Best blue pigments for gum bichromate

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by TheFlyingCamera, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    What are the best blue pigments for gum bichromate? I tried to do a French ultramarine this afternoon and instead of being a nice deep blue, it turned out to be more of a pale blue-gray.
     
  2. R Shaffer

    R Shaffer Member

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    I don't know if this would be the 'best' blue, but I like the Winsor & Newton 'Winsor Blue ( red shade ) PB 15. I usually use it as a late gum layer to deepen shadows or shift tone. I usually use cyanotype if I want a strong blue image or as 1st layer of tri-color. I do like it quite a bit as a forth layer on my tri-color gums.

    Here is a link to handprint on the blue pigments

    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterb.html
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Thanks for that- that's very helpful, especially the handprint article.
     
  4. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    That handprint article is great. Did he do the same for magenta (red) and yellow pigments?
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com
     
  5. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Hi Scott,

    I'm a great fan of combining pigments. My favorite blue is Daniel Smith's 'Verditer Blue', which prints a beautiful sky blue. When I want something punchier, I add a dab of Prussian Blue and Quinacridone Rose to the Verditer. But, of course, I can never leave well enough alone. So many colors, so little time!!

    I love that you'll be blogging about your gum fun. I imagine you'll take gum to the level of craftsmanship and great images you show with Pt/Pd. Post soon! (And, I hope Art Reactor finds a new home space. Best of luck.)

    d
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Denise- thanks for the wonderful compliments. I've posted a few of my latest efforts in my gallery here. I'll keep writing about my experiences as I have them. I took a gum printing class a year ago at Project Basho, then had to put it aside for a variety of reasons until recently. I picked it back up again, and with a bit of help from another friend here who does gum, got back on track. Getting started again was a bit of a steep learning curve, as I was doing a number of things not quite right, but the biggest mistake was just grossly over-exposing my prints and not knowing where I needed to start.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2010
  7. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Those are lovely portraits, Scott. I especially like the first. It's beautifully evocative of an Autochrome. Getting such nice skin tones is a real feat.
     
  8. R Shaffer

    R Shaffer Member

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    Yes. Handprint has lots of info on the various watercolors good descriptions and tested. The Watercolors guide is quite good.

    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterfs.html

    And to TheFlyinCamera. Have been enjoying your gallery posts as well. Wonderful portraits and superb printing.
     
  9. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Thanks for the link. I'm currently using WN blue, yellow and red for my full color gum prints. They work pretty well, but I'm always looking for the perfect combination that will result in truer color. Any suggestions are appreciated!
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    When talking to Christina Anderson , she did say using a cyanotype as the first layer worked really well.
     
  11. photomc

    photomc Member

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    +1 on cyanotype for the first layer
     
  12. TheFlyingCamera

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    In this case, I didn't want the blue as the first layer, rather as a top layer applied to only certain areas of the image. I'm also not a huge cyanotype fan to begin with as to get a good cyanotype, you've got to tailor your negative to the process which means it doesn't print well in platinum, which is my preferred go-to process (not that it would give me a blue layer).
     
  13. Katharine Thayer

    Katharine Thayer Member

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    Hi, I'm a little late to this thread, but a couple of thoughts: you don't say, but it looks like you're doing a gumover process. There's no "best blue" for gum printing; it just depends on what you want to do. There are a couple of blues that I would consider "not best" for straight gum printing: cerulean and cobalt, as they are both very weak pigments and won't give a gum print the tonal structure it needs. But if your tonal structure is established by an underlying platinum print, then even these might be useful, in the right amount.

    I'm surprised the French ultramarine didn't give you a good blue, which makes me think you must be using your pigments quite diluted. Ultramarine is a fairly unsaturated (hue-wise) blue, on the red side; I used to use it a lot for tricolor gum printing because I liked the muted palette it gave. Phtalo is a very strong blue; it's garish to my eyes, but a lot of people like it. The "Winsor blue" mentioned above is a pthalo. For some time now my very favorite blue pigment has been Prussian. You have to watch the brands, because some are very permanent and some aren't; you can check handprint for the details. I love it because it's a lovely transparent blue that makes nice color blends when overlaid in a tricolor gum print and also makes a lovely overlay, or mixed with a little black, a nice monochrome. There's no other blue I would use as a monochrome. Hope any of that is helpful,
     
  14. TheFlyingCamera

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    Katherine-

    thanks for the input. In some cases I am doing gumover. In the case of the two images posted earlier in the thread, they are pure gum, being done with a single negative, so I'm printing with an eye toward creative use of selective color, not verisimilitude. The image with the blue layer, for example, in the original scene the background walls are just gray, not blue and red. I think if I were to try this layer again, I'd try a Winsor Blue (red) with some neutral tint mixed in to darken it so it isn't quite so neon. It's an interesting image to me, in that it has a bit of a 19th century hand-tinted albumen print feel to it, which wasn't quite what I was aiming for, but an interesting effect nonetheless.
     
  15. Katharine Thayer

    Katharine Thayer Member

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    Okay, I didn't look closely enough; I could have sworn that first one was a gumover. Carry on.... you're doing fine. That's one of the nifty things about gum, especially when learning, is that sometimes you get something you hadn't planned on, but that you find you like better than what you'd planned. At least that's the way I found it to be. Enjoy,
    Katharine
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    From a chemists' viewpoint, "Prussian blue" is identical to what gives cyanotypes their colour. No surprise to me that Prussian Blue has been recommended if a cyanotype base layer for some reason isn't right!