To appreciate my prints fully it’s helpful to understand how they are made.
The word ‘print’ is a very general term and can cover a variety of processes. An Original Print or Artist’s Print is an image created from a hand cut or uniquely produced source, such as printing blocks, plates or stencils which are used to produce a limited number of prints. The number produced is determined by the artist, or by the actual printing process itself.
In contrast, a Reproduction Print is a copy of a work in another medium e.g. a painting.
made by cutting the image into a flat surface to create areas of raised relief. Ink is then applied to the relief block with a roller and the ink is transferred to paper by using either a printing press or hand burnishing. Only the raised part of the block deposits the inked image onto the paper.
Colour prints can be made by masking out areas of a relief block, allowing one block to be inked in many different colours. Alternatively colour is built up one layer at a time, often by cutting a separate block for each colour and then carefully registering one block upon the other.
the relief surface is cut into linoleum which is relatively soft and easy to cut with gouges and v shapes tools.
cardboard is scored, cut or collaged to make a raised relief surface. The finished plate can be sealed with varnish to form a tough, non-absorbent surface prior to prints being taken.
Based on the simple principle that grease and water do not mix.
A design can be drawn or painted directly on to the prepared surface. Originally large lime stone blocks were used. but today most lithography is made using zinc and aluminium plates that have a light sensitive coating. This allows the artist to make an image on a transparent film which when placed on the plate and exposed to light transfers the image to the plate. Once complete the surface of the plate undergoes a chemical process, making the undrawn areas sensitive and absorbent to water. The drawn areas remain sensitive to oil based ink.
The surface of either stone or plate is inked-up with a roller using oil based ink. The ink adheres to the grease areas and is repelled by the areas which are wet.
A print is taken by laying a sheet of paper over the inked ‘stone’ and passing both through a litho press. each colour is printed separately and requires a separate plate.
made with a fine woven mesh (originally made of silk, but today from synthetic materials) stretched tight over a frame. Stencils are used to mask out the areas of the screen that are not to be printed. These can be as simple as paper cut-outs or as complex as light sensitive emulsions. the latter allows the artist to work on transparent film and transfer their image to the screen by exposing it to a light source. Those areas of emulsion exposed to light harden, blocking the mesh.
A sheet of paper is laid under the screen, then a flat rubber blade called a squeegee is drawn over it, forcing ink through the open areas of the mesh.
Each colour is printed separately and requires a separate screen.
Traditionally original prints are named, signed and numbered along the bottom edge and produced in a limited number. This is one reason they are collectable. The number will appear in the left hand corner and will show the print number and the edition size. e.g 3/50 means this print is 3 of 50. There are other abbriviations that can appear in this corner. U/P means unique print. Only one of this kind exist. A/P means artist proof. Extra prints made by the artist whilst editioning a print or experimenting with colour and technique.