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Posts tagged ‘printmaking’

sugar lift etching

After more line etching & burnishing, I think 
I”m about done with this etching….maybe not.
I’m going to pull a few more proofs this weeekend
and decide for sure, it may need a little
more burnishing.
This most recent proof is quite dark,
mainly because I  under wiped the plate.
Because of that, some detail is lost, but can be seen
in the second angled photo. 
Comments Off on sugar lift etching
7 Jun 2012

printing at home finally

Despite the fact that I purchased
my etching press way back in 1995,
it wasn’t until this past week that
it finally got bolted to a table so that
I could actually use it..
how’s that for procrastination?
My at-home set up is far from perfect so far.
The kitchen sink is my paper soaking
tray, the countertop is the blotting station,
and the press is in a spare bedroom. I don’t have
a hotplate and decided using my stovetop to
warm my plate may not be the safest thing to do.
I decided to pull a couple of proofs
of this troublesome plate that
I’m working on lately. Just wanted
to see how the most recent changes to the plate
would look like.
This also gave me my first chance to try
Charbonnel “Aqua Wash”, which
is their water soluble etching ink.
The first proof, on the left, didn’t
have enough pressure to print well.
I had to increase the pressure so much that I could
barely turn the handle…definitely not
a good thing for the press!
The proof on the right is better but
not great. At least I can see that I’ll need
to burnish some more and perhaps add more line work.
I love the fact that clean up is a breeze
with the water soluble ink.
After comparing these with previous
oil based proofs, I’ll stick with the oil
ink when it comes time to edition.
13 May 2012

back to etching, part 2

Geez, this etching that I started working on
back in March has been one of
the most frustrating and difficult
plates that I’ve done in years.
It began as an experiment using
sugar lift ground and the saline sulfate etch.
I could tell early on that
the sugar lift/aquatint ground was
fouling biting and wasn’t going to
print well.
Here’s the first proof…which looks
nothing like what I intended!
Not one to just give up, I dove right in
and began to add line work, burnishing
and more aquatint.
Here is the latest proof, hot off the press
this afternoon.
I have more burnishing to do, and will
also be adding more line work
here and there.
This is the first real print
that I’ve done with the saline etch,
it seems to have a lot of quirks
that I have yet to figure out.
5 May 2012

(temporarily) back to etching…

Today was my third (and final)
“safe etching” workshop that I
did at Tiger Lily Press.
It was a brief introduction to the
saline-sulfate solution used to etch
zinc plates. You can find info
on the technique here.
I haven’t done an etching in
about 3 – 4 years, but the workshops
got me interested in getting back into it.
Besides I need to know how to use
this technique in order to teach it!
I’ve chosen the old-fashioned
“sugar lift” (sometimes called lift ground)
method to make my image. It’s
been 30 years since I tried it.
It’s ridiculously tedious
and time consuming I have to say.
This is the plate after etching
four times at timed intervals.
Beginning with 1 1/2 minutes and
up to 3 minutes.
After applying a rosin aquatint, I begin to
paint on the sugar lift solution for the next etch.
There are numerous recipes for it, but all include
sugar, water and india ink. Mine has a
bit of liquid soap and gum arabic added.
Once completed, the solution
needs to dry thoroughly.
Then a thin layer of hard ground is applied
to cover the entire plate and dried.
Now the fun part…
The plate is placed in a sink
of hot water…and then I wait.
This part takes hours and hours of time.
The point is that the hot water will
be absorbed by the sugar solution
and begin to lift off the hard ground,
thus exposing the aquatint underneath.
It works, but it requires constant water
changes to keep it hot enough. I also have
to use a brush to gently
help remove the ground. The drawback to
brushing is that it’s very easy to
scrape off the delicate rosin.
(which I’ve already done)
This is the plate once
the sugar lift has been totally removed.
I etched this stage today,
but haven’t pulled a proof yet.
I can tell that I have some foul biting
in places, but I thought I’d etch at least one more time
and then print the plate
to see exactly what I have.
I can always go back and make
corrections with line etching
or drypoint as needed.
25 Mar 2012

color woodblock printing

I’ve ventured into scary territory….color woodblock printing!
My last attempt at any sort of color printmaking
was at least 30 years ago. Back then I
tried color lithography & etching,
 everything I did was a dismal dud.
So it was B&W only from that point onward.
But this year I wanted to try explore new areas
of printmaking. Not only is this my first
color woodblock print, but also the first multi block one.
It started with a master sketch and
separate color break downs. It wasn’t long
before I threw all of that aside, too tedious
and time consuming, and decided to
just “wing it” and see what happened.
I have two 14″ X 14″ blocks and
am using both sides of each. The reduction
process is pretty comfortable for me
so I’m using that technique as much
as possible.
After trying some dry pigments (not
successful for me), I settled on using gouache.
So far, I think I’ve printed 18 times.
I’m being very safe and either watering down,
or muting every color I use.
Consequently my image looks flat at the moment.
Luckily I have plenty of
wood left so I intend on continuing
to overprint to beef up the image.
Plus, I’ve made some ridiculous carving blunders,
and I hope to correct those as well.
4 Mar 2012

"Flat Out Fun!",

The second day of the 
Flat Out Fun/Steamroller Event
consisted of 
print demos, talks & gallery shows.

First on the schedule was
a woodblock print demo from
David Johnson, from Ball State.

David brought a two sided block, one side
was printed with multiple colors, 
and the reverse side was printed 
in black. He prefers to use a spoon
instead of a press.

Ray Must, from the
Dayton Print Co-Op, showed examples of
his printmaking talents and 
also gave a talk on 
Jim Dine’s “Temple of Flora”
book of botanical images.

At the 
Dayton Visual Arts Center,
artist Nick Satinover gave a talk & demo
on trace monotype.

You can see more of Nick’s work here.

12 Oct 2011