The Atlas Building – prints

This week I made prints of an etching of the Atlas Building. The etchings are based on a sketch I made.

I made 12 prints. Here they are.

They are all for sale! Please let me know if you would like to buy one. All are printed on etching paper “Fabriano Unica”. They are intended to be used as greetings cards. So the print is to the side like this:

Version 2

They fold in half to make a greeting card which fits in a C5 envelope.

Equally they can be folded in half or cut, and put in a frame size A5.

If you’d like to buy one, please contact me, and say which one you’d like. They are numbered – click the images in the gallery above. £5 each + postage. These are handmade items by me, an amateur printer. Thumb marks, imperfections, ink smudges and other defects reflect the handmade nature of the items and, as they say, “should not be regarded as defects”.

This is all preparation for my “Towers” exhibition in February 2019.

The process I use is “chine collé”. Here are some photos of work in progress:

To see more detail on the process,  look at this page, which explains all the stages.

The photos above are in “East London Printmakers” in Stepney, where I do my work.

Here is the original sketch on which the prints are based.

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Atlas Building

The Atlas Building – print

Today I worked on a print of the Atlas Building. This is based on a watercolour I did in March this year in a peregrination around City Road.

Here the hard ground print:

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Then aquatint:

 

IMG_4354 (1)This was an aquatint with 6 tones, which is about the maximum I can achieve. On the 4th and 5th dip it’s difficult to see what I’m doing.

These pictures are postcard-size, with the intention of making cards.

IMG_4355 (1)Here’s the test plate print.

I’m in the question about whether the aquatint needs more work. I thought it did when I first saw it, but now I’m not so sure. It isn’t as dark as the photo looks. Comments welcome.

Aquatint and test plate on Khadi handmade paper. Hard ground print on handmade paper from Paperchase. Printing done at East London Printmakers. Ink is Intaglio Printmaker “Shop Mix Bone Black” from a tube. Etching on 10cm x 15cm copper plate using Edinburgh Etch.

Here are the copper plates:

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The Absinthe Table

This week I experimented with hard and soft ground.  Here is “The Absinthe Table”, etching on copper plate.

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It’s based on a sketch I made at the Hotel de France, Vaud, Switzerland. They have a collection of absinthes for tasting.

Walking on the way to the print studio I decided I would do two colours. Furthermore, I thought that the second colour, with black, should be green, as absinthe is sometimes called the “la fée verte”. Rooting about in the leftovers box at the Print Studio I found some green ink.

The long process of making the plates took all morning. I watched the rain fall into the canal. Perhaps some of this atmosphere went into the print. Making a two-colour print means:

  1. placing the colour-ink plate on the press.
  2. roll over until the plate is out but the paper is trapped under the press roller
  3. lift the press blankets and remove the plate without shifting the paper or the template
  4. get the black-inked plate
  5. put that plate very carefully in the same place on the template
  6. replace the press blankets and roll back over

The potential for error is great. The most obvious error is to put the second plate in up-side-down.

I printed the plates in the afternoon. The error that happened first time round was that the green ink didn’t print at all. Not a dot. Examining the tube very carefully, reading the writing between the splodges on the tube, I saw that it was “block-printing ink”. Lesson: block printing ink does not work for etching/intaglio process. OK.

This is why the background is brown, using the Charbonnel etching ink which I had brought with me. This is very reliable, but is brown not green.

Here is the single colour black, one plate in hard and soft ground.

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Here is an out-take, the very first print of this series. The bottles are in hard-ground only, and the registration is totally off. But perhaps that weird dislocation is appropriate for a picture of an absinthe table.

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Here’s a sketch of the absinthe table from February this year:

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From Godfrey House

Here are etchings based on a drawing I did from outside Godfrey House, in the St Luke’s estate, Bath St, EC1V.

This one is done in the new brown ink I bought: “Terre d’Ombre Brulée”

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This is aquatint.

Here’s what the hard ground etch was like, before the aquatint.

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Here’s the work in progress:

 

The Cheesegrater, etching

Yesterday I did an etching based on a sketch I made of the Cheesegrater and St Katharine Cree.

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This is a post-card sized etching on copper plate, printed by the technique called Chine collé.  Japanese paper is the coloured background, and is printed and glued to Fabriano Unica, all in one process. It’s a bit tricky, but gives a good result, I think. The Japanese paper takes the ink very well, and provides the coloured background.

The plate is made using a hard-ground etch, then aquatint. Hard-ground etch means I put a varnish on the plate, then draw the picture in the varnish, so revealing lines of bare copper. Then I dip the plate in acid for 20 minutes. The acid attacks the bare copper and makes lines. Then if I print it, it looks like this:

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The next stage is aquatint, to make the tones. Aquatint is nothing to do with water, and nothing to do with colour. The name is misleading. The plate goes in a box, where I’ve turned a handle to make clouds of fine rosin. The rosin drops on the plate like rain. Then it’s annealed with a gas burner. Now there are lots of tiny dots in a random pattern on the plate. The skill now is to paint and dip the plate, so as to get the tones. The longer the plate stays in the acid, the blacker the tone. But if you leave it too long the acid bites off all the dots and the tone is light again.

The picture has 5 tones and plate tone. The darkest tone was in the acid for 4 minutes.

Here is the plate being inked up:

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I did the printing on the Henderson press at East London Printmakers.

Lady of Avenel etchings

Here is the Lady of Avenel in aquatint.

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Lady of Avenel, aquatint

Here is the hard ground, before the aquatint went on:

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To help with the aquatint, I made a small test plate. It seemed a pity to leave it blank, so I put some sea life:

Lady of Avenel is an 102ft brigantine square rigger. I sailed on her for the swimming expeditions in the Hebrides in 2017. This is why the sea life is relevant, and realistic. Especially the jellyfish.

I drew the Lady of Avenel in Heybridge basin, see this post:

Lady of Avenel at Heybridge Basin

Lady of Avenel website is: www.LadyofAvenel.com

Etchings done at East London Printmakers, 18th January 2018.

Towers, Chine Collé

Last Thursday I made more prints for my “Towers” project.

I improved a plate I made last September, “Skyline”, using a dry point tool, and a marvellous rolling tool called a roulette. The idea was to add more detail.

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The drypoint tool, above, and the roulette, below.

I used chine collé to make a yellow shape. Chine collé is paper. It is put on the inked plate, glue side up, which as you can imagine is quite tricky. Then I carry the whole lot to the press, trying not to let the sticky yellow bits float away. The print paper goes on top, then tracing paper to protect the blankets, then the blanket which the press needs, and then I roll it through the press.

Here’s the result:

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Skyline, Chine collé, 4th January 2018

This is the view out of my window. When I look out, I can see shadow of my building and other buildings. The yellow outline reminds me of this effect, and of all the other buildings whose metaphorical shadow is here: the buildings demolished or bombed down, and the buildings to come.

I also made Chine collé prints of Towers East and Towers West.

 

I have printed these before. See these links:

Towers East and Towers West

Towers, East