Cliche Verre

peter feldstein (
Thu, 21 Dec 1995 19:38:13 -0600 (CST)

So here's my two cents worth: I've been working on various methods of
making cliches verre since around 1986 and have gone through several
steps to get where I am with this today, all of which have mark-making,
print-making potential. I hate to talk just about techniques, but this
is, I suppose, a way to start. If anyone is interested in seeing slides
of actual work I'd love to trade and I'd certainly be interested in
discussing ideas involved in my work, your work, and/or someone else's

My first attempts at this were completely in ignorance of the older CV
techniques(used by Corot and gang), though I had been aware of Henry
Holmes Smith's work with Caro Syrup. But I was stranded on the Greek
Island of Samos while recuperating from a near fatal motorcycle
accident(ok, ok, it was a little scooter, but I did nearly die) and all I
could do was take pictures of the horizon line between sky and water
through the window of my room (I later discovered a gentleman named Sugimoto
did the same thing, only better, and all over the world).

Method #1. I had literally hundred of these 4x5" negs and bored so I
began to scratch into them with etching tools.

Method #2. After a while, through trial and error I decided to open a
box of 4x5" b&w sheet film, develop it(black), draw(scratch) on them, and
print them.

Method #3. I contact printed some of the above negs onto fine grain
4x5" sheet film and printed them.

Method #4. I painted with black acrylic paint of sheets of film.

Method #5. I painted with black India Ink for acetate, but on large
sheets(some 20x24" and a few larger by taping 4 pieces of 20x24" film
together, making a 40x80" negative) These were contacted printed on
Kodak Ektalure paper. This method turned out to present the riches
possibilities. It is best to paint on photographic film because the ink
cracks and crackles and I suspect that the emulsion of the photo film
swells and "grabs" the ink better than plain acetate. The best part of
this process is that I've developed methods of working it to my
satisfaction and have discovered many techniques for making the kind of
marks and "textures" that I want. For example, the ink dries in such a
way that if you dab, daub, smear or rub the ink, it reacts differently at
different stages of drying.

Method #6. I just paint with acrylic (color) and India Ink, and print
the images on Ilfochrome(the old Cibachrome). The colors are rich,
bright and very very saturated.

Method #7. I have had a few students interested in the process, mainly
printmakers. One used a watercolor paint and printed the images as
negatives, using a clear piece of color negative film for the orange mask
necessary in printing color negs. Another, making b&w CVs, uses Gesso to
get a beautiful, creamy quality.

I hope this is of some use to somebody. Again, I'd love to hear more and
trade slides and techniques. This coming semester I have a number of
printmaking students in my classes and will share any of your information
or discoveries with anyone who might be interested.

Peter Feldstein
School of Art and Art History
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242