This part of the project asks us to produce collagraphs in more than one colour.
The manual outlines rolling over selected areas of your print plate with different colours. I also had a go at printing on different coloured papers and started with very, very pale grey ink on red elephant dung paper.
I thought the contrast would work well but should have realised that the red totally dominated the grey. White would possibly have been better but I thought it would be too stark.
Whilst the grey was mixed, and having seen this overwhelming piece, I tried it on a warm mid-brown, flecked, Chin paper hoping the intensity of the paper and ink would be more balanced.
What a difference. I then moved back to white paper and my three primary colours: ultramarine blue, quinacridone red and a mix of hansa yellow light + chrome yellow hue (the last one is a paint not an ink but it warms the hansa yellow up nicely). Unfortunately, at this stage, the bubble wrap had disintegrated and I pulled that section out and replaced it with hessian sacking which didn’t come through terribly defined on the next pieces.
These look quite dynamic and the colour mixing has given good results. I’ve got some nice green, a bit of purple and the cocktail sticks transition smoothly from red to orange. The lace flowers and trim have a surprising amount of detail coming through and the plastic bathmat ‘pebbles’ have also retained some texture. I’m particularly pleased with the sharp transfer of the cocktail sticks and am amazed that the diamond cardboard cutouts haven’t collapsed yet. Looks like cardboard shapes are going to be good for collagraphs.
For the next section. the colours I chose are as follows:
From left: Sepia mixed with a little chrome yellow, pthalo green with a touch of the sepia mix added, napthol scarlet. All have been combined with 65% extender and a tiny amount (less than the size of a pea) of tack reducer.
I loved the single colour outcome from my spiky texture plate and knew colours would work well here, but the thought of using the roller (as previously stated) was not good. I don’t want these sharp points ruining the rubber surface. So I took an old credit card and tried to spread the sepia over selected areas. Using telephone-book paper I rubbed away the excess. I used the same method to then add the green and red, blending them as I went. So even though it is a collagraph plate some of the ink sits on the surface whilst in other areas I have forced it into the recesses and wiped away from the surface.
Above left: Dampened Arches 250gsm. A lovely crisp print with vibrant colours which is very successful. Above right: Dampened, yellow/green elephant dung paper. This results in a much softer print as the paper has a slightly spongy surface, even before wetting. It doesn’t seem quite like a finished print to me. I feel it needs some kind of very dark dominant linear image over the top and that this colouring should retreat into being a feature background instead of the focal interest. Still a very good print transfer though.
I then moved to my Brenda Hartill inspired plate which I’ve been dying to use.
Above: pristine plate, ready to ink. Note the uneven edges. Ink was applied to selected areas with a spatula for the sepia and green, then the red was applied using a dabber and a small paint brush. Excess ink was removed using telephone-book paper.
Above left: the inked plate where some areas had been rubbed away. Above right: Dampened Hahnemuhle paper. Oops, accidentally got a bit over excited when rubbing back the ink!! However, doesn’t it look textured and dimensional? I could almost reach out and touch those ridges. It’s a flat print but doesn’t look it at all. How exciting.
Above left: Dampened Hahnemuhle paper. What a beauty, exactly what I hoped for. However, it looks flatter than the previous print. The additional ink has over-ridden the 3D effect. Above right: ghost print. Still a very interesting transfer which has retained a more dimensional appearance.
It doesn’t look like I’ve done many coloured prints but I decided on less quantity but more time spent on ink application. Each print took around 30 minutes to ink up correctly and had to be semi-cleaned before re-application to avoid contamination of colours.
Very happy with the outcomes achieved here and for other print students following me please note there are none of the ink transfer speckling problems I’ve been encountering. I put this down to the advice recently received from my tutor, a printmaker friend of hers and a collagraph artist I met at the recent Bloom exhibition. Dampened paper and a touch of tack reducer seem to have made a big difference to these prints. Let’s see what I come out with in the next print run.