Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two etching techniques and Pronto plate results

Good day to you! I am feeling great today after my surgery. I have not even needed to take a pain killer yet! Praises to God for that. I know a lot of people have been praying for me, and I think it has really helped.

Today is the first day of my letterpress class, and as I had written before, I wanted to blog about my previous one before I jump into the next one. I also taught an acrylic plate litho class over the weekend, and we had great results with different media.

So at the nontoxic printmaking class we also used two different soft grounds. The first one was made by using Graphic Chemical water based relief ink- Crimson Red #1661 and Lascaux Transparentlack #2060. The transparentlack was added to make the ink dry quicker on the plate- don't use too much of it or it will dry too quickly. We mixed in ratio of 1 part transparentlack and 3 parts red ink. There are some interesting comments on the technique in the Graphic Chemical Bulletin board.

Below- we were using a thin aluminum plate from an offset litho place as a rolling out surface. A fun idea.
below- here is the teacher rolling out the red base on the plate. There is a limited time to work on this, so I would not go out to lunch in the middle of all this. After the ink has been rolled out, let it dry slightly, just a couple of minutes, and then roll it though the press with what ever you were going to use on your soft ground. Tip- to keep backing paper around your feather or other material, sticking down to the softground, slightly oil a piece of mylar and set it over the plate and softground materials before running through the press. That way no extra soft ground gets picked up. For the same problem you can also just cover the areas up with the johnson hardground by hand after you ran it through the press.

I did some pieces of moss and leaves for my soft ground try out. The dark areas on my plates are aquatint that was sprayed to keep some of the more open areas from completely open biting.

You can also use the red ground as a regular etching resist hard ground. After rolling it out, dry it on a hot plate for about 20 min. It will stay flexible enough for a little while (day or so) so you could just draw through it with you etching needle. I like this option, because this ground stays on pretty well, and you don't have to be as careful with it as you have to with the johnson hardgrounds. The result looks much like a traditional line etching with asphaltum hard ground.

The second soft ground we did was mixing 3 parts Graphic Chemical water based ink Black #1659 and 1 part Lascaux Transparentlack #2060. This works similar to the red ink soft ground, but the ink granules are more coarse. You can either roll the ground on and then manipulate it with distilled water or then mix it with dist. water in little cups for several "strengths" to paint with directly on the plate. The different thicknesses of ground will let the ferric chloride bite though at different lengths of time. We used an Edinburg etch for all the etching in the class. Below is an example of a plate that we were working with the black ground - rolling it on and painting it with water ground mixture.

I like the possibility of some really nice tousche type washes with these grounds. You can use the red ground in the same way as the black. After rolling the red ground on you can use distilled water, which will separate the ink particles. The red will give you a finer wash and the black a coarser wash. You can also use sticks, q-tips and different type of brushes to manipulate the ground. If you are using the red ink just on its own without the transparentlack, you can get a stepped aquatint where the lighter applied areas will etch through first and thicker applied areas etching last. Below some pictures of us mixing the grounds and painting on them.

Here is a nice example of the soft ground wash etched on a plate. The plate, the print and a closeup:

I also found another link for floorwax etching ground using Future-floor polish. It can be found here.
Whew, are you still ready for some more information? Here are some images from the plastic plate lithography I taught over the past weekend. I had previously used Z-Acryl plates, and this time I had ordered some Pronto plates. I wanted to see what the differences were. I was also interested in trying this out, since from my research I had figured that crayon drawings might work better on these plates.

We were able to try out several techniques. One of the students brought in her drawing and she just ran over to Office Max to get that xeroxed on to a plate. Her prints turned out great, exactly like her original drawing was. Here are a couple of pictures of that.

Above- proofing on the press.
below- the plate itself and below that the print from it.

Closeups of both.

I was really excited to try what happened when we used crayons on this material. I read that Korn's litho crayon #4 works best, so I had some of those ready on hand. One of the students made a drawing with it. To our horror as soon as we wiped the plate wet, the crayon washed right off. But to our suprise, the crayon had left an oily residue, that picked up ink as we rolled it up. We only had time to proof it twice, and the results were very interestng. I think if we would have rolled it up a little more, it would have rolled up quite nicely. So I was very encouraged by the results! Drawing with crayons on the Z-Acryl plates in the past did not seem to work at all. The ink would pick up when rolling, and leave behind nothing. Another 2 things I liked better with the pronto plates, was the there is no wrong or right side and that it is more translucent. Having it more translucent makes it easier to work with for beginning students I think, if they need to trace their drawings.

Here is a proof of a horse drawn quickly with a ball point pen. This is a pretty foolproof media to use on the plates.

That was quite a long post, but I'm glad I got to report on all the exciting things I've discovered in the last couple of days and months. Hope you enjoyed it, letterpress stuff to follow next.

Monday, June 21, 2010

God given time to Blog

I ended up getting in on a cancelled time this morning and having my two lower wisdom teeth removed. Since I am couch-stuck for a couple of days, I have time to sit and blog now! I thought I would be feeling quite a lot worse and had prepared to just watch movies, but I'm feeling way better than what I thought so here I am.
I feel like a hamster right now with some very chubby cheeks... Yeah, I'm not puffing them up or anything in that picture.

