slightly wonky

Pronto plates…revisited
August 3, 2011, 4:59 pm
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So, I just finished up a one-day visit with Annie Silverman, a printmaker in Somerville.  She is holding a four-day intensive, but I could only attend for one!  Anyway, she sometimes uses pronto plates in her printmaking.  I had a tutorial last year in using pronto plates for printing, but I still felt that it was somehow more difficult than it was supposed to be.  So, I was really excited to take Annie’s class, and to get another try at learning this type of printing.

Pronto plates, or “polyester plate lithography”, is a sort of poor man’s lithography.  Real lithography uses a massive stone…marks are made on the stone, the stone is wet, ink is rolled on the stone, then paper is laid on top and the whole thing is run through a litho press.  Pronto plates are thin, plastic-like sheets of paper that you can mark on in the same way as you’d mark a litho stone, but you can easily run these thin plates through a typical etching press.  I have also printed them by hand at home, but this is obviously less successful than with a press.

ANYWAY, this type of printing can be fun and “collage-like”.  You can keep layering on the images.  Here are some of my things from this tutorial:

You’ll see a repeat of the imagery throughout these prints:

This next one needs more:






My teacher liked the last one.  I tried to be a bit restrained, and I think that it turned out well.  Some of the marks were made from an ink drawing that I scanned…some were from floor wax…some were from a pen drawing…and some were from a ballpoint pen.  Interesting, right?

This is actually the second time that I am writing this post, as wordpress decided to throw out 75% of the post the first time that I wrote it.   Grrr.  Technology…grrr.

So, what do you think of these prints?  Thumbs up?  Down?  More sheep needed????


Minor success!
March 31, 2011, 1:53 pm
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So, I received a phonecall today, telling me that one of my prints in the local show has won an award!  Seriously!!!  I was so thrilled.   Here it is:

I’m really happy, as I’m just a novice in pronto printing…but I did this anyway, and the judges liked it.  I’ve been working on my technique a bit more, and I think that I’m going to be able to produce better results.  I’ve only started another one, but I think that it’s going better:

Sorry it’s so grey…it’s very overcast today.  (We’re supposed to have SNOW tomorrow!  WHAT?)  Anyway, I bought a bigger brayer, which I think has helped.  I am also working on new paper, which I think is also helping.  Of course, I’ve only done the first color out our four, so we’ll see when I get the rest on there…but so far, I feel that it’s going better.

This is a little sketch that I work on, when I’ve finished printing something more involved, like the print above:

It’s just two colors right now, but I’m going to keep adding to it.

I’ve been SUPER FRUSTRATED with a lino print that I’m working on.  I can hardly bear to show it to you, as it’s turning out so horribly.  It’s just the first layer, so bear with me here:

You have no idea how many times I have tried to print this.  I’ve tried different paper…different ink…it always turns out blotchy.  I’d like to think that I could do lino prints without a press, but I’m starting to feel that this isn’t true.  IF ANYONE OUT THERE SUCCESSFULLY PRINTS LINOCUTS BY HAND BURNISHING, PLEASE HELP!  What paper do you use?  What ink?  How do you not get blotchy/unprinted areas?  I think that if I was working on an image that was mostly carved, it would probably be ok.  But this one is mostly solid, and it’s just proving to be a pain.

I prepared two carborundum plates for tomorrow’s class.  I think that they’re kind of neat, so we’ll see how they print!

I have a slight dilemma for next week.  The official opening of the art show is next thursday, which is the same night as my first carborundum collagraph class.  Egads.  I have to figure out which to do, as I can’t do both very well.  I may go to the class for an hour, then head over to the opening.  It’s my first award, so I kind of feel like I should go…I don’t want them to think that I’m blasé about it!

New pronto prints
March 28, 2011, 4:10 pm
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Okay, my internet connection hiccuped, and I’m writing this for the second time.   Grr.

So, I finished the pronto prints that I started last week.  I had to print each CMYK on a different day, to let the ink dry.  I also tried out three types of paper, to see which I liked best.  After doing all of this, I thought of a fourth type of paper that I think will work great, but too late!  Next time…

This is printed on paper #1 (Rives lightweight):

This paper worked fairly well, but it’s wrinkled.  I’ll have to experiment to see if I can flatten it.

Here is paper #2 (Arches 88):

This paper is smooth, and picks up the ink well.  Unfortunately, the paper isn’t sized, so it doesn’t react well with the wet pronto plate.  Oh well.

Here is paper #3 (Rives BFK):

Not great, as this paper has too much tooth.

Also, I just ordered a larger brayer, which should help enormously.  Right now, I’m working with the tiny speedball brayers.  As a result, there are always lots of brayer marks on the prints, as I can’t roll over the image in one motion completely.  I have to go over it twice, and the circumference of the brayer is also too small.  SO!  We’ll see what happens when I get the bigger brayer, and try on a different paper.  One other thing that I think:  this image has only part of it in focus, the rest is out of focus.  This looks cool as a photo, but I’m not sure if it works with this type of printing, as it just ends up looking too blurry.  Next time, I’m going to use an image that is all in focus, to see if that looks better.  These aren’t supposed to be exactly photographic.  (If I wanted that, I would just print it on my inkjet!)

