Saturday 24 October 2009

Mary Lundquist

Came across this on Mary Lundquists blog and thought to myself - why have I never done that ??

A simple thing but it could be very affective if I used it for example on to some Hosho paper or similar, perhaps on its own but it would make for an interesting element ( chine colle - d)  in a larger print.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Linda Germain The Gelatin Queen !!

Well maybe just a little.  It's not that she wobbles (as far as I know !!!) but just that she has taken the process of Gelatin monoprinting to her heart. 
I look at her blog now and again to see what she has been up to and seeing her video about this process (where you don't need access to an etching press) on You Tube, inspired me to buy a couple of packs of gelatin.   
I will try it out soon.  I thought I might make some interesting ;backgrounds for printmaking.  I rather liked this piece of hers.  Check out her blog.

Brazilian Printmaker R O S A N A P A U L I N O

 My friend Rosana who is based in Sau Paulo, Brazil has some great work on her blog which I originally set up for her,  to encourage her to get her lovely work on line.
 I like how she uses media and the kinds of ideas and emotions she explores in her work.

Check out her blog  I have put it through Google's website blog translator so language is not a barrier.  For those of you who speak Portuguese,  her direct blog address is
Rosana did a residency at London print Workshop (as it was then called) sometime around 1997 -9, which is how we became friends.


Sunday 4 October 2009

More Watercolor based Monoprints

As per the previous post - these two circular monoprints were made onto a prepared surface of rice paste which was left to dry over night.  This white grainy plastic might be mylar I actually don't know.
It was given to me when I was artist in residence at Lowick Print Workshop in Cumbria (now defunct) although perhaps Abacus postcards are still in operation.  I say this because the guy who owned that business was somehow involved with Lowick.  It really was a wonderful place in terms of the landscape the facilities and the great technician who was there to assist me, printmaker,  Emma Grover.

Getting back to these monoprints - they are about 37 cm diameter.  Whereas the previous circular substrates were about 22cm at the largest.  I just applied the caran dache water based crayons and swirled the colors about somewhat.  I then left them out to dry.  About 2 hours later they were dry enough to put through the press.  While I was waiting I worked on some others such as this square one on a sheet of perspex to which I had glued a piece of true grain of the same size, with PVA.  It is gradually coming loose,  so I will have to re attach it soon.

I loved the way this one behaved. I put some of that water colour ink that I mentioned in the previous post and I dropped some water on it and it seemed to 'coagulate' almost like cells in a medical diagram or macro slide.

I will definitely use that again but as I said the product is no longer being sold by the manufacturers.  They must have replaced it with something similar though.  This ones 12 x 12 inches or 30 x 30 cm.

Next another circular print which I think almost has the look of a planet or something relating to the cosmos about it.

Just watercolor crayons although I seem to remember that I used some actual paint from my box of half pans of w/c paints to intensify that red.

Again it had to dry before it was put through the etching press.  The pressure was loosened from it's usual position for etching plates.  Probably a half turn anti clockwise.  By now I was wise to the very important step of laying the dampened blotted paper on the press bed with the blankets over it for 3 minutes BEFORE rolling it through the press!

This I refer to as Kangaroo Number one, the first one I did using the kangaroos,  cut out from a tomato puree (aluminium/ or tin) tube.  I have in the last few months become fascinated with what I can do with packaging from the kitchen that would otherwise be thrown away.

Although we do have special bins for recycling tin and aluminium cans and containers.  We also have one for paper and another for plastic.  I did scribe into the shapes but after going through the press a couple of times I noticed that they had become quite flattened.  Maybe it would be better to use less pressure when using these in a particularly focussed way OR maybe I should have scribed in deeper (not that the material is that thick!!)

Anyway in this one I had applied the Caran dache crayons 'dry' and they didn't fully release as can be seen.  I liked it though and might do something further to it on another occassion.  I shall put in the pile,  I have next to my etching press, of "Prints to do further work on".!

Here are the little blighters !! I'm fond of them for some reason and a couple of days after I had been working on these prints at the FDPW print workshop I couldn't find them and was asking if anyone had seen my little kangaroos and I sure got some 'funny looks'.
Another time a few months back I lost my little transparent polypropylene cat (a leopard profile) and was lucky that fellow printmaker, Jane Matthews found it for me.  I have done a few printmaking elements -cut-outs of this material + using the tomato puree tin also.  It's so sad because I'm now thinking of the song "Skippy, Skippy, Skippy ..the bush kangaroo" one of my favorite TV programmes from my childhood.  Rushing home from school to see it.  I think we just had one TV channel at that time in Ireland and it was only on from about 6pm to midnight.  Happy days!!

OK so I know this one looks VERY similar BUT it is a different one.  I liked the way the kangaroos came out on this one but prefer the background on the first one but such is life!! aye ee vay!    I quite also like the somewhat droplet-like marks.  I am just thinking that these kangaroos almost look a they are going through water....what's that all about?

