Monday, February 23, 2015

Mix media - drawing, plate etching and painting

 Canoe Trip 
close up of the final work on paper with 
 watercolour and acrylic ink applied
 into the print using a brush

In 2009 I created a work titled Canoe Trip that began as a pencil sketch. I converted the sketch to a plate etching. This was possible by using a light sensitive polymer coated thin metal plate. I made a high res. scan from the sketch and then printed it in grayscale onto a clear inkjet transparency. Additional details and elements were incorporated by using technical pen and thinned washes of black tusche and water onto the film.

I exposed the film positive onto a solar plate in two stages. First I pre-exposed a fine dot screen onto the surface of the thin metal polymer coated plate for about 3 minutes under an home made exposure unit consisting of 4 rows of UV emitting black light. The half tone screen (aquatint screen) that I placed on top under a piece of clear glass would allow variations in tonality from the sketch to be captured onto the plate surface. I then followed this with a 3 min exposure of the actual inkjet transparency. 
I developed the plate using lukewarm water and gentle scrubbing with a soft bristle toothbrush post exposure. The plate was hardened by post exposing it once again under the UV blacklight.
Oil based etching ink was applied to the plate surface and wiped into the etched surface of the polymer. Damp 250 gm cotton rag printmaking paper was placed over top of the plate and was then printed on my small etching press by hand turning the wheel to move the press bed under a tightly set top roller.

the single colour print on rag paper. I secured the print onto a piece 
of smooth  masonite board using gum adhesive butcher's tape.

I started to paint colour into the print using washes of fine watercolour pigments. 
Below are some of the brands that I like to use for my painting applications. These are in tubes and my palette includes Fragonard from France, Daniel Smith and Da Vinci manufactured in the USA.

I also applied thinned out washes of liquid acrylic inks made by UK company Daler-Rowney. These gave me a bit more intense colour when I thinned them with water and applied it to the print.

the cloud shapes were blocked out with masking frisket. It was carefully removed by rubbing with my finger tip once the washes that define the blue of the sky had dried.

early stages of mapping in colour using watercolour paints

A close up showing the interplay of the transparent layers of colour media applied into the etching.

The final result from the marriage of pencil sketch, plate etching and painting.