Re: bromoil, anyone?

From: Christina Z. Anderson ^lt;>
Date: 11/14/04-05:18:21 PM Z
Message-id: <004101c4caa0$a5285b00$6101a8c0@your6bvpxyztoq>

Thanks for the answers, on and offlist, all. this is enough to get me in hot
water. I did not know there was a bromoil list! Cool. Who was the one
who started it?

I think I neeed to try a brush, use the spray bottle, it seems that Agfa MCC
118 is the way to go, and read PF 9. I never thought of using liquid light.

I have beside me a book on Schmidt de las Heras, a Spanish bromoilist in
which book Sandy King wrote a chapter. His examples are wonderful.
Probably, Mark, like David Lewis' as you describe below.

I have never done bromoil with a brush, just a roller, and probably fall
into the latter camp of which you speak.

I am tempted to take you up on your offer, below, but if I fail to produce a
print that is up to snuff (my snuff) would you settle for a gum print :)?

I did complete 17 prints in the 4 days I worked at it; they are...what I
would nicely call...experimental bromoils. Very fun, and I think the class
would enjoy them, but I would DIE to show them to a bromoilist. No way.
never. But I am very intrigued at the combination of printmaking and
photography, and with all my snafus, I can see the process has great
contemporary art possibilities.
I can't believe Lewis does all his printing for the year in one day. I like
that aspect about bromoil very much...that you can just bleach a bunch of
prints and use them later. Gives new life to the ones you may have
overexposed unintentionally.
PS Dragonbones, Mark? Please explain...

----- Original Message -----
From: "D. Mark Andrews" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2004 12:40 PM
Subject: RE: bromoil, anyone?

> Christina,
> I'm not usually the discouraging type, but this may be a bigger project
> then
> you think. I hope you have the time to put into it. If we met in a bar and
> were talking over beer I would most likely tell you....My experience a
> couple of years ago was met with utter frustration. Let me explain. When I
> look out there I see two levels of bromoilists. On one end you have David
> Lewis--perhaps the most skilled living bromoilist who is very much in line
> with the 19th century practitioners--photographic realism of sentimental
> subjects. The matrix is inked, layer by layer, with a hog's hair
> brush--some
> layers are so thin you can hardly see them--if you can, then you most
> likely
> applied too much ink and removing it will abrade the paper--toss it out
> and
> start over. The other end of the spectrum is dominated by the majority of
> the practitioners who's images are very "muddy" and grainy--pieces of
> visible ink. They often apply ink with a roller and a brush--lots of ink.
> Interesting enough, this has become the expected look and has lured many
> to
> the process for this exact aesthetic. But it always surprises me since I
> haven't seen any historic bromoil images with this aesthetic--bromoil
> transfers are close, however. Creating the latter is far less time
> consuming, the former takes practice and it may take you hours to get an
> image right--whatever that means :-)
> There used to be several good paper choices, but IMHO David Lewis' Bromoil
> paper is really the best for this type of work. You can purchase it from
> Photographers Formulary in Montana.
> Historically, a hog's hair brush is used with this process, and in my
> experience it works much better then any other. You need a brush with
> stiff
> bristles that has a bounce when you apply them to the paper. I tried the
> Williams-Sonoma baster with minimal success. Vintage shaving brushes work
> better than new ones which are often made with synthetic materials, if
> not,
> they cost more than a good bromoil brush. I find ebay and my local
> antiques
> store good places to find them for under $5.00. You can order bromoil
> brushes from David Lewis directly or B&S.
> I had good exposure success, using David Lewis' paper, by overexposing by
> 40
> percent. My workflow was to make a "perfect" print first with dodging and
> burning and then duplicate that exact process with the initial exposure to
> be 40% more then the "perfect" image. Dodge and burn times were left at
> their original times. Make 10 matrices at a time since you most likely
> will
> be tossing may out for overinking, abrading, etc. Uninked matrices will
> last
> years so I find it is easier to make a batch and set them aside rather
> then
> going back into the darkroom. David Lewis claims that he only goes into
> the
> darkroom once a year and produces all the matrices he needs for the year.
> Overnight drying worked well for me with an initial pass over the flame of
> a
> gas stove--not too close of course.
> If it's not too late to investigate other options, you might consider
> trying
> Photopolymer plates which are contact printed with a negative and then
> rinsed in water. The subsequent plate can be inked and sent through a
> press--I think you said you were a print maker. I have a couple of pals
> trying this technique and are making good progress. The final image looks
> very similar to a bromoil transfer to me.
> Just so you don't take me for an utter cad, if you send me your address
> offline I'll donate to you two bromoil brushes, enough ink to take you
> into
> old age and a box of 8X10 bromoil paper in exchange for a one of your best
> prints--your choice :-)
> Mark
> I know this is hard to believe I can think about something other than
> gum, but this week I got the hairbrained idea to use bromoil as my
> technical
> research project for a printmaking class. I was inspired to do so after
> seeing Tom Micklin's prints in the traveling portfolio (so Tom, please
> chime
> in here). The hairbrained part was deciding to produce an edition of 10
> different prints for the critique.
> Let me say that I have read about bromoil extensively, researching it
> and condensing a workflow for my Experimental Workbook, in which is my
> "quickie" bromoil method. I tested it way back when, but no students ever
> chose to do bromoil, and I was not a printmaker at the time which I now
> am.
> Thus I am a bromoil neophyte.
> I mixed my own bromoil solution and it worked great. This is good.
> First mistake: I knew that Ilford papers are resistant to bleaching,
> but did not know if this resistance would entail a longer bleach etch time
> in the bromoil solution. Silly me--just because it resists bleaching does
> NOT mean it resists etching. I bleach etched for 16 minutes, and all of
> those prints (11x14's,) delaminated. It was like bromoiling on top of a
> mordancage. I was NOT happy. I should have known this because Ilford is a
> WONDERFUL paper for mordancage--it veils very quickly.
> I then reprinted all, using these papers: Ilford MGIV matte, Ilford
> MGIV warmtone pearl, Forte Polywarmtone RC, Bergger VCCB. I found out
> some
> stuff in my mistakes. For one, Forte RC was by far the best! I am
> surprised. It is glossy, too. Next was the Ilford MGIV matte.
> Question: what are your fave papers, you bromoilists? Not the
> special
> bromoil papers, but regular ones. Do you use glossy or matte?
> Two, since I ruined the first batch of prints and had to redo the
> whole
> process with a time limit facing me, I found that an 8 minute etch was
> plenty sufficient, and that I could go right from the etch bath to inking
> up
> with no problem. Thus it wasn't really necessary to dry mount press the
> prints in between the bleach/etch bath and printing up as it is said (to
> make them ink up better).
> Question: is there a cheapy brush source anyone can recommend? And
> brush catalog number? I used rollers for this process. On Forte RC with
> rollers you can essentially get back your print to looking just like a
> photograph, which...what's the I wanted to try a brush for my
> next go around. The local drugstore did not even know what a man's
> shaving
> brush is.
> One more question: do you bromoilists print one stop darker and
> duller
> as a general rule, or something other? Oh, and how long do you think a
> print takes to dry? I was thinking of pressing it between baking
> parchment
> paper in the drymount press, to prevent ink from getting on things.
> I guess what I am interested in, really, is any bromoil
> tawlk amungst yurselfs...your workflow, your mistakes, anything!
> Chris
Received on Sun Nov 14 17:21:34 2004

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