I need a break (with my coffee) so I'm happy to offer a few of my observations.
First Why I like Gelatin Plate Mono Printing -
For years, my main idea of creating images was painting (oils), drawing, and mixed media (lead block, cattle marker, wax pencil, oil sticks, etc) on heavy paper. Around the studio I didn't really understand printers and how they would go through this long, elaborate process to create their image. Then I started to do more lino blocks around the holiday for cards, and my brain clicked: the brain the soul love the details of a process. Perhaps as I aged a little, my mind and my soul appreciated the focused elements of a process, steps, etc.
Each printing process has its own procedure and steps. I think I was drawn to the unusual method and process. Also, my abstract and messy side liked the spontaneous layering (vs. rigid registration). I like how the colors vary from very fat to translucent, and how each stencil type (stems to hand cut) create their own unique line, window and ghost - much different than the cut or etched line. I LOVE the richness of oil inks, BUT I like the fact that this process works only with water based inks - making for a quicker turn around and less 'fragrant' (depending upon who you talk to) studio. (I actually LOVE the smell of linseed oil and oil based inks and paints.. but that's another story). I also like the sheer volume of work created, charging up the learning curve.
I love the fact that these are mono prints - even though many have the same central form/theme. Each is unique. Mono printing was always a mystery to me. No more. Sometimes I don't let previous layers complete dry. The next 'lift' will be heavily or lightly influenced by this. Sometimes 'wet' ink on the paper will be transferred back to the plate and picked up by the next ghost image print - creating a print that has 'genetic' print material from multiple images. These happy accidents or surprises are an essential part of why I like it: I am NOT totally control of what is going on (woo hoo!) I use newsprint to do ink lifts for ghosts or cleaning residue off the plate before I print the ghost. ONe of the several newspapers I use must use some funky soy based ink because, when I use it part of the news print will transfer to the gelatin plate and to the next print! I'm not even sure with which paper when or how this happens! It's very subtle... the surprise of not entirely knowing what I'll see when I lift the paper makes this process VERY exciting. This is also what makes it a process that will produce some klunkers too... BUT it's those mistakes that beget learning and application down the line.
MOLD: Mold does not get transferred to the print. If the mold, pitting or cracking are bad, they transfer to the print in texture. Mold resists ink so it turns up in various ways, degrading the line, cloudiness, blotchy, etc. Here's an example:
If I am attentive to my gelatin plate (keeping it refrigerated or refreshed frequently) mold will not become an issue or part of my prints. If the plate is left out, at the end of it's use, it does. So I can't plan for mold... it's one of those wonderfully uncontrollable elements. I will also say that I think the injection of some vinegar into the last refresh HAS helped. It's spring here, the plate has been left on the bench for over a week, and all is pretty good.
The SOLAR SYSTEMS
What happened to them is very typical of this process as well: An idea that seems viable in the mind is not always a good one on paper (so to speak). I did a few (sort of arranged some 'planets' receding back in space)... and I just didn't get charged up about they way they were turning out. Actually if you go back to the thread with the last 4 cat images, look at #2: you can see the vestiges of some planetary discs under the cats. I found them more useful for printing over vs. carrying them through. Another good point: some ideas that fail often see a second life as the backgrounds for new prints - altho they can easily get muddy and murky and dark... and then they become trash -eerrr... part of the learning process.
well I've rambled on long enough.
I do plan to use some of the Akua Kolors and do some plexiglas mono prints through my baby press... and of course wood and lino prints, but the gelatin plate is SO fun and generates alot of energy for me.