While you haven’t heard from me in a while, plenty has been going on in the studio. I moved on to experiment with other techniques for multicolor relief prints. I have to say, this has taken a lot of time and produced what feels like minimal results. However, it’s been an interesting learning process.
In my next effort, I used an extractive method, where the plate material is carved away with each successive color. In the end, most of the raised surface that would carry ink has been removed, and the original image is gone. Sadly, the results weren’t worth sharing.
Next, I tried a completely different method that uses a separate plate for each color. You start with a main “keyline” image, which you then transfer to tissue paper and then transfer again to the other plates.
The first series is of a white cosmos from last summer’s garden. It was carved into blocks of cherry wood. That was much easier than the plywood I used for the extractive experiment, however it still took several hours to carve the blocks. You can see I used a plate for multiple colors through selective inking.
I experimented using both acrylic and oil paint on a lighter weight paper. The ink didn’t cover as well as I wanted, so with the next round, I used a better paper that was dampened and used oil paint. You can see the coverage is much more dense.
My next series was based on golden crocus planted last fall that rewarded us with glowing blossoms in early spring. I tried a new plate material made of rubber: much easier to carve—but somehow not as satisfying to work with as wood.
I created two sets of prints using acrylic paint, which is sooo much easier to clean up than oil. Using dampened paper gave me the coverage I wanted. With this round, I used a systematic approach to register the plates using guides to maintain a consistent position. That didn’t work as well as eyeballing it and carefully laying the plate onto the paper. I’m pretty sure that was operator error.
I have so much to learn and a lot more experimenting to do, but after all these variations, I needed more immediate satisfaction, so I returned to a painting I’d started before my printmaking frenzy.
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