Thursday, April 28, 2011

Relief printmaking using styrofoam

This is a continuation of my last entry regarding earlier works not seen before.
The following prints were created by drawing into the surface of 1.27 cm (1/2 inch) thick blue dense styrofoam from a building materials supply shop. This is generally used for insulation of walls during home construction or renovation. It is not that expensive and can be easily cut into blocks from the main sheet with a ruler and utility blade.
I used ball point pen primarily as the drawing tool as it tends to score the surface much better than pencil (which catches a lot in the material). Some of the finer lines were created using a compass point needle tip but again took a bit of effort dragging this through the styrofoam.

These were all example pieces created as part of demonstrations for relief printing with styrofoam lesson I have to elementary school children during the past several years.

Dog portrait

two block study of flower forms
 printed in a light blue waterbased ink over a solid black square

songbird on tree branch

simple sunflower form (slight dot detail in the blossom) against a dark background

white ink printed on black paper
the hockey game
tan ink on black paper
Light comes through
two block colour winter woods study

the key block (black)
notice how the styrofoam has been flecked away to reveal a loose type of surface

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some prints from a long time ago

I found a few photos of some of my earlier printmaking adventures that not many have seen so thought I would share these with my blog followers.

two colour linocut from 2006
a study of a sailing regatta in Thunder Bay

A relief print I made in 2007 from a piece of scratchfoam.
I drew into the thin foam plate using a ballpoint pen to create the relief.
Instead of printing black ink onto white paper white ink was applied and then hand burnished onto a piece of black stonehenge paper.
Inspired by a visit to Killarney Provincial Park near Sudbury, Ontario.

In 2009 I took a scan of a black ink print on white paper from one of my larger carved pieces of linoleum.
 I resized and then reversed the image, printed it onto an inkjet transparency and exposed it as a negative on to a small piece of solar plate. The plate was developed and I applied ink with a brayer on the surface and printed it as a relief image using block oil based ink onto 140 lb cold press watercolour paper. I then applied hand colouring into the print using watercolour. You can get a sense of the size of the printed image as the frame dimensions measure 5 x 7 inches, so it in effect is a miniature print.

another experiment of relief printing from four blocks
made from 1/16 inch thick craftfoam. Pieces were cut out and glued onto a cardboard base sheet.

A cosy place 2006
This is a small drypoint study printed from a drawing
 made with a drypoint needle into thin piece of aluminum plate

Heat/Sunspot lover 1987
I made this relief print using a product called Fujiblock that was made by the UK based Windsor and Newton Company known for their fine grade watercolour paints
The block was a stiff piece of cardboard that had a thin layer of felt material glued on top. You cut away the surface material using a double bladed utility knife, then peeled off the thin cut lines and then applied watercolour onto the remaining surface. The media was allowed to dry then reactivated by misting or you could also print onto damp paper to give a unique white line print.

this was a multiple plate square format collagraph

Sunflower linoluem relief block print with hand colouring

a simple relief print from a piece of 1/2 inch blue building grade styrofoam that I drew into with a ballpoint pen. I hand burnished the black ink coated block onto torn piece of amber colour japanese Chiri paper.
It has been mounted to float inside a birch shadow box frame.

another multiple plate collagraph


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Translating a pen & ink sketch with wash to a solar plate etching

a version that incorporates chine collé using hosokawa kozo (a light gold hue)
that is adhered onto Awagami bamboo ph neutral rag with wheat paste

This is the first proof of a new study that was printed from a small piece of Solar plate. It is a study of one of our pets named Dharma (she is no longer with us). Cats (and let's not forget dogs) are the perfect models as they usually don't give a whole lotta attitude (mmm... ok maybe the cats are more well known for this) and they work for nothing.
I saw Dharma napping and noticed a great pose and play of light that just beckoned me to capture this in some artistic format. It also was a good opportunity for me to experiment a bit more with polymer plate etching.
I have titled this Catnap. It is printed onto a piece of white Somerset Velvet cotton rag 250 gsm paper using Graphic Chemical Intense black oil ink.
Plate size is 7.5 x 12 cm (3 x 4 5/8 inches) and the paper size is 15 x 20 cm (6 x 8 inches)
this will be an open edition

 detail from Catnap

This started off as a pen and ink outline sketch on acetate done with a technical pen.

On an overlay piece of Grafix wet media Dura-lar film I applied washes of watercolour to define the form.
This film works very nicely with water based media like watercolour, acrylic , gouache, ink.

I then applied Rotring opaque black latex ink for film with a brush to define the background and in the cast shadow of the foreground leg and paw

The last step wash to add another subtle diluted wash of ink to the foreground underneath the cat for definition. This was added right onto the positive.
I combined all of the acetates and made one positive. This was exposed in my homemade UV exposure box using a double exposure method of 3 min. for aquatint screen and 3 min. for the positive. It was developed in lukewarm water with a gentle scrubbing of a soft toothbrush, then post exposed another 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hosting a Monotype workshop

Giving a demonstration showing the application of watercolour onto Dura-lar wet media film 

Last Saturday I had the honour of conducting a workshop in Monotype printmaking for 14 enthusiastic members from Lakehead Visual Arts, a club I have been a member of since the mid 1980s.
I had been approached a while back by the club to see if I could give some type of printmaking activity that members could do in a one day session and that wouldn't be too expensive for supplies.
We explored two methods. The morning was spent working on subtractive monotypes using oil based etching ink that was rolled out on plexiglass plates from a brayer. The artists used a variety of tools including bamboo skewers, pieces of paper, tissue, blending sticks to remove ink from their plates. These were then printed onto soaked and blotted cotton rag paper using an etching press.

subtractive monotype by R.Vilim ã

working into the ink covered plexi to remove ink

the resulting print in reverse on paper after being pulled through
 the etching press onto damp cotton rag paper

subtractive monotype swine study by R. McKenzie

assisting one of the participants run a plate through the press

The second method we explored during the afternoon session was additive monotypes. Participants were given a piece of clear wet media Dura-lar film. They were able to put sketches and/or photos under it to use a painting guide. The wet media film allows washes and thicker applications of paints such as watercolour, gouache, createx monotype inks, and also acrylic paint and ink.
By placing dampened paper over top and using either hand burnishing with a tool or by running the film and paper through the press a transfer is made onto the paper. The painted medium can be dry or wet. If it is dry the damp paper will reactivate it. If you print onto dry paper you can apply a light misting of water to the plate or paper to facilitate activation of the media and allow transfer.

watercolour transfer by G. Postans made from Dura-lar
onto rag paper using the table top etching press

Since nearly everyone in this club are painters I thought that monotype would hold appeal, especially for the additive type where one can apply paint on a flat surface and transfer it in reverse onto paper.

watercolour monotype by R. Vilim ã

watercolour monotype by S. Bishop ã

participants working on their plates