Archive for the '4 – Mono & collatype printing' Category



Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 2

Background on development work for this series was given in the previous post (27-Dec-2015).

Print p4-141
I rubbed intaglio ink into the textured surface of the collagraph plate using a toothbrush – a tool seen used by Lynn Bailey, demonstrating preparing and using a collagraph plate in a Double Elephant Print Workshop video (https://vimeo.com/50941703). I wiped ink off around the silhouette areas.

The print was taken on copy paper using a brayer followed by a selection of wooden clay-shaping tools.

Print p4-141

Print p4-141

As I’m not printing intaglio (little make-do press with lots of plastic parts isn’t really up to it) the choice of inking method didn’t make sense. There are messy, blobby spots of ink. Most of the deep texture didn’t print. I thought it worth trying lighter paper to see how it behaved, but I think that made the blotching worse, due to limited absorption. Heavier, damp paper would be worth trying.

Print p4-142
A red-brown mix of intaglio ink was scrubbed in with a toothbrush, then wiped away with some polyester organza and phone-book paper. I then dabbed on a green mix of liquid pigment. The plate was printed onto dry cartridge paper using the ezicut press.

This was an attempt to approach intaglio printing of the deep texture in the darker brown, with relief printing of high levels with the green.

Print p4-142

Print p4-142

Print p4-142 detail

Print p4-142 detail

The method was a hybrid mix of wrong equipment and materials. The toothbrushed colour blotched badly and there’s not enough colour on the silhouette.

However there is promise. The lines of hillocks are partly visible, giving some form. These were made with yarn 6 (trimmed) from the earlier sampler. This yarn is also the source of the tendrils of growth seen along the top edge of the sand dune. I’m also pleased with the v shaping of some of the spikes – the trimmed yarn 10 and a good representation of some of the distinctive vegetation in the source photograph. Finally on both the prints so far there is a nice curve down the slope from the left that curls back on itself in the spikes of grasses on the right.

Print p4-143
The mountboard plate was dabbed with a mix of akua intaglio ink. It was then pressed into the gelatin plate. The print of the gelatin was onto cartridge paper, pressed by hand.

Print p4-143

Print p4-143

A lot of rich, messy texture can be seen on the image. I think it effectively suggests the growth on the sand dune. There are still blotches of ink, but they are part of the whole and integrate well. There is a halo of colour around the silhouette spikes, particularly the lower area to the left. This might be quite acceptable, depending on the interaction over a background print.

Print p4-144
I felt the printing was good enough to combine with a lower layer. Without re-inking I pressed the mountboard plate onto the cleaned gelatin plate. The print was taken on copy paper which I wanted to use to create a guide for the base monoprint.

Print p4-144

Print p4-144

This print is successful. There is less ink, but the lines defining the dune hillocks on the right work well to give form. To me the effect suggests a dune where vegetation is just beginning to anchor the sand. There is a nice variety of texture, while remaining cohesive.

I scanned the image, removed white areas to get just the printed shapes, and used it as an overlay of the original photo – itself adjusted to change the view orientation slightly. I was then able to define broad areas for the background layer.

80 mile beach print-photo combination

80 mile beach print-photo combination

80 mile layout

80 mile layout

A printed copy of the overlay lines was placed under the glass of my printing area. It could still be seen with the gelatin plate on top, even when inking up. A printout of the combined photo-print-lines was pegged on the drying line above the printing table, for reference while working.

Print p4-145
Using the guides described above I created a monotype background print on the gelatin plate.

Phthalo blue liquid pigment was rolled across the top for sky and sea. A piece of newsprint, torn edge towards the top, cut edge down, was used to lift colour to create a light band of colour in the sky and a distinct horizon. A length of crushed synthetic satin ribbon was rolled with more phthalo and gently pressed on the sea to create texture and movement. This was the same ribbon that was used in the polymorph experiments in the previous post and the texture created, particularly in p4-130 (27-Dec-2015),seemed appropriate. A piece of jute twine was stretched across and just above the plate, then pressed in short areas to create a break line of waves.

A soft, indistinct shoreline where the waves advance and recede was created by wiping with a paper towel. Beach and dune sand was rolled and dabbed with mixes of diarylide yellow, burnt umbre, and red oxide. The print was taken on cartridge paper using hand pressure.

Print p4-145 in progress

Print p4-145 in progress

There is obviously a technical problem with the many small white patches, most obviously in the sky. Ignoring that I was very pleased with the result from my mix of techniques.

One beginner mistake was not thinking about the reversing of the image. I wanted to print the mountboard plate via the gelatin plate, as in print p4-144. The higher dune should have been on the right. I could still print the foreground layer, but it would have to be direct from the mountboard plate.

I dabbed ink onto the mountboard. The print was burnished using the wooden tools and with as much pressure and intensity as I could.

Print p4-145

Print p4-145

The registration of dune shapes between layers isn’t quite right. The top layer is patchy, I’ve already pointed to flaws in the background.

Despite this I find this a very satisfying image. My eye flows around it and there is interest and detail everywhere. There is a balance my mind accepts between realism and abstraction. It is a decent way towards the idea in my head when I started.

Print p4-146
In this print I attempted to address errors in the last one.

The basic sequence for inking the monotype was the same. I tried to clean the gelatin thoroughly before starting. I reversed the image. I improved the line of the sand dune. The print was onto cartridge paper using hand pressure.

I dabbed colour onto the mountboard, pressed it into the re-cleaned gelatin plate and pressed by hand.

Print p4-146

Print p4-146

Flecks are reduced, but still apparent. I have been cleaning using paper towels and I think they may be shedding a little. Also some divots are appearing in the gelatin itself, possibly because of repeated pressing with rough plaster and glued plates. It’s a straight forward process to melt and re-set the gelatin, so I may do that soon.

