Marja-Leena Rathje
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another print


Some time back, I presented a little show-and-tell on how I proof my prints before printing the whole edition, a standard practise for printmakers. I've mentioned that I'm working on a series of archival inkjet prints based on manipulated photographs of rocks (taken last summer), with collagraphs printed over them. A number of readers expressed great interest in seeing the process and have been asking me to show more. I showed these collagraphs, but forgot to take the camera on the day I printed that edition. Heavy beast that it is, yesterday I did make a point of taking it along.

First I did a trial print (above) of this collagraph on plain white paper to get a feeling for the right inking and wiping technique as well as the best consistency of black ink. Happy with that, I printed it on an inkjet print on inexpensive proofing paper. Notice that I've wiped the ink more cleanly to allow for more transparency. I was very excited and pleased with the result (below). Then I moved on to the editioning, printing the collagraph on the archival inkjet prints that I'd printed some time back. All went well, looking even better than this proof, being on superior paper. I wish everyday in the studio was as successful!

I hope to make one more collagraph for one more inkjet print to complete this group. Once that's been editioned, dried and documented, I will setup the camera on a tripod and take some GOOD photographs. Watch for them here in two or three weeks!


Marja-Leena | 17/03/2007 | 11 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Digital printmaking, Printmaking


The first proof I found very powerful--it reminded me of the prow of a Danish raiding ship from the 11th century, or conversely, a serpent of some kind. It stood alone, and stood well.

The final with the rock depression worked just as well, though completely differently.

The effect was like turning an irregular rock crystal in a light and seeing new and fascinating facets.

I very much like both of these images, and how each is attractive in its own way. Both speak so strongly of long deep history, and I so admire your contribution in taking this meaningful markmaking further to give us an additional perspective.

It's a very muscular image somehow. And the second evoking the discovery of a fossil. I remember going hunting them in a disused quarry once in Scotland, as a child. The thrill of discovering something that has been buried for unthinkable lengths of time... The mark of a creature that once lived.

Peter, Olga and Tall Girl - thank you for all your interesting and very observant remarks!

Yes, something of a Viking prow, something of a fossil fern, both are beautiful.

They're both very good, but totally different in feeling and in the emotion they produce. As a pure art print, I think I'd choose the first one and its raw power, but the second one is more complex and nuanced. Congratulations on your experimentations, Marja-Leena!

Lucy and Beth, thanks. Interesting how many of you like the collagraph print alone, though I made it specifically to print over the rock print. Normally, few people would ever see the collagraph proof. For me, the image is a mix of animal and human, inspired by some South American rock paintings. I don't usually like to spell out what the images are, enjoying the varied responses from viewers, which to me are just as important in the art experience!

This is reminds me of the prow of a viking ship. Maybe Beowulf would have had something like this engraved on his shield!

Herhimbryn, glad you like it - though the intent isn't quite what you describe :-)

These are gorgeous. Can you set your photos up to be clicked on to see larger? Sometimes I wish I could see them up close - unfortunately, being on the other side of the continent makes it hard to see them in person!

Leslee, thank you! I used to post smaller pictures with the 'click to see larger', but for some time now I've just posted them larger. I know it's still not enough. I'm having an artist's website made, so maybe we can do it there... will talk to Erika about that idea.