Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tesla, in all his glory

I proofed Tesla the other day and let me tell you, I knew I was on to something. Let me run down the process.

A few years ago a made an encaustic piece that was basically a drawing of Tesla on panel and then I covered it with wax (the patent drawings are image transfers). I sold it and thought I'd make a print so I could have one.

© 2011 Cathy Savage, Tesla and the Birth of Radio, 8 x 16"

I tried a few attempts that were so-so, but on this one, my third go of it, I finally have an image that is going to work. Here's how I did it.

I took a picture of the encaustic work, played around with it in Photoshop, then laser etched it into mat board. I used a gel medium mixed with grit to add texture to the hair and mustache (the laser basically removed most of the mat board material and I thought when wiping the plate it would remove too much ink if I didn't add some texture). I coated the back of the mat board with 100% gel medium (I like Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish), and I coated the front with 50:50 medium to water. Twice (the medium is diluted to reduce any brush strokes when applied).

Here's a portion of my plate before proofing.

Tesla plate, ready for ink. 

1st Proof--Well, Tesla's face looked a little too dark and the circle elements in the drawings were holding way too much ink. That needed to be fixed. I liked the blue background though, so that I going to keep. I inked with Akua intaglio.

1st Proof. Getting there. 

I took the plate and added another layer of 50:50 medium to water to smooth out some of the areas that were holding too much ink. I'm happy with this print and will edition it next week. Woo hoo! Tesla is back baby! He's on a different color and thickness of paper, but you can see how his face lightened up a bit.

2nd Proof. I'm ready to edition. 

Need something fun to open once a month?
I wanted to mention again the Art-of-the-Month-Club subscription thing that Carolyn Kimball and I have going on. The deadline to enroll is June 21, so if you're interested, we need you to sign up stat! Carolyn and I are doing a customized grackle for the first installment and here's a shot of work in progress. Let me know if you need more info.

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