It does make sense, and I thank you.
Not the same but in a similar vein, I might mention this: gumprints
(especially smaller ones) that I make from non-oiled paper negatives
are rather splotchy. I find that if I print off several identical
negatives and use them in succession, the paper grain pattern tens to
cancel each other out and the final print is far more smooth.
On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 9:39 PM, Judy Seigel <firstname.lastname@example.org
> On Thu, 15 Jan 2009, Keith Gerling wrote:
>> I'm not being skeptical here, as I certainly trust your impressions,
>> but why the need for 5 coats of one color? What do you think
>> physically is different about a print when the pigment is added in
>> small doses? Not that it isn't intriguing...
> Actually, Keith, that's a good question... which didn't occur to me at the
> time, because looking at the delicacy of the prints, it seemed perfectly
> understandable. Now, called upon to *explain*, I come up with this:
> If you look at a 21- step test print of a "regular" gum exposure, you see
> that gum has a short scale, with a steep slope. That is, the average strip
> with an average mix/exposure has maybe 5 or 6 steps from "D-max" to paper
> white. Of course you can get a longer scale by cutting down on the pigment
> -- and, if memory serves, an exposure with no pigment at all could show
> maybe 15 or even 17 steps of dichromate stain.
> Now I figure that these prints, with their very delicate gradation (from
> almost white to a complex gray made up of widely spaced "pieces" of black,
> in a way like an enlargement of pixels, except the dots aren't identical
> circles, but irregular shapes, which, in the setting, function as "black"),
> got that way by putting several delicate coats, all in the same black
> pigment, on top of one another.
> Each of those widely spaced irregular "dots" (inflected by the texture of
> the paper) is, if you get close to it, quite black, but, because they're
> widely spaced, you see areas as gray, or *grays*. Just one coat of such
> "dots" would have been too weak to do much, let alone give the *effect* of
> full tone, or the outlines of objects, which, in 5 coats, become "black
> outlines." I gather, however, that the process wasn't something Sookang
> figured out and then did, but arrived at by a lot of trial and error,
> feeling her way to what "worked."
> I'm not sure that's the full/best explanation, but figure it's along those
> lines.... Hope it makes sense...