March 2, 2015
Print and Learn
Written by Chris Jones
In week two of Screenprinting we graduated from simple paper stencils to painting images on our screens. And in case that wasn’t challenging enough, instructor Meggan Winsley asked us to combine two complimentary images that could be overlayed, one top of the other.
This approach, using drawing fluid and screen filler, is a much more painterly process. We traced our images using brushes and soon discovered there was some finesse required when it came to using the right amount of drawing fluid; I applied the medium too thick and it was globby, a not-too-serious problem Meggan helped me to rectify.
Next, we coated our screens with a layer of screen filler. Meggan demonstrated the process and advised us to apply it smoothly and evenly, a task that also requires a bit of finesse.
When the screen filler dried we were instructed how to use the power sprayer to wash out the drawing fluid, which resisted the screen filler and left us with our painted images. It was a “voila” moment.
Next, it was onto the printing tables where we printed one image and then the other over top of the first. Meggan showed us how to use transparencies to set up our “registration” so that the second image printed exactly where we wanted it.
Some students ended up with prints they were proud of, me, not so much. I hadn’t given enough thought to the size of my respective images or how they would register when printed together. The exercise was also designed to teach us about ink transparency and printing order since one colour will either cover up, or show through the other.
I combined an image of the Indian elephant god, Ganesha, with an Om symbol: my Om was too small and the colours were not complimentary enough, but oh well. I learned some valuable lessons. If I was to pursue this particular method of printing I’m sure I’d make lots more mistakes, that’s all part of process and part of the fun.
If, as Malcolm Gladwell posits, you need to put in 10,000 hours to become an expert in a given field, then my three-hour class was just the tiniest tip of the printmaking iceberg.
Open Studio classes are designed to give students a taste of the processes and possibilities. By the end of class two, I was hungry for more.