My aim with this section of the project is to explore some textural effects and continue to improve both my colour mixing and placement when using multiple masks.
In the following prints the backgrounds were produced first, followed by the bowl itself.
A few practice runs were made of each section, most of which I won’t upload but this one worked particularly well.
Oil paint was applied to the print plate, corrugated cardboard was pressed into the surface and the mask was then put in place before taking the print. This whole exercise was a test of precision placement, which didn’t always work 100%.
Above: Kozo heavy (rough side). The top left sepia background was a plain rolled masked print and the yellow top right has the corrugated cardboard pressed into it, but it barely shows the lines. To create the texture in the olive lower section I tore strips of masking tape and placed these onto the print plate before inking, then I pressed the paper firmly around the tape to get the indented pattern.
Once the background was in place I brush-painted the bowl directly on to the print plate and aligned the printed background up with the registration marks before pressing. This print was pressed by hand. I found the brushwork quite difficult and the result shows uneven coverage in the bowl. I’m sure part of this is due to the rough surface of the paper.
To the right is a ghost print of the bowl, on plain photocopy paper, which shows how the rough paper surface impacted on the remaining ink on the plate. This shows a soft but textural effect with sufficient residual paint pick-up to create a second print outcome.
Above: Kozo heavy (smooth side). This time I turned the paper over and used the smooth glassy side and have achieved a much more defined print. The inks on the bowl were again brush-painted as opposed to rolled but I feel it is a little heavy-handed and solid looking. However, the background has worked excellently.
Above: Kozo heavy (smooth side). Here I diluted the ink strength and made them much more translucent. I also moved away from the brush-painted bowl image as I find that rolling the ink gives a much more even coverage. So, having cut multiple masks, it became an exercise in mask placement. The above trial isn’t bad and the colours are exactly what I was looking for.
Above: Kozo heavy (smooth side). Having got the paper/ink pick-up working well I stuck with the same formula and created the background as before. Each section of the bowl was made using a mask and then the detail was added by brush to the print plate and transferred. 9 masks were used in total (2 whilst adding the detailing). Such a basic image for that amount of fiddling and lining up (with a slight slip on the pink section).
I really like these ones. In the last one, the bowl has a heft about it that means a successful illusion of three dimensions from two. That’s partly the tiny bit of white space on the rim. The bit where the light falls always needs to be considered to stop the work looking flat. If you’re playing further with this shape, you might consider where the light falls on the rounded side?
You know this kind of printing is slow and a bit tedious, since the strength of print making is accurate repetition. You can do a run of one or ten or a hundred (depending on method), doing all of each stage before changing masks. When you’re only doing trial runs of one or two in simpler shapes, it always feels like a lot of mucking about for something you could achieve more easily by another method. But the principle is the same regardless of how complex the image is. (I know you know all this but it’s the perennial conundrum of the printer, unless you have a commission – how many samples to run, how big a print run…)
Yes I considered shadowing and light effects but found that I wasn’t good enough brush-painting the oil paints without getting a lot of unevenness, so I felt that highlighting areas might have just looked like I’d missed parts or made a mistake. Hence the reason I created more translucent colours to take away the overall harshness of the bowl and this has given a fairly good result.
I believe that this first assignment is very much about learning the products, getting the consistency of the paints right for different effects, registering layers, masking/hiding areas and finding the type of imagery that works for this technique. As we move through the course I’m sure these initial trials will be extended and incorporated into our work, giving the opportunity to improve and work at a higher level.
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