DETAILS OF THE PROCESS
I dampen a sheet of paper for each print and it tape securely to a board. As it dries, the paper fibers contract, stretching the sheet to keep it very flat for subsequent processes. Next, I apply brushstrokes of thick white gesso primer in directions anticipating those of the image to be printed on top. These dry with an impasto relief effect. Then I coat the paper with a proprietary inkjet coating, brushing on two thin coats. This is invisible but facilitates crisp printing. When fully dry, I cut the sheet from its stretching board and print immediately from an Epson 3800. With care and custom settings, I get the thickly painted paper to print without head-strikes on paper larger than the printer's max spec. (Warning: if you try this you may risk ruining your printer!) The print is made with Epson’s 9-color archival UltraChrome ink system at 2800 dpi for super fine detail, almost 10 times that of commercial print. After printing, I apply two coats of a UV protective spray to further extend longevity. To finish, I sketch improvised lines with a pencil, brush on some ink and throw a splash or two for even more handmade character. By this time the paper is no longer mechanically flat but undulates just a little, as all original hand worked papers do, (not a problem for framing provided a slip in the frame holds the picture glass just away from touching the artwork, which is standard good practice). I trim the art at top and bottom by tearing along a straight-edge for a softer outline similar to deckle edges of handmade paper. The paper is Bockingford Cold Press 300gsm / 140lb. This is cut from a roll with the grain running parallel to the short side, thus facilitating shipping rolled in a manner that will be easier to flatten by a picture framer after delivery.
Brush strokes of white gesso painted onto watercolor paper anticipated the movement of calligraphy later printed on top.There are flecks of gold leaf scattered around the image and an ink splash added by hand.