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Cleaning up after printing

I did some more printing this week, trying to ease myself back into it. Last week was using water based inks and this week I went back to my oil based ones. My favourite part of printing is drawing back the sheet of paper to see the result, it’s always a surprise in one way or another. Maybe there is an unexpected blob or mark that just wasn’t visible on the inked plate. As someone who avoids surprises, these are ones I love. Every print is a little thrill! And I really enjoy the “ghost” prints. When I was taught by Peter Wray (now sadly dead), I could see that printmakers are very keen on deep intensity of colours, beautifully transferred, but I have always loved the ghosted prints, the second or third ones taken off the same plate.

That was the good bit but then I got onto the cleaning up. Well, I’d completely forgotten how much I hate cleaning up after using oil based inks! I think this is behind my reluctance to print. The more I tried to clean up, the worse mess I seemed to be get into! And I had my cello lesson to go to, my hands completely covered in paint and vegetable oil!

Thinking back, I remember that when I used to go to a print workshop I would factor in an hour of cleaning up before my train. The oil based inks seem much worse than painting with oils, maybe because you use more of the ink, there is just such a lot to get rid of afterwards. And rather than squeezing a small amount of ink out of a tube, you have to scoop it from a tub, the top of the ink having hardened on top and find the softer stuff below. And RAGS! I didn’t have ANY ready. The more I tried to clear, the more ink there seemed to be....

After quite a bit of panic I managed but I’m going to be better prepared next time. Lots of rags. And factor in an hour of cleaning.

Any other business?

The view from my studio has been a bit different this month. I’ve put up a makeshift canopy over my studio door and it has really helped keep the heat out. And the view from the other window is our own little rewilding experiment. The front lawn has not been mowed or weeded all month and I’m really enjoying it (as has one of our semi feral cats). It is a mental shift from the neatly mown lawns that have for so long been the expected standard. I still wonder if we will come to regret this as our garden is engulfed in weeds but it has been a fun experiment so far.

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