Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ink Oxidation

Detail of print - Searching.

Edmonton is known for being extremely dry in winter. (Before we finally invested in a humidifier, the humidity in our apartment was down to 10%). Along with the dryness came an unforeseen problem with one of my prints (Searching). A few days after printing part of the edition, I noticed that my ink looked more brown than black; also, most of the lines lost their crisp form and looked like they were bleeding a bit (see short vertical lines). Instead of putting the prints between flattening boards right away, I let them air-dry to keep the thick and raised lines intact without squishing them down. Now I know that black ink, when it's quite thick on the paper and dries too fast, can oxidize and turn a dark rusty brown colour with a kind of iridescence. My initial response was dismay: a whole day's work lost! However, there are solutions to the problem. To take care of the oxidation, simply spray a thin layer of a drawing fixative spray, more like a mist, across the surface of the print and the oxidation disappears instantly and permanently. To prevent it from happening in the first place, I've seen people put a sheet of glassine over the freshly printed prints in the drying rack, which prevents the ink from drying too fast. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Double-Plate Etching, Chine-CollĂ©. 
60cm x 30cm. 2015. 

I just finished the fifth and last piece in my grieving series (for now). That does not mean I'm done grieving, but I want to move in a different direction with my work at the university. In fact, I already have changed gears and I've been working on this piece a little bit on the side, but I've refrained from posting any of my other work so far to retain some kind of continuity in this blog.

Falling is based on one of my first ink sketches from last semester that I thought had some potential to be worked into a print. It is based on a dream (more like a nightmare) about falling into a dark hole I've had and it deals with the feeling of loosing ground after the loss of my father. It deviates from my usual square format in this series; I doubled the square to give more of a sense of falling. Again I worked with photo-etching for the figure, for which I screen printed a halftone image with straight acrylic paint onto the copper plate as a resist template. The ink washes I replicated with soap ground and the grey patterning is line work with a little bit of aquatint on a second plate that I print on top of the black.
That's it for now. I'll post some of my experimental pieces soon that might thematically lead to my thesis work in the future.