Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Edinburgh revisited - Day 2 Printing the stone

After  a very good night's sleep - it's tiring, all this intense concentration - I'm raring to get this stone printed!

Before starting, I rolled up the stone with roll-up black so that I could see how the washes were looking and make any necessary adjustments to the tone. Areas can be lightened or erased using different strengths of gum arabic and nitric acid. This is called 'etching'. Heavy areas can also be scraped away with a razor blade before etching. Once happy with the image, I cleaned off the black ink and got ready to print.

First job was mixing a nice deep blue, one of the colours which evoke the mountain world for me. Next, rolling out the ink so that it will cover the stone but not clagg up the subtleties of the washes! Aiming for a nice quiet hiss from the roller, rather than a sticky slurp!

Then begins the process of inking up the image. The stone is rolled up with three coats of ink before it is passed through the press for the first time, using newsprint (a cheap, thin paper) for the first proof.

This process is repeated twice, gradually building up the ink on the stone until it gives a good depth of colour on the proof. You can see the transition from pale to more intense colour in the photograph. Three proofs on newsprint and the first proof on Fabriano Rosaspina, bottom right.

It is also possible to adjust the image while on the press. Once satisfied with the proof, it's time to edition the print. This is a detail showing the Aiguille - I adjusted the shape of the tower on top slightly before continuing with the editioning. 

Now the stone only needs one roll up for each print. A nice smooth editioning paper - Fabriano Rosaspina - is just the thing for my edition. I'm using both white and the softer colour, ivory to give two different 'feels' to the image.

The final image - this one on white, giving a good impression of the cold light of the snowfields.

Now I'm looking forward to next weekend at Edinburgh Printmakers for the second litho course - this time on using colour - can't wait!

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