Although I followed the same basic steps the monotype is weaker. The colours are less rich, the horizon line is flawed, the break line of the waves is too consistent across the image.

The sand dune is now overwhelmed by luxuriant, rather blurry, vegetation. Looking back at the difference between p4-143 and p4-144, it may be better to do a sacrificial print first and use the ghost as the main print when using this process.

The open area top left is not quite enough to balance the block of colour bottom right. The dune needs more variation, to be broken up. The structural lines have been absorbed.

I would have liked to try this more times, playing a little with colours and density. Some purple in the undergrowth would suggest the shadows of a long, hot afternoon. I’d like pink sand and green sky. However most of the problems in p4-146 were due to fatigue and rush. I will have to wait for another opportunity.

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 2
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Project 2: Collatype printing
Exercise 3: Collatype collage prints
Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 2

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 1

80 mile beach

80 mile beach

For this print I returned to my trip in Western Australia and a series of photographs I took at 80 mile beach. This is one just one – there are some detail shots and others looking up and down the beach. I’d like my print to be looking more directly at the sea – a series of stripes, with the screen of foreground foliage across.

80 mile beach sketch

80 mile beach sketch

I planned two plates, the first to establish the horizontal lines of the background, the second to overprint the foreground. I looked at my library of textures already printed and nothing fit my ideas so I started sampling. I was particularly interested in using textiles for texture – sympathetic to natural forms, but bringing a level of abstraction.

Background plate

Print p4-96

Print p4-96

Print p4-96 (14-Dec-2015) used polymorph molding sample p3-6 (22-Aug-2015) which was textured with a warp-faced woven strap and a round braid. Using polymorph as a plate would avoid the need for sealing and drying time. It should be easy to clean, possibly longer lasting than mountboard based plates, and could be remelted and reused. Possibly areas of the design that didn’t work could be reheated and adjusted.

My first attempt to create a flat sheet of polymorph (using microwave to heat and pressing between tempered glass to flatten) misjudged the amount of material required and after trimming uneven edges was just 10.5 x 11.5 cm, not the A4 size I would eventually need. Still, it proved that I could create a sheet and provided the opportunity for initial attempts.

collatype plate 5 in progressI heated the surface of the polymorph using a hair-dryer, then pressed in a selection of materials using a brayer. From left to right they are: soft cotton knit tube, stretched and flattened; warp faced strap, apparently a natural fibre; a wire-edged ribbon with stripes of different textures; a synthetic satin ribbon, smooth side down.

For ease of identification I have rotated some of the photographs below so the materials are seen in the same order.

Print p4-129
The plate was rolled with akua intaglio ink and printed onto cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-129

Print p4-129

A lightly coloured result with little detail.

Print p4-130
The plate was both rolled and dabbed with intaglio ink. The print was onto cartridge paper, working heavily with wooden tools to press the paper into the plate.

Print p4-130

Print p4-130

The result is much darker and the textures of the fancy stripe ribbon and unironed satin ribbon on the right particularly apparent. Inking was uneven and blotches are apparent.

Print p4-131
Phthalo blue akua liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate. A hole the size of the plate was cut in newsprint which was placed on the gelatin to act as a mask giving a border to the print. The polymorph plate was gently pressed into the gelatin, lifted, and a print taken on cartridge paper pressing by hand.

Print p4-131

Print p4-131

A little detail can be seen around the edges but none in most of the print. The contact between polymorph and gelatin must have been incomplete.

Print p4-132
The inking and masking was as for the previous print. The polymorph was pressed firmly into the gelatin plate and the print taken on cartridge paper by hand.

Print p4-132

Print p4-132

More ink was removed by the polymorph and there is texture but no detail in the print. It is bland.

Print p4-133
Given the amount of ink transferred to the polymorph I attempted to print from it onto cartridge paper with a brayer.

Print p4-133

Print p4-133

The print is very pale but there is some good detail just visible.

Print p4-134
Some colour was still visible on the polymorph plate. I rolled additional phthalo blue liquid pigment onto the polymorph and printed on cartridge paper using a brayer.

Print p4-134

Print p4-134

This is the best of a disappointing sequence. Possibly the creased satin ribbon could be used to suggest a band of texture in sand, but it doesn’t convince me.

I still believe the idea of using the polymorph in this way holds possibilities, but further development work and experimentation would be needed to identify better texturing materials and effective ways to ink and print. I decided to use monoprint techniques to create the first layer of the 80 mile beach print.

Foreground plate
For the foreground plate of sand dune vegetation I decided to attempt texture with yarns glued on mountboard. My first step was to create a sampler board.

collatype plate 6

collatype plate 6

A mix of “fancy” yarns of mixed fibres, mostly synthetic, plus a piece of rafia (#15).

Print p4-135
Ultramarine blue akua intaglio ink was rolled onto the plate. I wiped the plate carefully around the yarns. I wanted to focus on the marks of the yarns, without distraction or interference from the background.

Print p4-135 After inking (left), and wiping (right)

Print p4-135 After inking (left), and wiping (right)


Printing was onto cartridge paper with a 2 inch brayer rolled carefully along each yarn and close up against each side to maximize the printed area.
Print p4-135

Print p4-135


This gave a good variety of marks, some suggestive of vegetation. On others the manufactured nature of the yarn was too apparent, especially yarn 8 with the regular placement of the puffs and the grid effect from a yarn that was braided rather than spun.

Print p4-136
Inking, wiping and paper were as for the previous print. The print was made using the ezicut press.

Print p4-136

Print p4-136


The pressure of the press transferred more ink, losing some detail in the process. The print is crisper, without blurring from paper movement. There is more colour in the background areas.

