Collagraph: Sinking In (& using Carborundum on a plate)

Sinking In 5.5 x 7 Collagraph printed on Arches Cover paper
#2 of 6 is available on Etsy
Process shots start at the bottom of this post.

After a full & fruitful day in the studio, the edition of six is finished and drying, with the little idea/reference doodle nearby.

After a trip through the press, pulling the print. You can get an idea in this shot about what the carborundum does; the ink coverage is rich and lovely.

Inking the plate with a variety of separate colors a la poupee.

You can see the black carborundum in the hair & brows on this shot. Now, I’m using Gloss Varnish again to attach a bit of tissue to the background for texture. I want this area to resemble a cross between bed sheets and water. After this was completely dry, I added one more coat of Gloss Medium & Varnish, front and back over the entire image.

The next day, I added more Gloss Medium to the areas where I wanted dark ink that wouldn’t wipe away – the hair & brows. Before it dried, I used a small sieve to shake Daniel Smith Carborundum (#120) onto the plate. The grit in carborundum will adhere to the wet sections of the varnish and create ink-grabbing areas that will hold lots of pigment, even after I wipe the surface of the plate clear of all color. After letting it sit for a few hours, I tilted the plate and poured the carborundum onto a sheet of paper and then back through the sieve suspended over the Daniels Smith container, so any carborundum & varnish clumps would be kept from the clean stuff in the canister. (One thing I plan to try is using old coffee grounds as an alternative to carborundum; dry your used coffee grounds on newsprint in the sun, and then attach them to your plate the same way you would with the carborundum. I understand the texture and absorption of the grounds result in a velvety, rich dark that smells good too. 🙂 )

This is one of the simplest and most direct methods of making a collagraph if you’ve never made one. This is the back of a piece of mat board. After sketching a young woman’s face & hair, I used an exacto knife to incise lines around areas where I peeled the first layer of mat board away, leaving a shallow well to hold ink. After I finished cutting, I sealed the matboard front and back with three layers of Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish and let it dry over night. (You can see a bit of color on the matboard because I used watercolor to remind myself where I wanted shadow and/or texture.)

Art Quote
In August of 1888, Whistler married Beatrix Godwin, the widow of E. W. Godwin, the architect. She was a large, handsome woman, with a foreign appearance. Whistler took pleasure in the tradition that there was gypsy blood in her family (and he called her his Trixie.). She was intelligent, had been an art student, and was always interested in Whistler’s work as an artist.
The following account of how their marriage was brought about is from Mr. Labouchere, the editor and owner of Truth:
“I believe that I am responsible for his marriage to the widow of Mr. Godwin, the architect. She was a remarkably pretty woman, and very agreeable, and both she and he were thorough Bohemians. I was dining with them and some others one evening at Earl’s Court. They were obviously greatly attracted to each other, and in a vague sort of way they thought of marrying. So I took the matter in hand to bring things to a practical point. ‘Jimmy,’ I said, ‘will you marry Mrs. Godwin ?’— * Certainly,’ he replied.—’ Mrs. Godwin,’ I said, ‘will you marry Jimmy? ‘—’ Certainly,’ she replied. —’ When?’ I asked. ‘Oh, some day,’ said Whistler.—’That won’t do,’ I said; ‘we must have a date.’ So they both agreed that I should choose the day, what church to come to for the ceremony, provide the clergyman, and give the bride away. I fixed an early date, and got the then Chaplain of the House of Commons (the Rev. Mr. Byng) to perform the ceremony. It took place a few days later.
“After the ceremony was over, we adjourned to Whistler’s studio, where he had prepared a banquet. The banquet was on the table, but there were no chairs. So we sat on packing cases. The happy pair, when I left, had not quite decided whether they would go that evening to Paris, or remain in the studio. How unpractical they were was shown when I happened to meet the bride the day before the marriage in the street: “‘ Don’t forget tomorrow,’ I said.—’ No,’ she replied, ‘I am just going to buy my trousseau.’— ‘A little late for that, is it not?’ I asked.—’ No,’ she answered, ‘for I am only going to buy a new toothbrush and a new sponge, as one ought to have new ones when one marries.'”
It is a pleasure to add that Whistler found his wife a sympathetic companion, quick to comfort him in his disappointments and ready to rejoice with him in his successes. Their happy married life was ended by her untimely death from cancer in their home in May, 1896. ~Sketches of Great Painters, by Edwin Watts Chubb 1915


4 Responses to Collagraph: Sinking In (& using Carborundum on a plate)

  1. FasiArts August 30, 2011 at 11:00 am #


  2. Robyn Sinclair August 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Well I know what I’m going to do with this morning’s coffee grounds. 😉 Fantastic demonstration, Belinda and beautiful prints.

  3. Carol Blackburn August 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Belinda, this is lovely. I really enjoy seeing your process. Seeing how you create your art really brings it to life.


  1. Monoprint: Three Eurekas! | Belinda DelPesco - January 30, 2015

    […] I finished playing with my groovy, new Akua Intaglio inks on the collagraph Sinking In, I had a small amount of ink left on my table, and I thought it would be more fun to make another […]

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