Both were done again with the caran dache w/c crayons.  I have met quite a few artists who have never used these ........which quite surprises me - they really are excellent and very liberating.

This final image is  one of two attempts at trying out screen mono prints on a rickety small silkscreen (using the Caran dache crayons again) with Lascaux screen transparent base.  It's usually added to screen inks to make them more transparent.
Around this time I started to remember that when I went to the very first Impact Printmaking Conference that a chap there gave me a huge tub of screen printing base and I thought to myself OMG where on earth have I put that, as I was thinking - this could be a great way to generate backgrounds for prints.  Especially larger ones.  You see I had had so much trouble doing larger backgrounds for prints;  as in, no matter how careful I was, I'd always ended up with roller marks.  So now I have purchased my own aluminium screen + squeegee of medium size figuring that when I want to do a larger one I 'd need FDPW help  so I'd be doing it there and using larger workshop squeegees.

Oh and a happy ending, in that, I found the tub of screenprint transparent base - something I never thought I'd ever use but I do like the idea of playing around with scren printing just with colours and stencil in quite a free usual we shall see!!

Watercolour Based Monotype - RELEASE AGENTS

These are jpegs of the printmaking which I first did, once I got out of the hospital well actually it was about say... 3 weeks afterwards.  I somehow thought that using watercolour based crayons onto polystyrene as well as perspex plates would be kind of 'easy-going' and simple to clear up - which it was.  I was trying all kinds of 'release-agents' not being sure as to what was best and also with archivability in mind.  I tried using screenprint -transparent-medium or base (as a release agent) - I had to leave it to dry overnight and next day unfortunately it was 'still wet' so that was only of use if I was working with a wet blending type other words it was of no use at all.

I also tried using something called "Ecover" which is an organic or environmentally friendly 'washing- up liquid'.  

Starch Paste 

Another  release agent I had a go at was 'starch paste' ( this had been purchased many years ago, it was made by Ocaldo, based in the UK.  They make budget priced,  art activity products for kids in primary schools and some unfortunate ones in secondary schools and colleges of further education too.   I know this from when I was a lecturer at Ealing and Richmond colleges in west London ).  I seem to remember that it dried OK as well BUT as I'm not too sure as to how Ocaldo produce this then I could not be sure as to its archival qualities.  
note:  "starch formulas " were mentioned in Julia Ayres's book "Monotype" (Watson Guptil)  which is what made me think of trying this out.
As I had been researching Moku-Hanga (Japanese woodblock process) Image on left illustrating this gorgeous technique is by Hidehiko Goto  particularly in relation to how the pigment is applied to the woodcut blocks (with a half baked idea in relation to monotype printmaking using wood as a substrate).  I thought that perhaps this might be helpful as a release agent, as such.  In Moku-Hanga I rice paste is combined with the dry powder pigment.  I think I also used it when I was doing those experiments with loose pigments a few months back. 

Rice Paste

I also knew that rice paste was used in Moku Hanga as part of the process of applying (brushing) the pigment onto the plate.  The  rice paste I used was called "Nori"  purchase from Intaglio Printmakers suppliers in London.  I usually use it for my chine colle with intaglio.

Of all of those that I tried I would say that rice paste was best in a way because it is archival and it dries fairly quickly onto the surface of your substrate which means that you can work onto that  - without being inhibited by a sloppy swirly sticky base so you have more control of the mark making.  I was able to make the colour "washy" if I wanted or more like dry marks as in "unblended".  Image at top of this post: Aquarelle water based crayons applied "dry" onto a  plate prepared by rolling on rice paste and allowing it  to dry -it  does not take long. 

Washing-up Liquid

This next image I seem to remember was done using the 'Ecover' washing-up liquid which is not too bubbly or perfumed etc etc.  I thought this might be the most organic and perhaps least damaging to the paper/ pigments in 'archival terms'.
Anyway I let it dry overnight. I  worked on a polystyrene plate.   After I applied it to the plate ( just a thin coat)  and let it dry over night.
Next day  I worked onto the 'plate' with Daler Rowney "Luma" concentrated watercolours. Note: this product is no longer being made by Rowney.  I worked these with water into  washes.  These were dried over the next night. 
It came out well.  As I may have mentioned already it had excellent 'release' properties.

This one (with the bear) I honestly can't remember which so called release-agent, I tried out.  
I used a polystyrene plate and it was one that I had previously worked into with a ball point pen or an etching needle point though it was actually the opposite end to the needle point (so it was a rounded point and not a sharp one).  Does that make sense - hope so. 
Anyway I worked over that with a thick "Caran d'ache" water based crayon which has this lovely Monestial blue.. ......... its almost has a 'double ghost" type edge but it's still more or less OK - I like it anyway and I  still have the 'plate' and could print it again, more carefully, if needed.

