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...

Paul, I don't use hakes for coating, only for smoothing. For coating, I use Daniel Smith's 60-80 synthetic brush that may be similar to what you're talking about; I've used this for years and love it; mine is 2 1/4" wide. If I'm remembering right, when I bought it, it was being marketed as a varnish brush; now as a "multi- media" brush, but it lays down a nice smooth thin layer without streaks.

The only reason, I suppose, for a smoothing step with a dry brush is to smooth out streaks or uneven areas, or to thin a too -thick coat, and if you've got a nice smooth thin layer to start with, maybe it's not that important. I hadn't realized that Sam Wang has eliminated that step. I've just always done it, out of habit, but I may have to try doing without, just to see if it makes a difference.

You're off to a very good start with the tricolor gum.

On Jul 3, 2009, at 11:36 PM, Paul Viapiano wrote:

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...