Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The pull of the print - inky geology at last

So when we last left the printmaking I was here... lino etching with caustic soda, sitting happily drying on the radiator:

The next stage was printing!

So I visited my friend Jo Oakley again and took over her etching press. (which can be used for relief printing too, you just set the pressure to be lighter)

The results were fantastic! Really just what I was looking for - a relief print with with a slightly more organic look to the lines and edges. (These are still test prints, so I wasn't concerned with inky fingerprints or lining up.)

While I like lino cutting, usually the edges are very sharp and defined. With the lino etching process I've achieved more soft wibbly edges and even some grainy undefined areas.

There were still a few surprises. Most of the plates took several trial and error stages of inking and printing to get it looking the way I expected. But most surprising was the lino that I used stopout varnish on, instead of wax. The caustic soda ate through a lot of this, but it left an almost intaglio 'hint' of the lines I'd drawn on top. When the relief print didn't work, I figured I'd try inking it like an intaglio just for fun.

I really like this effect. It's inked partly like relief (the bottom area with white lines) and partly intaglio (the middle area). With more experimentation I think I could get a nice balanced image. But I decided that I'm unlikely to be able to reproduce this effect consistently with new lino, so it's not worth pursuing right now.

Back in the studio I just cleaned up the lino a bit as a final step. Some of the blank areas hadn't etched away very deep so I just cut them out more with a lino cutter to make printing easier. (the ink won't "catch" on what should be white areas) I cleaned up a few stray lines or bits that hadn't etched away that I didn't like. Now I have completely finished plates that can be used to print editions.

See the coast paintings
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