Sunday, 30 August 2009

Soft Footfall on the Forest Floor

I cannot believe that I have not shown you my little Mezzotints. It just occurred to me as i am currently working on an update of this image.

However, I do believe I told you about this method of printing in an earlier blog. It is the type made on a copper plate which is all roughed up all over and then you have to rub back into it with a burnishing tool to smooth the areas that you wish to print white. Just to confuse you (and me) as a two colour print you have to make two plates you must....I am scratching my head now....I cannot intellectualise it and cannot explain how it's done right now because i cannot picture it myself. If I was doing it I could figure it out, but right now I am scratching my head.

i got it!
Plate one - the green plate - smooth out what you want to stay white.
Plate two - the black one - smooth out everything that you want to stay white and green!

But that is not the point. The point is I love the effect of these prints. You must agree they are particularly yummy. All that wonderful graininess, like an old film. And the darkness that hints of hidden corners and mysterious things lurking there.

They lend themselves beautifully to light and shade - with no beginning and no end, but done well there are gradations of black through your greys to white.

I wanted to do Mezzotint for years, every since I saw my first one. i had read about the process, so had an idea of how it worked and finally did a workshop at the Cork Printmakers (with John Aherne) just before I left Ireland. I was not aware that you could make a mezzotint with colours - i had only ever thought in black and white for this technique. It was quite laborious doing the two colour print, but very rewarding. difficult to get the plates lined up (registered) but when it worked it was very satisfying.

It was so funny at the workshop - there were about 8 artists or so and once John had told us the rules of the studio and gave us materials and tools we started to work and a silence descended over us for the next two days as we scraped and rubbed. The only time you heard voices was when one of us rolled a print through the press - then everyone gathered round and there were appreciative oohs and aahs! It was really fun. But very boring for John! We were all so keen and so attentive, therefore we had very few questions. He should have brought a good book to read.

Seriously though, I actually thought he was a very good teacher - very clear in his instruction and very encouraging, while also pointing out ways of improving the technique and which tools to use etc.

As i mentioned in the first paragraph - I have had a wonderfully productive weekend on my own here. Not lonely, but missing having my man come home in the evening - It is more fun with two! I have been working on on my two linocut plates, but me being me I got a bit excited about my next linocut - i know - so typical! I haven't even finished the first ones yet and I am already onto the next project - But that is just the way I work, famine or feast, there will come the lean times when I cannot get motivated at all so "Bring it on!" I say.

Right - back to my desk - got a drawing to finish and some cutting to do.

I hope you enjoy my little print

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