Print p4-137
Red oxide akua liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate. The mountboard sampler plate, not cleaned after the previous print, was pressed into the surface and removed. The print was taken from the gelatin on cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-137 detail

Print p4-137 detail

Print p4-137

Print p4-137

The result is lovely. The photographs don’t do justice to the delicate drab pink that swirls and fragments in the background, a striking foil to the traces of rich blue, full of detail, that floats above. It’s not suitable for my current purpose, but I would love to explore this effect and try to create it deliberately.

Print p4-138
There seemed to be a lot of ink left on the mountboard plate, so without re-inking I printed onto cartridge paper using the ezicut press.

Print p4-138

Print p4-138

This is effectively the second ghost of print p4-136. With relatively little ink a lot of texture and detail is apparent. There are traces of the red oxide, but they have mixed with the blue to become a dirty grey lavender. I like the level of detail and the complexity of colour in the yarn textures. There is more nuance than in p4-135 and p4-136. However I see this as a high process effort and high risk method, not an attractive option as an overprint as planned for the 80 mile beach image.

Print p4-139
I rolled the gelatin print with yellow diarylide liquid pigment, pressed in the mountboard plate and took the print on cartridge paper.

Print p4-139

Print p4-139

This is now the fourth print of the mountboard plate with no ink added. Some of the finer yarns have lifted the yellow without depositing any blue, but the thicker yarns still hold colour. The yellow is strong, visually shrieking, fighting the blue unpleasantly.

Print p4-140
Was there any colour left on the mountboard? I printed onto cartridge paper using the ezicut press.

Print p4-140

Print p4-140

Print p4-140 detail

Print p4-140 detail

This is the fifth print using the blue ink applied for p4-136. The extra pressure of the press transferred more blue than p4-139. The blue sits next to the yellow in the yarn textures. There are a few faint traces of the red oxide in the background.

The question must be around the amount of ink I originally applied. The early prints suffered from too much, losing detail, high in contrast and low in texture. My colours choices in this example aren’t striking – what could be done with more interesting choices?

Putting these questions to one side, I closely studied (sorted!) the yarn textures, looking for candidates for my foreground print. Yarns 6 and 10 look excellent for foliage, but were too large scale for my planned A4 print. Yarns 7 and 9 could fit. Either 13 or 14 could be used for the strong spikes and curves of dune grasses.

I chose to go forward with yarns 6 and 10, trimming the tendrils with scissors to adjust the scale. Yarn 14 was chosen for spikes. I felt that was sufficient variety and complexity for the proposed print. While gluing up the materials I used some of the trimmed offcuts to fill areas between yarns.

collatype plate 7While working I became concerned about the complexity and deep texture of the plate. From my first collatype plate (13-Dec-2015) I have chosen thick/deep or heavily textured items that interested me, disregarding normal printing guidelines. It has seemed a reasonable risk, given my purpose is not traditional print-making. This has led to challenges in inking and printing, and some indifferent, patchy results. This time the choice was unintentional – it has only been while recording the results and reviewing the multiple prints and relative levels of detail from a single inking that I have become fully aware of the price.

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Project 2: Collatype printing
Exercise 3: Collatype collage prints
Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 1

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – block 2

The previous two printing blocks I used were made from plaster textured with different materials. In assignment 3 I made casts in plaster, textured by the material of the molds. Could I print from a plaster cast?

Sample p3-48 detail

Sample p3-48 detail
Click image for larger view

I selected sample p3-48 for the experiment. It was cast in a woven cloth suspended in a plastic grid toy (see 26-Sept-2015). At that time I noted the delicate surface texture and the soft undulations of the form – qualities that I would now like to capture in print.

The plan had the pleasing notion of including elements from all Parts of the course:

  • Crumple rice paper to help form it to the shape of the plaster. I chose to print on rice paper as it is soft and malleable, which seemed important for this experiment. Increasing those properties with crumpling came from assignment 1.
  • Join layers of rice paper in a papier mâché to give strength and hold form of the print. This harks back to a “sketch” in part 1 (16-May-2015), from which I learnt to re-think the glue used. It was mentioned in passing in part 2 as a technique used by Eva Hesse in a joining sample (7-Jun-2015). A stronger link to part 2 is the use of a join – in this case for structural rather than conceptual or decorative purpose. There was also mention of papier mâché in part 3, when I chose to focus on other materials and not pursue the technique (12-Oct-2015).
  • The very direct link to part 3 is the choice of a sample as printing block.
  • Of course there is printing, fitting into the current part 4. There’s also the move to three dimensions – a nod back to 3D printing software (11-May-2015) and the 3D pen (for example 16-Apr-2015), plus addressing my struggles earlier in the assignment moving back to two dimensions.
  • Print p4-127
    After brushing the plaster cast to remove any dust or loose fragments I used a dabber to cover the top surface with akua intaglio violet. A little liquid pigment quinacridone red was mixed in to highlight valleys that would become hills in the finished work.

    I repeatedly crumpled a large piece of rice paper and started working it into the plaster shape from the centre. The paper wouldn’t stay in place.

    Print p4-127 - layers

    Print p4-127 – layers
    Click image for larger view

    After a few trials I found a method that seemed to work. A torn piece of rice paper, around 4 or 5 cm diameter, was brushed with glue on one side and placed lightly glue side up on the plaster. When a couple of pieces of layer 1 were in place I started layer 2, unglued rice paper, overlapping edges and using it to push layer 1 into the form of the plaster. When the whole surface was covered I added a third layer, rice paper with the underside glued. I used only moderate pressure – I was concerned about the paper sticking to the plaster mold, and about shifting and blurring the print.

    I used Yamato rice paste – beautiful smooth consistency, brushed easily onto the thin rice paper without soaking through, easy squeezable tube. A new favourite.

    The print was left to dry overnight.

    Print p4-127

    Print p4-127

    Print p4-127 detail

    Print p4-127 detail

    The print released easily from the plaster. It sits as a bowl 23 cm across at its widest and 6.5 cm high at its highest. It is light but holds firmly.

