U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: humidity and gum coating

Re: humidity and gum coating

On Sep 3, 2006, at 8:34 AM, Venkatram Iyer wrote:

Dunking rather than soaking the paper, then hanging to drip, blotting it, followed by coating may be a way to prevent the inner fibers from getting wet.
I'm still playing with this wet-coating thing; I've gotten fascinated with it. even though the humidity is back to its usual 90+ % and I'm not having any more trouble coating as I was the other day when it dropped to 17%.

For one thing, it seems to me that dampening the paper would be a perfect way to prepare for selective coloring, where you only want to color part of the picture, as in when people make a color picture from a black and white negative. I haven't tried this yet but might today.

Yesterday I got to thinking that if this works, why couldn't you print the next layer of a multiple print as soon as the gum layer is dried, even though the paper is wet through---would save a lot of time waiting for paper to dry between layers. So I tried this, but had too many variables floating around to draw a conclusion even for this one print. For one thing, I used lukewarm water for the soaking, because the instructions someone sent me called for that, but I think I won't do that again, but just use the same cold water I use for development. And the brush had a lot of water in it because it had just been washed out, and for whatever reason it hadn't been squeezed out damp-dry as I usually do after washing it (maybe the phone range or something). So the coating went on really watery and sloshy. I'll do it again using cold water for the soak and making sure there's no extra water in the brush. But I also think the paper should be dried slightly; this paper was so limp when it was coated that when I picked it up, it hung off both sides of my hand like a dishrag. So I think Rajul is probably right that less soaking is probably better than more.

At any rate, following that protocol, I got a little bit of staining, but not very noticeable, and I'll try it again with modifications to see if I still get stain. Like I say, the stain is hardly noticeable and I'm thinking I may go ahead and frame this print (although I might mat over the smudges against the far right margin of the print) because I like how it captures the atmosphere of the day. I added this print to the wet-coating page, for whatever it's worth:


This is also a good demonstration of how one can make a fairly realistic color print with two complementary color layers, if the scene is essentially a two-color scene (two colors plus grey). I brought the idea with me from painting, where I've made a lot of paintings using only burnt umber and blue.

I have a feeling I won't be done with this until I try printing a tricolor gum with all the layers printed on wet paper.