Sunday, 16 December 2018

December 15, 2018

Drawn in the Argos Gallery of Santa Fe:

I am trying to make another soft ground print using the black BIG grounds, and drawing the figure onto the plate from a live model.

In preparing the copper plate, I FIRST brayered on the BIG grounds to a sheet of newsprint.  

BIG grounds,
and brayer

Coated newsprint and copper plate

Then I flipped the wet side of the newsprint onto the copper plate, and brayed over the other side of the newsprint.  This way I transferred the BIG grounds onto the copper plate, while cleaning the excess BIG ground off my brayer.

Braying the dry side of the newsprint,
to transfer the BIG ground onto the copper plate

When I peeled off the newsprint, the wet BIG grounds had transferred onto the copper plate.  Usually the transfer is uneven and ugly, so I have to brayer over the copper plate again, to distribute the grounds.  Again, there is hardly any BIG grounds on the brayer, so that all I am doing is distributing the grounds evenly onto the copper plate.

The copper plate is coated with BIG grounds,
after I peel the newsprint off the plate

I place the wet copper plate into a plastic box, and cover it with a lid to protect it from dust and scuffing, until I am ready to use it.

The wet copper plate
coated in BIG grounds,
stored in a covered plastic container 
before use

The newsprint step seems to be critical for the BIG soft grounds print process.  When I coat the BIG grounds directly with a brayer, apparently I am putting too much BIG grounds onto the copper plate.  After 3 hours of drawing, the reverse side of the paper (another piece of newsprint) always looks muddy, and does not look too promising for etching.

The drawing process:

I laid a new piece of newsprint paper over the wet copper plate, and taped it down.  A loose piece of newsprint can rub the wet grounds, and smudge the drawing.  I also have to use a "bridge" -- made of a ruler and putty at both ends -- to raise my palm, and keep my hand from brushing on the paper, and smudging the drawing.

Drawing after 20 minutes,
with "bridge" and lead holder pencil

40 mintues

After 3 hours of drawing from the live model, I removed the newsprint from the wet copper plate, and saw my drawing in reverse.  The pressure from all my pencil strokes pulled the wet BIG grounds from the copper plate, and left a mark on the newsprint.  

The imprint 
on the reverse side of the newsprint drawing

Notice that the imprinted image is very clear.  This is because the BIG ground was applied thinly, using the intermediate newsprint step.  When I brayer the BIG grounds on directly, the reverse imprinted image looks muddy.

Now the BIG grounds will have to hardened before being etched.  We once tried etching the  soft ground plate, but the ferric chloride also took off the wet BIG ground.

The copper plate after the drawing  --
which has to dry/harden before being etched

Submissions for the Horned Toad Print Exchange were due today, after the deadline extension.

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