    The actual printing is disappointing, very pale with dark blotches. I experimented with backlighting but all the dimensionality is lost.

    Print p4-128
    I tried again with a few modifications.

    This time only intaglio ink was used – violet and crimson red, quite heavily dabbed on. This product is thicker and stickier than the akua liquid pigment.

    I worked with narrow strips of paper. These settled more easily into the form and I could push layer 1 into the sticky ink. When adding layer 2 (strips set at right angles to layer 1) I used a small metal spoon to burnish the paper into the plaster form.

    Layer 3 was set at a different angle again. The work was set to dry overnight, then burnished thoroughly with a variety of wooden shaper tools.

    Print p4-128

    Print p4-128

    Print p4-128 detail 1

    Print p4-128 detail 1

    Print p4-128 view 2

    Print p4-128 view 2
    Click image for larger view

    Print p4-128 detail 2

    Print p4-128 detail 2
    Click image for larger view

    The print lifted off the plaster with little difficulty. The bowl is similar in dimension to the previous print. The structure feels slightly firmer.

    The colour is still blotchy – clearly I unconsciously spent a lot of time working in the central valley/hill. However there is clear printing across the surface. I particularly like the well defined boundary between print and surround at the upper edge.

    The texture of the fabric used in making the original plaster sample is clearly apparent. Looking in detail there is a wide variety in the colour mixing and in the way colours and texture combine.

    The idea is more exciting than the actual piece in isolation. However I can imagine a collection of cast plaster and the recast, printed vessels. The idea reminds me of Victoria Brown’s work where the original bottle, the cocoon of wool that was felted around it and the pewter that was cast in the wool are all combined in works (see research post 14-Aug-2015).

    I would like to make marks in the surface of the plaster, making smooth areas or vigorous scratching, then print again. I have a deadline looming, so that will have to wait for another opportunity.

    It was quite a slow, laborious process, effectively creating the surface to be printed as I was creating the print. I wondered if it made sense – painting or stamping the papier mâché after it is made would be faster and easier. However look at the second detail photograph, where the way the original fabric creased around the plaster shows in the curving line of the weave in the crease towards upper right. I don’t think you could get that detail and that history of the object using a different method.

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

    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e2 Polyfilla block

    The task for this exercise was to cover card with Polyfilla and while it was still moist use mark-making tools to create textures. The dried block can be used multiple times.

    I used a different brand product, but the same idea of a pre-mixed plaster, with an A4 piece of mountboard as the base. A lot of time was spent with a wallpaper smoother and the smaller tool provided by the manufacturer, trying to get a smooth and even layer of filler on the card. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the result, but felt the need to move on before the plaster set too much. Next I used a variety of tools and materials to make marks, naturally basing much of my choice on materials used in previous assignments.

    collatype plate 3 in progress

    collatype plate 3 in progress

    Top row from the left: marks drawn with chopstick; corrugated cardboard; non-skid plastic mat; hessian; marks drawn with a couple of the plastic grouting or adhesive spreading tools.
    Bottom row: marks made with the side and ends of pop sticks; pressing and lifting a small triangular headed palette knife (similar to that used in print p4-16); plastic bath mat; heat gun treated plastic; plastic netting.
    Areas were divided using a range of different strings, twine and braid.

    collatype plate 3 finally dry

    collatype plate 3 finally dry
    Click image for larger view

    Working when the plaster is at just the right stage of setting is critical, and I would need more experience to get it right. Most I did too soon. Instead of leaving a clear mark the palette knife just squelched around – I suspect a matter of surface tension. I was able to lift corners of the hessian etc and check they came away clear before removing entirely. I left the heat treated plastic longest of all, but eventually was going away for a few hours and chose to risk taking it up too soon rather than risk the plastic setting in the plaster.

    Drying was slow. Temperature was mid-20s celcius, humidity mid 50s when I was working on it, the next day was almost 30 degrees, and it still took over 24 hours to dry. The board had curved and there were more high and low points than I wanted. I brushed the plate to remove stray loose bits then set to work.

    break
    Print p4-105
    The plate was rolled with akua crimson red intaglio ink. Given the uneveness of the surface it was difficult to get ink on the plate. I rotated the plate and rolled from all directions.

    The print was taken on cartridge paper. I started using my hand and a baren, but peeking showed that very little colour transferred. Wooden clay shaping tools were then used to press into small, detailed areas.

    Print p4-105

    Print p4-105

    The print is much better than I anticipated, with a good range of marks in all the sample areas. I think everything there has potential to be useful in a composition or exploration.

    None of the dividing lines gave any detail.

    break
    Print p4-106
    There were a number of areas with light coverage in the previous print. I wanted to get more colour, so applied the same ink with a dabber, trying to work into the crevices of the plate.

    The printing method was the same as that used in p4-105.

    Print p4-106

    Print p4-106

    There is slightly better coverage to the edge of the plate but overall the print is a little lighter. The dabber didn’t deposit as much ink as the roller.

    I wondered if the plaster was absorbing ink.
    break
    Print p4-107
    I was even more determined to get a more complete print.

    Akua diarylide yellow liquid pigment was applied using a smallish bristle paint brush across the plate including all the crevices. I wiped the yellow off the high surfaces with telephone book paper, then rolled akua crimson red intaglio ink over the plate.

    The print was taken on very slightly damp Arches 88 paper. Using the wooden shaping tools I worked for a long time, trying to press the paper deep into every part of the plate.

    Print p4-107

    Print p4-107

    Print p4-107 detail

    Print p4-107 detail
    Click image for larger view

    There is a lot more, richer colour. In some areas I was able to reach the yellow, particularly where the heat treated plastic had been used.

