I often work on more than one plate at a time. I enables me to work creatively in different ways. The mezzotint work requires a very methodical and precise way of working. To counter this, I started working on some collagraph plates. A collagraph (from the word collage) is a printmaking plate that is created through materials like mat board, paper, gesso, string and anything one can think of to create a texture.
To prepare the plates, I coat both sides of the mat board in gesso three times, letting the board dry in between each coat. I use the insides from mats I have cut so the edges are already beveled. When I begin to attach my materials I use either Elmer’s glue or acrylic medium. I only use the glue if the surface will not be exposed because the glue is water soluble.
For these collagraphs, I am working from a sketch. Unlike the mezzotint, I did not reverse this picture but am working directly from the sketch.
The base of the plate is mat board that has been gessoed and allowed to dry. The other materials I’m using are modeling paste, sandpaper, carborundum grit, thread, sand and whatever else I pull out of my materials box that will give me the texture I need. Collagraphs made this way require lots of dry time which allows me to go back to work the mezzotint during long periods of drying.
The second piece is being constructed from remnants of the first collagraph. I liked the shapes left behind from the materials I was cutting and decided to carry them over into another collagraph that would echo the shapes from the first.