White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 1

March 10, 2016

Researchers: Katie St. John and Liv Stanislas

Room Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit

Humidity, etc: Dry, no humidity

Materials: 4″x 6″ Copper Plate 0.032 Gauge, Ivory Snow Flake Soap, Titanium White Pigment (Powder), Guerra Titanium White Pigment, Artists’ Loft Level One Titanium White Paint, Linseed Oil, Water, and Graphic Chemical Bone Black Ink.

Abstract: Finding a replacement for Titanium White Powder Pigment in traditional White Ground recipes. Since Titanium White Powder Pigment can be harmful to the throat and lungs if inhaled, we used Guerra Titanium White Pigment and Artists’ Loft Titanium White Oil Paint to replicate traditional white ground. This is because the pigment is already suspended in a solution and thus less reactionary and harmful. This test is measuring the alternative pigments’ ability to replicate the reticulation, texture, tonality, and breakdown of traditional white ground.

Plate Preparation and Application (surface prep, ground application, image making process, etc.):

Burnished out significant lines, steel wool sanded then Putz Pomade applied; Cleaned with 7th Generation Degreaser; Degreased with soy sauce, backed with contact paper

Aquatinted before adding soap ground. We sprayed the acrylic aquatint through an airbrush and then heat set the spray for 20 minutes.

 

Soap ground recipes: Original Recipe (4 tsp Ivory Snowflake Soap, 2 tsp titanium white pigment, 1 tsp linseed oil, 1 tsp tap water)

Ingredients for Original Recipe White Ground.

Ingredients for Original Recipe White Ground.

OriginalRecipe_Mixed_Closeup

Original Recipe Ground one day later.

Oil Paint Ground (4 tsp Ivory Snowflake Soap, 3 tsp Artist’s Loft level 1 titanium white oil paint, 1 tsp tap water) (omitting linseed oil addition, would need to be reconstituted because of initial dryness)

Components of Oil Paint Ground.

Components of Oil Paint Ground.

OilPaintGround_Mixed3
Oil Paint Ground, one day later.

Oil Paint Ground, one day later.

Guerra Pigment Ground (4 tsp Ivory Snowflake Soap, 2 tsp Guerra Paint & Pigment titanium white suspended pigment, 1 tsp linseed oil) (omitting water addition, the pigment is very thin so we decided on 1 tsp of linseed oil instead of 2 tsp; does not dry as quickly as the two other pigments, is generally more loose)

Components of Guerra Moku Hanga Ground.

Components of Guerra Moku Hanga Ground.

GuerraGround_Mixed_wp
Guerra Moku Hanga Ground, one day later.

Guerra Ground, one day later.

From left to right: Original Recipe Ground, Oil Paint Ground, and Guerra Moku Hanga Ground.

From left to right: Original Recipe Ground, Oil Paint Ground, and Guerra Ground.

Applied all 3 grounds immediately, thinning the pigments with water to ease application. We applied the grounds by thinning them with water and painting them on with brushes.

From left to right: Original Recipe Ground and Oil Paint Ground before etching.

From left to right: Original Recipe Ground and Oil Paint Ground before etching.

Guerra Ground before etching.

Guerra Ground before etching.

GuerraGroundPlate_Closeup6

Detail of Guerra Ground before etching.

Note: When all three grounds are applied with water, the black pigment in the spray acrylic aquatint separated, but left acrylic granules on plate intact.

Etching Bath notes

Etched in horizontal bath of 39 degrees Baume ferric chloride with agitation every 2 minutes or so for a total etch time of 23 minutes

Removal of grounds (chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness)

Removed residual soap grounds with 7th Generation degreaser and wiping with rags: effective

Placed in stripper bath for 15 minutes to remove the aquatint

Placed in deoxidizer bath

Original Recipe plate, after etching.

Original Recipe plate, after etching.

Oil Paint Ground, after etching.

Oil Paint Ground, after etching.

Inking methods (type of ink used, modifiers, wiping/rolling techniques)

Inked in Graphic Chemical Bone Black with no modifiers, wiping with a tarlatan and finishing with a short paper wipe

Paper type: Hannemuhle Copper Plate Bright White, ⅛ sheet

Soaking time: 25 minutes
Press (blanket set up and pressure):
Pelican Press with 2 sizing catchers; 0.8 pressure

 

Conclusions

Both the ground mixed with oil paint and the ground mixed with Guerra pigment held, flaked off, and acted in all ways (plate results and ground application) like the original recipe with loose titanium powder. The Guerra pigment is the less toxic of the two and is promising for future research.

White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 2 >