Toning and Reward Prints

A cyanotype that has been toned with the “Eggplant/Black” method
Last night I was finally able to take the time to tone a few prints from the residency. I had the necessary supplies to attain a Black tone as well as Eggplant/Black. With a small test print I tested the Black toning first, and it really just washed out the tones too much (which should have been expected since toning always reduces print density). So, then I went on to the Eggplant/Black toning process and was much happier with the results. That said, one could be tempted to call this “brown” or maybe “rust” (though I have done actual brown toning before and the results are much different in comparison). At any rate, I’m pleased with the tone shift that took place despite it’s lack of eggplanty-ness, and I think the two tones of prints work well when seen together in a group.
I also am happy to announce that the 5×7 reward prints are selected and just waiting to be mailed first thing on Monday morning. If you’ve been following along you may remember that my plans changed a little from what I had originally proposed. I had wanted to do my best rendition of an Anna Atkins style series of water plant prints. However, upon arrival to Artscape Gibraltar Point I set out looking for these plants and came up more or less empty (there were plenty of lily pads, but I just couldn’t bring myself to make 40 prints of lily pads). Later in the week I actually did stumble across some more aquatic vegetation, but at that point time was against me since it would have taken a good amount of time to dry the plants (moister and sun-printing don’t mix).
So, I changed my plans and let myself be inspired by the place. Artscape has a wonderful series of semi-cultivated flower and food gardens, and so I resolved to make prints that came directly from that place. However, the typical practice of making these type of sun prints would be to cut the plant in order to make printing as easy as possible. It just seemed a little silly to me to"preserve" an image of these plants by killing them. So I settled on making a “no plants were injured in the making of these prints” series of cyanotypes. I was able to take my sensitized paper and little portable contact printing frames made and quickly bend the branch or stem down under the glass, make the print, and then release the plant unharmed. Working this way definitely presented its own series of problems to be worked through, but I’m very happy with the results. I hope they find a good place in the homes of my backers.

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