Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Joys of Printmaking

Yesterday, I was sporting this new fashionable look, because I was playing here:
To work with nitric acid, you have to be gloved, goggled and have the ventilation going. This is dangerous stuff! But it allows you to paint the acid on and get a very cool watercolor sort of effect.
Then, today I got to again wear this very becoming face mask (Anne thinks I need to use these as my profile pictures...) because I was playing with rosin aquatint again.
I had made a stencil in the hard ground with a sugar lift. Basically, I painted with a sugar solution onto the plate, then let it dry, then brush it with liquid hard ground, let it dry again and then soak it in warm water until the hard ground comes up where I had painted with the sugar mix. For this process, neither mask nor gloves are required - what a relief!
I had added the sugar lift to a plate I had already etched with a lace pattern (if you click on the photo below, you can really see it). Then you add the rosin, melt it onto the plate and put it in the acid. Only the areas exposed by the sugar lift will etch. It's really cool, actually!

I think I'll leave it this way for my professor to take a look at and see what else I can do. I'm just now starting to understand that you work into these plates again and again until you have a print that you like. At first I thought you had to have a finished piece with the first process you tried.
I also played with the dandelion some more. I added a soap ground in the background and then deepened the lines of the dandelion with some dry point etching. I want to find out if I can burnish the area behind the seed head a little to lighten it some more.
This one turned out nicely - my ginkgo leaf with an aquatint background. All of these are just proofs on newsprint, so the quality isn't great, but good enough for blog show and tell!
I spent about 10 hours in the print studio during the last few days and I can tell a definite improvement. Some things are becoming more rote and all of it is taking much less time and mental energy, which totally increases the fun factor.

And - this is a nice little side effect - it's quite the upper body workout every time I print - especially when I print multiple plates.... It's the only art I've ever done where you barely sit down for a few minutes. Unless you are sitting and drawing on your plate, you are on your feet the entire time.

Are you having a good Sunday? It sure is blustery and rainy here, but we are enjoying it!


  1. I'm glad you're enjoying learning the printing process. I can't remember if I said it before, but it seems like you could just skip the gym membership since you're getting such a workout. I love the lace etching, dandelion, and gingko. Today we had sun & heat & it was just like August!! I went to the beach. :]

  2. Go for the facemask pic for the profile pic---the eyes say it all!!! ;-D
    I love seeing the process on this; I knew there were many steps, but no idea what all could be done.
    Now I really need to see if anyone within driving distance offers an etching interest is all agog!

    Love from your nutty friend~~

    P.S. I was strong enough to stand and make crab and corn chowder and fried green tomatoes for dinner. Southern food just makes you STRONGER!

  3. Liebe Silke,

    bei dir ist es immer abwechslungsreich und interessant.

    Alles Liebe
    Angela und Elisabeth

  4. Ja, der Sonntag war schön hier...aber nicht das Wetter! Nur noch 7 Grad, Regen, Sturm.
    Aber wir haben es uns zu Hause schön gemacht.
    Deine Fotos sehen lustig aus. Es ist interessant was Du alles machst und ausprobiertst.
    Ich wünsche Dir eine schöne Woche

  5. Looks like you are having a tremendous amount of fun making beautiful art, Silke. I think you look so cute in your printmaking attire! :)

  6. my partner jb is working with metal and acid in similiar ways. look up snow farm, silke. someday you might want to take a class there. it is 15 minutes from me and i would feed you :^)

    i hope you don't mind my unsolicited advice here on your blog: put jewel's price back up and leave it there! if she doesn't sell on your blog, or on etsy, it's simply a matter of finding the right venue for her. but drop your price: nah!


  7. Great pictures. Thank you so much for sharing the process too!
    I think both pics are very flattering so I would have a hard time deciding which one you should use!