Printing table set up with xcut xpress (a diecutting machine with a flexible pressure). Caligo safewash echting inks and extender, glass plates for mixing ink, a pile of blotting paper.a pile of tissue paper - I am lucky to have such a big room/table.
Colours mixed - glue sticks are great for mixing and very cheap. The dark colour is sepia mixed with 1/3 as much extender. The yellow ochre is yellow ochre. The rest are mixed from blue/red/yellow. (these re all the colours I have + white)
This is the plate inked up next to the reference watercolour painting. The prints are nearly always stronger than the paintings - the difference between watercolour and oil I guess. I ink up the plate with tooth brushes and a la poupee - where you wrap a rag around your finger and apply ink with the finger. I then wipe the plate "clean" with rags (old sheeting). The ink is left in the indentations on the plate.
Paper soaking in the bath - this is Hahnemuhle natural
I squeegee the paper on the shower panel (who needs a studio?)
And blot it between sheets of blotting paper. It needs to be damp but with no shiny bits - if its shiny it tends to stick to the plate.
On the xcut - I have an extended base from Handprinted.com with their blanket
And the paper. It is going to be a bleed print printed to the edge of the paper) so the paper is smaller than the plate. Where space is restricted bleed prints can maximise the printing surface.
This is the first trial print. I have found even when everything is perfect with the plate that it takes 2 or 3 prints to get a collagraph plate working. The more I print the more I tweak the plate. I learnt this tweeking from 2 good printer friends at the Edinburgh printmakers - Cat and John. I used to puzzle as they reworked etching plates that looked completely perfect to me. I have learnt.
My criticism - I had wiped too hard everywhere. Too much extender in green and sepia need more colour in rocks and more definition i water and vegetation.
Second trial print on left, 1st trial print at top. Plate on right. Second crit - More subtle tree trunks (too much red). Add some lower branches, darker bridge, more definition of water. With a colla pva or stick stuff on.graph print you can always add cuts and tears - once it has been inked it is more difficult to add
Etching plates last forever, collagraph plates are a lot more delicate, I can't be too fussy - I usually print an edition of 10, with approximately 3 trials some plates do not last this. This is the first print of the edition.
Three prints waiting on the mdf boards - I will cover them with tissue than put another MDF board on top - they will dry flat - prints love curling up . You can see that the prints are not identical - technically a varied edition. It is very difficult when applying lots of different colours onto one plate at a time to get them the same - and I don't try - I like to experiment a little to see different effects.
Pile of mdf boards - 10 boards cut from one large board b a local builders merchant.
The plate - its work complete. The plate absorbs a lot of the ink - my husband always prefers the plates to the prints. I do love my plates. Sometimes I cut them up into a celtic/pictish knot - I may do that with this one. Who knows?