Saturday, April 24, 2010

Printmaking Class Results...

My six week printmaking class was an adventure into uncharted territory. New techniques and tools were fun to learn and I came away with ideas for utilizing them in my preferred mediums of collage & art quilting.
The last method we learned was Silk Aquatint. The prints were OK (see Sunflower print) but what I really liked were the inked plates (Bamboo). We mixed white acrylic paint with gloss gel medium and built up layers on the plate. After drying, the plates were inked & we printed the images. One of the things I found the most challenging was thinking in reverse - both in "mirror image" and the thickness of the paint/medium mixture, which determined the high/low lights of the printed image.
In another class, we did "Drypoint", which means scratching a design into a copper plate. I really enjoyed this technique and did three plates (black landscape, blue leaves, and brown magnolia). My results are far from perfect but I enjoyed the process and will probably re-visit this in another class.

This was an intro class, designed to give a taste of techniques & materials. It was a small group of only six students so we all got the attention we needed and plenty of "press time".

We used mostly oil based inks, largely because (and this surprised me) the water based inks take a LOT longer to dry. That is so counter-intuitive but proved to be true when I decided to be stubborn and used water based inks one night. The prints took three days to dry completely! It still puzzles me.
We did some linoleum block cutting which brought me back to middle school art class days. It was much harder to do than I remembered (or, perhaps that is my expectations???). My favorite one is the long blue one with the leaves. And, just as with the Silk Aquatint, the block itself, with the ink dried on it, is as nice as the print. I'm going to use it someday in an assemblage, I'm sure!

My favorite technique of all was the image transfer method we did using linseed oil. It is an interesting process, the linseed oil bonds to the toner in the photocopy and the image is then transferred through the pressure of the press. I loved this method! I see myself using this a lot for collage, down the road.

I don't have a press but I think this can be done using a baren. It's something I'm going to experiment with over the summer.
The two prints I made are shown here, both in purple. My favorite is the flowers over the vintage ledger paper (though I forgot to mirror image my photocopy, darn it!).
It was a fun class and I learned a lot. I'm lucky to live near so many wonderful art facilities, including the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, in Norwalk, CT, where I took this class. They have classes all the time, check it out at if you are interested. The Center is housed in a fabulous old building in Norwalk, easy to get to and the facilities are spacious and nice to work in.
Well, I'm off to clean up my studio... it is a royal mess and I need to straighten things up before embarking on any new projects. Now that tax season is over I will have time for my creative adventures and will be returning to my "Bookworm 52" project. I'll be posting more frequently and hope that you will enjoy following along!


  1. Gail
    These prints are absolutely stunning. I love the bamboo print especially. You are always changelling to me with the depth and fearlessness to which you do your art!


  2. Gail, these are all beautiful! You obviously learned a lot in the class and have stunning pieces to prove it.

  3. Thank you both for your kind comments! I love learning new things and usually dive in to the process. I'm off on another tangent this summer ... taking two classes at Parsons. One in fabric selection and the other in garment construction (draping, patternmaking, slopers, etc). Should be fun!