    It still wasn’t the coverage I wanted. Possibly a printing press and slightly damper paper might have got a better result.

    break
    Print p4-108
    Next I rolled phthalo blue liquid pigment on the gelatin plate. I pressed the plaster plate onto the gelatin, working my way across the surface and then rocking back and forward slightly – most but not all of the bend in the plaster board had worked out in previous prints.

    The print was taken on cartridge paper.

    Print p4-108

    Print p4-108

    The heavy pressing and rocking of the plaster plate both blurred the impression and transferred a lot of the ink to the plaster. The print is almost without ink in the high areas of plaster.

    The blurring is most pronounced in the upper right area where the notched adhesive spreader was used. A visual depth and vibration has resulted which is quite striking. I like the contrast of the evenly spaced zig-zags blending into shimmering tentacles. There is less dramatic interest in the other textured areas, although once again I see promise for the right application.

    The plaster hadn’t been cleaned before this use, and traces of previous red have printed. I wondered if there would be substantial amounts of the old colour and some colour mixing, but there is not enough for major impact.
    break

    Print p4-109
    I repeated the previous method, with less forceful pressing of the plaster collage plate. The print was again taken on cartridge paper.

    Print p4-109

    Print p4-109

    Print p4-109 detail

    Print p4-109 detail
    Click image for larger view

    Colour is stronger overall, and there has been more transfer of the old red and yellow, particularly in the upper right section where a little green can be seen.

    The detail of the print is sharp and clear and very interesting. In the gelatin prints of collage plate 1, such as print p4-97 (14-Dec-2015) the precision and detail of the print was almost too much for my taste. The boundaries were crisp, not hesitant or provisional. There was a flatness and uniformity.

    In the current print there is great variation in value, there is a lot of movement and the marks seem more assertive, more individual. I look at the results and see more than just suitability if the right need comes up. The marks excite me, make me want to use them, to explore further. The roughness of the plaster and the smooth reflection of the gelatin has combined to open new possibilities.
    break

    Print p4-110
    The plaster collage plate by this time was dense with colour. I printed it onto cartridge paper without the heavy working with the wooden shapers used in the earlier prints.

    Print p4-110

    Print p4-110

    The result at first appears very light, but there are small areas of dark tones. There are hints of the red, especially around the borders. To me there is an austere elegance, with the flecks of red giving a little energy.

    I am very interested by all the variations in printing that one plate can provide.

    collatype plate 3 after printing

    collatype plate 3 after printing

    The plate itself has become a source of interest. I wondered earlier if the plaster was absorbing ink. That’s possible, but a few days later the plate still inks my fingers when I touch it. If it dries enough I would like to seal it with a gloss varnish to enrich the colours even more, and hang it as it is. That thought certainly suggests action to take in later plates with more considered compositions.

    break

    experimental collagraph at home

    experimental collagraph at home

    There was still another material for collagraph plates that I wanted to print – pvc foam board, using the techniques learnt in the workshop with Jet James earlier this year (16-July-2015). In the class we used a large printing press and I don’t have regular access to such equipment. However after the class I made a test plate with my little ezicut press. To print I used cheap acrylic paints with some gel retarder and the results were poor. Could I get better results with my akua inks?

    Print p4-111
    I rolled akua crimson red intaglio ink on the pvc plate. The print was taken on cartridge paper user a brayer.

    Print p4-111

    Print p4-111

    The result is light and patchy, but the texture of the embossed area is clear. An encouraging start.
    break

    Print p4-112
    The same ink and inking method was used. I again printed on cartridge paper, but this time through the ezicut press.

    Print p4-112

    Print p4-112

    The actual colour is more crimson and less scarlet as it appears in the photograph. There are areas of flat, strong colour. I think the pressure of the press was too heavy and detail on the plate was lost. I do like the pinpricks of white created by the insect mesh impression in the centre.

    break
    Print p4-113
    I next tried an intaglio print. The red ink was pressed across the surface and into all depressions. The surface was then wiped with phone book paper.

    The print was taken on damp Arches 88 paper using the ezicut press.

    Print p4-113

    Print p4-113

    Much more detail is visible in this plate, including shadows where texture items shifted when the plate was first created.

    The print itself is not exciting, but I am pleased to have the option of creating embossed pvc plates and printing in this style. I think the material and technique is worth developing in the future.
    break

    Print p4-114
    The gelatin plate was once more rolled with phthalo blue liquid pigment. The pvc plate was pressed into the ink and removed. The print was taken on cartridge paper.

    Print p4-114 detail

    Print p4-114 detail

    Print p4-114

    Print p4-114
    Click image for larger view

    I don’t feel I learnt anything new from this print. The pvc was originally created as a quick experiment, a proof of concept that my little craft press was up to the task. It’s not an engaging design.

    The gelatin plate picked up what detail there is, but the flaws (clumps in the original mixing of the gelatin) are becoming more pronounced.
    break
    Print p4-115
    The final print is a ghost on cartridge paper.

    Print p4-115

    Print p4-115

    Bland and uninformative. As I’ve stated above, it’s not an interesting design. In addition I don’t feel the gelatin printing method has revealed any new or different character in the pvc plate. This is quite different to the result with the plaster plate above where the rough and smooth combined to bring something new to print p4-109.

    I’ve built up a good range of materials and techniques. In the next exercise, the last for this assignment, I need to bring things together and put my new skills to use.

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e2 Polyfilla block
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Project 2: Collatype printing
    Exercise 2: Polyfilla block

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage block extension

    Polymorph and composimold molding samples

    Polymorph and composimold molding samples

    I wondered if some of the materials I used for molding in Assignment 3 could be used as alternative collage print blocks – specifically composimold and polymorph.

    Print p4-94
    I rolled akua intaglio ink onto four of the original samples and placed them in a group on the work table. I printed them onto cartridge paper using a baren.

