There’s a real three-dimensional embossed feel to Brenda Hartill’s work below with lots of lively texture. Natural materials are embedded in the plate with pva for some of the trees.
Also like the idea of stacking plates vertically as seen in ‘Variations’.
She is known for her method of using ‘rubs’, usually in primary colours to emphasise the nuances in the texture. The plate is inked and excess ink removed with scrim, then burnished well with a clean pad of scrim. Yellow and magenta inks are pulled out on a spare plate and a little applied to scrim. Excess can be removed on newspaper. Starting with the lighter colour, yellow, a thin layer is applied creating different tones rather than an even coverage. The plate is wiped and burnished well and the same process is repeated with the red ink . Another layer can be added with blue. The rubs emphasise the three dimensional element.
Brenda Hartill also creates further depth of colour with carborundum which holds the ink well and produces deep velvety colours. The following YouTube video is a useful demonstration in the method of applying carborundum.
In some of her earlier work, she used embedded plant forms, plaster, glue and carborundum and has more recently worked with blind embossing enhanced with charcoal and pastel rubbings. She tends to dilute the ink with extender which she feels allows for maximum enhancement of a 3D plate. Similar materials have different characters, fillers, pre-mixed or otherwise, matt, satin & gloss varnish, different grades of sandpaper or wire wool will create subtle differences in the printed texture.
I am not often drawn to architecture as a subject but find the delicately burnished limited colour palette rather beautiful in Laurie Rudling’s work below. ‘Les Vielles Tours’ really conveys the impression of old stone towers and the intense indigo, perhaps produced by a carborundum sky is a lovely contrast in ‘Factories’, where the tones gradually change in subtle bands across the print. His work really illustrates the subtleties that can be achieved with one or two colours and careful burnishing. The ‘Wanderer’, too has a delicate blend of tones and a deep, velvety indigo new moon shape with the simply cut texture and colour of the dark blue sea contrasting with the feathery lightness of the gull.
The following selection show several examples of stacking or combining plates on a related theme which interests me, I’m not sure if its the story that attracts me or just the careful use of dark and light tone and the many different textures achieved. Looking at them again, its also the limited palette that appeals which is definitely a preference of mine, especially if there is a analogous element. I like the soft, subtle quality that can be achieved with considered background textures and burnishing.
Hartill, B & Clarke, R (2005) Collagraphs & Mixed Media Printmaking, A&C Black Publishers Ltd.