Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Litho Stone Image Etched and Ready to Print...

It took me 3 days to finish this drawing on the stone.  This is one of three litho stones that I grained a while ago.  My paper size is 15" X 19".  It is a  non-bleed image. I made a transfer form a scan of my original sketch, reversed it in photoshop (need a "mirror" image for printing).  After that I placed the printout of the reversed drawing on top of the stone.  I slipped a sheet of red oxide transfer paper between the printout and the stone.  You can see the ghost image of the oxide.  I am using #5 Korns pencils (Copal pencils).  They hold a point longer. I later used a #3 for punching up my blacks.  I etched it lightly with 3 drops of nitric and one ounce gum. 

While I was waiting on the etch (I like to wait 24 hours before proofing and making a second etch).  I tore and registered my paper.  The edition size is going to be 20, I tore 8 extra sheets for proofing and color testing. I will print on a piece of mylar so that I can register exactly when I make photo litho plates for the other 3 colors.

There's a small hairline crack so I'm nervous about the stone.  I try not to get too precious with the image on the stone because I know that , "knock-on-wood", unpredictable things can happen during printing. I would like to back this stone with slate before I use it again.  It is about 2.25" thick, i would feel better if it was 3.5". The slate would help it.

I'm going to proof it after I post this blog.  Cross you fingers. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Tuesday is Ironing Day"

This is a pencil draft of a new print I am working on based on a painting by Giotto's "Madonna and Child".

A little girl's "domestication" in the 60s. She played with a toy iron, bride doll and a miniature kitchen appliance set and her brothers built with erector sets and toy cap pistols. She was taught to cook, do laundry, sew her clothes and keep a clean house. Meanwhile her brothers were out playing team sports, building go carts and going overnight camping.

Did you ever wonder why they didn't have boy's underwear with the day of the week on it?

Not bitter, just reflective. Food for thought (Oh yes, I think baking day was Saturday)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"First in Academia"

Large format sketch. Possible litho? Regrouping to work on new painting.

Last night ASU grad students were amazing. Loads of talent and smarts.

Wish I had time to go to SGC...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Large sketchbook format

Watercolor drawing, mixed media. Trying to loosen up in my large format sketchbook. Going to a printmaking opening tonight.

"Him" and "Her", polyester plate litho process

First of all it's hard for me to document any process because I'm such a visual learner. I myself would never read or follow any written directions. So please forgive me if I'm not explaining it well.Here goes...

Things I used in this process:
laser printer
polyester plates (Pronto or Smart plates, available at Graphic Chemical, Media Street or Takach.)

3 cellulose sponges
3 buckets
gum arabic

gel toothpaste
light table (a window will do)
tympan (sheet of plexi will do)
newsprint backing sheets

archival paper (cover weight is best)
A litho or etching press
Sharpie pen
Bic Atlantis Pen

Litho ink
2 putty knives
Magnesium carbonate

Ink slab (a piece of glass with a taped edge is fine)
Large brayer or composite roller
Single edge razor blade for cleanup
Old phone book

1. I scanned in my graphite drawing and made a "line" image using Photoshop. With this black and white printout I made a laser copy on to the polyester/pronto plate. The toner fused to the p-plate and the heat set it well. I always allow at least 2" margins around my image area. This prevents the roller or brayer from rolling up the plate during the inking process.
2. I made a template grid so that I could print 2 prints at the same time.
3. Because the p-plates are easy to see th
rough I am able to mark the "T-Bar" registration on the back of the p-plate.
4. I create each color on a separate plate making sure that every time the "T-Bar" is lined up exactly.

5. In addition to the laser toner, I am able to draw directly on the front of the plate with other tools. For large flats I use brand name Sharpie pens (as shown on the blue and tan color plates).
6. For finer detail I use the Bic Atlantis pen. Other pens might work but I find that the Atlantis works
the best for me.
7. I print the lightest colors first ...tan, then blue, then red and finally black.

