Sierra Art Trails sponsored a 2 day silk screening workshop last week. Sierra Art Trails’ current special exhibit, ‘Our Wild Lands’, included a beautiful serigraph by Alan Works, the instructor of the silk screening class. I’m not sure if ‘silk screen’ should be one word or two, I’ve seen it written both ways. The class was held in the Stellar Gallery with the ‘Our Wild Lands’ exhibit surrounding us.
I had never seen the silk-screening process so I was fascinated and admittedly confused at times. Below is Alan’s serigraph hanging in the ‘Our Wild Lands’ exhibit. If you don’t look close enough you’d swear it’s a photograph.
Alan brought the screens of one of his serigraphs to demonstrate the process of creating a serigraph. Each screen lays down a different layer (colour) of paint. Alan was an excellent instructor. His passion for his craft made you want to experiment and learn the craft as well. David and I would love to delve more into this medium if it weren’t for our tiny house and zero storage.
Photograph: Alan holding one of the screens at his printing table.
Left: A table of Alan’s prints with 2 or 3 layers of paint. Right: Carolyn Hartling cutting paper for our printing.
Gloria Garland finessing her image she’ll use for silk-screening.
Unfortunately Carolyn and myself were the only two of 5 participants who had the privilege to print our images. Carolyn drew a beautiful image of a woodpecker. The image is then printed on a clear plastic transfer sheet. The silkscreen is painted with the purple coloured light sensitive emulsion, in a darkroom setting. The clear sheet with the image is placed on the silkscreen, then exposed to light. Since we didn’t have an indoor light strong enough to expose the image, Alan tried to use the sun as a light source, which would have worked great if mother nature had cooperated. We each successive screen exposure the sky grew darker.
Once the image is exposed onto the screen it’s then washed off in the darkroom setting revealing the unexposed imprint of the image.
Below: Carolyn’s woodpecker and Jon’s semi-failed image.
Carolyn’s inked image.
Carolyn pulling a print with Jon’s help.
Carolyn’s prints filling up the table.
This is the original image I chose to work with. I took this photograph last January at the Merced Wildlife Refuge.
I thought I could print two graphics of different colours. First I would print a background colour for the sky and water. Then the image below for the middle ground, followed by the image for the foreground. In Paint Shop Pro I posterized the foreground, then made a negative out of the background to create the two strong graphics that initially attracted me to the subject.
Below: This would be the 3rd and final layer with the darkest colour.
The two transfer sheets sitting on a manila folder.
The silkscreen with the two above images and a rectangle for the background colour.
Here I’m mixing the paint and consulting with Master Alan about mixing the colours.
Alan guiding me as I print the background for the images. Carolyn is observing the process.
The final print!! I was very happy with the results. Silk screening is NOT easy. There are many processes and it’s very time consuming. This was out of my comfort zone but such a wonderful experience. I have found myself looking at landscapes much differently, for the better. It’s good to step into a foreign area and see the world differently. Pastels are SOOOO much easier!!! Thank you Alan for sharing your knowledge and helping us grow as artists.