Thursday, 10 November 2011

From Sketch to Print

My printmaking course doesn't resume until after Christmas so I'm spending some time evaluating what I've learnt & assessing how I can use these new skills in my own practice.

I often work outdoors, I love to take my sketchbook & camera for a walk, stopping from time to time to draw, collect and simply observe.  Sometimes I leave all art materials behind and challenge myself to use only what I find around me - mud for paint, sticks & feathers for brush, discarded envelopes, plastics or even tree bark for paper.  It's one of the ways I connect with my local environment but this has been hard in America since everywhere is kept so clean, tidy & landscaped!  

This page from my sketchbook is a collection of tiny drawings made in the field with a fine liner, berry juice & mud. 

I prepared some small shellac plates, etching my usual wirey drawings onto the surface with various sharp tools ...

In the printmaking studio we use oil based inks but this doesn't sit well with my environmental concerns so I tried acrylic paint - it's all I have on hand anyway!  I tried to wipe away as much of the surface paint as possible so that the print was clean but that's much harder with acrylics, the paint dries too quickly. 

The results vary....I added a retarder to the paint which helped, water colour paper gave crisper results.  A bit of creative thinking turned my pasta maker into a make shift roller printer! 

Printing on parchment paper gives a suggestion of possible layering -

I then tried printing directly on to silk,  I like the delicacy of these...

What I really love is the used shellac plates & the way the black paint has filled the etched lines, funny how our tools become just as beautiful as the work created...

I can now see where some of my lines were not deep enough so I'll work further on these and have another print session when I've purchased some water based inks.

Not sure how I'm going to mix this work with my textiles yet but I like the quality of line that this technique provides so I shall continue with my samples & I'll probably use the best of the prints to make some cards.

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