8. This litho process can be done on an intaglio press because it is flat to the press bed. You will need to use a tympan to place over the inked plate, paper and backing sheet as it goes through the press. A heavy mylar or plexiglass sheet would work if you do not have a tympan.
9. When I mix my ink I try not to make it too loose. It is ideal to use litho ink when possible. Relief and intaglio inks are
not as refined as litho ink and could result in scratching away some of the detail on your plate. I add some magnesium carbonate to stiffen the ink and to keep down "scum" during the inking process. I also add a tiny bit of Setswell.
10. I mount the p-plate on to the press bed with water. We use a slate slab on our pres
s bed to raise it up for plate printing. Sometime I recycle an old metal plate and place it on top of the slate slab. The metal surface is easier for cleaning.
11. I use 3 sponges. These must be cellulose sponges, 1 dirty sponge, 1 dry/wet sponge and 1 wet/wet sponge.
12. I use 3 buckets. One for dirty water (for
rinsing and squeezing out "scum" from the sponges) and 2 buckets fro the gum/water solution (each bucket should have 1 oz. of gum arabic and 1 qt of water)
13. I also keep a "toothpaste soup" ready. (1 tbsp gel toothpaste and 1 cup of water, shake well). This "soup" will help to clean your plate if it begins to gain ink in the non-image areas.
14. I am ready to print... I have rolled out my ink on the slab (not too much), I have dipped my sponges in the gum/water solution and have mounted my p-plate to the press slab with water. I now sponge over my plate before rolling over the image with ink. If the plate is too dry it will take ink in the non-image area.
I roll out my ink with a large brayer or roller, sponging between each time. It may take 3 sets of three rolls each to ink up the plate enough.
15. I pull a proof by placing
a piece of newsprint over the inked plate. My newsprint is larger than the "paper/image area". I place a backing sheet (2nd sheet of newsprint) over the proofing newsprint. I place the tympan over it all. Now I set my pressure and run it through the press. I do this 2 or three times before I get a good proof and before I use good paper.
16. I continue this process until I complete my edition. Try to follow the same set of ink passes to ensure consistency.
17. Ideally you should wait at least 24 hours before attempting the next color.

18. If I want to save my plate, I run the p-plate through the press with newsprint (without inking) until ink no longer prints. Then I saturate the p-plate with the gum/water solution and let it dry.
19. I clean the ink slab with the single edge razor to get as much excess as possible. I place canola oil (baby oil or soy response) on the slab and roll out the brayer. I wipe down the brayer with a paper towel to remove all of the ink. You may have to repeat this process twice. Be sure to remove all of the oil on your brayer. I make a final rinse only on the ink slab with a 50/50 vinegar/water spritz.

All of this writing seems endless. Sorry if I failed to proof it well and forgive me if I've left out things. Hopefully, if you're interested in doing this, you will find enough information to get you started.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Intersections II"

This "key" drawing was also posted a while back. I used the same inks from the previous 2 mini prints to save time. I like a series of prints to have the same color palette. I also keep the same setup of "gum water" (1 ounce gum arabic to 1 quart of water) to sponge with. Sponging the gum solution on the plate keeps the ink from sticking to the areas that should not print when you roll the plate with ink.

"As She Lets Me See"

You may remember seeing this sketch a while ago. I used it as the "key" image for this mini 3 color print. The tan was a "split-fountain" using tint base. The red was a recycled combo of tint base inks from recent prints past. I added a bit of "setswell" to loosen it. The black was a Senefelder crayon black with Charbonnel litho ink. The black plate was made from a pencil drawing scanned and dithered in Photoshop and then copied onto a pronto plate using a laser printer. The laser printer uses toner that is ideal on polyester/pronto plates. The toner fuses well to the plate when it goes through the laser printer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Non-Indigenous Lineage", lithograph

This is one of 5 small editions I completed yesterday. They were printed with polyester plate lithography. I still haven't unpacked from my trip but I needed to get started printing. This week I will pack and ship work. Need to pick up work (many thanks to Brooke!).

The weather is fluctuating between warm and cold but the days are beautiful. The desert is in bloom. We have had an uncommon amount of rain this winter.

"A" is back in town, too. Nice.

Sketching a lot trying to get some ideas to paint for an upcoming show.

Leave for ASU in an hour. Fun to be back.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Old Sketch...

I'm back in town. Was gone for 10 days. Not great access to computer so forgive me for no updates. I did manage to do some sketches but haven't had time to scan in. Printed today. Plan to print tomorrow.
"A" is in Chicago. : (. Miss him.

