I’ve had a solar plate tucked in amongst my supplies for awhile now but this week I was inspired by our unusual winter sunshine to drag it out and use it. I followed the directions in my new Print Workshop book and they were perfect. It really doesn’t take that much sunshine, just a few minutes to develop the plate, then a half hour or so to harden it, but honestly, in the Pacific Northwest that amount of sunshine in the winter is a rare commodity.
Okay. Do you not absolutely love the color of this plate? I felt like framing it, and not worrying about using it to print! I used a photograph that I took at Ocean Shores of an old dock – just the pilings are left and they head out into the ocean for about a hundred feet. This is my favorite place to beachcomb because it is always being moved around by winter storms.
I recolored the photo to just black and white then printed it onto an overheard projector sheet. I put the plate on a piece of plywood then put the photo on top and on top of that a sheet of glass. I put the stack in the sun for about 3 minutes. You can’t really see anything much happening so you have to go on faith that it has developed. Next the plate goes into a cool water bath for about five minutes. Then using a very soft brush I brushed the plate and low and behold my image appeared. Magic! Then the plate went back into the sun to harden.
I took the plate to printmaking class last night. It took a few tries before I got an image I was happy with. I’m not that careful with the brayer so I kept getting ink where I didn’t want it. I was surprised at the amount of detail that the plate captures. I’m not sure where I’ll go with this print or if I’ll just frame the plate and call it a day. I’ll definitely try this technique again though.
PS I bought my solar plate through McClains, their online shop is my “go to” place for many of my printmaking supplies particularly my shina plywood for woodblock prints.