Madrid by Heather Page, lithograph on paper, 15 inches by 11 1/4 inches

Title: Madrid
Media: Lithograph on paper
Size: 15″h x 11 1/4”w
Edition: 1/15-15/15
detail | process | edition | story | related works

detail view

Madrid by Heather Page, detail image, lithograph on paper, 15 inches by 11 1/4 inches


Madrid is an original lithograph on paper in six colors made from five aluminum lithographic plates.

Madrid by Heather Page, Color trial proof C, lithograph on paper, 15 inches by 11 1/4 inchesMadrid by Heather Page, lithograph on paper, 15 inches by 11 1/4 inchesTo 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.

Aluminum plate lithography is a traditional form of lithography, which means that there’s some chemistry involved in fixing the image on the plate.
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.
Positive photographic plate lithography is a contemporary form of printing that doesn’t require the chemical knowledge or processing time and effort that goes into traditional lithography.
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.
Inking and printing both kinds of plates works the same way.
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 named Madrid for the artistic enclave in New Mexico that was just up the road from this patch of land.
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.