Today I got up and started cleaning. That's a turn up for the books (and long may it continue!)
Anyway. I've been playing around with some new soft ground etching medium at work this week. We can't use the traditional method of soft wax as the hot plate needed to melt and apply the wax is deemed too dangerous, and the turps needed to remove it is pretty bad too. I've written before about the safe methods we use to produce etchings, but there doesn't seem to be a satisfactory way to reproduce the soft ground effect that happens to be my favourite (I sometimes use my cooker at home to melt the wax, but this isn't really ideal either!)
This new medium is painted on with a brush (or can be screen printed on to the plate for an extra smooth finish) then left to dry for the correct amount of time, a sheet of paper can then be layed over it and used to make a drawing, just like the soft wax. The tricky thing is knowing how long to leave it for... I tried it every 5 minutes and at first the paper just absorbed the medium (no good) and then it didn't work at all. 5 minute windows are obviously too long... next time.
So then I tried drawing directly onto the plate with a sharp pencil, which displaces the medium and exposes the copper below to be etched. This seemed more successful, but still, as the surface dried the pencil began to rip off larger bits of medium (you can see the on the picture below. Click if you want to see it really close :) ) There were a couple of minutes where drawing was smooth. I suppose it's not totally a bad thing; speedy drawing can free me up :)
I let the medium dry completely, then backed the plates with parcel tape (so the backs didn't etch). Then into the ferric chloride for 20 minutes...
The flowers I've been drawing are crocosmia, from my garden. I'm planning on aquatinting the plates next week, with some orange chine colle (that's tissue paper to you and me) for the flowers. Got to have the orange :)