Photographic Silk Aquatint Test 18 – 230 Mesh Size Change

Researchers: Mady Lacaprucia and McKenzie Stuetzel

Date: 1-23-18   Temperature: 68 F, Not humid

Experiment Title: 230 Mesh Size Change

Experiment Goal: Will 230 silkscreen mesh get us a better quality print for all three photos we have been working with?

Procedure: With using a high mesh count size we have to change the bitmap of our images to allow us the best chance of getting the best image quality. Our new bitmap settings for this mesh were a frequency of 46 and an angle of 22.5. we tested three different images – McKenzie’s etching, Mady’s bridge, and the portrait of the man. McKenzie erased some of the noise in the sky area of her image so that it would print whiter and cleaner, but other than that there are no alteration to the image or other images.

Exposure: 5:15 minutes still

Removing of Emulsion: warm water using fingers to take off the excess emulsion.

Inking Methods: Gamblin Bone Black with //burnt Plate Oil/1 test with 1/3 transparency base to ink. Use plastic card to spread ink on plate, then wipe with tarlatan.

Print 1: Mady’s Bridge

This print had a good tonal range, the whites were clear, the blacks were intense. Certain areas came through with more detail than we previously achieved on the lower count meshes. Most notably, there was a wider range of grays in the water and rocks, and the bridge printed much clearer than it had before. However, there was a strange patchiness in the tree area, so it is possible that a little too much emulsion was washed away in these areas, causing the irregularity.

Print 2: McKenzie’s Etching

This print came out very gray and did not have any strong blacks. The whites of the print, however, were whiter than we have ever been able to get them, and the details in the print showed up great. Areas that had not shown up in previous prints were finally coming through with the finer mesh. As for why the print was so gray, we realized that it was due to not all of the emulsion being washed away, which meant that the mesh was washed entirely out and the ink had nothing to sit in. When the plate was viewed under an extreme magnifier, the emulsion was still sitting in the areas that should have printed as black but instead printed as gray, this was still clearly visible. This was especially noticeable when the plate was compared to Mady’s bridge plate, which printed very black.

This print is also example 1 for test 19.

Print 3: Man Portrait

This is the best print we have achieved of this man. He had the widest tonal range of the previous prints, and again, the whites were very clear. Too much emulsion was washed away on his throat area, however, causing a dark blotch.

Observations: With McKenzie’s Etching for some reason has been printing more in a gray tonal range rather than printing black. After observing under a microscope we noticed an extreme difference in the meshes of all three plates. the other plates were washed out completely leaving no areas with any left other emulsion. when looking at McKenzie’s plate we observed that it did indeed still have left over emulsion stuck in the screen causing the plate to print gray repeatedly.

Mady’s Plate: You can clearly see the holes of the Mesh and the left over ink surrounding the holes, this is good if you want this area to print black.

This is a close up view of the mesh after printed and cleaned. This area of the mesh should and did print dark black.

McKenzie’s Plate: You can clearly see the emulsion clogged holes of the mesh, this is not good if you want this area to print black.

This is a close up view of the mesh after printed and cleaned. This area of the mesh should and DID NOT print dark black.

Conclusion: We have to be sure to wash out our images entirely.  This can be a little difficult when dealing with delicate line work so be sure to observe more heavily when washing out line drawings. when it comes to images with more contrast and larger black areas you should be careful to not over wipe the plate when washing out the emulsion, because this could cause a loss of imagery.

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