U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: a few notes on my first few gum prints...

Re: a few notes on my first few gum prints...

Dear Paul,
Nice to see another budding gummist. Your print online looks really good for someone who has just started out.
I've been following the discussion but have not been online much due to biting off more than I can chew this summer. When will I ever learn.
The hake brush I have found that works for me is the Connoisseur 150 series hake brush.  It has that spring and does not turn to mush.  It is a stitched ferrule brush so after the first number of uses when an occasional hair falls out, it remains pretty stable.  I've used the same one for all the years I have gum printed, but actually use about 10 of them now. I can get them for $5 each and since they last so long I don't consider that a big expense. It is the 2" variety--the 3" bend too much for me. I even use this size when doing the 13x19" inch prints.
I do use a second brush to smooth a coat when it warrants it, and have found the badger LW15 brush at Jerry's Artarama to do the trick for $18.  BUT, when teaching a workshop or class, I only have 2 of them, so have resorted to using the same Connoisseur brush for smoothing (a dry one) and it works great. 
I use under 5ml for an 8x10.  I usually use closer to 2.5 ml, but that smaller amount is when mixing up a batch to do 6-8 prints at once.
I actually don't mind the brush strokes, though--it's what makes a gum print look like a painting and not a c-print.  But they have to be strategically placed :)
The graininess you notice when double-brushing....hmmm...it could be that the coating is too dry at that point. I use the brush in a flicking motion at 90 degrees to the paper, very lightly.  But the entire coating routine takes maybe 30-45 seconds...
Hope this helps.
Christina Z. Anderson
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, July 04, 2009 1:36 AM
Subject: a few notes on my first few gum prints...

Hi all...
First of all, thanks for all the suggestions and comments on my first tricolor gum. It was definitely a good learning experience for me.
There are a few things that I noticed while working that I hope to clear up and solve.
One, is the use of hake brushes. I've been using the inexpensive variety found at the typical art store, about $2-4 each. Coating is difficult with these because there is absolutely no spring to them, they just go limp and the hair goes every which way even brushing lightly. I know how to coat pt/pd and am always successful when coating that emulsion. Gum, although more viscous than pt/pd should still flow on quite easily.
I know that the gum coating should be on the thin side, and my guess is that for a 4x5 print I should be using approx .5 - .75 ml of solution, but those hake brushes are horrible, very hard to get an even coating, at least consistently for me.
I'm very tempted to try a synthetic watercolor wash brush as I use for pt/pd (DaVinci Cosmotop). Expensive, yes, but the perfect brush for pt/pd. Just a dip in distilled water, a shake or two, and it's good to go. I bet it would really make for a nice smooth, even and just-right gum coating using the same technique.
Here's something else...I notice that Sam Wang, in his gum article on Unblinking Eye, brushes on his gum coating and doesn't use another dry brush to smooth it. I'm thinking of trying this as well, as long as I can get a really smooth, even coat down with a good brush.
One of the things I noticed was that while burnishing my coating with a dry brush, it started getting very grainy looking. I'm thinking that I could keep the smoothness if I just brush on once, nice and thin, and don't use another brush to burnish and dry.
Today was a disaster...I started on another tricolor print and upped the ratio of pigment to gum, to get darker colors and it all devolved from there. It happens, I'm experimenting...this has all been seat-of-my-pants stuff but now I need to do a few test strips with a consistent pigment/gum ratio to get a good starting point and figure out the smooth coat/non-grainy stuff, too.
Comments and criticisms are most welcome. I'll report back, if y'all don't mind, on my progress and findings...
Happy 4th to everyone here in the US and much thanks to all who weighed in from around the globe as well...