T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – block 1

The final exercise of the assignment asks for a number of collage blocks, bringing together previous learning to create visually textural prints.

I decided to start with a polyfilla block. Looking at my own samples I find the results less obvious than the plates with glued material. There’s more of a transformation, more space for serendipity. I wanted to continue making prints with the gelatin plate and again I preferred the textures from the polyfilla block. I also thought continuity of the plaster across the block allowed for more integration of different areas of texture.

For subject material I turned to my sketchbook and photographs from a trip to Western Australia, travelling from Broome to Perth (see blog post 6-August-2014). We saw a lot of big, open country that I thought would translate well in a collatype.

pinnacles sketch 1

pinnacles sketch 1
Click image for larger view

First I thought of a small watercolour, about 17 x 12.5 cm, that I did based on photographs prior to the trip as a test of my travelling sketch kit. This shows the Pinnacles, weathered columns of limestone rising from yellow sand dunes.

pinnacles sketch 2

pinnacles sketch 2
Click image for larger view

I didn’t have much time for sketching when we got there, but tried to quickly capture colour and shapes with a glue stick and the coarse sand we stood on.

pinnacles sketch 3

pinnacles sketch 3

However I took many photographs.

Sketch 20151218 - 1

Sketch 20151218 – 1
Click image for larger view

An initial rough sketch in pencil suggested the landscape could be simplified into a few zones – sky, background sand, stone, shadow, foreground sand. At this point I was considering overlaying a faint striped monoprint in earth colours, making the image more abstract and suggesting the layers of material deposited in the stone (it was fascinating standing amongst the stones, tracing the same layer across the separated spires).

pinnacles rejected plan

pinnacles rejected plan
Click image for larger view

I considered using woven textiles as texture for stones and shadow. I was thinking of some of Sarah Ross-Thompson’s works, such as Loch Light (link), but the sketch showed peculiar blobs tobogganing off the page, not sensitively integrated texture.

The earlier sketch was refined to emphasize the geometry and converted to a form to suit an A4 page.

pinnacles_plan

pinnacles_plan

I referred to my library of textures in previous prints.
Sample p1-70 After

Sample p1-70 After
Click image for larger view

The roughness given by heat treated plastic seemed a good match for the stone. For the ripples of foreground sand I chose plastic netting. The heat treated acrylic felt of sample p1-70 (21-Apr-2015) can be seen in print p4-111 (17-Dec-2015) and although that used embossed pvc foam I thought it could translate into the sandy shadows.

Sample p1-71 After

Sample p1-71 After
Click image for larger view

While getting out that sample I noticed p1-71, which seemed a good match for a cloudy sky.

collatype plate 4 texture materials in place

collatype plate 4 texture materials in place
Click image for larger view

A4 mountboard was used for the base. A photocopy of the final sketch was cut up to create templates. I worked very hard to get the initial layer of polyfilla as flat and even as possible.

The chosen materials were then placed in the setting plaster. I had intended to use two sizes of plastic net in the foreground to create variation in the diagonal lines, then thought the lines would run in the wrong direction so filled the space using the side of a pop stick.

collatype plate 4 in progress

collatype plate 4 in progress
Click image for larger view

It was a nasty surprise when I removed the net and discovered a grid instead of the expected diagonals (as seen in the top right of print p4-105, 17-Dec-2015). The plaster was still quite soft, and remedial work with the pop stick followed.

The completed plate was left to dry.

collatype plate 4

collatype plate 4

break

Print p4-116

Print p4-116

Print p4-116
Click image for larger view

While waiting for the plate to be ready I did some small experiments with some new earthy colours of akua liquid pigment. Red oxide, burnt umber and lamp black were rolled on the gelatine plate. Torn strips of different grades of sandpaper were pressed in and removed before a print was taken on cartridge paper, pressing by hand.

The colours are soft and the textures subtle. They could be useful in Australian landscapes.
break

Print p4-117

Print p4-117

Print p4-117
Click image for larger view

Print p4-117 detail

Print p4-117 detail
Click image for larger view

In a second experiment I rolled ink directly on the sandpaper, then pressed the strips ink-side down onto the gelatin plate. The print was taken on cartridge paper using a baren.

The texture and colour is slightly different using this method.
break

Print p4-118
Ultramarine blue akua intaglio ink was rolled across the sky area. Hansa yellow intaglio ink was modified with a few drops of burnt umber liquid pigment and rolled over the landscape area of the plaster plate.

The print was taken on cartridge paper using a brayer.

Print p4-118

Print p4-118

A disappointing result – very little colour transferred.
break

Print p4-119
Colours were rolled onto the plate as before. Additional liquid pigment colours were brushed onto the plate in selected areas.

The print was taken on cartridge paper using a baren, then I made heavy use of a variety of wooden clay modelling tools in an attempt to pick up colour from the textured areas.

Print p4-119

Print p4-119

Print p4-119 detail

Print p4-119 detail
Click image for larger view

Colour is better balanced in the print than in the photograph, the yellow more an ochre and more integrated.

The different textures are now apparent – the sky is particularly busy. I find individual elements promising but am not convinced by the print as a whole. There is a lot of white and the different parts don’t integrate as well as I’d hoped. The strong pattern and contrast of values in the sky is too dominant. There is no clear focus or path for the eye through the image.
break

Print p4-120
Colour was again rolled and painted onto the plate.

I printed onto dry cartridge paper using the ezicut press.

Print p4-120

Print p4-120

The paper is embossed but I think the pressure of the press was insufficient. Colour transfer is very patchy.

break

Print p4-121
There is no pressure control on the press itself. Any adjustment has to be in the sandwich of materials passed through.

