Success with Oil Pigment process

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by edbuffaloe, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    This weekend I succeeded in making an oil pigment print, following Ernie Theisen's instructions at http://alt-photo.com/alt-photo/bromoil/ART...ints%20ern.html (A Method for Making Oil Pigment Prints). I had previously tried making bromoil prints, with very limited success. Despite making a test strip at 1X, 2X, and 3X normal exposures, and choosing the best one, I could not get any depth of black in the final print. But with the pigment process, wherein one does not bleach a print, but makes a matrix by coating fixed-out photographic paper with dichromate and exposing through a negative, it was relatively easy.

    Oil pigment printing requires a large negative, whereas one of the benefits of the bromoil process is that you can use an enlarger to make the print from which you obtain the matrix. I made my first oil pigment print from an original 8x10 negative, and it appears that a normal contrast negative (suitable for silver printing) works just fine. I'm anxious to test some of my enlarged negatives made for salt and VDB (though I fear they will be too contrasty).

    One thing I noticed is that my inks had hardened considerably since I last tried bromoil, which made it easy to get the right consistency. Perhaps they will work better for bromoil now.
     
  2. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Well, despite the possible road-blocks involved in the Bromoil process, I've just finished reading David Lewis's book on the subject, and am looking forward to by first experience with an "alternative" process.

    I would be interested to hear from yopu Ed, as to which papers, inks and brushes you used while dabbling in the Bromoil world. As well as any other tidbits of information concerning the depth of your origional prints, wether or not you used an hca bath after your bleaching etc.

    Thanks!
     
  3. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    I don't recall using an HCA bath after bleaching. Is that recommended? I just washed the print thoroughly after the bleach. My attempt was with Agfa Multicontrast Classic, using Gene Laughter's instructions in Bromoil 101. I watched Gene and Ernie Theisen both make bromoils at APIS in 2001, and it looked SO easy. I got an image, but it was very low-contrast and dim.

    For the oil pigment process I fixed out some old Brovira Grade 6 and some Insignia Grade 3 (now Record Rapid). The Brovira has a much whiter paper base, but they both made very nice prints. I rod coated with a saturated solution (25%) of ammonium dichromate mixed 1+1 with distilled water, using about 2.5 ml of solution for each print. I exposed each one to UV light for 7 minutes. Ernie Theisen had recommended exposure times from 7 to 12 minutes, and the negative I chose was not particularly dense, so I used the least time recommended. Maybe I just got lucky, but I couldn't believe it when I rolled the first coat of ink on and the image appeared immediately.

    So far I haven't had much success with brushes. For the oil pigment prints I used a brayer. You can use wadded up Saran wrap and/or a clean brayer to clear the high values. I have also used a brush to remove density in high values by "hopping".
     
  4. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Ed, I hope I wasn't too confusing with my previous post. As I wrote HCA, I was attempting to use the abbreviation for hydrochloric acid. David Lewis reccomends a bath with a 2% solution to fully remove the shadow areas of the print (if I understood him correctly that is) it must then be again washed, dried, then "super dried".

    It is an interesting technique which appears to bring the photograhic image more into the realm of etching. I'm definatly looking forward to the extra creative control and freedom that might very well be found in this process.

    BTW Ed, did you happen to run across any particular information regarding the bromoil process that you would reccomend? I've of course run across the more popular Bromoil internet sites, and, as I've said, have the book by David Lewis, and did study the website of the Late Norman Gryspeerdt. But maybe you've stumbled across a source or book that you could reccomend?
     
  5. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    I read every source I could get my hands on, but many were on the net. My primary sources were Richard Farber's book Historic Photographic Processes and Gene Laughter's Bromoil 101. I obviously need to buy David Lewis' book.
     
  6. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Ed, did you use the same inks in both processes? According to David Lewis, there is a "hard ink" and a "soft ink" process for inking up the matrix. I must admit that I am too much of a beginner to give advice, or even pass on the process information correctly, but it appears that the suscess of Bromoil is dependent on several things, one of them being the proper ink. Also, the pre-soaking stage of the matrix prior to the inking up phase is, as I understand it critical as to achieving the proper tonality.

    It all remains theory until I can get my hands on the proper tools. But I am enjoying the research phase as well!
     
  7. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    Sounds like an interesting process, I'll have to try it one of these days.

    As for inks, I found this bromoil article that tells you how to make your own (scroll down to "Preparing the Ink"):
    http://www.psa-photo.org/bromoil.htm

    I don't know how this compares to inks you can buy, but this might be a way for better color control, based on the pigments you want to use.
     
  8. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Interesting link LFGuy, thanks! Now if I could only find a PSAmember from 1964 with a complete library of printed materials.

