Bristles and test prints

Apparently I’m out of practice at printing cyanotypes.  That’s ok though, because this image was really just a test print to see if I’m happy with the composite look.   After a few months of preparation and pure laziness, Project Joy is finally in the pipeline to be printed.  Assuming I like the composite.

I’m still not really sure if I do like it or not.  Although the composite look fits my overall concept (this project will be combined with some of my grandmother’s images, also in a composite/puzzle format) I’m still not totally happy with the broken image.  I need to decide now if I’m going with a composite look or if I’m going to attempt to have someone else print my negatives in a larger size (and pay out the nose for it.)

Either way, I need to ditch my sizing brush and rethink how to coat the paper.  Despite being pre-treated with wood glue to eliminate shedding, there are still an inordinate amount of hair-like bristles floating around and ruining the print.  I even had trouble with my new batch of sizing glopping all over the place and ruining the finish.  For such a simple process, I seem to find ways of making things harder on myself. 

Print information:

Paper: Canson Montval watercolor, sized with Arrowroot sizing

Emulsion: cyanotype, double coated

Size: 14″x19″

Negative(s): digital inkjet negative printed on Arista OHP 

4 thoughts on “Bristles and test prints

  1. Hey – this is really funny! 🙂 Just yesterday I posted my ‘cyanotype failure’ experience. I must say that mine was totally superior to yours though. It was a total failure…….

    Have you thought of not sizing your paper. I have never done it it – usually I print on Arches Cover, cold press. Now the rough surface of that paper sure isn’t for everybody, but I have always loved the print quality I got from it – except for this latest try of mine of course.

    Anyhow, let’s keep working on our problems – I am sure it will be worthwhile.

    Best wishes,


    • It’s not so simple, is it! Just when I think I’ve gotten good at this, something weird happens and throws me for a loop. I guess that’s part of the joys of alternative printing 🙂

      I started sizing my paper when I had some major fiber trash issues from the paper surface – most likely because I use a brush to coat. Since my photoshop curve takes the sizing into consideration (sizing = more contrast) I probably won’t be going back to non-sized. I think I just screwed up the latest batch of sizing – easy enough to do.

      Good luck with your puzzling dilemma!

    • Thanks for dropping by! As you can see by my link on the right (cyanotype curves for digital negatives,) is one of my favorite helpful sites. Very handy, especially in the days that I was troubleshooting digital negatives 🙂

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