Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Ink experiments

I wanted to try a little experiment after watching several youtube videos on printmaking.

There seemed overwhelming support for Akua inks over everything else, so I bought a pot to test run and compare to my usual Caligo.

I used both inks for monoprint, reduction monoprint, monotype, and printing of etchings with and without a press.

Basically there's not a lot to choose between them. They both clean up with soap and water (though to clean a plate thoroughly, I found I needed to use a little vegetable oil for both) Looking at the tubes it seems that Caligo is based on Linseed Oil and Akua is based on soya.

I'd imagine that for textiles, Akua (soya based) would be less likely to rot the fabric over time than Caligo (linseed based) That's just my personal take based on my long-held understanding that oil paints which contain linseed oil can rot fabric.

Akua intaglio ink is much runnier than the Caligo etching ink, which made the line monoprinting less successful...too much noise.  It suggests you mix it with magmix to make it thicker when printing. Good to know there are products to thicken and thin, but the Caligo is about right naturally. Caligo also make products to thicken and thin.

Akua also do a liquid pigment which looks fun and can be used in conjunction with the intaglio and is transparent. You could have great fun combining both products. It looks a bit like Golden Fluid acrylic.It's claimed that Akua will stay wet on the plate until printed onto paper when it will then dry.

Below: A quick reductive mushroom monoprint on Somerset paper, Caligo on left, Akua on right.

Sketchbook page using Akua for monoprint.

In conclusion, I found the Akua much wetter and viscous than the Caligo and I would use it for preference for reduction monoprinting. I'd use the Caligo over the Akua when it came to line monoprint. Good to have both products to hand I guess.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Reductive monoprint - mushrooms

 Another first go - this time with reductive monoprint (which means starting with lots of ink and wiping it away)

Here's the process

I've put a white cloth on the table and covered it with a large piece of acetate which I bought from a DIY store. (They can cut to size which is very useful!) You don't need to do this, it just makes life easier.

I've put a piece of paper under the acetate as a size guide when inking up.

For the first attempt I used Caligo printing ink and covered the area with a thin layer of ink rollered until you can hear the "crackle" (just a lovely whispering sound that tells you the paint is the right thickness)

Below - using a cloth to wipe shapes from the ink surface. This is done freehand with illustrations from a book to give me confidence; essentially mushrooms are just ovals with a thick stem.

Printing the image onto paper. Use your hands to gently rub the paper - or use a brayer, spoon, or barron to transfer the image from the plate. All those loose sheets of printer paper you can see are masks I've put round the sides of the plate to give me a nice edge .

The reveal  - areas for improvement as usual but a quick and easy way to print. Maybe slightly damp paper would have given more detail.

I also tried using Open Acrylics and although you have to be quite quick as the paint dries more quickly than the printing inks, I liked the effect more. Don't think you could use ordinary acrylic as it dries too quickly.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

2nd go at Drypoint - architecture.

Leamingtonians will spot straight away where I've gone wrong! For everybody else, I forgot to reverse the photo image before etching. Mr Jephson's monument is now back to front!! 😜

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

A first try at drypoint printing- using the XCut.

I was given some plastic etching sheets and a a special etching pen as a Christmas present and couldn't wait to try them out.

I did read a bit about it, but as it seems that the principle was a matter of just scraping an image onto the plastic and then printing, I dived straight in as I prefer to learn by experience!

Here's my process:

I've laid the sheet of plastic onto a piece of white paper so I can see what I'm doing a little easier. I've used the pen (you could use a needle in a cork or a compass - anything with a sharp point) to scratch an image of poppies. A good tip is to find a drawing you've done or even a photo and place it under the clear plastic. Remember whatever you do in this way will be reversed when printed so take care with text!!

I've used a stamp set to print some text on the reverse side of the plastic. This means when I turn it over to scrape in the letters, it will be reversed. This is what you need to print it properly and for it to be the right way round.

I've got to be honest, the printing part is the fun bit!

I'm using Caligo printing inks which are water soluble making them nice and easy to use.

The colour here is brown/black and I'm applying the ink directly to the plastic, and I'm using a piece of felt to rub it into the surface making sure all the cracks are filled.

Here you can see how much ink has been applied to ensure coverage. I'm now scraping off the excess with a piece of mountboard.

You now need to start rubbing with clean pieces of newspaper or telephone directory pages to remove the excess ink from the surface.

It's quite hard when you start, but keep going replacing the paper frequently. Magically it suddenly gets easier and you'll have a nice clean image to print from.

I am cleaning the background with a piece of cloth just to make sure as I don't want any bits of stray ink spoiling the paper.

You'll need some paper to print on. It does matter what you use but for an initial go printer paper should be fine. This is Somerset 30gms which has been wet under the tap and left on a piece of fabric for 5 minutes before using. It shouldn't be wet just slightly damp.

I'm using the Xcut for this experiment, but I also used the back of a spoon and it worked equally well if a little blurry because I hadn't taped everything down to keep it steady.

Anyway, put the plate on the plastic base that comes with the xcut. Make sure it's nice and straight. Put your damp paper on top, then the xcut top plate. Put it through the machine - I've used 4 to 4.5 for pressure and one pass through is all you need.

I really enjoyed the process and can't wait to try again very soon.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Happy New Year to you.

The Halls have been scrubbed and the ledges dusted and we are, here at Rainbow Towers, back to what passes as normal. I had some lovely arty pressies, a book from a good friend:

I shall really enjoy reading this and will do my best to paint - if not daily - a lot more often on a smaller scale.

