Saturday, March 01, 2014

Night Fishing - Collograph

 Night Fishing  - SOLD
8" x 10"  collograph

Its been a couple of months since I did any printmaking so decided that a collograph might be in order.  These are fairly simple to do with materials most people have lying around the studio.  A piece of mat or backing board, some white glue, acrylic varnish and printmaking ink.  I added in watercolour and watercolour pencils with a little pen and ink too.

My concept was from a sketch that I created for a future painting.  I use my sketchbook as a tool.  I don't care if its meant for water based media or dry; if the mood strikes me, the colour goes onto paper, buckles and all.

I drew the sketch onto a piece of 8 x 10 backing board then using a sharp knife cut around the shapes and removed top layers in some areas, leaving it looking like this.  I then sealed the surface with gloss gell to leave some texture in the water area and the old boat surface.  This also makes the board waterproof.  Another layer of acrylic varnish seals the deal.

When the varnish was dry I used Caligo Carbon Black etching ink to work into the plate then pulled a test print or three on my wonderful home made bottle jack press.  It works like a dream at a 10th of the cost of a printing press.  I used Japanese paper (I can't recall the name as I grabbed a few sheets from a pile I had previously cut) I was content with this print and then started to add colour once the ink was dry enough.

I started adding washes of watercolour pigment to the paper, wetting the whole surface as the colour bleeds on the Japenese paper, so I wanted the colours to merge with no hard edges.

Its fairly insipid at this point and I wanted to intensify colours and sharpen edges.  I used watercolour pencils to define the shapes.

I hope you try this technique, it is open to additions of colour or you can leave the print as it comes off the press. I'd love to see what you produce if you try it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Colour Chart - ultramarine blue

I'm still working on my colour charts off and on when I get a moment.  Yes, they are time consuming, yes they take some paint and some work, but yes they are worth the effort. Nothing helps you become so familiar with your palette as does the process of finding values that you can achieve by pushing paint around.

This is the third chart still using my split primary palette.  This time ultramarine is the dominant colour and mixed across the top row with each of the other colours then downwards in ever increasing amounts of titanium white to decrease the value as I go.

Ultramarine blue is the workhorse of many palettes as it is versatile, cool, transparent and powerful.  Its bias leans towards red so mixed with yellows, either cadmium lemon or cadmium yellow light here, the greens produced are less saturated than the mix I'd get with Pthalo Blue and Cad lemon for instance.  You can read everything you need to know about ultramarine pigment on the Winsor & Newton site.

Titian made dramatic use of ultramarine in the sky and draperies of Bacchus and Ariadne (1520-23).

With the reds, the range of purple and violets in pronounced with a richer version in alizarin crimson and permanent rose as they have some blue in them giving a more saturated colour than when mixed with Cadmium Red Light has a yellow bias and desaturates more towards a purplish grey, which I quite like.

Four value ranges, from left to right, mixing pthalo  blue, burnt sienna, burnt umber and payne's grey with ultramarine and titanium white.

When mixed with the earth tones, chromatic blacks can be created, leaning towards browns in the Burnt Sienna, charcoal greys with Burnt Umber and blue-greys when using Payne's Grey.  Payne's Grey is a mix of Ultramarine, black and a little burnt sienna, so staying within that family a harmonious palette is created.

Next I will be looking at blacks and greys, both straight blacks and greys from tubes as well as chromatic blacks, which I prefer as they have more warmth and interest in them.

As a note, I have used mostly KAMA pigment oil paints in the colour chart and heavy weight Bristol paper 400 series 11" x 14" applied with a palette knife.