Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More hand coloured polymer plate etching

etching with hand colouring
B. Holden 2014 ©

In my last post I featured a photo I had taken of a pair of Bobcats and exposed as a grayscale inkjet transparency positive onto a polymer plate. The plate was developed, the surface hardened permanently, had ink wiped onto it's surface and was printed into a white cotton rag paper.
I had some time this past weekend to sit down and apply hand colouring into the print. This was accomplished using a bit of water thinned Daler-Rowney liquid acrylic inks and brush in layers of washes. I am pleased with the overall results. It is pretty close to the original colour photo.

Bee and Fireweed 
etching with hand colour
B. Holden  2014 ©

The photo above is a small polymer plate etching printed on rag paper that has been hand coloured. It is a close up study of a honey bee on the blossom of Fireweed, a plant that is quite common here in Northwestern Ontario along roadsides and in fields from mid July until Sept.
This began as a pen and ink sketch made onto wet media Duralar plastic film. I added washes of black tusche ink for a little tonal variation.
The plate was pre-exposed to an aquatint screen and then I lay the positive over top and exposed it for an equal amount of time. I developed the plate in a tray a water and then hardened the plate surface with UV. The photos below show the positive artwork on film and the resulting print made using Caligo carbon black safewash etching ink onto Maidstone 250 gm cotton rag paper.
I taped the print to a thin mdf board with gum adhesive butchers tape.  Colour was added using washes of several Windsor-Newton watercolours followed by washes of Daler-Rowney acrylic inks.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Photo based polymer plate etching - small format

Single colour (black ink) print on white rag paper. Plate size is 8.25 x 10 cm (3.25 x 4 inches).                     Hand colouring will be added later to the image

I am currently translating a handful of photographs that I have taken over the past couple of years to intaglio prints on paper. This is part of my Small Wonders of the Boreal series of studies that examine flora and fauna of the region.

I am adapting the photos onto a thin light sensitive solar plates. I have cut the plates to a variety of small rectangles and squares that fall into the classification of miniature. First thing I do is resize my original photos (stored digitally on my pc) and using photo editing software convert this to grayscale. This is then printed onto a high quality inkjet transparency sheet using the grayscale (black ink only) setting and at 600 dpi. I call this transparency in grayscale a positive. The concept is simple. The ink printed from the inkjet printer creates opaque areas on the clear film. These will block out UV light and no chemical reaction will occur in the light sensitive polymer where it cannot penetrate. The polymer will be able to be removed from these areas using water and some scrubbing.

the original colour photo that I took of a pair of Bobcats in the winter snow

The plate has a very fine aquatint screen pre-exposed for a couple of minutes to the surface using an ultraviolet light source (ie. sunlight or articficially created from aquarium lighting). This is followed by a 3 min. exposure of the positive. The plate is developed using lukewarm water in a pan and gentle scrubbing with a soft bristle toothbrush. I then re-expose the plate to the UV light for about 10 min to harden the polymer and make it permanent.

I applied Caligo safewash carbon black to the plate and wiped it back with a bundle of tartalan fabric. Then I polished the surface using yellow pages from an old phone book. A piece of Canson Ed. 250 gm white rag was presoaked and blotted. The inked plate was printed onto the paper using my small hand turned etching press.

The next step will be to apply colouring into the print once the ink has fully dried (perhaps a week from now).