Given so little colour had transferred on the previous print I decided not to re-ink. I printed again onto dry cartridge paper with additional layers of wool batting to increase the pressure of the press.

Print p4-121

Print p4-121

The results of this print are very poor. The paper is more heavily embossed but colour is patchy.

I was concerned about damage to press and/or plate if pushed further and I decided not to pursue this method.
break

Print p4-122
Pthalo blue and burnt umber liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate using newsprint masks to create an area for the high point of the stone.

The plaster plate, not cleaned but no ink added, was pressed into the gelatin and removed. The print was on cartridge paper, pressed by hand.

Print p4-122

Print p4-122

Print p4-122 detail

Print p4-122 detail
Click image for larger view

The burnt umber is very light and the combination of colours plain, but I am pleased with the texture that is visible.

This seemed a method worth pushing.
break

Print p4-123
I began by rolling burnt umber liquid pigment on the gelatin plate, using a newsprint mask over the sky area. The un-inked plaster plate was pressed into the gelatin and removed. This left marks in the inked gelatin which I used as guides for further rolling and dabbing of liquid pigments on the gelatin – lamp black, burnt umber and phthalo blue.

The plaster plate was rolled with hansa yellow intaglio ink mixed with burnt umber liquid pigment and ultramarine blue in the sky. The plaster was once more pressed into the gelatin plate. The idea was that the gelatin would be completely covered in inks – from the plaster plate in the high areas of texture and already on the gelatin where the plaster did not touch the surface.

The print was taken on cartridge paper using hand pressure.

Print p4-123

Print p4-123

Print p4-123 detail

Print p4-123 detail
Click image for larger view

Although patchy, much more colour was transferred to the print. The sky is textured without the distracting high contrast of earlier prints. There is some nice variation and strong dirction in the foreground sand. The background sand is patchy, but in a way I find of interest and potentially an attractive feature in the right context. Poor registration of the sky texture can be seen in the upper sand area, but it is not intrusive.

The stone columns and shadows are clumsy, shapeless lumps. The setting is there, but what should be the focal point is drab and uninteresting. There is also a poor transition from foreground to background sand in the lower right of the print.

I see elements of promise in an unsatisfactory print.
break

Print p4-124
Considerable ink seemed to remain on the gelatin plate. I rolled with akua release agent, waited a few minutes, then printed onto cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-124

Print p4-124

The result is pale and there are prominent roller marks. I can’t claim it is a satisfactory print. However I find the extra level of abstraction improves the composition. There are a variety of shapes, not lumpy rocks and shadows gone wrong. There is variety in value without loss of integration over the image. Elements aren’t fighting for attention.
break

Print p4-125
The cleaned gelatin plate was rolled with diarylide yellow and phthalo blue, using simple newsprint masks to define areas of land and sky. Newsprint was used to lift some of the blue. The plaster plate was rolled with intaglio hansa yellow mixed with burnt umber liquid pigment and was pressed into the gelatin.

The felt shapes used in texturing the plaster plate were inked with lamp black liquid pigment and stamped in the appropriate positions. The heat treated plastic pieces were roughly painted burnt umber and stamped on the gelatin. Finally a little more lamp black was painted at the base of the columns in an attempt to get better separation from the foreground sand.

The print was taken on cartridge paper using the baren.

Print p4-125

Print p4-125

I was pleased with the sky – a good colour, interesting patterning, contrast not too high. A registration problem around the tall stone was distracting.

The shadows have crisp edges which is one of the features in the inspiration photograph and sketches. The shadow is not too heavy, not too intrusive.

The foreground sand has variation, texture and interest. There is more white than anticipated, but the overall effect is the best achieved in all the prints.

The background sand is patchy. The areas towards the horizon could work as highlights of sunshine in the distance, but the large central blank is distracting.

With better contrast to a background the stone columns might have worked. As is they do not have the presence to hold the image together. The black shadows at the base of the stones are clumsy and awkward.

Overall the print doesn’t work, but I thought with a few adjustments it might.
break

Print p4-126
In my final attempt the inking and printing method was basically the same, followed by more extensive touching up to address issues identified.

Print p4-126

Print p4-126

Print p4-126 detail

Print p4-126 detail
Click image for larger view


The attempt to improve the shadows at the base of the stones by increasing them was a poor choice. The touch-up of the smaller stone resulted in a loss of texture and cohesion.

There is an overprint of sky and land, but this has given a sense of vegetation in the distance which is true to the inspiration source and also adds an effective layer of interest to that area of the print. There is a better sense of distance and depth which is effective.

The larger stone is overall lighter than the background which in this case brings it forward. There is still not quite enough definition but I think it is much improved. I like the colour and the variation of coverage in the background sand. It is not bland but it give a resting place in a busy image.
break

None of the prints is entirely satisfactory but many have points of interest. I would be curious to try the plaster plate in a proper printing press. Although I tried not to create great variation in depth in the plaster the textured areas proved very difficult to apply adequate ink and to print onto the paper. I will explore other techniques in my next block.

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – block 1
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Project 2: Collatype printing
Exercise 3: Collatype collage prints
Collatype collage prints – block 1

3 Responses to “T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – block 1”


  1. 1 karenwoodfield December 23, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Really interesting to see the range of exploration and I agree with your conclusion. your water colour and photographs did justice to the subject but the prints did not.


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Instagram

Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

Calendar of Posts

December 2015
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Archives

Categories


%d bloggers like this: