“Everything you want is on the other side of fear” – Jack Canfield
One of the things I am currently working on, is trying to become more comfortable with that feeling of not knowing what I’m doing. You know, that ‘clumsy, fumbling, feeling stupid’ feeling when you try something for the first, and sometimes even the second time and encouraging myself to feel the fear and just do it anyway, no matter the result. As it could be said, that in printmaking there really aren’t any ‘failures’ only ‘experiments’ and ‘happy-accidents’. I like this idea!
This week has been busy, lots of experiments with Cyanotypes and photo etching, with some really great results and a lot of fun!
My Cyanotype process:
Under red light, I paint the Cyanotype chemicals onto pieces of Hahnemuhle paper, dry with a hairdryer, then keeping them stored in a light proof bag until I am ready to expose them.
Usually very early in the morning I lay out my prepared Cyanotype papers, arrange the acetate photo negatives over the painted areas, put under the sheet of glass and clip shut ready to lay out into the sunlight.
To expose, I lay them on the roof of my van, although I have been known to place them on the dashboard whilst at the supermarket or at Uni too. Exposure times vary depending on the desired result, for example, if I want an under exposed image or if it is very bright sunshine, then I will keep the time shorter, but if I want a stronger image or if it’s very cloudy then I might leave it out longer.
Once exposed, they are brought back into the studio and rinsed under lukewarm/cold water until they run clear, then hung up/laid flat on a towel to dry.
Sometimes the prints don’t work out quite as planned or at all, for example, the following image completely disappeared when I rinsed it. Extremely underexposed I suspect. Luckily, I took a photo of the ‘before rinsing’ stage.
I deliberately underexposed the following image as I wanted a ‘ghost like’ effect so I can photo etch on to it. However, as well as really liking the pre-washed image I was also a little concerned that it might just ‘wash off’ like the previous one so I took a photo. I am glad I did!
In the uni studio:
I am still trying to figure out a way to combine cyanotypes with photo etchings. I also tried a ‘double drop’ but I think that the ink was too thickly rolled up! I don’t seem to do too well with colour. Here are a few examples of my experiments so far;
Continuously trying to bring colour into my work… not an easy task for me!
I quite like the following one, the subtle ghosting of the cyanotype self-portrait slightly hidden behind the image of the photo etched trees.
In my home studio:
I must say I have really had a lot of fun with straight forward Cyanotypes, playing with the photographic imagery placement, as well as the various ways to paint up the papers. I am very happy with the results;
Continue creating cyanotypes. Experiment with different ways of brushing on the cyanotype chemicals and inking up my etched plates ‘A la poupee’ with zingy colours. Photo etch some bigger aluminium plates and print off more cyanotype negatives with new photographic images. Continue my research into artists using photo-based printmaking and who explore the subject of self-identity and mental health issues.
Oh, and start preparing for my presentation in January- eek!!