First test with Baldwins Intaglio Ground

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Before winter break I ordered some BIG (Baldwins intaglio ground) from Trefeglways studio in wales. I have been excited to try this less toxic alternative to traditional grounds, as I’m not getting very comfortable with Z*Acryl acrylic grounds (although I do want to try to get better at their airbrush aquatint method. More on that later).

There are some things about BIG that will take some getting used to, but I have barely scratched the surface (haha). As far as a ground to draw into, on the first try it worked beautifully – smooth and even with no flaking or chipping as I cross-hatched.
I need to test out the stop out method of thinning the ground with lavender oil next. … and then aquatint…which is done with sandpaper and will probably take the most getting used to.

Steps so far:
1. Roll on the ground with a brayer, inking in several different directions. It should be similar to inking a relief block. It is now ready for use as soft ground (haven’t tried yet -more tests to come! )

2. Set the ground by heating. I don’t have an oven (the recommended way is by using a hair drier aimed into a box) but I used a hot plate and it worked great. I wasn’t very scientific about it but I heated for approximately 6 minutes at around 200 degrees (recommended is 6 min at 275). Then I let it cool, drew and etched!

3. Remove the ground.  I used washing soda and a green solvent. The recommended way is to use brasso followed by a natural paint stripper (I want to try citrasolv or something like that). I degreased with bon ami and printed my plate. It’s so much easier than cleaning with mineral spirits!

Etching Stage 1

Here are two etchings, very first state… I have been thinking about commencing a series on the theme of patterns/replication and decay/renewal…these may be part. I gathered many photographs two summers ago that I would like to put to better use. These are open bite, from photographs transferred with PNP Blue. Not sure how much I like that material, but it is an interesting way of transferring a photograph for someone who has no experience with photo-etching processes.