Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fooling around: plexiglass and a drypoint tool

I've been going through my sketchbook again getting ready for my next woodblock print but I've got nothing really ready to go and I've been thinking and looking; doodling and making thumbnails. So, as I had really nothing ready yet to get put on a board I started looking around for something to do today.

I took a piece of leftover plexiglass--it's about 18 X 24" and a drypoint needle I have and sketched out a rough enlargement of one of my previous textile/rug sketches.
The drypoint tool has a really sharp point, and while it would be traditionally be used to scratch a line in copper or zinc plates to be run through a press, I'm using it on the plexiglass to score a line in the soft plastic.

This afternoon I got to try how it would print. I'm still using Akua color--this time I have a tin of lamp black intaglio ink--and straight out of the tub with a piece of matboard scraping a thin layer of ink all across the plate. Then I lightly rubbed it off with an old rag and ran it through the Press onto damp Rives BFK. The ink is supposed to remain in the scratches and areas left by the burr of the point and should mostly wipe clean off the smooth plastic surface.

It's pretty tacky ink and I've never done this before so my wiping was pretty lame.
One came out a bit overwiped in spots and underwiped in others and my second attempt seemed "moodier" but ended up covered with dark fingerprints-spots and underwiped areas too. Still, the incised scribbles came out pretty good and it's pretty close to my sketch in concept and mood. I suspect if I can get the colors to be rich enough all the splotchiness now will add depth and complexity to the stripes/weaving I'm trying to emulate.

Tomorrow I'll try to go in again painting on the plate in color to bring up the vertical stripes in blue and the background in a sepia/tan--the only trick now will be I'll have to redampen the paper so the plate and paper will match up again.

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