Experimenting for different results

Are you working hard and not getting the results you are looking for in your art? Have you been told to work in one way and not deviate from this particular method? Do you find it discouraging and not know what to do when you are disappointed in your results?

Not all methods are for everyone. People see, think and process things differently. It is not about replicating someone else’s work. It is about creating your own unique vision. Nurturing your passion is what it is all about. I believe that where ever the journey takes you, make sure it is your own path and not one someone else decides for you.

Experimentation is key to growth. It can be scary at times because there is a risk of failure. Failure is actually essential in making progress. It helps you decide what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to mix techniques and mediums to create a path for your self expression. A mistake can seem like a failure but with a bit of courage you can reformulate it and come up with something AWESOME!

I am new to printmaking. I did it in college and found a new format to creating hand pulled etchings through solar etched plates. Traditionally one technique  is to etch a drawing into a copper plate and expose the plate to acid which deepens the lines for the printmaking process. The solar method involves scanning the original art in the computer, creating a transparency to be printed onto a film. Think of it as an old fashioned photo negative. The transparency is placed onto a polymer plate and exposed to UV light. The UV light etches the image into the plate.  It is ready to be inked and printed. The translation from the actual art to the plate to the hand pulled print can be problematic. If not done properly, the result is lose of details. For this reason I have been struggling to keep the details I spent hours on in the original to translate onto the finished etching. 

I am having some success but found I really want to do better. Rather than getting discouraged or settling for less, I decided to create the same drawing in multiple ways, test them and see what happens.

For the first step in my process I transferred my drawing to hot press 140lb watercolor paper with a light box and did a tonal drawing using a Verithin black pencil. Although it is called black, it comes up a very neutral shade of grey. It does not smear on the paper and Verithins are not as dark or waxy as the regular Prismacolor colored pencils.

Step 1: Create a tonal drawing with a Verithin Black colored pencil.

I scanned this into the computer and printed it out onto another sheet of hot press watercolor paper and added black ink to define the details with a rapidograph pen. I scanned this into the computer and had it made into solar plate #1.


Step 2: Image printed out from computer and additional ink was used to strengthen the darks.

I then went back to the original drawing and did a full work up in color using watercolors. I wanted to show the difference between the textured rock surface of the Mayan Warrior which is a bas relief sculpture and the brilliant plumage of the Green Jay. Working in watercolor really gave me a great way to show this in color.

Step 3: I went back to the original drawing and used watercolor to add texture and capture the brilliant plumage of the the Green Jay.

I scanned the finished watercolor, converted it to grey scale to remove all the color and made it into solar plate (#2). This what the file looks when it is converted to grey scale. All the color is stripped out but the texture of the watercolor and the tonal values of the form are still visible.

Step 4: A second scan was made and converted to greyscale to show the texture of the watercolor.

I will print both plates and make an assessment as to which one makes a better print. I will keep you posted as I discover what works and what didn’t. This won’t be until July, 2019. I do my printmaking in New York City and am preparing for a show in October 2019 at the Salmagundi Club with Patricia Wynne. If you are not already on my list would you can join my mailing list to get an invitation to the show let me know. I would love to meet you in person.

If you are interested in seeing more of my Solar Etchings I have a gallery devoted to a bunch of them. There are some in Black & White and others are hand painted.

Yes! I want to check out Mindy’s Solar Etchings!

What kind of obstacles can you break through by experimenting? Please share and let me know. I love to hear from you.