Below are some thumbnails of the digital negatives that I’ve made for the Stoned Curlew/Pandanus work. I loathe sitting on the computer for any length of time. I would rather be in the studio getting inky. However, part of the Cyanotype process is creating the digital negatives and that means a bit of computer work. I am very ‘rustic’ about it and not very skilled nor scientific. I do it as quickly as possible without much fine tuning. For this particular type of imagery it’s fine to be a bit haphazard. I don’t know photoshop well and I just use it at very basic levels for creating my negatives. You can faff around for hours but in a nut shell, you basically need to de-saturate your image of any colour, invert it into its negative state and play with the brightness and contrast untill you have a clear cut black and white image with as few midtone areas as possible. Although mid-tones can lend themselves to different shades of blue in the final cyanotype – it’s a matter of experimenting with exposure times. The grey areas can also be scratched into lightly on the negative transparency to remove some of the computer ink and allow more light to pass through during the cyanotype exposure.
I will also be making a couple more negatives of grasshopper imagery (we don’t want Mr Curlew to starve !), a collograph plate and a drypoint on acetate plate to play with. I figure the more paper stencils, printing plates and negatives I have on the go, the wider the scope for experimentation, which will mean more interesting results – fingers crossed.
My printer decided to break down today so that has thrown a little spanner in the works as I can’t print the digital negatives onto the transparencies. I’ll concentrate on the collograph and drypoint this week until I can get to town and get it sorted ! Bloody technology !
Stay tuned for part 3 – The making of the collograph and the drypoint plates.