The Acetate Edition
Hi Everyone, well winter is certainly in full swing here in the UK… very chilly, dull and grey all of a sudden despite many of my spring bulbs growing away happily in my garden. Mother Nature will need to sort out the timing issue…
Over the last few weeks I've been getting to grips with a huge roll of Acetate. It's proving to be quite a learning curve on a few fronts…
- Incorporating it into my photography in a way that enhances the process
- Preparing files to print and then getting sheets of it through the printer!
Luckily my studio is equipped with a couple of very large rubbish bins!!
After much trial and error I present my first piece combining Gilding with Acetate. I am quietly pleased with the results.
So, what have I actually done… and why…
Acetate is transparent so it made sense to use this as a starting point. This led to a multi-layered approach.
After much experimentation I created multiple versions of the underlying file, each restricted to different tones or colour ranges. Printed separately, these layers were then stacked to re-build the image.
Multi-layering then gave me a starting point for the gilding.
Using a base layer of Gold Leaf I could then selectively Gild through the stack. Despite using 13.25 Carat White Gold throughout, the resulting piece presents a wide range of tones. The final colours vary depending how far down the stack the gilding has been applied. This also gives a 3D quality to the gilding too which I am enjoying.
Dried Hydrangea flowers on some of the layers brings an additional element which I like. Drying flowers is something I started to do at the start of the year in anticipation of using them as part of the photographic process. Acetate presents the perfect opportunity... so far...
Why bother making a print?
I still question whether it's worth spending time producing a physical piece of work given that so much of what we do is digital and on-line.
Personally, time spent producing something I can pick up and hold is never wasted. I am also mindful of a time when this pandemic is behind us and we can share our work in a physical way.
Thinking about experimenting, I remember something I read a while ago which has stayed with me. An art tutor/lecturer conducted an experiment with a student group. The group was split into 2...
- One half was asked to produce 20 pieces of work from which they were to select their best piece.
- The remainder was to produce 1 piece of work considered to be their best.
At the end of the experiment, the standard of work from those selecting from 20 pieces was significantly higher than from those producing a single piece. By way of analysis, it was felt that producing lots of work encouraged play and experimentation. Alternatively, those producing a single 'best' piece spent too much time thinking, analysing and planning rather than just 'doing'.
Well, I am certainly learning different ways to present my work even if it just sits in a drawer for months/years. If nothing else, it's fun which is what it's all about anyway.
It's that time of year…
As I write this I am minded of the fact that the year is drawing to a close. A time to reflect.
This time last year I was still working full time in a job which I did enjoy but was crushing me. Working hours were brutal, travel was crazy and I was as close to burn out as it was possible to be.
Finally breaking free at the end of February my new life began with an utterly fabulous trip to Rajastan with some fantastic photographers, all now very dear friends.
I had planned to carry on my 'retirement' at speed!. Every minute would still need to count, why change the habits of a lifetime? Lockdown put a stop to all of that and made me realise how tired I was, forcing me to slow down and rest. For me the timing was perfect.
Since then I have immersed myself in so many aspects of photography that I never had time for and I am absolutely loving it. My life now is so incredibly different it's hard to put into words. Rolling forward into a new year with some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the pandemic I am excited as to where this journey might take me… who knows!!!
If nothing else, when my ex-work colleagues ask "what do you do all day" I just smile and talk for hours…
Absolutely stunning piece Linda (the acetate/gold work). Thanks for revealing the process behind it, very generous and fascinating. I saw it on Twitter and it stopped me in my tracks, so I’m very glad to follow your link and discover your blog. Best wishes, Mari.
How lovely to hear from you and thank you so much for your kind comments. I am really pleased you enjoyed the read… I will admit to creating the blog so that I made sure that I had something creative to write about on a regular basis – a way of keeping myself accountable. I hadn’t expected to receive such lovely comments in return – a bonus indeed.
Stay safe and take care
Thank you for another illuminating, and inspirational, blog. You open up realms of artistry I have thoughts of entering into, but taking that first step is always so overwhelming. So, today my thoughts will now turn to, “just do it, learn from your mistakes, and start! Lethargy be gone! “.
Lovely to hear from you again… and yes, you are absolutely right, that first step is crucial… I’ve had this roll of acetate for a while now and kept looking at it wondering what on earth I was going to do with it. The only way though is to just have a go. Lots of false starts and, as I said, a very full bin but then something starts to happen… it’s all about playing and just getting on with it… too easy to avoid doing the work.
One of the reasons I write my blog is to make sure that I have something creative to write about every couple of weeks – stops me from procrastinating and keeps me accountable!! I would love to hear from you again in a week or so now that you have banished your lethargy… nothing like a deadline 🙂
Thank you so much…
Once again I’m intrigued by your processes and completely fascinated by your creativity. Like Elisabeth, I also need to take that first step. Thank you so much for your inspiration this year.
Apologies for taking so long to reply… I am really pleased you’ve found the blog interesting and glad that it has inspired to make a start – that’s the most important thing. Hopefully next year will be another huge year of change but in a much more positive environment, fingers crossed…
Take care and please let me know how you get on.
Hi Linda, love your work, so much so my wife bought me this print for Christmas and im thrilled by it, I’ve always been a traditional darkroom photographer working with film etc but seeing your work is drawing me into digital, thank you.
I am so pleased you like the print of this image. It was a joy to make a print and send it off knowing that it would be a gift, a privilege indeed.
Great to hear that you are looking at exploring the digital world a little more… I am a firm believer that digital can coexist nicely with the traditional darkroom world on the basis that, in the right hands, 2+2 must equal 5.
Take care and thank you again…