Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gum print progress

Since I've begun my fall semester, I haven't mentioned any gum print progress.  A couple of weeks ago, I was able to gather two sample prints work talking about.   I must admit that it has taken me well over a month to get this printbelow .  There was a whole lot of time, dedication and frustration too.  This image was printed well over four times too.

A lot of this gum printing semester has been getting things down correctly and calculable.  I started with lots of changes in paper, brushes and pigments.  90lb paper, out.  150lb, in.  Foam brushes, out.  Hake brushes, in.  Gouche, out.  Watercolor, in.

I moved moved onto proper ways to coat paper and develop prints.  Patience plays a key part in this step.  Wait too soon for a coating to dry?  Goodbye print, it'll just wash down the drain.  Wait too long to expose a print?  Goodluck trying to wash out anything to even see a print.  Likewise with developing.  I've had the luxury and misfortune of abusing a print too much in the water to see images dissolve and appear.  It is a delicate relationship.

The most challenging hurdle has been negative density and proper exposure.  Editing my negatives for output has never been a strong skill for me and learning to do so with gum prints has been difficult.  I have managed to take the guess work out of a properly curved negative (thanks to use of step wedges) and now I find myself reading the density of a negative and visualizing the final outcome before printing.

But all that mumble-jumble leads me to this print:

And to say this as humbly as I can, it is my best so far.  This is my first six layer gum print.  It took me four days...

I present it to you like it were my own child. 

All joking aside, I do realize this print needs some help.  It seems for me, when one issue is fixed, another arises.  May I present to you, visible staining:

All that speckling in the image is caused by the pigment soaking into the paper, causing each little speckle to build up to a black dot.  This issue arises when the integrity of the initial sizing is compromised.  I have done a few tests with some choices methods of sizing and I still haven't found a suitable coating that causes less staining.  I did some research and one method, I have not tried is liquid PVA diluted down and then coated onto the paper.  

I have tried various brands of matte medium, liquid matte medium, aerosol spray gesso, and watercolor sizing liquid to no avail.  I find that if my gum doesn't just slide off the paper, then I get this kind of speckled staining happening.  With both ends of the spectrum being negatives, it's extremely hard for me to find that perfect middle/positive.

So, more testing, more experimenting, MORE GUM PRINTING FUN!!!!

Hopefully I'll be showing more of my tests and prints in the weeks to come.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Jacket continuation

Two past images that it seems, I forgot to post and one new image from this week.

I've been thinking a lot lately of depth and space in my imagery.  I watched one of my favorite movies the other day, Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Wes Anderson, and I noticed how a lot of his scenes switch back and forth from 2D to 3D.  (Some of the scenes looked like they were made for a stage, while others showed space that met with the horizon.)

I really like that.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I wish I had a dog...

This morning, after the rain had stopped, I hopped on the scooter and headed out for Fort Davis.  Fort Davis is located a bit outside of the city and is near the SF Zoo and Lake Merced.  The area is also a great dog park and many owners and dog walkers were out having fun in the mud.

I shot this image to fulfill a panorama assignment and I had originally intended on creating an image with various "Me's" walking about doing silly things but when I saw all the dogs playing in the area, I couldn't resist bringing them back!

(Click on the image to expand)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Jacket series, so far...

New and old images that I've worked with so far this semester.  Toned Cyanotypes.

I also want to shout out to anyone in New York.  One of my thesis images was placed in the 2012 Photo Soho Alternative Process Exhibit.  Check it out if you're in the area!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October happenings

I can't believe that we're already into the second week of October.  I still keep thinking we're somewhere near the end of August!  Where did September go???  Seriously, WHERE DID IT GO?

That's OK though.  Many, many great things are happening this month.  Below are a few things that I managed to get together and show:

My little nephew is turning ONE! soon and I had the awesome foresight to put together these small stuffed owls during the end of summer when I wasn't so busy.  I managed to finish them a little while back and now I'm sending them all off to him!  I had made a similar set of these guys for my other nephew, the tutorial can be found here via Moonstitches.  Super fun and easy!  I only wish I could be home to give it to him in person and kiss those oh-so-chubby cheeks!  Happy birthday little man.  :)

The second thing that I'd like to share is a piece that I put together over the last few weeks.  I recently was accepted in this year's Soho Photo's Alternative Process exhibit in New York. Things have been a bit crazy since I needed to get the piece together in time for my flight back to New York this week.  The image is printed as a tea toned Cyanotype on Japanese rice paper.  Edges are hand torn to emphasize the delicate nature of the imagery.  I float-mounted the piece on foam core and then on mat board.  The frame is built from old reclaimed barn wood. 

I really love the frame.  It really is a great compliment to the piece.

Finally, a new image to share via The Jacket series.  I felt it very fitting to photograph in this particular environment since it's the only time of the year that I really wish I were back home in New York to see it's beautiful fall season.  Oh man, how it kicks in my sentimentality.  Pumpkins!  Fall leaves!  Apple Cider!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kitchen Chaos, II

My finished Cyanotype and the digital composite.  Again, I am unsure which image style provokes exactly what I want to say in the series.  I think that I enjoy them both!

Kitchen Chaos

Baking in the kitchen.  Mayhem ensues...

Digital Composite.  

I'll have the Cyanotype up tomorrow!