Friday, 6 March 2015

A little bit of printing does you good #1

I've been printing things lately and having a ball, as usual.

Printing is my first love. It's not the first creative thing I learnt how to do. That honour goes to knitting, which I learnt to do at age 7 (remember these squares that I blogged about back here?), closely followed by hand embroidery. I did my first printing at high school and I loved it. Unfortunately, I had an art teacher who regarded printmaking as a lesser form of art and you were nothing if you couldn't draw or paint. That doesn't mean he actually taught us anything about drawing or painting... but I digress.

I spent a lot of time as a young mum screen printing things, although I didn't have much money to spend on art stuff back then. Then, after a break when I was studying, I moved into quilting. If you are one of the three people who follow my blog, you'll have noticed that printmaking of various kinds has been slowly creeping back.

My first printing this year was simple intaglio, something I've wanted to try for a long time. Intaglio is a process more often used in engraving or etching. Rather than inking the printing surface, you want to get ink down inside the hollows of your printing surface. So printing involves getting your paper or fabric down into those hollows, which, on paper at least, gives a sort of embossed effect as well. I'd read about a two-colour method, in which you put your first colour down into the hollows of the printing surface and then add a second colour to the part you'd normally print from with stamps or similar.

I used a stamp I'd made a while back, by drawing on a polystyrene meat tray with biro. So easy! I figured if it worked this this very shallow stamp, it would work with any of the surfaces I print from. Fibrecircle is currently working on the theme of Trees ,so I was killing two birds with one stone.

I used acrylic paint, since I was working on cartridge paper and just mucking about, and hey, I had them out anyway for something else. My first prints were on dry paper.

I painted the stamp with a sponge brush and red acrylic paint, and then wiped the surface clean with a soft rag. The only red was down in the hollows. Then I painted yellow acrylic paint over the top, trying to stay away from the hollows. I laid the paper over the top and used my baren and my fingers to work it down into the hollows.

Obviously, there was some mixing of colours, especially in the first print. The second print was more successful. Then I tried diluting the yellow paint, so it was runnier that the red. Wow! The colour is quite pale but the effect is more like I was imagining.

The second set of prints were on damp paper. I expected better results, because it's much easier to get the paper down into the hollows. And yes, I got clearer results.

The first image was using paint with the same viscosity. The second has the runnier yellow paint, and there's a lot less colour mixing.

I think diluting the second colour less would still be effective and I'd get stronger colour.

I want to try this now with other media. I'm playing around a lot with thickened dye, because I love the way it goes onto fabric and I'm enjoying the challenge of working with transparent media. I've done that a lot with paint, but my past screen printing has mostly used opaque media when colours were likely to interact.

This was just a little moment of playing away from the many things I *should*be doing. My later printmaking has been a little more on task.


Jennifer said...

Love your trees! And where are those knitted squares now......still with you, or did you get the message from above?

Nola said...

I'm sorry to say, I still have them. I moved on to plan... 10?.. and didn't like that overmuch either. I have another idea...