Interesting how gummists develop their own
techniques – I guess the combination of environment and the many other
variables that go to make a gum print means we each find something that works
for us. I remember last winter the humidity dropped from 60%+ in spring/summer
autumn to 20% and I had to re-invent a new technique to get any success at all.
I have tried foam brushes but unlike Loris
found them a complete disaster. Likewise sponges.
A few more thoughts on coating: try
varying brush angle and pressure. I find ending with a shallow angle and light
pressure can help – strong purposeful strokes help to spread the gum well
initially but leave edge marks. Also removing excess liquid from the brush
during later stages of coating can help. I tend to coat left right, top bottom,
right left and down up removing significant excess and working from firm to
light pressure. An 8x10 takes under a minute to coat.
You$B!G(Jll also find different papers work
differently: very smooth HP papers such as Fabriano Artistico or some of the
machine made modern papers like Cotman (Japanese) can work well but are less
forgiving than Saunders Waterford which has a pronounced texture in comparison
(but I find works very effectively and more easily).
Also I mix 6ml gum + 6ml 13% dichromate (+pigment)
for 4 8x10 prints and there$B!G(Js a little left over at the end.
UK mobile ($B1Q9q$N7HBSEEOC(J): +44(0) 7770 787069
Japan mobile ($BF|K\$N7HBSEEOC(J): +81(0) 90 6440 7037
Japan land line / fax ($BF|K\$NEEOC$H%U%!%/%9(J): +81(0) 166 92 5855
From: Christina Z.
Sent: 04 July 2009 22:22
Subject: Re: a few notes on my
first few gum prints...
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
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
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...
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, July 04,
2009 1:36 AM
Subject: a few notes on my
first few gum prints...
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
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...