Madrid is an original lithograph on paper in six colors made from five aluminum lithographic plates.
To create this print, I used a positive photographic plate and four ball-grained aluminum plates.
Each of the plates represented one basic color in the image. I designed the images on the plates so that, when printed on top of each other, they would mix optically to create a wider range in color.
In the images to the left and right, you can see what happened when I used a different color on one of the plates.
The plates are grained, which gives them a toothy surface like drawing paper. Just like drawing paper, plates come in a variety of surfaces.
Traditional lithography depends on the the ability of greasy materials to repel water and the ability to make a stone or plate attract water. Therefore, I used greasy crayons and paints called tusche to create my images. I then treated the plates with mixtures of gum arabic, tannic acid, and phosphoric acid to make the non-image areas attract water.
The plates I use are much like my grained aluminum plates with a photosensitive coating on top.
Instead of drawing on the plate itself, I drew the black part of the image on a piece of frosted mylar.
I then placed the mylar face-down on the photosensitive plate and exposed the two to light.
When I developed the plate, the non-image areas dissolved, leaving a blue mirror image of what was on my mylar.
To ink a plate, I moistened its surface with a sponge and then rolled ink over it. The ink stuck to the image, but was repelled from the rest of the plate.
I continued to alternate sponging the plate and rolling ink until there was enough ink on the plate to print.
To print a plate, I placed a piece of paper face-down on it and laid newsprint and then a plastic sheet called a tympan on top.
I then spread some grease on the tympan to make it slide, and cranked the pile through the press.
The pressure transferred the ink to the paper, making a physically flat mirror image of the plate.
In order to print Madrid, I started with the lightest color plate, yellow, and printed it on all of my pieces of paper for the edition. I then repeated the process on the second through fifth plates.
More information on lithography
More information on multi-color printmaking
I printed Madrid in an edition of fifteen prints, numbered 1/15 to 15/15.
More information on editions
I lived in Albuquerque for just a year and fell in love with the varied colors of the soil, the mountains and foothills, and the juniper bushes that dotted the southwestern landscape.
I created this print for an exchange portfolio with the other printer/artists in my year at the Tamarind Institute as a reminder of the beautiful landscape we often explored together.