Above: detail of Work in Progress.
Below: Two of many sheets of Stonehenge paper, started gelatin prints, using leaves and saran wrap for textures and shapes.
…erm, probably about time I thought of doing tutorials, and I even have a folder of photos stored somewhere on my computer but I forgot the name. You know how it goes…so, sorry, don’t hold your breath…someday, but not today.
But for starters, my best advice is have LOTS of paper on hand. TONS of paper. You can’t possibly have too much paper, and ink too. And you should have plenty of cheap pre-cut paper. I really like using bright white acid free card stock as it’s cheap enough to experiment with, and nice enough to frame when things do work out. Expect the unexpected, and in the first stages, don’t think, just do. Ink the gelatin, slap on some textures (leaves, lace, stencils, saran wrap, etc.), slap on some paper, do it all over again. I usually start five to ten sheets at a time, often starting them out somewhat similar (ie. begin with yellow as a 1st layer) and as they progress assess and follow their lead. While I may have a vague idea of where I am going and what I want as an end result, I never really know where I’ll end up. I leave it all up to chance and experimentation. Since I use a multitude of techniques and layers, it’s pretty much impossible to do anything twice, which is why even for warm-ups, I use serviceable paper (acid free card stock or mulberry paper), just in case something wonderful appears.
This time I have some foam plate designs started in February and I really want to turn them into finished prints of the elaborate sort so I took the time to slice and dice some Stonehenge paper, which is a wonderful printmaking paper. Because of that, I’m feeling a bit precious about what I’m doing, and slowing down and getting a bit of a headache, but forging on.
With 10 sheets of paper on the go, I have to
begin developing them further, using whatever I have on hand. The Benthic Fish Fantasy (previous post) is one such foray that came from the set of ten. Below is a further development of the leaf print above left that came from the same batch.
About 5 layers more of work actually, first using glassware for added texture, then a fine layer of yellow, then a purple layer & blue layer using newsprint cutouts (the soft curving shapes) followed by a dark circle relief print of a foam plate. Will this one work out? I have no idea, I just keep going until, a) it’s mud, gack! , b) it turns out .
Actually, a) mud is exactly what happened when I added the dragon foam plate on top (not shown), and then another layer (not shown) until I decided I was going in a terrible direction, but it was still save-able. I painted the entire circle out in sepia acrylic paint (lots of blow drying in between), and then added yet another dragon foam plate layer in a mix of white, blue and green ink. Phew… now I’m getting somewhere. This is a thick layer of ink and needs to dry for a day or more if I want some truly crisp layers of colour on top.
Since I’ll be adding more layers with this circular plate, it’s really important to register with as much accuracy as possible. On the back I have for marks, N.S.E.and W. like a compass (I like maps). I need register marks on the surface of my print to match up to, but they must not be permanent, so I’ve snipped tiny pieces of low tack tape (the little green rectangle in the image below) at each register mark (while the plate is face down, of course) and marked with pen. This should ensure a reasonable (but never perfect) degree of registration for successive layers. As the sepia layer is acrylic paint and waterproof, I will also be able to retrieve lost details using water and a fine tipped brush (ie. wet and brush away any filled in lines).
So that’s it for now. I’m crossing my fingers, because if I mess up again, this one goes into the recycle bin.