Where did last month go?  I had a wonderful time in New Mexico, but the five weeks went by far too quickly.   The commissions took up most of the time and Barry and I of course enjoyed our time together.   I am now back in the UK and focussing on my MA again. 

New Mexico Harvest 24 x 36 Oil/Linen

This week I learned how to do a photoplate lithograph.  I was anxious to learn another printing technique as I had spent most of last semester doing drypoints.

I had produced a test sketch on semi transparent drafting film in preparation for trying this new method and on Thursday, John, our very helpful technician guided me through the process.

Not a very good photo of my test sketch!

The image needs to be opaque and I used an 8B pencil for my drawing, but other intensely opaque paints, or crayons will work.  The image is placed on a commercially produced lithographic plate, which comes coated in a light sensitive emulsion.  The plate and drawn image are exposed to UV light in a lightbox. (A test strip is advised)

Positioning the drawing onto the plate.
Adding the positive developer and washing away the exposed area.
The image is now fixed onto the plate.
John showing me how it’s done!

After the plate is exposed to the UV light it must be processed with positive developer and the exposed areas wash away.  The plate is rinsed with water and dried with a hair dryer.  Gum arabic is then applied to the plate.  This desensitises the non image areas.  The emulsion which forms the image is grease loving and attracts the ink.  The next stage of inking up the plate is going to take a considerable amount of practice because with a roller in one hand and a sponge in the other you must ink the plate before it gets too dry, but if it is too wet, you will also have problems.

You can use any kind of press to transfer the image from the plate onto the paper, but we use an off set litho press, seen below.

John working the press – thanks to John for all the help!

First ever photoplate lithograph by Lynne Windsor!!

Well, I know it’s not a startling result, but now I know (almost) what needs to be done and how I can take this process further.  I like learning new processes.

This morning I thought I would get on my bike again for the first time in almost two months.  It’s not often that you are happily cycling down a country lane and you see a muster of peacocks and peahens! (yes, I just learned the term muster).  If it hadn’t been for that experience I would have been more than a little miffed by the fact that I also got a flat tyre.

Here are a couple of photos.  I wish I had my better camera here with me, but these aren’t bad.  The colours of the peacock are amazing!