I wanted to share exciting printing results from a recent polymerplate and linocut class I taught, and share some of the info from the nontoxic intaglio class. Might have to break it up into two posts...

So I have been working with a couple of students here and there. It is always exciting when we come up with new ideas and when prints turn out beautifully. The smiles of students feeling accomplished always keep me motivated to teach class. While doing some printing of linocuts with a friend on Friday, we came up with a "new" way of registering. it was new to me, even though it might not be new to you.
She had a two plate unmounted linoleum block that we wanted to print on my little etching press. So instead of having an L-shaped registration plate- or printing like an etching- we took a piece of mylar, drew the plate mark and paper edges on it. We taped some mat board on the edges for a paper guide. I guess the end result is a hybrid between Asian woodcut registration and etching registration. This seemed to work well for her, so I would be willing to try this again in the future when printing though an etching press.

above- linocut set on the registration sheet.
below- setting the paper over the top.

above- after running through the press, we left one edge caught under the roller, and brought the next plate (ready inked up) over to the press.
below- changing the plates out.

above- pulling the first proof is always very exciting!
below- finished print by Gail Kelly.

Going back in time to the class I took in Finland. We were taught 4 different types of nontoxic
grounds to use with ferric chloride. The first one we did was Johnson- floorwax hardground. Reading online, I don't know if they have that available in the US. Does anyone know about that? The hardground formula had 1 part floorwax and 1 part Golden Stop out. We would spread it on a copper plate that had been cleaned from all grease, and let it drip a while, and then we would heat it over a hotplate to set the ground completely. The heat helps the ground bond to the plate better.

Above- nook with tub of salt-vinegar solution and sink.

We were using two kinds of Johnson floor polishes that have different properties. The "shinewax" (direct translation from Finnish) flakes off slightly when you draw with a needle, so fine linework/hatching is out of the question but it will take longer etching times. The "endurance wax" we used straight out of the bottle, with out the stop out. It is more flexible and does not chip out when drawing through, but it will not take as long etching times. Because you are using it straight out of a bottle it was clear and hard to see what you were drawing, but if you mix a little bit of india ink in it, you should be ok. You can also coat it twice to make the etching time longer. I liked the second one better, because it was easier to draw though and I normally don't do long etching times anyways.

Above- nook to clean grounds off plates, we reuse the solution over and over again. At the end of they day, the solution was stored in the gallon jugs.
Below- 2 etching tanks, large vertical and small horizontal. We were using edinburgh etch so you could etch horizontal as well.

Note: make sure you are cleaning the plate thoroughly before coating it with the ground. We dipped our plates in a solution of:
1 part vinegar
1 part salt
3 parts water

After dipping through solution, rinse plate quickly and blot dry.

You can remove the grounds with a solution of 1.5dl washing soda crystals diluted in 1 liter of water.

We also used the floorwax for aquatint. 1 part johnson wax and 1 part Golden Stop out. Make sure as in the technique above your plate is completely clean before you coat it. To block out areas in between etchings, we were using the wax+stop out and the Golden Stop out. Make sure its dried out before you put it back in the bath.

I found at least two other websites that were talking about these materials: nontoxic printmaking by Friedhard Kiekeben and a slide presentation who I could not find an author for- they also cover the soft ground methods I'll talk about tomorrow.

I have a couple more techniques and polymer litho plate results to blog about, so up and away until tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Printmakers Today

I got home last night after a meeting in Seattle, and found several boxes on the doorsteps. I was so excited when one of them was actually for me! It was the books I ordered from Schiffer Publishing. I was so excited to flip through the pages and see my own images printed in color inside. The bookgoes over the basic techniques of printmaking and then features a nice variety (63 to be exact) of printmakers works. Most of them working in the US.

I was honored to have been picked to be printed with both of my teachers Barb Elam and Juergen Strunck, and a list of friends I have gotten to know over the years. This is definitely something I'll be proud to share with family. I got the second book to take home to give to my parents.

On another note...

When I print by hand, I always end up having a lot of misprints. I hate to throw my sweat and tears away, but what to do with them? I have been storing a stack for a couple of years now, it does keep getting bigger, but here's at least two things you can do:
Make cards, I made this one for my father inlaw's birthday by gluing a speech bubble cut out from a comic strip. The bubble says: "Is this magic potion?". The card went with some locally roasted coffee. He loves coffee and drinks it all day long, so I thought it would be fun to send him something different to sip on for a change.

I am a member at a co-op gallery in Seattle- La Familia Gallery. One of the artists there, RobRoy Chalmers, is a printmaker too and he does some nice installations with torn up etchings. They can be as big or small as you can imagine. I have a miniature one at home that I bought at our last Christmas sale. It's only 5x5" small. So cute you just want to cuddle up to it.

More next time, I still have to write about the intaglio class I took, before my letterpress class starts...