Here I am combining both positive and negative masks within each print, thereby achieving a two coloured outcome, hopefully accurately aligned. In my last project I used plastic coated paper to make my masks but am using photocopy paper for this stage. I resized my template to fit my print plate, balancing the percentage of positive and negative space.
Above: the first two prints are on brown packaging paper, the third on medium weight (not specified) Gyokuryu rice paper. All printed dry.
Each print has a ‘halo’ around the image. I’ve had a good look at this and realise that the finer points of the eagle don’t print in full, either by hand pressure or machine press. When the outside mask is placed on the inked plate (so printing the eagle image) a tiny well is evident around the tips of each of the cut outer feathers, especially the narrower ones. The dry paper won’t sink sufficiently into these spaces to pick up the ink and produce the fine detail, so the eagle always has less definition on these outer points. Conversely, when placing the eagle mask down (so printing the outer colour) the reverse happens and the combination of these two ‘shortfalls’ makes the halo. I thought that by dampening the paper I may be able to push it into the smaller print areas and improve the result.
Now I’m fed up!! Arches 88 300gsm, wet. OK, the background isn’t perfect but it is less ‘spotty’ than in the past, so the dampening of the paper is working. I stupidly tightened the machine press pressure and again the paper stuck to the print plate. Here I was deliberately doing a misaligned print and it would have been lovely if it hadn’t stuck.
Further experimentation. Gyokuryu rice paper, dry. I reversed the order of print to see the effect. The eagle was printed first and then the background deliberately misaligned. The positioning effect is interesting but the yellow paint is not great.
My oil paints are good quality, nice thick tacky products. However the colour range is severely restricted. I’m OK with that as I can mix my own but I can’t mix a warm yellow and only have a Hansa Yellow Light which is essentially a lemon and I’d like a more egg yolk. I bought a different brand and got the colour I want but not the quality. The paint is too thin without enough tacky grab to even roll it out properly. It’ll be fine for monotype prints, with a brush, or mixed with some of my other colours but as a stand alone, no. The blotchy result can be seen above.
I used a couple of the print plates a second time, removing the paper templates carefully with the pair of tweezers. I like these textured ghost prints.
This printing stage has produced very little in the way of positive outcomes but I continue to learn. I’ll move to a different image and try a couple more and see if I can make an improvement before moving on.