Monday, June 14, 2010


This is the finished print for Print Zero's 2010 exchange. After experimenting, I decided to print the background plate over the plate with the figures. I liked the way the words appear to be flying around the figures as though they're deep in conversation.

I used Akua ink and printed on dry Hahnemhule Copperplate which made the registration easy.

“Who gossips with you will gossip of you” Irish Quote

First Proofs

Spent yesterday trying different things with the plates. I adjusted colors, ink consistency and the order in which the plates are printed. I'm still not satisfied with what I'm getting so I plan on another day of proofing. Hopefully I'll end up with something I'm happy with before the day is over.

The top image shows the plate with the figures printed over the background plate. This is the first figurative plate I made that was too deeply bitten and caused inking problems because of open biting.

The second proof is the opposite; the background plate printed over the figures. This is the newer figurative plate made using Solarplate so there is more detail and inking is more consistent.

I like what's happening with the text because I'm getting a sense of words flying between the two conversationalists. At this point, the quest is to find just the right marriage between ink, pressure, wiping and plate registration. Back to work.


Printing multiple plates requires good registration so this is the system I’m using for this piece. First I placed a sheet of paper, cut to the finished size, underneath the Plexiglass that protects the press bed. One right angle of matte board is taped down, away from where the paper will be placed. A second right angle of matte board will be butted against the first. The inked plate will be positioned against this second right angle and then the cardboard will be carefully removed. Paper is lined up in reference to the sheet under the Plexiglass. I find that this works pretty well and gives me consistent registration.

Plate Making and Proofing

This is the background plate intaglio inked in a blue gray and then relief rolled in a pale peach color.

The second plate with the figures was intaglio inked in a dark gray. This is one of the old photopolymer plates which is deeply bitten. Even though the plate was exposed to an aquatint screen, there are inking problems because of "open biting".

I decided to burn a new plate for the figures using a new Solarplate and was much happier with the outcome; more detail. Next step is to see how and if the two plates work together.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Exchange Project Underway

I've been playing around with ideas for an upcoming exchange project and have spent the last couple of days working out kinks. My plan is to use two different plates so I can overlap images. Using a combination of scanned textural drawings, photographs and text, I used Photo Shop to manipulate the images and came up with these negatives.

I found some old photo poymer plates; don't even remember who makes them. I was curious to see if they were still viable and found that they were. As I worked with them, I remembered how they had a tendency to develop too quickly and easily became "over bitten". I went ahead anyway to see what developed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Visual Nourishment

I always like to remind people that even though science and technology continues to shape our future, it's art that nurtures our soul. So as my husband was down in DC focusing on the first part of that statement I was with him, immersed in the second.

I spent 4 great days visiting the galleries and museums in our Capitol. It was like a creative booster shot. I wandered for hours through the National Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Museum of American Art, and the Hirshorn; just to name a few. Having done a few body prints of my own, I enjoyed seeing the work of Yves Kline and watching videos of his process.

Favorite artists like Lautrec, Kollowicz, Bartlett, and Dine, along with an interesting array of contemporary artists, occupied my days. The National Museum of the American Indian had a wonderful exhibition showcasing creative work by contemporary Native American artists using contemporary materials in traditional processes.

The serenity of the National Botanical Garden's rain forest provided a break from the gallery hopping and gave me time to reflect. I rounded out the trip with a visit to the majestic National Cathedral and was awed by the craftsmanship and sheer magnitude of this architectural masterpiece.

While in the area, I also took the opportunity to visit the new location of the Washington Printmakers at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Their new space provides a much larger exhibition area then they had when located in Dupont Circle. The building also houses various studio spaces so I had a chance to poke around in studios that were set up for papermaking, lithography, intaglio, letterpress and bookmaking. I was glad I stopped in to visit.

All in all, I arrived home well nourished, both visually & spiritually, with an eagerness to get back in the studio.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Field Trip Time

Got out of the studio today and took a drive up north and spent a great Saturday afternoon at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Not only did I get to see a wonderful Antonio Frasconi exhibition and sit in on a presentation about "Printmaking for a Better Planet" but I also got to meet Annie Bissett, a fellow printmaker whose work I greatly admire. It's great to finally meet someone in the flesh that, up until now, I've only been corresponding with in the virtual world.

The presentation at the Carle was about a topic that I've been focused on for the past 15 years, in both my classroom and home studio; safer printmaking. It was presented by Zea Mays, a studio in Florence, Mass. Liz Chalfin, the director of Zea Mays, along with 4 other artists (including Annie), focused on how the rich traditions of printmaking can be honored in today's world of "green" technology by exploring alternative printmaking processes that are safer for artists and the environment. Liz showed slides of the great studio space at Zea Mays and the artists shared their work, processes and spoke about the challenges they faced in switching over to “greener” printmaking methods.

The presentation was followed by a demonstration of Moku Hanga (relief printing) by Annie Bissett. The photo is a shot of Annie in action. All in all, it was well worth the trip.