Monthly Archives: June 2010

Poems and Prints

For this year’s Printer’s Ball, I was part of a project by The Poetry Foundation that paired artists with poets.

Each poem was reinterpreted by an artist in a visual poster. There were 20 total participants.

I was very lucky to be paired with one of Chicago’s very talented poets, Philip Jenks, who wrote “smoke on the porch” below. See my interpretation and poster of the poem.

poster

poster detail

poem

Experiments in screen printing using watercolors

I heard about this really fun process and decided to try it last week!

Whenever I write about an experimental process, I always end up realizing that I am actually very bad at taking process photos. I get carried away working and forget all about using a camera! Unfortunately, I only have photos of the final images, and no documented process to help explain what I’m talking about. So please bear with me.

Basically, I used the screens from the previous screen print I had done (see previous post) and applied watercolor to the exposed areas of the screen… All the four screens were ‘painted in’ using a small paintbrush and watercolors; the nylon mesh of the screen is dense enough that the watercolors will basically sit on top until they dry.

Once the watercolor was dry, I proceeded to print the screens in their consecutive order. The way I approached this was to apply a relatively thick coat of extender base on the painted screen – spreading it on like icing – and leave it to soak for about 5 minutes. After the watercolor had been re-moistened with the base, I printed the image onto the paper underneath. As with regular screen printing, once the first ‘color’ had been printed, the prints were left to dry and the second screen was set up to print, and so on…

With this process, it is only possible to get maybe 2-3 good prints, because the watercolor fades out. I printed five, the last one is barely a whisper of the image. It’s pretty fun to see them all together, from the most saturated to the least.

There are many different ways to approach this technique, for example using only one screen, painting in all the different colors and printing the final image with one pull. Since I had four screens, it took much longer, but the overlapping watercolors do produce a beautiful layering effect that would not be possible working with just one screen.

If I were to do this again, I would definitely work with a less complicated and smaller image, with more room for experimentation. Anyway, here are the photos of the first three watercolor prints, you can see the intensity of the pigments decreasing. As usual, click for larger views.

1st watercolor print:
1st watercolor

1st watercolor print detail:
1st watercolor_detail

2nd watercolor print:
2nd watercolor

3rd watecolor print:
3rd watecolor

3rd watecolor print detail:
3rd watecolor_detail