Monthly Archives: January 2015
I made the first of my Australian studio visits last Saturday (24th Jan) to Bittondi Printmakers (two Facebook links, here and here), in the Aberfoyle Park suburb, in the hills south of Adelaide. A ‘photopolymer etching’ course was being run by Julia Wakefield and I met her and the three printmakers learning this technique with her. Also there when I arrived was member Kay Walker; she and Julia showed me around the premises.
The group have a lovely building in the grounds of the Aberfoyle Park High School:
This is a follow-up to Wild Raspberries: wip 01 which reported on my start of this project. I was unhappy with most of the prints there and so altered curves and levels of the images in Photoshop (after a short tutorial in how to do so from Katy Goodrich).
With the Hands image, I shifted the levels only slightly to lose the heavy dark shadow in the cup of the hands:
The barbed outline got a bit more complicated curves adjustment to bring out the fine details more and tone down the darker lines:
I worked a lot on the canes image, not just the one I had from the last post but another which was more of a close-up and a little more abstract. I then tried both those images overlaid with the close-up one reduced to 20% transparency and the other at 45%. These two looked like:
with the result:
So, I trundled off to Staples again and got the images printed onto transparencies. I took these into LPW on 27th Nov and developed the images onto a new set of photolithography plates and got started printing them.
First, I printed the canes, this time using green ink. I got a couple of decent prints out of this, one of which was:
but the last was really poor. I made a complete mess of wiping the plate down and inking up. Didn’t have a clue what was going wrong.
So, I moved on to the hands and these came out ok, but not great:
I then took a closer look at the transparencies and it looked as though they were less well defined than the previous lot. The Staples assistant used a different printer and I think it might have been a less capable one.
Anyway, I ran a third print of the hands through but this time superimposed on one of the canes images:
Not at all aligned properly. Need to find some way of exposing transparencies onto plates that allows for proper registration.
When I cleaned the hands plate, it seemed to have marks on the plate, as if new lines had developed out. I asked Serena about it and, after some discussion, she reckoned that it came down to too vigorous cleaning of the plates. I had been rubbing pretty hard with the turps and hadn’t realised that it might cause damage. Serena also realised that her printed instructions from the course ought to have mentioned wetting the plate or applying gum before using the turps to protect the image.
Finally, I printed the spiky outline image:
and this one, finally, came out just as I wanted it to. The long spikes were faint but visible while the shorter ones and the centre of the outline weren’t so dark as to overpower the image. A win at last.
And to make it even better, cleaning the plate after wetting it was so much easier and caused absolutely no damage/
I’d intended another day’s printing when I would experiment with ink transparency and different colours but didn’t really have time to do this with all the preparations for my trip to Australia (now less than two weeks away).