brush on the plate.
I ran the plate each time face up on the bed of the press, laying down the paper on top; covering it with blankets and running it through the rollers. I had three sheets. Rives BFK Dry; Rives LW dry; rives LW damp. The last two sheets are ghost prints--printed after most of the ink was taken up by the first sheet.
Akua color is supposed to work better on dry paper but I got uneven coverage and very splotchy color instead. My best print is the third run on damp paper. The colors are too soft and faded--this should be a vermillion poppy that should stand out from 100yds instead of being so soft/muted. I will probably have to play with papers and pressure/blankets to get the right pressure.
I wanted a painterly approach. But I'd have ended up with something more lively and with more vibrant color if I had just stuck to watercolor and painted it. It will take me a while to get a hang of these new colors--they're honey-like in consistency--and didn't like to be brushed onto plexi.
Top to bottom: 1st Impression (dry paper); ghost print on damp paper;ghost print on dry paper.
So while I'm not really happy with how these turned out (I'll probably overpaint them in watercolor to see if I can salvage anything) but I'm really happy to have used the press, broken the ice and gotten some studio time in.