Screen Printing part 1

Atomic Mess shows how you can get bold colourful screen prints just using a paper stencil.

Atomic Mess

I’ve been wondering for a while if some of my images would be easier to achieve as screen prints so I’ve been planning to learn to do it for a while now.

A couple of months ago I finally got the chance to do a screen printing course at City Lit.  In the interests of transparency I should say that I am a member of staff there, but I can really recommend the course.

Our teacher, Ben Rider was really enthusiastic and knowledgeable and I achieved some good prints quite quickly.

After an introductory session in which we learned to create simple backgrounds, we moved on to paper stencils. Ben stressed that good preparation was the key to good prints so I spent a bit of time working out some stencil ideas.

a paper collage of a stylised planta positive stencil of a plant design

I made the above designs using paper collage and cut outs to test stencil ideas. One of…

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Oak Leaves & Acorn Linocut

Autumn has arrived in this colourful print of oak leaves and an acorn. Actually there are two timelines in this print, the green acorn and green leaves of the summer, and then the hint of autumn change with the leaves turning orange and a blustery sky. I love the shape of oak leaves and the beauty of the sun shining through them especially when their colour is changing.

This linocut is a 6 colour linocut, created from three blocks which printed the first three colours; and then each block was further cut to remove more material and then these were used to print the last three colours. This method of printmaking is known as a multi-block reduction cut; and it means the edition cannot be printed again as you no longer have the earlier stages of the blocks to print from.

Printed by hand using Caligo relief water-based ink on specialist printing paper, Zerkall 210 gsm. The yellow highlights on the leaves and stems were hand coloured with acrylic ink (making the seventh colour in the print).

This edition has 15 prints in total and it is available in my Art Finder shop.

Here is a gallery of rough proofs for each colour printed.

 

 

 

(© Catherine Cronin)

Current printmaking exhibitions in London

There are a few interesting printmaking exhibitions currently on in London.

First up; ‘Etching:The Infernal Method’ curated by Norman Ackroyd and part of ‘Art Sales’ series at the Royal Academy of Arts. “This selection of works for sale by Royal Academicians and invited artists celebrates the diversity of contemporary etching practice.” It’s free and on until 19 February 2018.

Norman Ackroyd RA, Thirsk Hall, 2006. Edition of 90. Etching. 17.5 x 28 cm. (RA, exhibition Etching:The Infernal Method)

Next we have; ‘The business of prints’ at the British Museum, free and on until 28 January 2018. “This wide-ranging exhibition selects fine examples from the nation’s print collection to look at how prints were created, developed, bought and sold in the period 1400–1850.”

Abraham Bosse, The workshop of a printer (detail), etching, 1642. (The British Museum, The business of prints exhibition)

Next up is ‘Eclectic: The Julie and Robert Breckman Collections at the V&A’, free and on until 4 March 2018. “This display features some of the best prints and posters acquired for the V&A through The Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund over a decade of collecting.”

Eclectic: The Julie and Robert Breckman Collections at the V&A (image not credited by the V&A).

Finally we have this exhibition to #SaveTheDate for and #NotToBeMissed as its only on for a short while. ‘One-off: The Masters, Monoprint’, 8 – 19 November  at the Bankside Gallery. “This is a compelling series of annual exhibitions focusing in turn on one of the many techniques practised by our members, … This year’s technique is monoprint and the show is being curated by Morgan Doyle RE, a highly skilled printmaker who frequently uses this technique.”

Morgan Doyle RE, As it is, monoprint (Bankside Gallery – One-off The Masters, Monoprint exhibition)

 

Top tip: How to correct slippery relief printing ink

I’m using Caligo Safe Wash Relief inks to print my ‘Oak’ linocut. When it came to printing the dark green layer defining the acorn and its leaves I found the mix of phthalo green and phthalo blue ink was really slippery, it didn’t roll out like ‘velvet’ and I didn’t get that ‘kiss’ sound between the rolled out ink and brayer. I tried to print with it and found it was filling my cut lines and blobbing on the cut edges of my lino block.

Find me on ebay

After researching the web, the solution that kept coming up was to add magnesium carbonate to the ink, which would ‘stiffen’ the ink up. I found that art branded magnesium carbonate is expensive and sold in a large quantity. Instead I bought 50 grams of magnesium carbonate via ebay, from a company that sells it in a pure form for use in food products, cosmetics and a variety of other applications – who knew!

I added half as much magnesium carbonate to my ink and mixed well. The result was a stiffer ink that rolled out like velvet and didn’t clog on my lino block. I recommend giving this a go if you too are struggling with slippery ink.

This is my ‘Oak’ print so far; I’m just figuring out if I’m going to add another layer to the orange leaves…

(Apologies for poor photos but my camera ran out of battery power!)

© Catherine Cronin)

GRAAL PRESS

Exhibition: Graal Press

Location: The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

Date: Until 29th July 2017

Details: As part of our 175th anniversary, The Scottish Gallery is focusing on Graal Press; one of the world’s leading print studios. Based near Edinburgh, Graal was founded by Carol Robertson and Robert Adam in 1998. Since then they have worked on collaborative projects with some of Scotland’s most distinguished artists. Carol and Robert, who originally met at The Slade, London, have been at the forefront of international research into contemporary screenprinting and etching practice. This has resulted in two monographs on screenprinting and intaglio.

Image credit: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

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SMALL FORMAT 2017

Opportunity: Small Format 2017

Deadline: 4th August 2017

Entry Fee: €20

Details: SMALL FORMAT is an International Mini Print exhibition organised by Black Church Print Studio promoting the diversity and creative processes of printmaking. This is a new addition to Black Church Print Studio’s program. This invitation is open to professional artists nationally and internationally. Images made using all printmaking techniques from traditional techniques such as lithography, relief, screen, etching to contemporary digital processes will be accepted. All works should measure 30cm × 30cm. SMALL FORMAT will be exhibited in the prime location of The Library Project in Temple Bar in Sept 2017.

Enter Here

Image credit: Black Church Print Studio

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