Sunday, February 17, 2013

Whoa Mezzotint! (and classes, Saline Sulfate demos and Final Friday)

Hello everyone! Lots more has been going on this past month. First, we had our Annual Meeting at Tiger Lily Press in January, getting some new members, sign-ups for classes, talking about our plans for the Ohio Print Gathering, including our juried show, Prints for Peace and Justice, and our artist-in-residence, Jack Arthur Wood, showing some nice relief prints. Tory Keith also made a nice little screenprint for us. I got to do a demo on Saline Sulfate etching for zinc. Here goes:

First, I mix the chemicals…and I am VERY safe, you see?

Now wiping the plate, under the strict attention of great local artist, Jimi Jones.

Placing the grounded plate with drawing into the bath. Oooh!! (those are handouts everyone is holding- hopefully they make some sense!)

Now proofing. Arrg, so much pressure! (I know, I can be dramatic)

And here you go, the bacon donut, pickle, hot dog plate. Done in 10 minutes. Take it or leave it!

Secondly, my advanced intaglio class wrapped up quite nicely. A few more students got to proof their color plates together with great results.

Kathleen etches her plate in the bath.

Now inking it up in a nice green.

And voila!

Really nice print!

Rick also gets to play with more color as his new order of Charbonnel Aqua Wash ink comes in.

Drool…look at all those colors!

And proofing- wow, those are some bright pigments!

Thanks again everyone for such a lovely class! We will actually be continuing as we just can't get enough advanced etching. Can you blame us? Looking forward to more awesome work!

And now... it's my turn to print! Today I decided to break out an old plate. Well…not THAT old. In the summer of 2010, I had the privilege of learning mezzotint from THE master, Carol Wax, at Women's Studio Workshop. I realized, however, that since it was just a workshop and I rushed straight back to grad school- I never editioned the darned print! And it's a pretty nice one- two plates- one mezzotint and the other a carborundum ground for the color. So remembering what I could from my notes, I puttered around the studio and sweated a bit to figure this out.

Mixing up the colors for each plate. Modifying some relief ink for intaglio on the left and mixing up the mezzotint black on the right.

But FIRST- very important! Before I work, I need to have a salami, cheese, and broccoli stem, sesame bread sandwich (sorry, that's what we had in the fridge!) and a local IPA. Mmm, it was actually pretty good! And yes those are pickles. I guess it's the Germanic printer in me.

Okay back to work! Inking and wiping the green color plate.

Inking the mezzotint plate- and yes I am rolling the ink on with a brayer, not using a card. You don't want to scratch up a fine mezzotint that way- all tricks learned from the master!

Now wiping the plate with a very soft tarlatan.

Finishing with some hand wiping and a bit of Q-tip to bring out the brightest highlights.

Time to print- better crank down that pressure!

Now laying down the plate- yes ON the paper- another neat trick learned from Carol.

The plate gets centered on one half while the other half of the paper is folded overtop- to print. You'll see.

After cranking through, here is the print from the green plate.

 Now look at this- the green plate left a real nice plate mark on the other half of the paper that I'm precisely lining the black plate up with. Nifty, eh? Perfect registration every time- and no mess on the press! Of course, always remember which way should be up.

Now placing the printed half back down over the plate, ready to print.

And tada! Here comes the print!

Look at that- like a mirror image, plate and print.

And here you can see the plate marks that each plate is lined up with for registration. Sure, it seems like a little waste of paper, but you would lose that same amount with the tail method (at least with a small plate like this). Just tear it off and use it for proofs!

Here's close-up of the print. Not too bad, eh? I can't believe I remembered how to print the little thing! Of course there was a little bit of trial-and-error and head-scratching at the beginning (not shown here), but I'm pretty pleased with the results.

This is all partly because we are having another opening at Venue 222 in Cincinnati this Friday! So please, come out and see the work of Amy Doran, Susan Naylor, Tony Kalti and myself if you missed it the first time. Several of us will have a table of loose, unframed prints for sale- ON sale, so come on down and get some good work!

Till then…happy printing!

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