The solar plate process eliminates many of the toxic chemicals that have historically been the bane of print makers. Instead of painting on the metal plate with lacquer and etching it in acid, then cleaning up with lacquer thinner, this new process starts with a metal plate coated with a light sensitive polymer. A black and white image on mylar is laid on the plate and it is exposed to light (either the sun or a bright spot light). Where the light hits the plate, the polymer bakes hard. Where it is protected from the light, the polymer stays soft. After exposure, the plate is washed in cool water with a soft bristle brush. The soft areas wash away, creating a texture on the plate. For a relief print, ink is rolled on the remaining flat surface of the plate. For an intaglio print, ink is worked into the crevices of the plate then rubbed off the flat top surface. The images shown are both intaglio prints.
For this print, I started with a wash drawing, scanned it into the computer and printed it on an overhead transparency, which I used to expose the solar plate. It is printed in blue/black ink on light buff paper.

Judy Gardner is available to teach the solar plate process to individuals or groups.

Wednesday is open studio day at Alchemical Eye Studio. The press and facilities are available to experienced printmakers for $40 for the day. Please call to make a reservation because space is limited. 303-421-9597

This print started it's life on the computer. There's actually a set of four in the series, and the first one was done as a class demo on surrealist techniques for the computer. They're printed in black ink on white paper.