Thursday 5 December 2013

Learning Lithography: Colour Day 2

Back at EP, early if not bright! The last thing I did yesterday was chemically clean and regrind my stone obliterating my lovely drawing! Wondering how I'm going to add more layers to a drawing that no longer exists.

The answer - Acetate transfers! First I lay a sheet of acetate over one of yesterday's prints, marking the registration points with tape. Then the acetate is taped down to the worktop with sellotape and tape. I roll out some printing ink and apply it to the acetate, completely covering the image.

Now the exciting bit - selectively wiping away the ink to reveal the parts of the image which will be left, and using rags, cotton buds and white spirit to add textures to the remaining ink. It's just like making a monotype! Using a colour related to the print helps me see how it will look when printed up.

The acetate is then laid ink side down on the clean stone - neatly reversing the image for printing - and passed through the press. When peeled away the inky image has been transferred to the stone and is ready for processing.

After taking a proof, I decide to make some additions with tuche crayon to bring out the foreground textures and build up the cloud structure.

I take another proof using the Fabriano paper to check that the image is good enough for the second layer of my litho print!

Looks fine to me!

I chose to roll out a graduated slab of blue printing ink to give a subtle variation in the colour, darker in the sky.

I roll up the stone, register the first of yesterday's prints on the stone and pass it through the press.

Now I have my first two colour stone lithograph - a view of Pumori from Tukla Col in the Khumbu Himalaya.

There is just enough time left to experiment with a third layer of colour. I'd like to bring out the warm colour of the rock in the foreground. Again I need to erase most of today's image and add some more tuche crayon to the drawing.

After processing and proofing, I roll up the stone, register one of today's two colour prints and pass it through the press again.

This gives me my three colour stone lithograph. I decide to keep the rest of the edition as two colours.

Feeling very pleased with the weekend's results. Can't wait to go back and make some more work using these techniques.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Learning Lithography: Colour Day 1

Saturday morning and I'm back at Edinburgh Printmakers for the second weekend of my Stone Litho adventure - this time with the emphasis on colour.

Alastair begins by announcing that we won't be using the same techniques as last time - cue slight panic as I have been planning how to approach this weekend on the basis of what I learnt last time!

'Maniere-noire' is today's challenge. First, I mask out the image area with sellotape and masking tape and prime it with thinned black ink. Usually it is then rolled up with process black - a very sticky ink. - to create a solid flat area. 

I choose to leave some of the 'atmospheric' effects achieved in the priming process. After applying a 3 drop etch, I leave the stone to rest for half an hour. It is then ready to draw into.

Any hard abrasive materials can be used for drawing into the ink - blade, pumice stick, sandpaper, wire wool, carborundum. 

I choose to use a razor blade to create lines and softer scraped areas.

After protecting the drawing with rosin and talc, I etch most of it with a fairly strong 11 drop gum mixture. On the more delicate sky area, a 3 drop etch is enough.

After half an hour, the ink is removed with white spirit, leaving a greasy film on the stone. I prime and roll up the stone again with black ink and a second etch is applied to further stabilise the image.

Before printing I clean off the ink again and roll it up with my chosen printing ink - a good deep blue - and put it through the press.

Now I can see the results of my labours today - and I am very pleased with this first stage. The 'maniere-noire' technique suits the way I like to work. It has aspects of both etching, in the line - and monotype, in the process of working into a block of ink.

Tomorrow we'll be adding more layers of colour. An exciting prospect!