Wednesday, May 2, 2018

print from a single plate that combines three techniques

Back in October of last year I posted about a print I had made from using a single clear acrylic plate.

This combined colour relief roll, monotype and drypoint. I had only made a couple of prints at that time. The plate was put into a safe place and I became involved with other projects   

Over the past couple of days I decided to return once again to printing a small edition off of this plate. I took photos during the process which I believe may explain better how I achieved each print on paper from the plate. I am hoping to print an additional 6 for a total of 20 over the next day or two. To date I have printed 13.

I am printing these using Caligo Safewash etching inks. The etching ink is also used for the relief/monotype stage.

Each print is made onto Somerset satin white rag. Using moisture activated butchers tape I affix each print onto a thin mdf panel where they are allowed to dry. The tape also keeps the slightly damp paper from buckling. 

The plexiglass (aka perspex) plate. Here the surface scratched line is revealed by applying and wiping black etching ink across the surface.

The plate showing colour relief roll of ink on the surface and the beginning stages of subtractive monotype. I create a colour blend for the blue on another larger piece of acrylic using a soft rubber brayer. I achieve this by applying prussian blue with a little white to establish the darkest hue at the top. I set a little white a couple of inches beside this and by rolling the ink with the brayer forward many times the two intermix until a nice blend from dark to light occurs. I then carefully transfer this from the roller onto the plate surface.
The light biege ink on the bottom foreground rock was applied with an even smaller width rubber brayer. This is achieved by first determining by eye where to start the brayer to meet at the line of blue and moving it across the surface to deposit the ink and not touch the wet blue ink. It requires a bit of skill and steady hand co-ordination.

Here you can see where I have removed ink using various tools (cotton swabs, rolled tissue, tip of a bamboo skewer) that will print as negative space.

Result of the printing of the colour relief roll and monotype for the first stage. 
The plate was set onto the press bed inked side facing upwards. I used a registration sheet underneath with markings made in light pencil to center the plate and also indicate where the corners of the paper should be. Soaked and blotted Somerset satin 250 gm rag was set over top. A piece of clean newsprint was set over the somerset and then the three wool felts were placed over all of this. The plate had a 45 degree bevel filed along the edges earlier. The pressure of the roller created an embossed mark around the print edges during printing. This will assist in positioning the plate a second time (ink side facing down) for the drypoint.

The colour ink residue was cleaned off the plate surface (using a rag and vegetable oil). I wiped carbon black etching ink into the recessed lines that were scratched on the plate earlier (the drypoint component). 
So now came the really tricky part. Carefully using a combination of steady hand and eye coordination I positioned the plate ink side facing down and set it over top of the colour print. The emboss from the bevel helped me to set it into place. 
I then set my clean hand over the plate. I placed my other hand underneath the paper and with a bit of slight pressure set it under the area where I had the plate pinned to the paper with the other hand on the opposite side. 
I slowly flipped it over so that the plate was underneath. I set this down on the press bed at a 45 degree angle and as the plate was lowered into a horizontal position I removed my hand slowly from underneath but made sure my hand over top of the paper and plate was pushing and making sure the plate wasn't slipping out of position underneath. I could tell once the paper was down flat as the raised shape of the plate from the previous printing held the plate in position. 
Clean newsprint was set over the back of the paper and once the felts were lowered. This time I set the hand that wasn't turning the press gears on top of the felts over the plate and paper area to hold in place until it was caught by the edge of the roller as the bed was moved under the roller.
When I lifted the paper after it had cleared the roller on the other side I saw that the drypoint element had printed nicely where it should be and the colour underprint was also in alignment.

Prints drying in a warm room. I use both sides of the boards to attach prints so angle them slightly out from the wall to allow for airflow on both sides during the drying process.