Monday, 25 November 2013

Preparation and Experimentation

The highlight over the last week (apart from the Macmillan exhibition) was going to Edinburgh Printmakers - again. I like the discipline of working there - I feel the clock ticking. However, I think it's good to vary what you do there - I think one can get a bit stale trying to cram too much printing into one session. I now think this as on this session I spent most of my time printing from a plate I had already made. I decided to have a go in two colours - using a warm red-brown as foreground, and a cool azure blue for distance.  It turned out a bit like this (this is not the full size). I must say the colours look quite subtle in this photo. I think the actuality may be a bit brighter/greater contrast.
 I'm not sure if I like it more or less than my initial print in soft black - which looked like this.
I am thinking that printing in two colours may make it more appealing, more saleable, but personally I like the purity of the black ink. I think the marks show up more clearly. However, I don't think one is better than the other - they are just different. What do you think?

I also made a new plate. Thought it would be a good idea to do a couple of prints of Edinburgh buildings, so I re-drew this Cockburn Street building - based on a sketch I did last week before the cold weather set in! It had to be Cockburn Street: I spent so much of my previous working life at the bottom of Cockburn Street...
I then re-drew it again, this time on film. I'm wondering if I've been a bit too tight with the drawing - that's always a risk when I draw buildings.  It's ended up looking a bit different from this, but I didn't get time to do a print.....for next session, I think. And I think I'll try a sepia coloured ink (Raw Umber?)

My other idea for this week was to search for a way to do monochromatic pictures without using acrylic paint. Can I use more sustainable materials and still get interesting effects?  I happened to have some egg whites, decided to make glair (egg white ink) and tried this out using charcoal and white pigment.
In this first study I used white glair and tried to make a black ink using crushed charcoal in egg white. Not sure that the charcoal ink worked!
However, I do like the charcoal effects - a nice loose and splodgy effect. Quite stormy looking. I'm not sure what to do next with this study. Maybe the top of the hill needs to be a bit more distinct. Or maybe it's just an experiment.

Because the charcoal ink wasn't working, I decided to add a little Prussian Blue pigment to make a blue glair. It ended up behaving a bit like watercolour.
However, again I quite like this restrained effect. For the dark trees I used charcoal and painted over them with the charcoal ink. Also used pencil for some better marks.

I did a couple more studies which were I think less successful.  Nevertheless, kinda interesting!

Not quite the bold effect I was wanting.  So where next? Can't begin to think about this - I've now got a terrible cold!

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