Friday, February 27, 2015

Yet More Superb Starling and The Hunt For Iridescence

You're probably thinking that I'm beating this poor old Starling print to death, but I wanted to share a few new things I learned on the way to finally getting an iridescent Superb Starling.  I had tried everything from soup to nuts including several different inks, mixing mica with the ink, mixing gold powder in the ink, chine colléing (is that a verb?) several different papers, and finally cutting a stencil and applying the mica on top of the wet Akua ink.  Bologna! Nothing achieved the effect I wanted or came close to the bird I was trying to replicate.  And then - whoopee!  I discovered this wonderful paper at a local art store - it is --- IRIDESCENT!!  Wowie - I could hardly wait to try it.

It is listed as Purple Somethingorother, and it can be solid purple until you move and then this luscious limey green appears, and some turquoise and some gold, or wait maybe that's pink.  It is amazing.  The red paper under it is regular red mulberry.  Well, I got right to work cutting out little bird bodies and red breasts.  And then I tried to print.  Surprise!  Ink printed everywhere, but none on the bird body.  This wonderful paper would not accept ink!  What the ...? 

Phooey, (or similar exclamation) as we seasoned printmakers like to say at times like these.  I gave up on that process for the moment.  On the same day that I bought the problem paper I also bought some plain white lacy papers with the intent of exposing them onto solar plates and using them as background texture.  The first exposure went as usual: nothing on the plate.  Not to be discouraged I inked some of the paper with black ink, exposed again and voila!  Perfect.  So, that is what I used for the background on this Starling print. 

Now back to the reason for the Phooey (it's a technical term) statement.  I put the Akua inks away and went back to the old standby: Gamblin Artist Colors Portland Black.  Same result - ink everywhere but on the iridescent wonderful glorious paper which is now causing me to become mildly irate.  Back on to the shelf it went and down came the Litho Roll Up ink - the muscle bound, body builder of inks. Yes!  A little difficult to maneuver, a bugger to wipe, but it prints beautifully on my wonderful heart fulfilling purply-green-turquoise, gold, pinkey paper.  Yaha!  We have success, Houston!  Not the best photo - ignore the shadow in the lower corner -

It is still difficult to see the iridescent quality in a photo - maybe you just have to take my word for it or maybe it will be more evident if you click on it and see it larger.  Or, maybe this little close-up will help  (there's darned shadow again, darn it) -

Yeah, I think you can see the sparkle in his coat in this close up.  The detail of the background from the lacy paper shows up, too.

So, those are my recent successes, you really don't want to see all the failures that transpired during the trip to the final printing of the Superb Starling.  I'm confident that all the East Africans from Kenya and Tanzania will approve of my take on their resident bird.

My apologies to all my woodblock buddies - this is not a woodblock, but it could have been!  And, maybe my struggles with the ink and chine collé will help you someday - maybe - could happen -

1 comment:

Terry Sargent Peart said...

Oh, it's fantastic! Good job, perseverance pays off.