Zinc plate, hard-ground etched from pencil transfer drawing.
My start point for this project was a bunch of native flowers given to me by my husband, and some plants I recently photographed whilst out walking.. Australian natives are weird and wonderful and often produce amazing pods and seeds.
The acid/water solution used to bite into the zinc plates loses its effectiveness over time. It can ‘run out of power’ so to speak. My plate was in and out of the bath (checking for bite) over a period of around 30 minutes but still didn’t give me the etching I needed. This acid bath had been used and used by others until it was exhausted. So a new solution was mixed, the plate was immersed and, using a feather to lightly brush away any air bubbles, I could see the process quickly taking effect.
The bloom section of the design is loosely based on the orange/red Leucospermum flower shown at the top of this post. The fronds, made from bones, provide a variety of scale, whilst maintaining the elongated close-up feel needed to unify the composition. It was important to keep in mind that this will eventually be the second plate to be printed, being the foreground, as Elian and the vortex will sit in the background creating depth and distance.
Chine Collé was applied. In my mind I visualised yellow plants but thought pale blue may go with the deep green linework and background. I also cut a pink set but decided against it.
Above left: Unryu paper with an inclusion. Too bright and uneven looking. Middle: A type of Japanese washi tissue paper. Very effective but creates a cool tone to the piece. Not what I’m aiming for. Right: The same washi tissue paper in pale yellow with an excellent outcome.
The final print for this stage of the project: