This is a seven color hand-pulled print 6×6 inches (15.2×15.2 cm). There are 10 prints in this edition.
Some projects take a long time to complete. I worked on the first six colors over the course of several weeks last Spring. Then the project sat on the shelf for six months until I figured out how I was going to print the final black layer.
In my previous printing project (Sun Over Mountain) I figured out how to print by hand a six color print using inexpensive materials. My goal this time was to do a seven color print with texture and detail. Also, I wanted to try using stencils as well as foam plates.
I looked through my personal photo archive and decided to use a photo I took 15 years ago on the coast near Yachats, Oregon as my reference.
I cropped it to a square to fit a 6×6 inch plate. My first plate was made of Peel and Stick foam stuck to foam core and sealed with Minwax Polycrylic. Here is a photo of my setup.
Notice I’m using the same jig I made for my last project with homemade registration pins at the top. I hand printed 10 prints with this first color of light blue using Golden Open acrylic paint. I used a one inch flat brush to apply the paint to the foam, placed the paper face down over the plate, and rubbed with a spoon and my hand to transfer the paint to the paper.
I used another foam plate to do the second color, blue gray.
The next color, yellow, had just a few simple shapes. I decided to use a stencil cut from overhead transparency material. I aligned the transparency stencil over the face of each print using the registration pins, and applied the paint with a sponge dabber.
Green was my next color. I used another foam plate.
I used another stencil to add brown.
Gray was my last color before printing black. This time I used a thin styrofoam plate.
At this point I stopped to think about how best to do the final black layer. I wanted it to have a fair amount of detail which would be difficult if not impossible to do using either a foam plate or a stencil. Then I got involved in other projects and put this one on hold. Six months later I bought a new Epson WF-7610 wide format printer/scanner. I wondered if I could use it to print the final black layer. I ran some tests and figured out the registration problem and decided it was worth a try. I scanned an ink drawing and placed the image file on an OpenOffice text document sized to 9×12 inches (the size of the existing prints). That way I could measure the distance from the left and top edges and place the image precisely on the page. It worked. I didn’t know until I printed one how the Epson ink would look over the existing acrylic paint. I lucked out. The ink is somewhat transparent. So, there is a nice unanticipated variation in the value depending on whether the ink is printed over the white of the paper or a color. Also, I was worried that the ink might not stick to the acrylic paint, but again I lucked out. It did. You have to be willing to try things.
Here’s an animated GIF showing the step-by-step process.
And here is a shot of the edition of ten completed prints. Each one is printed on a 9×12 inch sheet of Scratch Art SUBI Block Printing Paper. As with any hand printed project, each print has some slight variation.
For the artist, process is more important than the product, but in the end, the image is what counts. I rather like this one. It has a strong graphic appeal and yet is representational.