Trying to get back on schedule.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I was looking for a current sketch to post this morning when a theme presented itself. There were so many sketches of "waiting". I usually have my sketchbook and tools with me when I go anywhere.

These were all drawn in a variety of places, airports, bus, trains, ferries and others.

When I'm waiting, instead of reading I draw. It's a great way to capture genre, body language, and expressions of strangers. I usually have about 1 minute to 10 minutes to sketch if I'm lucky.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I love these chairs...

These giant looming chairs align the path around the fine arts campus at University of Arizona. The title of the chairs is "Front Row Center". Created by local artist Barbara Grygutis.
They're fabricated bronze that has oxidized to a bright turquoise.
Her sculpture has been seen throughout the city of Tucson, Arizona since the early 80's.
I am printing, hopefully the rest of my mini-prints today.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Toy...

I recently purchased this small Koi (Sakura) watercolor field kit. I love the flexibility of it. The size is 3" x 4.5" and it has its own water receptacle brush. I already use the large tube set that Koi has and the colors are vivid. This is replacing my old Winsor Newton Cotman kit.

Yesterday I had to wait 3 hours in a lobby and this gave me portability to set up in my lap.

The vermillion (vermilion) is exquisite.
I use my waterproof Faber Castell pen for the base drawings. Here is a link to their website.

Just finished my third cup of coffee and getting ready to work on my mini- prints.

The garden is beckoning me but I must stay inside and print. Sad. These are some of the fresh buds on our fig tree, beautiful flowers are cropping up, Mexican poppies and fuschia penstemon...maybe lunch on the porch...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Second color mock-ups...

I like to map out my color flats before I make new plates and before I mix my ink. Usually I watercolor directly on a black and white print (pulled during the first etch on the stone) but because I already had these these two drawings scanned in the computer I decided to play with color in Photoshop.

It is always fun to compare the final with the preliminary color mockups.

"A" was using the press this morning and I had to run errands so I will need to print tonight. We usually alternate times. He's a morning person and I like to work into the night (less interruptions). Pronto plates print sooo fast so this should be possible. I am targeting to finish the color on about 9 of these small editions by this coming Tuesday.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Print Blitz...

Printed over 125 small prints (5" X 7") today (this one's for you Wayne). Mixed a warm black, Senefelder's Crayon Black combined with a recycled tint-based Handschy sun red. I use a small pastry rolling pin to extrude the ink from a "candy-sized" poly bag filed with old ink. We try to recycle everything we can. Ink never goes to waste and we store it in small plastic bags labeled with pen indicating the date and the type of ink mix (mag, dryer, tint base, etc.).

Here is a drying rack shelf with one of 12 editions. There are three colors left to do over the course of the next two days. Fingers crossed, "all goes well".

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Memory of our Friend and Fellow Printmaker, Wayne Miyamoto,

I just got one of the saddest emails. Our friend Wayne Miyamoto died today while doing research on his sabbatical in Mexico. An incredible artist and advocate for printmaking and special needs education in Hawaii. This picture was taken of the three of us in front of the "Temple of Heaven" in Beijing. My heart hurts...this is the type of artist we should all aspire to be.

Wayne Miyamoto / Hilo Hawaii, "Kami Figure Mountai
and Sea
", 2007, intaglio and chine collé

"The Sleeping Traveler"

This is a two-color polyester plate lithograph created for a student demo. The image was drawn on two different "pronto" plates. The light blue was printed first , then the black. The fine line art was drawn with a Bic Atlantis pen. This pen ink is good for drawing on the p-plates. It attracts ink well during the printing process, the way the etched Korn litho crayon drawing inks on a stone but without the etching step. The second color blue was drawn with a Sharpie. It also attracts the ink. There were about 46 prints in the edition.

Also, note that because of the "flatness" of a polyester plat, I was able to print this on an etching press with a tympan. Most of the schools where I give demos don't have access to a litho press and will ask me to demonstrate on their etching press.

This is one of the newest non-toxic lithography processes that we are promoting with Universities in addition to "John Driesbach" method of using paste wax on the stone instead of lithotine and asphaltum.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Experimental pen and ink drawing with watercolor.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Last night sketching for my new portfolio. The theme is "open" to the artist. Image size is quite small 5" x 7".