Recent experiments with Cyanotype, also referred to as “blueprinting”, the oldest non-silver photographic printing process. Paper that has been treated with a solution of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate is exposed to a UV light source such as the sun.

Cyanotype using a printed image

The first time I tried this technique was very encouraging. I printed an image on a clear acrylic inkjet sheet, then inverted the image in Photoshop. The image with the treated paper was between two panes of glass and put it in the sun. I decided to try using actual objects instead of printed images.

Japanese Maple Leaf
Peacock Feathers

The first attempts were with leaves from the yard. The results were traditional cyanotype, with dark blue contrasting with the white shapes. I then used peacock feathers, which produced an interesting dynamic. The breeze outside meant the delicate strands were in constant motion.

Snakeskin and dandelion
Boa skin
“Snake in the Grass”

Next I chose snakeskins because they are partially transparent, and have interesting patterns. I used a large Boa skin (shed skins, no snakes were harmed) which was a full six inches wide when flattened. The second try used a black snakeskin with blades of grass, for the “Snake in the Grass”.

Cheesecloth clouds
Star glitter clouds
note cards embellished with cyanotype
Cyanotype cards

I treated a few watercolor cards with the cyanotype chemicals. The cards were printed using oil based inks and linoleum blocks. I painted the chemical solution on the areas I wanted to be exposed to the sun. To add pattern and texture, cheesecloth, glitter, and die cut flowers were placed on the cards in the sun.

The cyanotype experiments have just begun. I am looking forward to more sunny days and more materials, such as shadows, insects, fabrics, and layers.

April 26, 2019

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