Liquid Gum Arabic

This one was done onto Gum Arabic.
I had this liquid gum arabic,  on my shelf because ages ago Agata, this Polish printmaker I know through the web, who's based in Aberdeen, told me about a process using it, which I wanted to try out.  I purchased it again at Intaglio Printmakers suppliers in London.
It seems good  -  I tried it out on polystyrene  I let it dry overnight and then worked onto the 'plate' with Caran d'ache water based crayons.  I  let that dry over night, and the following day ran it through the etching press - it came out well.

Screen printing base medium

As mentioned above the brand I used was Lascaux screen print base......allowing it to dry overnight (though it stayed wet!!) and then blended the watercolour media into it and had to let it dry overnight.  It  did print  well so perhaps one might use that if no liquid gum arabic or rice paste was available..

General Notes

I found it best not too have the pressure too tight and also to allow the damp blotted paper, to sit  on the plate for three minutes under the blankets on the press bed  PRIOR to running it through the press ( I came across this very important pointer in the Intaglio book by Robert Adam and Carol  Robertson (Thames and Hudson). 

The best approach seemed to be to  i.e., to let the plate that has been worked on with  watercolour media DRY OVERNIGHT  as opposed to putting it immediately through the press,  because otherwise one gets 'squishing' of the wet media outside of the plate area, as it is goes under the roller pressure.
Obviously this particularly applies to watercolour based media.  I imagine using the more recently available water based inks by Rostow and Jung would be a different matter altogether.

I used a lightweight Fabriano paper and then some heavyweight Hahnemuhle paper to try these 'experiments' out on.
Tomorrow or in the next post I will show some monoprints made onto a lovely textured plastic (it's probably Mylar) which are larger.  Most of the images were thought of as 'backgrounds' to make prints onto, or to throw away.
My apologies re. the Pink coloured mokuhanga print (3rd image down from the top of this post) its author/artist is unknown to me............ I think it is absolutely beautiful gentle and subtle.  Please let me know if you recognise as I always want to attribute an artists work.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Busy day getting distracted from posting to my blog !!!

Its quite amazing the amount of time one can fritter away with going from one link to another .........Some times starting with clicking on a link in a google blog alert or through emails which ~I  get from the Baren's mailing list.  Since I had to get a new ISP and use my domain email, I have been getting far less email and yet it still doesn't prevent me from surfing all over the net!!
But I suppose it's all just a mixture of being inspired, informed and discovering new artists and other things.

Speaking of being inspired I found this little image on Swinkies blog which I find exquisite.  What a great name "Swinkie"!!  I enjoy her blog too.

Her actual name is Sandra Winkworth and she is based in Sydney Australia ( for those of you who were not aware !!) She spent some time in the Czech Republic ( this is where her family came from originally)  earlier this year at a place called Klenova.  It  was fun to read of her time there. Somehow it reminded me of the time I spent traveling in Poland with my friend Linda H, who still lives down in London.

Just found this letter to the Guardian newspaper from Linda ( good on yah girl !!) Our travels in Poland over a period of about four weeks took us to Warsaw, Krakow,  Wroclaw ( pronounced rotswav ) where we stayed with Linda's old friend Helena for about a week,  Later we travelled around the Polish countryside and I can't remember the names of most of the places that we went to other than that we  went sailing and camping on the Mazurian (sp ??) lakes, with a chap called Marek and his chums from the University in Wroclaw where Helena worked as a teacher ( some of them may have been students of hers).

Friday 2 October 2009

Printmaking in the Artic

Now and again I dip into or happen to come across Inuit printmaking and I have a long standing admiration for graphic works in particular from this culture.  In particular what appeals to me are those images that refer to their folklore and mythology such as this print by Malaya Pitsiulak,  from the Pannirtuq community. 

This print is called  "The Hunter, the Bear and the Inukshuit"

Inuksuit are among the most important objects created by the Inuit, who were the first people to inhabit portions of Alaska, Arctic Canada and Greenland. The term Inuksuk (the singular of Inuksuit) means "to act in the capacity of a human." It is an extension of Inuk, meaning "a human being."

Among many practical functions, Inuksuit are employed as hunting and navigation aids, coordination points, indicators and message centres.

In addition to their earthly functions, certain Inuksuk-like figures had spiritual connotations and were objects of veneration.

Heres another print, a lino cut this time by Lipa Pitsiulak called "Sedna Luring a Fish".


In Inuit mythology, Sedna (Inuktitut Sanna, ᓴᓐᓇ) is a deity and goddess of the marine animals, especially mammals such as seals. She lives in and rules over Adlivun, the Inuit underworld. Sedna is also known as Arnakuagsak or Arnarquagssaq (Greenland) and Nerrivik (northern Greenland) or Nuliajuk (District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories). Although Sedna is sometimes thought to predominate throughout the Canadian Arctic she was known by other names by different Inuit groups

Here is a link to some more lovely mainly fairly recently created Inuit prints using some of the earlier techniques such as stencil, and stone cut.  Many are made using , silk screen, aquatint, etching and lithography.

Here's another which gives a survey of Inuit printmaking surveying it's evolution over the past 40 years.