4"x6" image size
"Solarplate" printmaking starts with a drawing on something transparent - some artists use frosted glass, others print something off their computer onto a transparency. I use frosted mylar and pencils.
The plate goes into a box with a special UV bulb - the same kind a tanning place would use to bronze your skin in preparation for your winter Florida vacation. The surface of the plate is water soluble, but it hardens when exposed to UV radiation.
When a frosted mylar drawing comes between the plate and the light, the radiation is partially blocked by the pencil marks. UV light hardens all the little bits of the plate it can reach. A little water washes away the softer material, corresponding to your drawing.
Now the plate works like an intaglio copper etching - it has cracks, grooves and divots to trap ink.In contrast, solarplate etchings are (like copper etchings) intaglio plates. This means that ink accumulates in small grooves and is then forced into paper under very high pressure. We really need a press to print.
To ink an intaglio plate, we cover the whole thing with color - smearing it all over the surface with a small card or our doll. Then, using a series of wiping techniques, we force the ink into the little recesses while removing most of it from the smooth areas.
If we are comfortable with a little bedlam on our plate, we can gob on as many colors as we want. These colors mix and spread out all over the plate when we wipe.
For this print, I chose three hues - brown, blue and yellow. I mixed some of the yellow and blue on my pallette to give myself a bright green. I mostly put yellow and green in the wave, blue in the background (top) and brown on the bottom in the foreground rocks.
No two of these prints are exactly alike, so make sure to choose your favorite.