Before she was Ms. Peach, she was Ms. Lime, an unfinished sketch I threw into my luggage (and bent!) as I packed for San Francisco and the intaglio printmaking workshop at Crown Point Press.
Once I got there, I wanted to experiment.
There was a “ruined” copper plate in the “very scrappy scrap” bin. I liked its random acid splotches. It inspired me to improvise.
First, I covered the plate with rosin powder and heated it for aquatint. (Details about aquatint are in my previous post.) Then I dribbled acid directly onto the plate to outline the figure. (This is called spit bite)
My work table, Ms. Peach and plate
I created more shapes by brushing sugar syrup onto the plate.
This technique, called sugar lift, makes sharp-edged shapes. I added more dots, and outlined her hair, back, bottom, side, hands, and toes. She took her first trip to the acid bath.
That spot in the middle of her face gave her character. A little work with a burnisher gave her a nose.
Next, an etching needle was handy to indicate her eyes, mouth, and the positions of her head and limbs.
Ms. Peach needed a couch and some skin tone. I covered the plate with rosin again, for another round of aquatint.
Before putting her in the acid bath, I applied a masking liquid (asphaltum) onto the background, her cheekbones, forehead, hair, breasts, arms, knees and feet.
After those changes were bitten into the plate, I used my burnisher to soften some edges, and to highlight her legs and backside.
So far, my experiments included spit bite, sugar lift, etching, aquatint, and burnishing.
For the final step, the Crown Point printers showed me how to drape a sheet of thin Japanese paper (“gampi”) over the inked plate, brush archival glue on top, and trim the edges with a razor blade.
We put the plate on the press bed, with the gampi on top, and the glue ready to stick to the white printing paper. We laid the printing paper over the plate, then ran it through the press.
In the print below, the image is on the gampi, and the gampi is bonded to the printing paper. The tone of the gampi softens and unifies the image. (This technique is known as chine colle.)
Ms. Peach went through several stages of development. To me, she looks strong, monumental, a little serious, and very feminine. I like her big feet and her imperfections.
To learn more about the terms used for various printmaking processes and techniques, I recommend Crown Point Press’s online process and glossary page.
More printmaking news:
A new, cooperative printmaking press is opening in Anchorage, AK, where I live. Check out the new Tent City Press on FaceBook.
Thank you for reading my journal and for your interest in my work.
I love bringing you into my studio and showing you these processes. Is there something you are curious about? I am always looking for ideas for this blog, and I would be happy to have your questions.
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