Thursday, 9 April 2009

A Hard Frustrating day at the Print Workshop

I got there at about 11 am and set to immediately inking up the drypointed "perspex" that I made on Tuesday after I returned home from another (not too hard going day thankfully) at the FDPW print workshop. Although I have used the word perspex - I don't think that in fact, it is perspex - it's possibly polypropylene (mine is transparent though it has slightly opaque quality). I bought a sheet of it, absolutely ages ago, at the London Graphics Centre. I can't remember the reason I purchased it but it was for some project or other that I was working on.

I have just done a search on Google and I think it is this product which I found on their website (i.e., Lon Graphic Cen.) but which I found at a more reasonable price on Fred Aldous. Good old Fred!!... I get their email newsletter about new and reduced products - you know the sort of thing - but have never purchased anything from them as of yet.

So I might well try them....... delivery is £6.00, for 5 x A1 sheets which is not too bad.

Above is the visualization of the print that I was working on today and the past couple of weeks.

I also found out that you can use mild steel for copper sulphate etch today through the fact that there was a catalog from Hawthorn Printmaker 's shop on the table at FDPW. Co incidentally I actually drypointed some 'mild steel' a few months back, when I was 'faffing' about trying to make a few miniprints to submit for the 7th British Miniprint event - which is now on show at London Print Studio - I would have loved to see it but will have to wait until I get sent the catalogue - hope it doesn't take too long.......I also hope that the print quality of the published catalogue is up to scratch. I went to a lot of trouble to get it top notch and high res and true to colour. It would be annoying if they screw up the colour or eg print it upside down . That has actually happened to me in the past.

Re Copper Sulphate etching
Peter Wray wrote and had an article published in Printmaking Today about 2 years ago about how to carry out etching using the copper sulphate (or saline etch) process which I was very excited about. I fairly immediately dropped him an email querying some minor practical point that I wasn't clear to me, from the article and I definitely wanted to try it out. I seem to remember that he wrote a very nice friendly and helpful reply which was very encouraging as well as being helpful.

Anyway, I have just dropped a line to Peter, to ask him about the copper sulphate etch process onto mild steel and hope he will reply. My main query is does it mean that one would have less of a problem with the plate tone, which is an unfortunate feature with the aluminium although of course a huge amount of the determined outcome is related to the 'ink wiping' process. Lets hope he answers me.

Excuse me while I go and get some Earl Gray tea --- love the stuff - drink it always when I am at home. Which is all the time nowadays other that when I go to the print workshop. Though there are the odd other excursions such as e.g., yesterday when I had to go see the Neuro Surgeon at a hospital in Edinburgh. More on that later.

The drypoint that I was working on today ,as I said at the beginning of this post, didn't quite come out of the etching press as I had hoped.
I had done a proof of it on Tuesday using the Intaglio Printmakers drypoint easy wipe black, a recent acquisition at FDPW. It sure enough was 'easy to wipe' but I also got a lot of unwanted tone on the plate.

The plate was one that I had, had for ages and a couple of weeks ago Bill helped me to polish it up and also to use what I think was a block of carbon and oil in between re polishing it. The idea was to knock back the extraneous scratches it had 'developed' over the years it had been 'stored' amongst my various metal printing plates.

I was delighted that this was a possibility because from my perspective it looked like it wasn't going to be 'use-able' in terms of doing the drypoint. It took a couple of hours to get it right I thought that it was worth it, as it's a fair size: about A2 roughly speaking and as you printmaker types, in particular will be aware, copper gets more, more and more expensive. In addition to this piece of copper I used another piece of new copper which was like a chopped off section which became part of the print with a gap in between the two of them as part of the design. Will photo it and insert in this post later.

However there seems to be a probem with unwanted tone on the large plate and it isnt there on the newer copper plate, part of the print. This could be seen from the proof that was taken on Tuesday.

One idea was to ink it up and then do a surface roll on to it and then I thought I might add the drypointed figurative element later on re soaking the proof and perhaps using cut out chine colle to back it in order that the figurative element is more prominent.

HOWEVER as I was saying it didn't quite work out as I had hoped. We got some great colours together though. Bill mixed a gorgeous blue which was made as far as I remember from Yellow Ochre and Prussian Blue.
My colour was achieved more easily than Bills one - a small percentage about 10 percent of violet to a permenent red which to me looked like a cadmium red as in a pure red neither cold nor warm but smack in the middle of the red scale. Took ages to wipe the plates up and then we were trying to get rid of as much extraneous plate tone as possible . I was getting so tired by then Back pain really was getting to me but we pushed on.
It was kind of nerve wracking at the colour blend part which Bill had rolled up and he did the actual application to the plates. It would have been too physically strenuous for me as one needed to stand over the plates and then stretch the length of them and maintain an even direction with the roller etc etc. But ultimately one needs a roller with a sufficiently large diameter so that one doesn't repeat the rotation onto the surface because the underlying image gets 'picked up' on the roller and transplanted onto where you don't want it to be. Also you get lines running up the vertical of the plate. But we did the best job that we could.

Ultimately we concluded that the proof will of course will need to be done again. There was an idea of doing the surface roll underneath the drypoint proof next time - but I wonder whether the 'tone problem' would then still show itself unfavorably. My thoughts are that the giant roller will have to be used onto the surface of the inked drypoint plate. A lot more hassle, I know, but when I think of all the effort that was expended today on both our parts and how much pain I was in, because I had "overdone it" then it really would be the best thing to do on the next occasion.

I am also considering working further into the drypointed handwriting on the plate because the marks in some areas just are not deep enough.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for mentioning us here at Fred Aldous.

    It would be great if you'd make the mention into a link ;-)

    Great blog too.


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