Here’s my little print, Reflecting, fresh off the drawing table, with a couple of layers of colored pencil over the Akua Intaglio ink to bring out the details I lost in the printing process of my first Silk Aquatint. It’s available on Etsy.
I didn’t get any of the subtle gradation I was hoping for in the print, and I suspect there were two reasons: the shimmery fabric was very absorbent when I was painting with the white ink/gel. I re-applied the white paint three times, and it eventually sunk into the fabric after each pass, leaving the weave exposed to catch ink. I also think my ratio of gel to white paint was off. I painted and pulled two prints during this session (I’ll post the other one next) and they both had the same fabric and the same issue; lost details, even after heavy wiping in the white areas. Back to the drawing board. I have a different fabric over mat board to try, as well as that same fabric over a plexiglass sheet, so there will be lots of experiments this week.
I also tried my new batch of Akua wiping fabric. It’s much softer than traditional stiff tarlatan, and it works great on their inks.
After the plate was dry, I trimmed the excess fabric and painted a little face with a mixture of white acrylic and gel medium. The white gel/paint fills the tiny weave of the polyester, and blocks ink from settling there, so after you ink & wipe the plate and print it, what you see is what you get. I tore my paper down to size, and used Akua Intaglio Paynes Gray and a little transparent base to ink the plate with scrap mat board cards.
The instructions I found for making a silk aquatint were on the Akua web site. I don’t have access to silkscreen polyester locally, so I stopped at a fabric store and bought two types of polyester silk organza; one is shimmery and a little slick, and the other was rougher to the touch and seemed to have a bit more ink-holding tooth. The instructions advise against using cardboard as a base for the plate because it’s too absorbent, so I used mat board coated with a thin layer of gel medium as a seal. In the photo above, I’m using a foam applicator brush to paint a layer of watered down black acrylic on top of the silk to adhere it to the plate. It would be wise to iron the silk, but I was intrigued by the possibility of inky effects from the ridges of the fabric. The plate in the lower right has the shimmery silk, and it’s the one I used for the art in this post – Reflecting. You can already see the way each fabric reacted differently to the coat of black… both were wet in the photo, but the polyester on the plate in the upper right corner seems to sit on top of the paint. I haven’t used that one yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
Introduction to Anders Zorn by