November 18, 2017

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 13

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I truly thought I was done making wet cyanotypes for the season, but the weather in early November in PA stayed very warm, almost balmy, and I had the opportunity to do one more round so I took it. I collected fallen leaves and twigs on a woodsy walk, including these tulip poplar leaves above. 

The leaves below are making me crazy because I am not certain about their ID. I am tentatively calling them sour gum, Nyssa sylvatica, because the shape, size and habitat match up. Most online photos show them with red fall foliage, but I'm also seeing some with this shade of yellow. Ideas and commentary are welcome!

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This one I know. It's hard to mistake a sycamore leaf.
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And the same applies to a sassafras. This is a double mitten leaf; single mitten leaves and plain ovals are all present on the same tree.
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Back in my yard, I finished my foraging with a painted fern and a fading hosta leaf. All of these were exposed on cotton sateen that I treated with cyanotype chemicals. I sprayed them with very diluted washing soda around the edges, and plain water over all, covered them with glass, and put them out in the bright autumn afternoon sun.
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I brought them in overnight because there was a threat of rain, and put them back out the next morning. The threat became a drizzle, then a slow steady rain under cloudy skies. I had some success with leaving prints out in summer showers, but here it was obvious autumn had finally arrived and this exposure was going nowhere. I brought them in again, removed the glass and leaves, and set them to dry off in the dark before rinsing.
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Here are the dry, un-rinsed prints. Lots of depth of color, and very little of the bright, colored breakdown I was getting on hot midsummer days.
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I really love recording them at this stage.
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And here are the finished prints. Again, very different from the hot summer prints, but equally gorgeous in their own way. They are a bit more reminiscent of a regular, short exposure dry cyanotype print, but with some mottling in the background, and a lot of interesting, subtle patterns and colors in the masked areas.
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Really beautiful, right?
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I always have more ideas than I have time, but I think these four fall leaf prints could be the basis for a solid art quilt. I just need to ID those presumed gum leaves for certain.....
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If you are new here, welcome! I've been detailing and documenting my experiments with wet cyanotype in great detail; you can read it in reverse chronological order by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the top header, or click here.

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November 10, 2017

A Change in the Air

Honey fungus_Sue Reno
 After a long, warm, extended autumn, a change has come to my corner of the world in Pennsylvania. Just before the first frost, I went out and documented everything that was still flowering or fruiting in my yard. It's time to let it go. I have a plethora of prints, images, and projects to work on over the winter months. Enjoy the images!
Orange marigolds_Sue Reno

Ornamental sage_Sue Reno

Yellow nasturtium_Sue Reno

Culinary oregano flowers_Sue Reno

Pink zinnia_Sue Reno

Swiss chard_Sue Reno

Hungarian wax peppers_Sue Reno

Alpine strawberries_pineapple crush_Sue Reno

Echinacea flower_Sue Reno

Portulaca_Sue Reno

Red pelargonium_Sue Reno

Purple petunia_Sue Reno

Lavender flowers_macro_Sue Reno

Alpine strawberry flower_Sue Reno

Tall red cannas_Sue Reno

Wood poppy flower_Sue Reno

Yellow re-blooming iris buds_Sue Reno

October 13, 2017

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 12

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One last round of wet cyanotype prints to finish out my printmaking summer! September here in Pennsylvania was mostly hot, dry, and sunny. I had no shortage of plants and flowers to print with. I did have an onslaught of other projects and deadlines, but I still worked in a bit of fun. The yellow gladiola, above, was the last of the season.
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Here is a delicate painted fern frond. This and the gladiola were done with just water, on cotton sateen.
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The days were warm, but the there were many less hours of sunshine then when I started this experiment in June, and I noticed I was not getting as much of a color shift. So for the rest of these I added a spritz of diluted washing soda around the edges to push the process a bit. Those are two Japanese anemone leaves with a fern, above. I also added a spritz of diluted red textile paint to most of these.
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Poke,  Phitolacca americana, is one of my favorite wild plants to admire as I assiduously weed it out of my gardens. The birds love the berries and spread them all about. I also love the berries--used to make "ink" with them as a child--and was curious to see what would happen with them in a wet cyanotype print. They have a lot of color, but it's a "fugitive" dye that's generally not permanent.

Here's Poke Salad, the art quilt with the very first cyanotype print I ever made. I was immediately addicted to the process:

Poke Salad, by Sue Reno
Poke Salad, by Sue Reno
Below are two sweetgum leaves ready to print:
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And here's Sweetgum in Autumn. I've been working with the plants in my environment for a long time, and I discover a new perspective every time I take a fresh look.
Sweetgum in Autumn, by Sue Reno
Sweetgum in Autumn, by Sue Reno
Finally, here's some marigolds. They've been spectacular in the garden this year.
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Here are the prints after roughly 24 hours exposure, before being rinsed out. I love them at this stage, partly because it's so transitory. The glad is looking good.
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This painted fern print is very delicate and tenuous at this stage.
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But the same type of fern is much more assertive here:
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The ripe poke berries bled out their color and were quite brilliant in the first hour or so of the exposure, then the color cooked out and mostly faded. Still, a cool aurora effect happened:
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There's a lot going on with these sweetgum leaves:
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Flowers are the trickiest things to print with this process so far in my experience, but I am heartened at the first look at these marigolds:
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And here are the rinsed, finished prints. The gladiola print is quite good:
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This fern is still tenuous, but has a lot of potential for stitch work:
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I'm kind of crazy about this one:
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I'm a bit ambivalent about this:
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With a little definition of the edges with stitching, this will be spectacular:
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And I love the halo effect the blossoms made as they shrank up in the sun.
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So all in all, a good finish to my summer of wet cyanotype printmaking! I am already doing the preliminary work on using many of these in more art quilts, which is my ultimate goal in making them. I have very much enjoyed the process of documenting my experiments here on my blog, and really appreciate all the lovely feedback I've received. You can review all 12 posts in reverse chronological order by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the top header, or click here.

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