Gum over Platinum good pigment mix for fleshtones?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by sdivot, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Hi,
    Perhaps Kerik or Clay (my fellow Houstonian) can help me.
    I'm in my infancy of gumover work, and I know the pigment mixes are closely guarded secrets. But.....I was wondering if anyone can give a suggestion as to a pigment(s) for getting good fleshtones.
    I am printing a photo of my new bride in her wedding dress, and I would like to keep the dress white while getting some fleshtones in her skin. The exposure times are going to require testing, of course.
    Any suggestions that will avoid days of experimenting would be appreciated. A starting point perhaps? I'm using Winsor Newton tubes.
    Thanks,
    Steve
    ps: Come to think of it, maybe WN has a tube of "fleshtone". Nah, too easy.
     
  2. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Colorwise, I think I would favor just trying a basic mix of some burnt umber at first, and then see where you are with a test strip. The nice thing about gum is that as long as your paper is sized well, you can back off on the amount of dichromate in the mix and increase the contrast of the gum layer. What this will allow you to do is to pretty precisely determine where the gum drops off completely so you don't sully the white of the dress. This will, of course, require some test strips. Because you are trying for subtlety, I expect, you probably don't want a super heavy pigment load in the first place. I am just completely pulling this out of thin air, but what I would try first is something like 10ml gum, .5g burnt umber, and 5ml of saturated am-dichromate. Do a test strip going from about 50% of your pd exposure time up to 100% in 10% increments, and make sure the various exposures on the strip covers both the flesh tones and the dress. Check it out, and see where you are. As they always say in the cookbooks: then season to taste.
     
  3. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Thanks for the advice Clay.
    I painted a very thin coat of burnt umber onto a piece of paper, and it sure seems dark for skin tone. Mixing in a little raw sienna lightens it up some, but I know the proof will be in the printing. I'll let you know how it goes.
    I hope to get another invitation to the alt process get together. Last year was great!
    Steve
     
  4. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    You can try a paint thas has the pigment "Quinacridone PR206" for flesh tones. I use Schmincke Madder Brown (670). It's a nice transparent pigment which is good for portraits and nudes... (It's a lightfast pigment -> don't be fooled by the "Madder" designation which often hints fugitive pigments.)

    Regards,
    Loris.
     
  5. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I seem to remember a little burnt sienna mixed with white produced a good Caucasian flesh tone from my watercolour days but I'm not sure how that translates to gum.
     
  6. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Here is preliminary scan of my results. The scan is not so great. The print, although not yet perfect, looks better in person.
    I used raw sienna and burnt umber in a 2:1 ratio. I tested different exposure times, trying to get some color into the skin while keeping the dress white. I had some success, but the dress ended up looking a bit sepia toned. I didn't hate that, but was still not satisfied. In my impatience I painted the gum mixture just into the areas in which I wanted color.
    It looks kinda cool, but I think what I need to do now is make several coats of gum, using a short exposure time (15-20% of the Pd time) for each until I get a nice build up of color without sullying the dress.
    Thanks for the advice!
    Steve
     

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  7. CarlRadford

    CarlRadford Member

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    Image looks good as it stands - nice work - look forward to seeing the final version.
     
  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    why not brush the sepia off of the dress during development?
     
  9. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Thanks for the compliment Carl. I appreciate it.

    Jeremy, I've not tried to brush the pigment off during development, but I doubt it would come completely off. I'm sure most of it would, but all of it? I'd probably still have that slight sepia-ish tint.

    Has anyone done any painting in of gum in select areas, maybe doing several colors at once. Similar to painting a silver print?

    What I need to do (and am in the process of doing), is be more patient and do several coats of gum using a short exposure, and build up the layers.

    Thanks for the replies,
    Steve
     
  10. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Steve,

    Brushing off the dress will remove the color from the midtones and highlights of the dress, and likely leave some color in the lower midtones and shadows. To me, this is a nicer approach than having no color on the dress. If the dress is completely without color the image starts taking on a kind of a hand-colored look which I'm not fond of. But, that's just me...
     
  11. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Thanks Kerik. I think you're right, the dress looks better with some tone in it.
    Painting the gum in specific spots is probably good for some images, but not this one. It requires a more subtle delicate touch.
    I may try the brush development idea. I'll also do a single exposure to get the right amount of pigment in the dress, then add a couple more very short exposures to add extra to the skin tones.
    Thanks for the help,
    Steve