    Print p4-94

    Print p4-94


    Top row: Sample p3-6, polymorph (23-Aug-2015); Sample p3-9, composimold (26-Aug-2015).
    Bottom row: Sample p3-5, polymorph (23-Aug-2015); Sample p3-13, polymorph joined to composimold (1-Sep-2015).

    Both materials picked up colour during rolling and released colour when printing. There was some movement of the separate samples while printing which could have caused blurring, especially of the polymorph samples which have uneven bases and tended to skitter across the table surface.

    The composimold in particular printed strongly and with good detail.
    break

    Print series p4-95
    Each of the samples was rolled with colour again, then printed onto dry stonehenge paper. I printed each sample separately, to avoid the movement issues.

    Print p4-95a

    Print p4-95a

    The first print of sample p3-9 is shown upper right. Transfer using a baren was uneven. I used both hand and baren in the second print on the sheet.

    The resulting pattern is strong but not detailed. The mold had been bent during storage, causing a flaw in both prints. The darker, more complete print has striking patterning which could be used as the starting point or a layer in an abstract design.

    Print p4-95b

    Print p4-95b

    The mix of materials in sample p3-13 has produced a range of textures and tonal value. The print is neither sharp nor detailed, but it is visually interesting.

    Print p4-95c

    Print p4-95c

    The composimold circuit board of sample p3-5 has printed more clearly than in the previous group print but is still indistinct. The texture reminds me of an old, decaying plaster wall. I think if muted in colour it could be a useful background texture.

    Print p4-95d

    Print p4-95d

    Sample p3-6 has some deep indentations, in particular the impression of round plastic braid. I found this print unsatisfying, with much of the texture of the original sample lost.
    break

    Print p4-96
    Dissatisfied with the previous print p4-95d, I decided to print the sample again on damp stonehenge paper. Intaglio ink was pushed into the sample then wiped off and I used wooden clay shaping tools to encourage the paper into the shape of the mold.

    Print p4-96

    Print p4-96

    The paper was very damp, which I think led to the blurring of colour. One or more of my inking, wiping and printing methods were ineffective, with little detail captured from the heavily indented area. I think more could be done with this.
    break

    Print p4-97
    Next I combined the composimold and polymorph samples with the gelatin plate.

    The plate was rolled with phthalo blue akua liquid pigment. Each of the molding samples was pressed into the plate then removed. The print was taken on cartridge paper using a baren.

    Print p4-97

    Print p4-97


    The crisp, intricate detail is amazing.
    Print p4-97 detail 1

    Print p4-97 detail 1

    Print p4-97 detail 2

    Print p4-97 detail 2

    The plate itself is slowly degrading. Little lumps of undissolved gelatin powder mark the surface with more slowly appearing. Ignoring that, the quality of the print is very good.

    The composimold picked up more of the ink than the polymorph, giving a range of values. This difference could be exploited in a design.
    break

    Print p4-98
    I took a ghost print on copy paper using a baren.

    Print p4-98 detail

    Print p4-98 detail

    Detail remains good and I remain excited about the possibilities of this combination of materials and techniques.
    break

    Print p4-99
    There was a lot of ink transferred from the gelatin plate to the samples.

    I printed sample p3-13 onto very damp stonehenge paper using hand and brayer.

    Print p4-99

    Print p4-99


    The result is indistinct and watery, like a puddle on a rainy afternoon. I rate it a failure.
    break

    Print p4-100
    Next I printed all four samples one by one on a strip of dry stonehenge paper, without adding more ink. On sample p3-6 in particular I worked with the wooden tools to capture as much detail as possible.

    Print p4-100

    Print p4-100


    Sample p3-13 is very faint, to be expected given no more ink was added after print p4-99.

    The print of sample p3-6 shows the most detail of any of my attempts. I can clearly see the original webbing, the original round braid. I can see all of these as background texturing or context-giving material.
    break

    Print p4-101
    Using the gelatin plate gave entirely different results to printing the samples directly onto paper. Wanting to explore this further I re-rolled liquid pigment on the plate, then pressed collatype plate 1 into the gelatin, working across all sections of the plate to ensure contact.

    Print p4-101

    Print p4-101

    Print p4-101 detail

    Print p4-101 detail

    The results are highly detailed. The plaster chips, round braid and balsa wood are all much clearer than in any earlier prints. I wouldn’t necessarily want this level of detail for all prints, but it’s a great option.

    Some of the rough materials on the collatype plate broke the surface of the gelatin plate. I haven’t yet tried but I believe it is possible to melt and re-make gelatin plates.

    In the final exercise of the assignment we are asked to make more collatype prints. I definitely want to include these materials and techniques in the mix.
    break

    My final extension work returned to the earlier monotype projects. I would like to find a stencil material that allows me to build a library of personal patterns and motifs, created in more durable stencils. I also wanted to try again the stencil colouring and registration techniques I attempted in print p4-77 (7-Dec-2015).

    In previous exercises I have used copy paper, freezer paper and bristol board to make stencils. To these I added wet media acetate (a very thin acetate sheet which is treated by the manufacturer to allow liquid media to be applied without beading and cleans up in water) and yupo stencil paper (plastic coated paper).

    Print p4-102
    Phthalo blue akua liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate. Fish shapes cut with a scalpel from each of the five materials were rolled with orange liquid pigment and placed ink side down on the plate. Cartridge paper was placed on the plate and stencils and printed with a baren. Keeping the cartridge paper basically in place, corners were lifted and the stencils removed. The baren was used again to make the final print.

    Print p4-102

    Print p4-102

    Stencil placement:
    Top row: freezer paper; bristol board.
    Bottom row: wet media acetate; yupo stencil paper; copy paper.

    Some of the stencils shifted as I was rolling on the orange, leaving traces of colour on the non-inked sides. I think this is the source of the only clear orange seen on the print.

    Both the copy paper and the bristol board absorbed virtually all the orange during the initial press, leaving none deposited on the print.

