Thursday, January 13, 2011


This week I took the first steps towards a long held desire to produce a suite of prints. I've been wanting to make a series of etchings for years, but never getting around to it, until now. First call was to Dianne Longley a wonderful artist and printmaking teacher that knows all there is to know about the process. I did etching at art school some 26 years ago and wanted a refresher course and equally important, access to facilities, including a press.

There's me thinking I'll be dipping my fingers into Nitric Acid like the bad old days, turps, bitumen & worse, when Dianne explained I should look into the Intaglio Photopolymer Printmaking process. At least this process gives you the same results without the toxic chemicals and is far less time consuming.

Luckily, Dianne had 2 short workshops on Intaglio Photopolymer Printmaking starting in the near future. I just completed both this week and I am very pleased with the initial results.

The photos here show what can be made in just one day. The first Intaglio Photopolymer Printmaking workshop was to create a Black & White print in a day. First, I did my drawing with a 2B pencil on double matt drafting film, then exposed it on the solar plate for 60 seconds. The drawing can be seen here face down on the plate about to have the UV light exposed to it.

Afterwards the plate is washed out in water leaving a surface that can hold etching ink. After it is dried, then post exposed to more UV light to harden the plate, it is inked up the same as any other etching plate and run through the etching press.

A small print, the end result of a day's work. Nothing brilliant & it has a few spots where a bit too much of the plate washed away and made it difficult to hold the dark blacks. As purely a first time test piece I quite happy with this result. Now comes the much harder and more complex work if I am to make something good enough to leave the studio.


BRENTON said...

Exciting development Jim!

Cowwarr Art Space said...

Ingenious Jim!

Leslie Sealey said...

That's exciting, I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your prints! I just started experimenting with the same process; the photopolymer plates are a nice alternative to acid etching.