I am in Australia and spending a week here at Baldessin Press in St. Andrews north of Melbourne. So far the trip has been full of meeting old friends and meeting new students. Here in the press studio I get to do my own work for a while before teaching a two day workshop.
This morning I picked up a small branch of Eucalyptus leaves and tiny gum nuts. They were the subject for a drawing to then engrave on a polymer etching plate. First I tried to get the drawing as close to the actual subject as possible with my new graphite pencils (set of 12 in a crocodile tin). I just used the H and the HB.
Once that was as good as I could get it, I laid the mylar etching plate over the drawing and channeled Rembrandt to make the marks with my etching tool to capture what I did with pencil. This was not easy.
Next I inked it with a sepia toned water based etching ink using a piece of mat board, tarlatin and phone book pages to wipe. Then the first test print….and another.
Seeing so much space around the leaves I decided to trim the plate by one half inch on three sides. It seemed better this way and fit easily on the Stonehenge fawn colored printmaking paper. I ended up doing four of the prints today and might do more tomorrow….or make a new drawing of something else and print that. I am surprised how well the etched line has held throughout this many prints and can just continue when I return home.
Next Monday after my class I will be taking a short course in photogravure from one of the best, Silvi Glattauer who is affiliated with Baldessin Press. It is a process where I can load my photo polymer plates into my Epson printer to transfer my photos or drawings to make images for limited edition prints. This is going to be very exciting.
Now I am having a bit of red with crackers and cheese. It is pretty hot here today and a nap might be in order.