Image above: hidden/revealed, acrylic & ink on aluminum, 17.5 x 23.5 inches

Friday, February 26, 2016

Exposure Unit DTP

This is the exposure unit I built for photopolymer plates.  Unlike traditionally prepared plates for exposure a clear acetate film is not used.

How photopolymer plates are generally made require digital printing and/or drawing onto a clear film [transparent positive], the film is then laid onto the photopolymer plate -inked side to plate- and a single light UV exposure is made.

With DTP [direct to plate] preparation the photopolymer plate is run thru a digital printer and the ink is printed directly onto the plate surface, so a single source light is not required for proper exposure.  What this means is that instead of renting time in a studio to use an expensive exposure unit or buying one [thousands of $] a relatively inexpensive unit can be built.

This one took a few hours with a friend doing the wiring and aiding in construction,  some wood glue and screws.  Interior dimensions are 24" deep, by 25.5" wide.  This is big enough for the largest solar plate sold @ 16x20.

Seven dual ballast units were mounted in the lid and wired to an exterior switch.  the 14 UV-A tubes give total coverage to the interior.  In retrospect I would have two switches, one for the center tubes of 4 ballast and the other for the remainder if I was doing large or multiple plates - just to cut down on heat.


Switch is on the left side toward back, piano henge for raising lid to access tubes, and a door in front to slide plates in for exposure.  All light tight to protect the eyes.

Door in opened and hooked into position to set plates in and take out, hook at bottom to hold door tightly closed when making exposure.

Look at all those tubes LOL.  Ok, specifics on cost:  just under 275.00 to build with ballast & wiring, tubes were another 70.00 - UV-A fluorescents.
The DTP process is taught at Making Art Safely in Santa Fe, NM, where I am a teaching assistant for Don Messec, the developer of the process.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Brenda Nelson

On Feb. 16, Don Messec and myself interviewed the New Mexico artist Brenda Nelson in her studio in Santa Fe.  She is currently featured artist at Making Art Safely.

We recorded about 40 min. of video with her while she discussed her art, her process and workshop experiences, as well as her one-person show in Albuquerque during the Fall of 2015.

I plan on posting the edited video when it's done on this blog, so something to look forward to watching.  The following are some images from that show and of her work in general.


Using digital collage and photopolymer gravure plates she prints these wonderful images - the quality is astounding when seen in person.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dec 2015 - Feb 2016

I've been working on making acceptable photogravure plates, using the new Solar Plates from Dan Weldon .  It is a much finer detail plate with improved grayscale.

This one I made in Dec.


Cedar & Lizard, 4x5 inches

This was made with carbon black Akua ink, onto Hahnemuhle Copperplate paper.  The polymer plate is directed printed on in an Epson inkjet, exposed to UV, developed in water, and then hardened with additional UV exposure [about 10 min.].

I learned this process in the summer of 2015 at Making Art Safely with Don Messec.   In my own studio I did some rearrangement of my workflow from traditional acid etch intaglio to this process, the biggest problem was the exposure unit.

I wanted to build my own to save money, and it came out really easily.  I wanted to build it large enough so that I could do large plates in the future, but for now focus on 4x5 and 8x10.  Cost was about 275.00 usd and took about 5 hours with a friends help.  The hassle was the UV-A tubes, every place I tried was out, and had to back order to the factory in Europe!  Four months later -- tubes installed I was ready to make test plates.  What I didn't need in it was a vacuum frame, as I had printed directly onto the plate, no intermediate acetate required.  And because I printed on the plate a single light source was not needed either, so tubes ['way cheaper by thousands] could be used.

Jan. and early Feb. the following three were made:

Mask & Rods

Dress Shirt & Ipod


All on 4x5 plates, most trimmed down to image area before plate hardening.

~ tim