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Friday, March 22, 2013

A new Solarplate plate: drawing in the alley

Howdy y'all!
I have been working with a new plate for the last two weeks. Something small and fun, and spontaneous; but it has actually ended up being two plates, a relief plate and a corresponding intaglio plate. I made the relief plate on a sunny morning in the alley behind The Drawing Studio. The intaglio plate was made later at home using the UV light box.

First, mix up some extra tacky ink...I used Akua Lamp black with Mag Mix added.  Roll the sticky ink onto your plate with a brayer. 

Dust the surface with baby powder or cornstarch to "dry" the surface. Stick your plate to a piece of cardboard with a piece of masking tape. This is so you can transport and hold your plate while drawing. Grab a pencil or stick and go outside and draw!

Drawing through the inked surface. 
This was done as a 'walking contour' drawing...I drew what I saw as I walked around the alley for about 10 minutes. I used a small sharpened stick to draw through the ink so you can see the orange polymer. Did I mention that it was sunny outside? Wipe off the ink goobers that accumulate on your stick into a paper towel. I left the plate in the sun about 15 more minutes to make sure it was fully exposed where I had scratched through the ink surface.

L: before post-exposure, R: After post-exposure.

Next, carefully scrape off the ink (you can even save it if it's Akua!), and develop in water, gently scrubbing a bit longer since with a relief plate, you need to go pretty deep, almost to the backing steel. Blot dry and post-expose in the sun for 10-20 minutes  depending on the angle of the sun. Notice the color change from bright orange to a more yellow-orange. Sometimes you see a definite color change, but not always. (BTW: I learned this method last summer from master printmaker Dan Welden!)
The Alley, Artist's Proof. 
Now, roll out some black ink and ink up the plate for a run through the press. Feeling frisky? Try a viscosity print or something similar: ink the plate as an intaglio using a small, very soft scrub brush (actually a nail brush), wipe it really well. Next, roll up the top surface of the relief in a contrasting color ink, preferably a different viscosity than the first ink.
Hot Sun Alley, A/P, 5" x 4", Solarplate relief. 

Print it in one pass through the press! Keeping the color clean was a bit tough for multiple runs without cleaning it each time, so I later made an intaglio plate so I could ink the color separately.
Blue Alley, A/P, 5" x 4", Solarplate etching with two plates.
The relief plate above was inked in blue-black, the intaglio plate was inked  à la poupée with two colors. 

This yellow print below is one I created today; solid yellow intaglio and grey to black blend rolled up on the relief plate. The photo was taken in the TDS print lab while it was still damp; the yellow is actually one color top to bottom but our fluorescent lights vary (Some are cool, some are warm), so you can really notice how off the color is by the color of the paper border. Look closely and see the gradation of dark grey on top to black on the bottom. 

And two more, the intaglio plate inked à la poupée as well as the relief plate inked up with a blend roll of grey and black inked as the one above but for some reason, it doesn't show in the show in the photo. 

What do you think of this cute little print? 

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