    The other three all produced a mixing of orange and blue with different textures depending on the stencil material. The wet media acetate left the most orange in the mix. The granularity of the colour mix is much finer from the yupo stencil.
    break

    Print p4-103
    It seems to me that this technique must always leave a mix of colour. When the stencil is removed there will be some of the original colour rolled on the plate and some of the colour rolled on the stencil.

    I cleaned and re-inked the gelatin plate. I then placed and removed an uninked fish stencil in four places. The idea was to lift off some of the blue. I then placed on four stencils of different materials, each inked in orange. The printing process was the same as the previous print.

    Print p4-103

    Print p4-103

    Stencil placement:
    Top row: yupo stencil paper; freezer paper.
    Bottom row: wet media acetate; bristol board.

    The same “blotting” stencil was used four times, and was less effective in removing ink in the later uses. The four stencils printed had all been used in the previous print. They had all been wiped clean, but both the freezer paper and the bristol board remained damp.

    It was difficult to avoid accidental marking of the ink when removing the blotting stencil. Placement of the inked stencils was close but not fully registered.

    The colour on all fish is much less textured – much of what is visible is caused by flaws developing in the plate. Once again the wet media acetate produced the strongest orange, but it is not a pure colour. While not what I was looking for, the colouring on all the fish is attractive.
    break

    Print p4-104
    This is the ghost of the previous print, made on copy paper.

    Print p4-104

    Print p4-104

    The colour overall is more consistent in value. The colour effects are pretty but not striking or dramatic.

    The is a wide halo effect around the bristol board fish, which I think relates to the relatively thick and absorbent material.

    By the end the freezer paper stencil was tightly curled and unusable. Both the yupo and the wet media acetate remained in good shape. The acetate washed clean, the yupo was slightly stained. Time is needed for a real test of longevity. In the meantime I plan to use yupo and acetate in future stencils.

    I remain unsatisfied with the technique I was trying. In a future experiment I will place the stencils ink side up.

    A number of new materials with lots of potential have been identified in these experiments. I hope to take as many as possible further in coming projects.

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage block extension
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Project 2: Collatype printing
    Exercise 1: Create a collage block
    Collage block extension

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage blocks

    In this exercise we are to create a collage block and print from it.

    I used an A4 piece of mountboard for my base and PVA both to glue on materials and as protective coating for the completed block. From my research (yet to be posted) there are generally all sorts of practical considerations for the items to be collaged, most related to suitability for printing on a press – not too thick, no overhangs that could break, no sharp edges that could damage the press or blankets… Most is not relevant to printing by hand, and if my materials started breaking down during use it could be interesting in its own right – there are lots of potential themes that relate to decay and the passage of time.

    The materials chosen have all been used in previous samples in this course.

    collatype plate 1

    collatype plate 1

    Row 1: Computer circuit board (wrapping samples, including p2-75 28-Jul-2015); Corrugated cardboard and cocktail sticks (multiple uses, including p2-2 6-Jun-2015);
    Row 2: Fragments of plaster (from sample p3-53, 1-Oct-2015); Plastic braid (used in molding in p3-10, 27-Aug-2015);
    Row 3: Balsa wood (an offcut from joining sample p2-20, 22-Jun-2015); Cork mat – the two pieces on the right have been roughened to vary the surface (from sample p2-20, 22-Jun-2015);
    Row 4: Paper clips (used in extended join sample, 2-Jul-2015); Resin (mentioned in passing in Sorting of molding and casting, 11-Oct-2015. I drilled holes in resin while experimenting with display options, as seen in the photograph combining samples p3-24, p3-35 and p3-33. The resin shavings from the drilling are used in the collage block);
    Row 5: Insect screen mesh (a recurring favourite, including the curl in joining sample p2-18, 19-Jun-2015); Hessian (joining sample p2-24, 22-Jun-2015).
    break

    Print p4-87
    For the first print I used akua intaglio ultramarine blue ink. I started the application with a cut-down housepainting brush, an idea found in Bill Chambers notes (http://www.billchambers.org/images/artists%20notes/collagraph_printmaking.pdf), thinking this would help push ink into the complex and often small spaces in the plate. Coverage was very mottled so I combined this with use of a dabber made from polyester fill covered by a plain weave mid-weight cotton. The combination seemed to work well, pushing colour into crevices but avoiding buildup of ink.

    The print was taken on A3 copy paper, pressed by hand and brayer. I worked from the thinner materials up to the thicker ones.

    Print p4-87

    Print p4-87

    Overall the colour is quite light and uneven. The paper is slightly distorted, particularly in the area in row 2, around the plaster pieces. There is some ghosting and blurring around some of the thinner pieces, pressed again after the paper had shifted while printing the thicker areas. There are large white gaps around most of the materials.

    I was pleased that all the materials did print at least something. The speckled line of the braid in row 2 is attractive if a little messy. It is reminiscent of a snake. The insect mesh in row 5 is the clearest print and the slight ghosting gives an extra flicker of movement.
    break

    Print p4-88
    I inked up the plate again, using the same tools but with more energy and force.

    The plate was printed onto lightly damped stonehenge paper (245 gsm, 100% cotton). The paper was damped using a method seen on a demonstration video by Tyrus Clutter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO2G56hC5Fs). He sprays the one side of each sheet a few times, then stacks the paper and stores it in a plastic bag.

    I pressed on the paper by hand and brayer, working from thick areas to thin, trying to mold the paper around the plate materials.

    Print p4-88

    Print p4-88

    The heavier inking and heavy, damp paper has resulted in richer colour on the print. Working around the thick areas first has avoided the ghosting and movement of the previous print. The dried paper is unevenly embossed around some of the thicker materials, however nothing quite broke through the surface of the paper.

