Silk Aquatint Portrait
Here is another silk aquatint , with colored pencil, based on a quick cell phone snapshot of my trusty studio assistant, Scout. He’s all about being helpful, especially if you need things like fur in the paint, shoe laces untied while carving details on a block, paint brushes scattered to the floor, or a lap warmer. He’s house-renowned as an expert in his field of Bothersome-but-Cute. Do you have a studio assistant?
How do you Make a Silk Aquatint?
If you’re unfamiliar with silk aquatint, visit this post to read an explanation of the process and the concept. After you read that, come back here, and let’s look at this version of a silk aquatint, made from a sheet of mat board and synthetic silk. This was an experiment in plate-making; I wanted to see if the plate substrate could be made from mat board (also called press board or gray board, depending on the continent you live on) or would the plate work best when made from plexiglass? You can see in the post I referred to above that I made quite a few test plates on different surfaces, with different forms of silk. I’ll go into more details on that in a video later, to help demystify this beautiful process.
No Press, No Problem
Silk Aquatint is a beautiful option for detailed, and subtly shaded printmaking. It does require a press, but don’t let that stop you. For the first decade or two after my introduction to printmaking, I continued to make blocks and plates, and then begged and borrowed time on other people’s presses everywhere I went. Search your town for printmakers, printing labs, print workshops, junior colleges and Universities with print programs till you find resources you can get to. Access to print labs will also acquaint you with various presses. Your own hands-on experiences will inform your decision later, if you plan to buy a press of your own. And if you enjoy working small, research the movement of jerry rigging embossing machines and pasta makers to print intaglio style printmaking (drypoint, silk aquatint, collagraph) at home.
Are You New Here?
Over the years, I’ve shared hundreds of How-To articles on this blog. The posts are related to watercolor painting and printmaking methods in a variety of formats. Some of the more “delicate” methods, like collagraph printmaking, silk aquatints, glazing in watercolor and reduction printing in relief – require a bit more detail than a still image can convey. I really want to help you learn these amazing painting and printmaking methods. The process is as enjoyable as the finished results.
Weigh in on This
I’m filming and editing process videos for my youtube channel and my online course site to help you understand the nuances that can make or break your results. Please understand that the job of making the blocks, filming all the steps, editing hours of footage down to a bite sized length, creating title slates and narrating the content in a clear and concise way is a Herculean effort. I do plan to share steps on silk aquatint, but my list is looooong, and I have paintings to finish for upcoming events, so please be patient. You are invited to leave a comment on the particular tutorials you’d find most helpful. Your input helps guide my planning, every year, so don’t be shy. What would you like to learn?
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!
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This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.