Pilar is an original lithograph on paper in six colors made from six aluminum lithographic 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.
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 Pilar, 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 sixth plates.
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More information on multi-color printmaking
This is print 20/20 e.v. (édition variée, or varied edition), meaning that there are 20 other prints printed from the same plates (that’s the edition) with some variances in the amount of ink on the plates as well as pastel drawing on some of the prints (that’s the variation).
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