    Most of the textures produced could be useful in the right context. The plastic braid and plaster pieces were more effective in the previous print.
    break

    Print p4-89
    In this print I experimented with using two colours. I was thinking of prints that combine relief and intaglio printing.

    First I inked the plate again with blue akua intaglio ink. I wiped “surface” areas with a pad of synthetic organza (a substitute of the tarlatan I’ve read of printers using). I then rolled on orange akua liquid pigment, not avoiding but not particularly trying to get into any of the spaces between the different collaged elements.

    I printed onto lightly damp stonehenge paper, working from thick areas to thin.

    Partway through row 2 I started using wooden clay modelling tools to help in molding the paper around the collaged items. I didn’t go back to the top because of the likelihood of shifting the paper.

    Print p4-89

    Print p4-89

    The result is full of areas of interest. On most elements the blue and orange remain distinct rather than mixing to sludge. Ink reached additional areas due to the increased embossing with the wooden tools. The dried paper is heavily embossed, with a few small breakages.

    Print p4-89 detail

    Print p4-89 detail

    My favourite areas are the circuit board and the insect mesh. In both there is complex interaction of the two colours, providing a lot of interest and detail.
    break

    My second collage block experimented with mark-making on the mountboard itself. I was also interested in comparing different types of sealant. Most of the artists I have researched use shellac (where sealing material is mentioned), but that involves methylated spirits which I would rather avoid.

    I didn’t attempt the scratching exercise of Assignment 1 – this felt like filling in that gap.

    I wasn’t able to get a good photograph of the finished board ready to print.

    collatype plate 2

    collatype plate 2


    Markings, left to right:
    Column 1: Scoring with a stanley knife.
    Column 2: Attempts with a lino cutting knife. This became frustrating and the marks “stabby”. I suspect poor quality, blunt, cheap tools – but then a poor workman blames her tools.
    Column 3: Channels cut with an x-acto x2000 knife. This is described by the manufacturer as “the ultimate cutting tool for precision and accuracy” and it was a joy to use, especially after column 2. I cut v-shaped channels, one side at a time. Cutting was smooth and responsive – with practice I think one could create some very sensitive, varied lines with this tool.
    Column 4: I tore off the upper layers of the mountboard. Each tear was begun with a small slit with the x-acto knife, then I tried to tear varying widths and densities.
    Column 5: Stabbing and scratching with the sharp nose of a small pair of scissors.
    Column 6: A fork was dragged across the board, denting but not cutting the surface.

    Different media were painted in rows across the board to seal it. Looking from the top down:
    Row 1: Mod-podge.
    Row 2: Acrylic matt medium.
    Row 3: Acrylic heavy structure gel.
    Row 4: Acrylic gesso.
    The media were thinned with water and two layers were used.
    I made two unfortunate errors in this process. First, I used a poor quality brush I had to hand, getting a streaky result and some broken fibres in the paint. Second, I got my media confused and painted heavy structure gel as layer two of the mod-podge row. A third layer – mod-podge this time – was added in an attempt to rectify the problem.
    break

    Print p4-90
    The board was rolled with ultramarine blue akua intaglio ink. It was printed onto copy paper with a baren.

    Print p4-90

    Print p4-90


    Failure.
    The result is patchy and bland. There is slightly more colour in the matt medium row. I see no interesting marks.
    break

    Print p4-91
    The plate was rolled with ink as in the previous print. It was printed using the ezicut press onto cartridge paper.

    Print p4-91

    Print p4-91

    The colour overall is better, but now it is clear that there are uneven brushmarks from applying the sealant across the block. Once again the matt medium has given a deeper result.

    The energy of the lino cutting and the scissor stabbing is now apparent and I think give the most interesting areas. The lines from the x-acto knife are smooth, distinct and flowing. I am disappointed by the area where the mountboard was torn. From my research this should give darker areas. This is one of the techniques used by Sarah Ross-Thompson (http://www.rossthompsonprints.com/techniques). Possibly my sealant was too thick, losing the texture of the torn board. I believe Ross-Thompson uses one thin layer of shellac. Possibly I did not tear deeply enough.
    break

    Print p4-92
    In this print I attempted an intaglio effect, similar to that learnt in the workshop with Jet James earlier this year (16-July-2015). I pressed akua intaglio ink into the board using a wallpaper smoother and an old plastic membership card. I then wiped ink off the surface of the plate with synthetic organza and phone-book paper.

    I thought the spray-dampened paper used in earlier prints was too dry, so this time soaked the stonehenge paper in a water bath, blotted dry between towels, then stored in a plastic bag. I printed using the ezicut press.

    Print p4-92

    Print p4-92

    The paper was very damp, and I think this has led to come spreading of the ink. The unevenness of the sealant application is still apparent. The surface ink was more effectively removed from the mod-podge areas.

    The marks previously identified remain the most promising. The striation of the painted sealant has become more interesting in a shabby chic way. It could become an effective background texture, and a more varied range of brush mark could be explored.
    break

    Print p4-93
    Blue intaglio ink was applied and wiped as in the previous print. Orange akua liquid pigment was then applied using a roller.

    The print was taken on very damp stonehenge paper using the ezicut press.

    Print p4-93

    Print p4-93


    There is more spreading of the ink than in the previous print. Possibly the paper was even damper than before. Possibly the liquid pigment is more sensitive to damp in the paper.

    The incised x-acto lines are the only sharp and well-defined elements, with good contrast between wiped surface and incised marks. There is little clear orange to be seen, although I suspect some of the mixing is optical rather than mixing of the inks themselves. Personally I find the complex colour more interesting than variations of blue and white. The orange gives a glowing effect. It would be interesting to use analogous rather than near-complementary colours in a print. I’m not sure if that would serve to reduce the impact of the mark-making or enhance and enrich the print overall.

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage blocks
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Project 2: Collatype printing
    Exercise 1: Create a collage block
    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage blocks


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