This week we were lucky enough to complete a screen printing workshop to further inform our practice for our Cut Out project.
Firstly upon arriving in the studio space we went though the safety rules that applied in the room. The aim of the morning session was to create prints just using the ink and the beds in order to build the technique of how to print. Joe went thought with us how to put the empty screen onto the bed and how to layer the ink. The technique involved in screen printing is very precise and has a lot of steps. Both Penny and I had A4 photographic images therefore we marked out the A4 size onto the bed. On the screen we used brown tape to cover around the edges of the screen and in an A4 size rectangle so that the ink did not go everywhere. Along with this we put scrap paper around the area where the clean paper was ready to be printed on in order to create a stronger vacuum. After this we layered our choice of colouring inks onto the bed and flooded the A4 section of the screen by pulling the squeegee across. The next step involved the creation of the print. We put on the vacuum and pushed the bed right down and simply pulled the squeegee back across the area on the screen and this transferred onto our paper.
Our first prints were very unpredictable being that we used the colours of our choice and layered them on as we wished. The idea was to improve our confidence but also to create a background which if we chose to we could screen print our photo upon if we wished.
In the afternoon we moved onto using out photographs as our design which had been previously put onto a screen. The photos are firstly put onto Acetate which they are printed on through the use of a digital printer. The photos must be in black and white before this can happen. The Acetate is then cut out around the photo and the photo is taken into another room which has a big hollow box with a glass top and a black lid. This box is used to put the image onto the screen using UV lights and a vacuum, previously the screen would have been put in special chemicals which helps the process to take place. The UV transfer process lasts up to around 90 seconds. The screen goes into a washroom and is washed until the image is yellow and visible on both sides. We can then dry it and start the printing process.
The technique is very similar of that which we did this morning, this time however our first print is on a piece of clean acetate which we attach to the bed and will help us to line up our future prints. Rose then let us get on with our own prints using the colours we wished and the backgrounds we created previously and even just using white paper.
This print above is one of my better prints. I like how the pattern from underneath has seeped through the photo to give it an abstract look. My colour palette is also inviting and bright and I feel that helps the viewer to be able to connect with the image as it also is a challenge to find out completely what it is. I was happy that when printing over with the blue colour of the photo, the pumpkins turned a much stronger orange colour and the blue on top does not shock in any way.
This was my second print using the same blue colour as before to print my photograph but also using the second stage up from my background print where the colours have mixed slightly more due to the motion of the squeegee. The mixing of the background colours is what I think may be the downside of this piece. Mixed together the colours appear a unpleasing shade of brown. Although in some places a gradient feel does work (the bottom right corner for example) the piece as a whole does not. It is not abstract nor easy to decipher, it plays to much with the brain but not in a good way!
This I feel is mirrored in the third piece where I took a step further in mixing the background colours and it just is not working. It does not make me want to discover and therefore it is not going to want to make the viewer discover.
Although it was two interesting experiments, I personally feel they did not work for me in terms of my personal aims, along with this the colour palette although good at the beginning the colours mixing so strongly together did not creating something that is as pleasing as my first more abstract piece.
This last piece actually works well in my opinion due to the contrasting colours it portrays a clearer piece that is easier to understand and less busy for the viewer. I would prefer this to be a simple two tone print because I feel it would be a clearer and more interesting design. Also I think the two tone would be an exciting experimentation to complete.
For the next three designs I experimented layering colours on top on my design, orange on top of the pumpkins and then pulling the green across. Due to my previous experimentation I knew that the green would fall under the orange making it invisible apart from in the areas where I wished it to be seen.
Due to the difficulty in deciphering the image on the screen I can see that I was a little inaccurate in the placing of my orange colour. Although I feel the two colours look bright and appealing and I am discovering a new path in terms of what I would like my final piece to portray, I do not think using the technique of placing the colour was the right one for me here due to the fact the orange has become somewhat blotchy and unappealing.
Again here although the colours look appealing, the blotchy orange does take away from what I am trying to show. Saying this the halloween effect I have got in this is a positive outcome that could be used on another future project.
I appreciate how the flicker of orange has appeared in my pumpkins and for this reason this piece does look a lot more planned and precise. The green stands out for me and represents highly my theme of Provence in terms of the agricultural colours and patterns. Following on from this I would appreciate doing some single colour prints to see how I could work back into them. I feel this is something I could attempt on Wednesday. I think this could potentially add another dimension to my work.
Wednesday session was very much laid back. Now we knew the technique we could create backgrounds to print on. I decided to experiment a little,I used tracing paper ripped up to make a rustic feel background which I would print my pumpkin image on in brown ink. After creating three of these, I used normal A3 paper to print three simple prints that I am eager to work back into.I also printed onto a piece of tracing paper as it came.in the roll Lastly I experimented on watercolour paper to see the effect I would have if I chose to paint in watercolour on top of my printed image.
I really wanted to have some bases to further experiment on and this was my personal aim of the wednesday session. Now I have several prints I am very much ready to continue the exploration of my theme.
The three prints shown about were printed on ripped up tracing paper. I loved the rustic feel that this material has and I thought the texture could add another dimension to my piece. I chose the colour brown due to its simplicity and the fact it was neither green nor orange and this would enable me to work back on with these colours at a later date if I so wished. I had to do a trial and error system whilst creating these prints because I could not know how exactly they would turn out given that this was a new material. I tried this three times before I found that my third looked like my initial image. I want to work back into one of these and I am interested to know how they will turn out.
Due to my experimentation for the layered orange and green on the pumpkins earlier in the week. I decided to use my brown colour to create three simple brown prints in which I could manipulate and change as I wished. I enjoyed creating something that was a lot more simple and whilst printing it made me thing of how exactly I could post manipulate my image. The clarity of the image is also something that attracted me a lot, it made me more interested from a viewers point of view and this excites me as I personally think this is one of my few experimentations that has had this overall effect.
Before the class I had a lot of ideas going round my head and I thought why not use watercolour paper as it could give me a really exciting base to work back onto. I was concerned about how this would work but I printed on watercolour paper three times in order to give me a good base to continue working with. I also liked how the print looked on the paper, it was less clear than the normal paper but it gave an interesting effect that looked more hand printed than my previous experiment. Overall I am extremely pleased with this print and eager to see how it will be finished.
As a final tryout, I took off a bit of tracing paper and printed on it as it came. I love how this looks and again it brings back a rustic feel in my work. The image came out a lot clearer than I thought it would so I am happy about that. After the class I thought about it a lot and wished I had done more than one because the effect looks great and the brown looks subtle but clear even on a background of a similar colour.
Throughout all these experimentations I have explored a range of materials and techniques that I have never thought of before and this is something that I am really pleased I have had the opportunity to do. Screen Printing is something I have always had an interest in and this workshop has given me the confidence to try it again and explore my capabilities as an artist.