For each session of this course, I try to take along at least one new plate where I have experimented with new materials or which will require different approaches to inking.
For this session I took along two really different plates. The first was a new look at a design I tried in monoprinting. I liked the design, but I didn’t fulfill it as a monoprint. I thought it would make a better collagraph when simplified even further.
I cut my central shapes out of thin card, and glued this down with PVA. I then cut shapes in net and in textured wallpaper for the fields and glass houses to left and right. The wallpaper had a imbossed pattern of hessian which I thought suggested the ploughed field. The next has a regular, mechanical, man made feel. These were glued down and then trimmed to the plate edge. The plate was sealed with polyurethane varnish.
I inked the plate in similar colours to the monoprint, for comparison. I inked each area separately and wiped them away from each other, but wiped in a small blended overlap at the end of my wiping. I wiped the round shape well, and reinked it with a rolled up cigar of j-cloth, in red, and then wiped with a cotton bud. The central ink is ‘Peter Wray’s Special Opaque Light Grey’ from Hawthornes. It is a beautiful colour and one I would never have thought of mixing by hand. I also used it to roll over the wallpaper element to emphasise the texture.
I think this has worked quite well, much better than thew monoprint. The wiping could have been better at the bottom left. I tried reinking:
The second print on the left is better, but perhaps slightly over-wiped. In the third print the round shape is over-wiped. However, I think they are all moderately successful. I like the modelling of the central elements. I am thinking that this area could do with some more dashes of colour, either inked like this on the small rectangular shapes, or applied with chine colle. I like the mixture of warm and cool colours.
The second plate I developed was completely different. This was a sketch of a Kimono hung up for display, inspired by a visit to the Shunga exhibition of Japanese erotic art at the BM.
I cut out the shape of my kimono in thin card and stuck this down firmly on my base card. I then used a gritty acrylic paint (micaceous iron oxide) painted onto the background. I painted a design on the kimono with the same material. I didn’t seal this plate as I wanted to preserve the delicate tone of the acrylic. I could have used carborundum but thought I could apply this medium with more delicacy and also that the acrylic would stand up better than carborumdum without sealing.
I inked up in a single colour initially:
The micaceous iron oxide has produced a beautiful velvety tone with subtle variation to it. The flower pattern on the fabric was inked a la poupee. I tried to get as little ink on the fabric areas as possible which has lead to some unevenness, but I rather like the tonal differences.
Next I reinked but and, after wiping the background, inked the flowers in magenta and the leaves in yellow. This gave me the mauve and green I was looking for when mixed with the slight residual blue. I wiped these areas individually and very carefully.
I don’t think I wiped the leaves quite well enough here and the flowers are perhaps over wiped. Next go:
This is too dark and I faint crease has appeared across the skirt. I decided that my card must be breaking down under the press pressure. Still, there was just time for one more try:
This is better, I think. The crease has moved slightly showing that it originates from the paper used to protect the blankets, and not my plate (as the tutor had assured me!).
I really like the velvety effect of this, which almost looks like an etching. I liked my subject initially but now I have decided its a bit twee. I need to put it away and look at it again a fresh after a while. I prefer the all blue print, but this was a good exercise in local colour detail inking.