Saturday, 20 March 2010

Soft Ground Etching

I decided to produce another etching plate to print and use as a bottom layer to go underneath my woodcut prints. For this plate I wanted to use some of the found objects to imprint into a soft ground – as this is a lot more direct than drawing from the objects or trying to replicate certain textures found on them (e.g. rust !). Obviously I had to use objects which would be OK going through the press so most of the objects I used were mainly string, laces, fishing rope etc. However I didn’t mind this too much as some really interesting patterns and shapes are created when they are placed on top of each other.




I can’t remember if this was before I had put it in the acid. I think it may be after I had put it in the acid for 5 minutes before stopping out any parts – to see which areas were going to suffer the most biting into from the acid so I knew which areas would be best to stop out. You can see on the close up images above the areas of silver – this is were the ground hasn’t been so strong so the acid has bitten through it. If I was to leave these areas without stopping them out the acid would bite further into the plate and when printed these areas would be very dark. I decided to stop out some of these areas and then put it back into the acid for 15 minutes. Once I had got the plate out of the acid and dried it I looked at the plate to see where the acid had bitten into deeper and then decided what parts to stop out before putting it in the acid again. There are parts which I would like pretty dark and parts which I don’t really want too dark. I don’t really want the background too dark so I decided to stop out some areas surrounding the imprints from the objects which were already bitten into quite strongly. I wanted some of the imprints from the objects to be dark and some to be lighter – really I didn’t mind which were and which were not just as long as there is an even distribution between dark and light imprints from the objects in the resulting prints from the plate. Below are some pictures of the plate with areas I stopped out.


P3180269  P3180272 P3180270 P3180271 P3180273 

You can get so carried away stopping out ! Originally I was just going to stop out parts that the acid had bitten into quite strongly already,  however I then also stopped out some imprints from the objects to get an even distribution of tones between them. After stopping out the areas I wanted to I then put the plate back into the acid for a further 10 minutes. After this the areas exposed to the acid on the plate were bitten into pretty deeply so I decided to leave it there. I then washed the ground off the plate and produced some prints – shown below.



I’m pretty impressed with how the first print turned out. I could probably work into areas of the plate more to make it more interesting, however I’m pretty happy with this as it is !   I decided to produce a colour print as well just to see how the plate printed in colour. Unfortunately I put too much Vaseline in the colour ink and when taking the ink off the plate a lot of it also came out of the bitten into areas as well. This resulted in the print not being as good as it could be. There are some areas not printed as strong as others, with a lot it not printed very strongly. However I’m quite glad this happened now and not when I was trying to produce a more final print as I now know not to use as much Vaseline ! For some reason I quite like this print though, just the accidental marks seem to make it quite interesting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          P3180279 P3180281

Next week I am going to spend solely print-making, experimenting with chine-collé and different layers using the different wood cuts and etching plates I have produced. I also want to experiment with colour. In preparation for these prints I produced some wood-cut prints on Friday onto the same tissue paper I used last time I experimented with chine-collé. I made similar prints with the wood-cuts to the last ones I made however I also tried etching onto the tissue paper – which produced quite a nice result ! Hopefully next week I should get some quite nice prints done, especially with the large pile of prints I have on tissue paper ready to chine-collé.

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