Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Laura Bethmann: Hand Printing Nature — On the Go

For the gentle readers of my books, and for nature printers of every kind, the following includes a few tips and a list of supplies I take with me on printing outings and on vacations – you never know when you’ll come across something lovely to print, like this little strawberry plant.

Make Your Own Nature Printing Travel Kit
Find a container for your nature print  travel kit.

A travel kit for nature printing must be small enough to carry yet big enough to hold the essentials. First, gather all your printing supplies and decide which items are necessary for what you will want to accomplish while printing on the go. Then, find a convenient box, bag, bucket, basket or case to carry them. If your printmaking papers won’t fit or remain flat, stash them in a separate notebook.

Here’s What I Bring
  • Safe Wash Caligo Relief Inks  one tube each of process blue, process red, process yellow and opaque white. These will mix almost any color I need, including black.
  • Ink Applicators  3-inch soft rubber brayer and several cosmetic foam wedges in a small plastic bag.
  • Ink Mixers  scrap mat board pieces, cut to about 2″x 1/2″, and rubber banded together.
  • Palette  length of freezer paper, rolled.
  • Cover Sheets  newsprint or paper towels cut into convenient sizes for covering inked objects when printing.
  • Tweezers  for handling tiny leaves and other small bits of nature.
  • Scissors  for cutting paper and plant materials.
  • Knife  for slicing through fleshy plants and fruits.
  • Masking Tape  for taping down corners of freezer paper palette.
  • Drafting Tape  for keeping printing papers in place on a breezy day.
  • Small Spray Bottle of Water  for cleaning hands, brayer, etc.
  • Paper Towels  for cleaning hands, brayer, etc.
  • Heavy Plastic Trash Bag  to serve as a clean surface to work on.
  • Small Trash Bag  for cleaning up at end of printing session.
  • Apron

The following items don’t fit in my kit so I carry them separately.
  • Notebook filled with newsprint for making test prints and a variety of printmaking papers. Newsprint also serves as slip sheets in between prints that haven’t yet dried.
  • Small Journal and Pencil for recording notes.
Nature printing outdoors feels reminiscent of the adventurous pioneers in the New World. As these trailblazers headed west, encountering many plant species, both familiar and unknown, they blackened the leaves over campfire smoke and impressed their images into travel journals.
For lots more information on the art, craft and history of nature printing see my newest book, Hand Printing from Nature.  And stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials on nature printing techniques.

Laura Bethmann, author of Hand Printing from Nature, is an artist who exhibits her nature prints and watercolor paintings in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces. She has demonstrated her nature printing techniques in many venues, including Home and Garden Television, Lifetime Television, The Discovery Channel, and Good Housekeeping magazine. Laura teaches workshops for a variety of organizations, including art and craft centers, colleges, museums, botanical gardens, and garden clubs. She lives and works in her home studio in New Jersey. Visit her at laurabethmann.com.

Original post: Hand Printing Nature – On the Go by Laura Bethmann Posted on

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