My lovely DD bought me this little collection as I want to try drypoint etching etc. I've no idea where to start or what the pen thingies are, so I guess a bit of reading is needed 😍.  Lots to do this year, and fun to be had - best get started - I do hope you might like to join me!

Friday, 21 December 2018

Fabric garland - quick last minute xmas make

I reckon this took me about 35 minutes and children will find this pretty easy too! I'm not a great one for spending time hemming bunting etc and am always looking for something quick and easy to do.

The front door needed some festive last minute cheer, so I found some Christmas fabric scraps (about 6 fat eights) and an old wire coathanger.  Don't take the top off the hanger as it makes a good loop to hang from a door knocker.  Use your hands or a pair of pliers to shape the hanger into a rough round. The fabric will cover a multitude of sins so don't worry if yours isn't accurate. 

All you need to do is cut your jolly fabric into 6-8 inch lengths by about 1inch wide. You can alter these measurements to suit yourself and your fabric stash, but that's the measurements for the wreath above.

Above: strips of cut fabric. Below tying them onto the coathanger with a simple over and under half knot.

Use your hand to push the cloth to the front of the hanger and twist any that aren't sitting quite right. Bunch them together nice and tightly.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Deck the Halls!

It's that time of year again!

After realizing that my garage "tidy up" had left the box with the Christmas decorations in a totally inaccessible place, which meant putting the battery back in the car, removing several boxes of junk and quilts, and struggling with an over-packed shelf just to get to it, I've begun to Deck The Halls.

I've always liked print trays but don't have a proper one - this little box tray came from a local very cheap supermarket, you know the one, everything is a £, and is lined with some home-dyed fabric and is normally stacked with small collectibles.  At Christmas I empty it out and fill it again with decs.

It's given me an idea and I've been scouring Pinterest to find images of folk who've "pimped" their print trays. I'm going to turn this into a miniature world! Well, maybe I'll buy a slightly better made replacement first as I don't want to spend ages filling it only to find it falls apart under the weight or something. Sort of dolls house meets library meets having a bit of a laugh!

Mind you, the creative to-do list is getting a bit long. I'll have to crack on and start ticking a few things off - but maybe not until after January 1st? I'd love for you to join me as I make a start on it all.

If I'm not back here before then, please have a wonderful Christmas, share some love and take great care. Merry Christmas!!! Thanks for reading xx

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Monday, 26 November 2018

Sneaking a monoprint portrait into the pile of Christmas makes

Well, I have finished the farm board, and also painted a dolls house that G and I found in a local charity shop. It was a little grubby and unpainted and just needed some tlc, and we thought it would make a great thing for our granddaughters to play with if we spent some time renovating. Since the photo, it's been wallpapered,  carpeted and furnished. I'd live in it.

My smallest granddaughter loves to put things to bed, so in addition to a small collection of wooden dolls for a Christmas stocking gift, I've been sewing mattresses, sheets and pillows. Crikey, I had to give up when I hit 9 sets - couldn't face one more bright pink wadded lump.

I was going on to paint the portrait of my daughter in my "special" A3 sketchbook, but decided to have another go at monoprint with collage (see the last penultimate posting of a tree) and have had a lovely afternoon with glue and caligo printing inks. It's not dry enough to do the white painting yet, as caligo takes a few days to dry, but I'll be back soon with the results.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Matisse inspired?? No, not really.

I've just started to work on a new large painting and Whatsap'ed the image below to show my family, along with the line "Can you guess what it is yet?" To me it was obvious of course, but I loved the replies including " Dancing Lady Sneezing Out A Blue Kidney". Perfect.

It is, of course, the base board that I'm painting for a farm layout for the grandchildren when they stay over Christmas. I found my old farm set at the back of a wardrobe and figure they're old enough to get some use out of it. This board folds in half and fits my coffee table so should be easy to tidy away. The blue thing will be a pond, the grey will be roads, brown will be farm tracks and pathways, and the rest green fields with trees and fencing.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Sketchbook page - tree

A lovely idea for a sketchbook page thanks to Laura Kemshall. You can find out more on DMTV https://www.designmatterstv.com/

It's all a bit wet still and the camera has caught the wrinkles in the paper - they are a lot flatter irl! Next stage is to add some colour.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Allowing the paint to dry on your gelli plate



This has possibilities but needs work!

How it was done.

The materials: gelli plate, stencil, acrylics, brayer and baby wipes.

Roller some acrylic paint onto your gelli plate using a brayer.

Place your stencil over the top
of the wet paint

Take a print by rubbing a piece of paper over the stencil.

Leave the stencil on the plate.

Use a baby wipe to clear the negative spaces of the stencil of any remaining paint.

Using a sponge, fill the spaces on the stencil with a second colour of acrylic paint.

Gently lift the stencil to reveal the paint on the gelli plate. Leave to dry. This is very important. I didn't and ruined my print!

When the paint is thoroughly dry, squeeze some acrylic paint using a 3rd colour onto the plate. Roller on with your brayer. You need a very thin coat of paint, so clean the brayer between rolls on a piece of scrap paper. You should be able to see the colours through the top layer as in the photo below.

Take a print and rub very thoroughly on the back of the paper.

Because my paint wasn't thoroughly dry the yellow ochre paint didn't lift onto the paper, but stuck the paper to the gelli plate instead. It wasn't too bad as an experimental piece, and I can remember to do it properly next time!