Sunday, 14 June 2009

More at the Sidney Nolan Trust

I experimented with different ways of "painting" marks onto the aluminium e.g. spit bite. I also tried wax crayon, acrylic paint and lard. I was trying to create an image that looks something like a close up image of the rock called gabro.

I etched the plate in copper sulphate saline solution - a beautiful blue liquid which fizzed when the metal was in it. Depending on the heat of the sun and how many plates had been in the mixture, it etched from between 15 seconds and, once at its slowest 15 minutes. Usually it was just a couple of minutes. This is much quicker than ferric chloride.

I like the way that you can create an aquatint like effect, greys and a really black black (see below) by leaving the plate uncovered. You don't get the same kind of unusable surface (open bite) that you get with other metals and mordants. So you can create line and tone without the need for something like a relatively safe spray aquatint of screen filler and water or a much more toxic car spray or resin coating.

I definitely want to do more with this. Liza had a really solid base of experimental research behind her and we were able to make effective use of her knowledge. Working large scale also involves close cooperative working with others in the group and this also went very well - a very supportive group.

Printmaking conditions are rather difficult due to limited space in the print barn. The press is good though and solar printing as well safer etching are possible. The cramped conditions are more than made up for by the people involved and the experimental and creative approach. We had mainly fine weather and it is lovely to be printmaking in the countryside in a barn as well as a temporary tented structure.

I do hope that more funding is made available though (a funding bid has been submitted) as it would make it much, much easier from a technical point of view if there were more space and it were easier for local users of the facility in winter too.