Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Update on the printing ink trial

This posting is just to let you know that the printing ink used as an experiment has now dried properly and is fine for wet media and hasn't smudged. 

If you've printed on different papers possibly the drying times are different. On copy paper it's only taken 3/4 days to go off. Copy paper isn't good for wet media but I tried it just to make sure as an experiment.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

I try a new ink product for printing

I ought to say right at the start, that I'm a complete printing novice. I don't have a press or any specialist equipment and have mostly stuck to lino prints in the past. Having said that, I'm very interesting in learning more and making better prints to use in my sketchbooks.

Linda recently did some printing for her sketchbook challenge, and I'd made some plates up using card, but hadn't had enormous success in using them with acrylics, inks or oil paints.

I'd been looking for an oil based printing ink which was easy to use and clean up afterwards and didn't cost the earth, and I came across Caligo Safe Wash etching ink. (no affiliation!) It's widely available but if you can't find any go to their website. A pdf about how to use it is on the website, but here's a direct link.

A pdf download is available here

I started by squeezing a bit of ink from the tube about 2 inches long.  It's very sticky and thick, but was easy enough to move around with the brayer, which I loaded up with a thin even covering.  Initially I squeezed the ink onto a sheet from my Tear Off Palette, but something more fixed like a sheet of perspex/glass would work better as it wouldn't move around.

I then inked up the card plate using 2 or 3 swipes across it in all directions until it was covered.  It was easy to see where the ink had taken and where it hadn't.  I used paper to pat the excess ink off of the plate, but found rubbing it gently was better and obtained a smooth shiny finish.

I used dry paper first of all, because I knew the ink was washable and didn't want it to blur by adding wet paper to the mix.  It worked very well!  I placed the ink plate on the table and put a piece of dry copy paper on top (different papers presumably give different results, but it was all I had to hand) and burnished it with the back of a large spoon. The dry paper was strong enough to deal with this and I got quite a good print. (left)

I then tried it with slightly damp paper to see if I could improve the results. I didn't soak the paper, but sprayed it gently with water from a fine spray pump.  I left it to soak slightly whilst I inked up again for the next print.

Burnishing the paper this time resulted in a tear because it wasn't strong enough. So, for the next print I used the damp paper but before burnishing put another piece of dry paper over it and rubbed through both.

The ink dried to the touch within the hour, and the brayer cleaned very quickly and easily with cold water and washing up liquid.

Why is an oil based product good? Because when it's fully dry, (don't know how long that will be - a couple of weeks?) I'll be able to paint over the print without the ink moving. My results I suspect - in print terms anyway - leave a bit to be desired, but it's exactly what I wanted for my sketchbook as I like the "noise" and imperfections. Yep, quite pleased!!

Here's the same print with dry and wet paper. I think it cost about £7 for my tube which is expensive but not out of the way. Now I'll go on and try a slightly different method of printing!  I'll let you know if the ink dries sufficiently to allow me to paint over or if there's any problems.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A couple more sketchbook/diary pages

A visit to Snowshill Manor (NT - Broadway, Glos) is always worth a trip if you're looking for inspiration. It's jam packed to the rafters with everything imaginable. I love the Chinese cabinets with endless drawers full of tiny treasures. The page has a panel of key fabric which Laura used to stock - think she still does (here's a link to check if you're interested)

Left are some keys and a beetle. There are cabinets of both on the landings and stair wells.

Stratford Butterfly Farm, which is near enough to make a quick happy visit with small grandchildren- even if they're frustrated with not being able to touch the butterflies!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Progress on the portrait for the Inexorable Tide of Dinner.

First layer of paint goes on top of the pencil drawing. Watery acrylics to block in tones.
Then the second layer is about getting the cloth soaked around the stitching and having fun with colours - this is mostly delft blue and lemon yellow.
3rd layer of paint begins to make it more realistic. Still using watery acrylics but beginning to make them thicker. Giving definition to eyes and other features, to find out what goes where and how things like the nostrils work. Probably another couple of layers ought to see it finished.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Another textile mag takes the plunge...

....and publishes some life painting. Well done Textile Fibre Forum (Australian)

I've been pottering in my sketchbook/diary again and this sketch on the left is a rose hip to go with the image of full rose blooms next to it...I had them for my birthday.

I wanted to save my cards - I hate throwing away people's sentiment and their lovely comments. It feels like you are rejecting them!!  So, I've saved them as a background thanks to the wonderful idea of doing a 3 month diary/sketchbook.

Mind you I am a class A fully qualified idiot who feels the need to stack the dishwasher in a way so nothing is left to feel lonely. You know, putting two teaspoons together so neither feels left out. No?  Just me then!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Some snippets from the latest sketchbook

This would be the sketchbook challenge I'm working on alongside Laura and Linda Kemshall, and many others I believe!

I've been trundling away whilst doing other things on a few pages,  and here's some snippets.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The key to a successful marriage - in part anyway - is....

...having someone who doesn't mind dealing with the grot in life.  Whilst G won't touch a nappy, he will quite happily stick his hand down a drain to remove God-Knows-What when it becomes blocked. A successful partnership.

In between following him around with a rag dipped in bleach, and trying not to think too hard about what he was up to, I had time to do a little printing. Nothing resolved, I was just playing with the shape to see what happened with the various products. You might spot that I've used the left over bleach too.

Bus Pass Day

I followed a Twitter link recently to some tips on how to write an interesting art blog.  One of the things it said was you shouldn't include postings about your life and days out, and you should start another blog if you wanted to witter about those things.  Hmmm.

Oh well, never mind!

This week was memorable because I was 60. A few years ago I told my family that I didn't want to celebrate birthdays any more, but happily they chose to ignore me. One of the joys for me this week was finding this surprise birthday cake - not any old cake - indeed not, but the very one I'd been hankering after since seeing it's construction on a technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off. It's called a Princess Cake and is basically layers of sponge, creme patisserie, and cream. Yum or what? They'd got a chum to bake it for me, and I have to say that she did a magnificent job!

There were flowers and grandchildren, and daughters, and cards, magnificent music players, books, scarves, Moorcroft pottery and clothes.  All very exciting and ideal material for the Sketch Book Challenge that so many people seem to be taking part in (see I got a bit of art in there, didn't I?)

I just managed to catch the little charmer on the right, mid performance, as she belted out a verse or two from Disney's film, Frozen. Dreadful film, but most amusing rendition!! Trouble is DH and I now have a dreadful ear worm and can't stop singing it ourselves.  If only ones times-tables were so easy to pick up.

 We visited many places which also provided inspirational images for the diary including these chrysalis. Some people are freaked out by them I know, but how inspiring...lots of ideas are pinging around the brain.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Useful prints

Carrying on with the printing, I was able to find something to put in those new photo frames on the studio wall.
Busy week next week as I do a bit of Grandma duty.