Re: Blue-Black Cyanotype & Luster

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 10/04/05-08:53:44 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Tue, 4 Oct 2005, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

> PS I have TONS of recipes for varnishes for prints and negs from the 1800's
> and 1900's, no soehnee, the magic stuff, but lots of others, and I am trying

I tried for years to find the "formula" for Vernis Soehnee, because
Demachy raved about it. But finally I suspect it won't work for us IF it
worked for him. I'm sure I'm not the only gum printer who noticed that
the wet print is usually richer in tone than the dry print. Demachy
described applying the Soehnee and seeing the wet look return !!!

HOWEVER, in the first place he did not use a gelatin size, and it's my
understanding that shellac doesn't play nicely over gelatin. And the only
thing I'm (virtually) certain of is that Soehnee is -- either plain
shellac, or shellac with some other stuff. That's also because I came
across a couple of references to diluting it with alcohol -- and I don't
know what other varnish alcohol dilutes...

Meanwhile I tried EVERY SINGLE coating style for gum I found or could
imagine, and some of them on cyano also -- every "cut" of shellac, also
orange and "white" shellac, spray acrylic, brushed acrylic, Renaissance
wax, coat of gum with and without dichromate hardening, through the
roster... Tho I do have some vintage "varnish" formulas I haven't tried.
However, most of them were for varnishing negatives, either for retouching
or other, and I doubt were used much for prints on PAPER (tho maybe prints
on hard surfaces?). There's also the fact that most of those varnishes
will yellow in time or are yellowish at the outset (check the resin
ingredient in Mayer).

And I do think "luster" is a misnomer... when I read that, my first
thought was a metallic effect, but I've found these coatings on paper give
a diffuse, sort of hazy effect-- so they do NOT deepen the color, if
anything haze it up.

The one coating I had any benefit from was a diluted light gum arabic,
POURED (not brushed) on top of the print... that did add some richness or
contrast, though how unhardened gum behaves archivally (not to mention if
it gets a drop of moisture on it) I do not pre-visualize.

In other words, I absolutely agree with Henk... If you want to deepen your
gums or cyanos, etc. without mucking them up with commercial floor waxes
et al (of dubious archivality) let me suggest framing them under glass...
that definitely darkens the darks & adds lustre or -- glints of light.

Received on Tue Oct 4 20:53:55 2005

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