Solar Plate Printing

For quite some time I’ve liked solar prints and I’ve recently had a chance to have a go at neo:artists under the guidance of Lisa Moore. Last Tuesday evening we made the plates and yesterday we printed from them. Basically the technique uses a water soluble photosensitive emulsion on a steel plate. After exposure to a dotty aquatint screen, the image on an acetate sheet is exposed to the emulsion under UV light. The clear areas of the image are hardened by the UV but the emulsion in the dark areas areas washes away in a water bath. An intaglio etching plate is produced. I actually produced two plates. One was based on one of my photos of New York fire escapes. I printed in black, and then in burnt sienna. (Cleaning the burnt sienna with scrim covered in black ink made it much blacker than it should be.) solar04A solar03A The other plate was based on one of my charcoal life drawings: solar05a I tried a roll-over in red, wiping highlight areas. The roll-over wasn’t as even as I would have liked it. solar01a I want to investigate this method further. Lisa showed us one print where no aquatint screen was used. A relief plate was obtained where the top surface is used for the print. It looked very interesting.


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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6 Responses to Solar Plate Printing

  1. anne54 says:

    Fascinating process. I can see why you are intrigued by it. The fire escapes have come up particularly well.

  2. kestrelart says:

    Cool. I want a go.

  3. Yes, it’s a lovely technique, especially for drawings

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