02 03 The World in Relief: Adventures in watching ink dry 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Adventures in watching ink dry

It has been a long four months for my latest set of prints.  I began them, along with two others, in October.  My reasoning in working on so many prints at once was that each ink layer takes a while to dry.  Since the blocks are fairly large, it seemed reasonable that I would carve and print one series while others were drying.

Elizabeth Busey, Frost on the Land I.
Linoleum Reduction Print,
28 x 10in., 2012.
It took four months for my prints Frost on the Land (I & II) to completely dry. One layer actually took a month.  Dean Clark at Graphic Chemical kindly sent me another batch of tint base in case this was the cause. The next layer took a week and a half.  Clearly this speed of working was going to be impossible to sustain.  So I broke down and bought some drier.

First, a bit about how oil-based inks dry.  With thanks to the discussion boards on Inkteraction, I learned that oil-based inks (and paints) don't dry by evaporation, but rather through oxidation.  That first layer of ink oxidizes pretty quickly because it can do so from the paper side and the ink side.  But the more layers of ink, the longer the oxidation process takes.
Elizabeth Busey, Frost on the Land II.
Linoluem Reduction Print,
28 x 10in., 2012.
To combat this problem, printmakers turn to driers.  I had been avoiding driers because of the concerns with toxicity.  I work in my basement, and my house does not have a special filtration system.  I use solvents only out in the open garage.  The driers usually have cobalt -- admittedly pretty toxic.  I chose TuWay drier, which combines cobalt and manganese driers.  It was explained to me that it dries from the inside and the outside of the layer.  It is a dark purple syrup, and I only had to use a small dot to make my ink behave.  Inks can no longer be saved, but with careful clean-up I am confident the driers and I can coexist happily.

On the final layer, the TuWay drier had the ink dry in two days.  I was in heaven.  I had intended to have this suite of prints exhibited in December at my solo show...

Instead, Frost on the Land (I & II) will make their debut at The Local Artists Showcase this Saturday, February 25th from 11am to 5pm at the Bloomington (IN) Convention Center.  For only $2 admission, you get to spend a toasty morning or afternoon enjoying getting to know 67 local artists and their work.  The convention center is using the admission fees to purchase local art for the newly remodeled center. Thanks to Bloom Magazine and IVY Tech Community College for sponsoring this event.

I encourage you -- where ever you are -- to buy local.  Even local art!

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