This weekend, I went to the Craft Fair held by the Boston Society of Arts & Crafts.  So amazing!  So much gorgeous stuff.  Lots of beautiful pottery, clothes, jewelry.  Needless to say…I got a sandwich there, that’s about it.  Maybe I’ll start to save up, and get something spectacular in 2015.

Woodcut and pronto plate revisited
March 22, 2011, 3:54 pm
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So, I’ve decided to try again with the woodcut and the pronto plate print.  I have sealed the carved wood block, and it did print much easier.  I also bought some Japanese papers, which are strong yet absorptive.  I tried out some other colors, and also experimented with the layering of the image. 

This one above was on a very nice paper, called sekishu.  Kind of pricey…but light in color and very fine.  I also printed this on another paper, called kitakata, which is slightly thicker and a warm, straw color:

Does it look different?  It would be obvious if you were here!  Here is red color scheme with one color rotated 180 degrees:

Hmmm… and here is the other color scheme:

and rotated:

What do you think?  I’m sort of thinking that the black geometric object should have been a different color for the prints.  I’m not thrilled with how these turned out.  Any suggestions?  I think that the colors turned out a bit icky.

I tried the pronto print again.  Here it is:

I can’t compare it to the first one, as it’s going to be in that local art show.  This is blurry, so I must have misaligned one of the colors by a hair.  SO frustrating.  I think that the ink application went better this time…so perhaps practice makes perfect.

I stopped by the Arlington Center for the Arts to drop off that previous pronto print.  I was lucky to get a sneak preview of the show.  Not big…but nice to see all the work of local artists.  The education director was there, and thought that I should take my Regent prints to the owner to see if he would want to buy one.  Hmm!  Worth a thought.  There is all sorts of protocol on selling art that is being shown somewhere else.  Also, you may not be aware…but galleries take a hefty percentage of the sale.  So, once you factor in the cost of paying the gallery, the frame cost, the materials cost, the labor cost…you can see why art is expensive, and hard to make a good profit from.  I know…having an Etsy account would likely help!

By the way…the art show opens on March 28 in the Gibbs Gallery at the ACA, for you locals to Arlington.  The reception is Thursday, April 7 from 6-9 pm. Come see!  (I will hopefully be there on the later side, as I have a class that night.)

Pronto print progress
March 22, 2011, 12:40 am
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I printed a pronto print this evening.  This is a type of lithography, where one uses a polyester sheet as a plate.  Then, an image is put on the plate, either by laser printer/copier, or by hand.  THEN, when this plate is wet with a solution of gum arabic and water… the oil based ink sticks only where the marks are.  Confused yet?  It’s very finicky.  It takes some serious practice.  It would also work a million times better if I had a press, but no luck.  I had to hand burnish, which adds to the “wonky” character of the print.  On a similar theme to my linocuts, this is an image of the local Regent Theater.

I know.  You’re wondering why the colors are all bizarre.  Well…the ink is happiest on clean, high contrast images.  When you have some subtlety…then things get dicey.  I printed each process color separately…CMYK.  So, this is an attempt.  I will try again another time…but it took around two hours to print this thing…just one print.  SIGH.  I kind of like it, though. 

It actually snowed today.  I know.  Horrors.  Big, fat snowflakes covered the yard…probably only 1/2″  or so.  Still, it was distressing.  I really thought that we were done with that for the season.  It has been known to snow in April though…

A break in the clouds…

Today, an odd thing occurred…I was driving along the highway, and, for a brief minute or two, there was sunshine.  But this didn’t look like winter sunshine.  It looked like spring/summer sunshine.  I actually had a momentary feeling of it being summer.   HOW BIZARRE.  I’m sure that you know what I mean…there is just a feeling associated with each season.  It was so strange to have that feeling of summer for a minute or two, in spite of the fact that it’s February and we’re up to our armpits in snow.  It was like a deja vu: “Oh…this is so familiar, yet weird…”  I know.  Just keep my eyes on the road and pay attention!  But still…it was SO nice!  I wish that it didn’t disappear…

Well, I’m still experimenting.  I’m starting to feel that I need to work on something “bigger”.  Everything that I do has just been little sketches.  Perhaps I need to try to tackle something…MORE.  Who knows what that means.  Can one get loopy from the smell of ink?  gum arabic?  banana bread?  (I made some yesterday). 

Here are some of my latest sketches.  I’m trying to think of things to potentially make a solar plate from.  The black and white ink sketches are some thoughts.  The color image is my first pronto print at home!  Yay!  It sort of worked!  It’s one of those procedures that is a bit temperamental.  The first few prints went well…then for some reason, things started to not work well.  The ink wouldn’t stick to the plate, so that later prints are more faint.  Sigh.  Well, not bad for my first at-home attempt.

Did anyone else see that sunshine today?  It was hovering over route 95 in Waltham…

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