    Here is the link from David Lewis.

    http://www.bromoil.com/


    I bought my book from him directly and we have exchanged a few emails. He seems genuinly interested in helping people get started in the Bromoil process. He also offers the required supplies through his website.
     
  9. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    Yes, I used the same ink with both processes. I bought the ink from Bostick & Sullivan, because it is what Gene Laughter recommended. The fact is, you can harden or soften your ink as necessary by use of various additives. But fresh out of a can most ink is too soft--it hardens as it ages.
     
  10. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (edbuffaloe @ Dec 18 2002, 07:59 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>The fact is, you can harden or soften your ink as necessary by use of various additives.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    What kind of additives? Oil of differing viscosities?
     
  11. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    I've heard of using a drop of Linseed oil to soften up a tile of ink in order to do some feathering...and I'm sure there are special mediums available (besides that which is available from David lewis) which will do the job as well.
     
  12. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    As William said, linseed oil is recommended for softening. For hardening, you can add ground up pastel crayons or a drop of melted beeswax. Such information is available in the literature, such as the PSA site mentioned above.
     
  13. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    I showed my oil pigment prints at the last meeting of the Austin Alternative Process Group, and several people in the group asked me to teach them what I know about the process. So, I have written up what I have learned in a brief article at http://unblinkingeye.com/AAPG/OP/op.html, which also contains jpegs of the two successful images I've made. Next month I will host a demonstration of the technique and try to help people get started with it.
     
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  15. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    Thank you, Ed, for your informative article. I finally had the chance to try this over the weekend, and had a lot of fun in the process. I pretty much followed your instructions, except for a different dilution of sensitizer and I brush coated, and was able to come up with an ok print (I need more practice!).

    I used Fortezo DW FB grade 3, and simply brushed on a 5% ammonium dichromate solution after fixing and drying the paper. I can't really comment on exposure times, as it was partly overcast part of the time and I was able to get direct sunlight the rest of the time, I just judged when it looked like it received enough exposure. I'm using ink from the Graphic Chemical and Ink Company.

    Sensitizing the paper was a bit different from what I expected, though (as compared to other alt processes I've tried). Using a brush to spread the dichromate, if felt like the gelatin surface of the paper was getting sticky, and I did have some problem with some of the dichromate beading up (like water drops on a car that has just been waxed). It's hard to say whether this beading up affected anything or not (it seemed to all wash out after exposure) because I still need practice in inking the print. Next time, I think I'll try a little less dichromate solution to coat the paper, in hopes that it doesn't bead up.

    I was just wondering if you had this same problem of little droplets of sensitizer on your paper, and if you did anything about it. It could be that I just need to learn how to coat it a little better!
     
  16. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    I add a drop of 5% Tween-20 to 10 ml of sensitizer to improve the spreading properties. As I recall, I'm using about 1.5 ml to coat an 8x10 sheet of paper using a rod. I use a hake brush for 11x14--wet it with some distilled water first and shake it out. The Tween-20 will prevent the sensitizer from beading up.
     
  17. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    A gave a successful demo of the oil pigment process a couple of weeks ago, and I have recently had some success with bromoil. I will probably write up a brief article on bromoil in the next couple of months. I need time to organize my thoughts on how to do all the necessary tests and calibrations. There are so many variables that it is inevitable no two people will ever use exactly the same procedure.
     
  18. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    I am about to try some bromoil prints and have about got all the necessary tools, materials, etc.
    Have been doing lots of research and am now down to the inks. As with everything else there seems to be different views on who's . Am considering Bostick and Sullivan or David Lewis's ink. My biggest concern is managing the consistency . Any suggetions?

    David Lewis has several types of oil for thining (?) and beeswax for hardening. Should both types of oil be purchased along with the beeswax?
    I realize this is one of those personal perferences, but am just trying to get some current views.

    Reviewed Ed's article and discovered that I had collected a few bushes that ended up being useful. I was just looking for something along the lines of stencil brushes so it was a shot in the dark. The paper was very helpful, especially when i got to the supply list . Thanks.
     
  19. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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  20. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    thanks, I have been there several times,
    Have ordered Laughter's video as i thought this would give me a pictorial of techniques. I also sent him an email regarding workshops, but alas and alack no response.

    At least to the written verbage the processes seems pretty straight forward, it would appear that the trick is with inking and the placement of the ink on the print. Am sure that is just going to be lots of practice.

    But since i have no experience with any painting techniques that is going to be the challenge.
     
  21. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I watched a demonstration last week. The ink used was very thick, almost solid, and applied very sparingly indeed. That said the image did come up suprisingly quickly. One of our group's members, David Newton, uses a decorators paint roller to ink his prints! Works for him, three of his prints are on our site: www.emmg.graphy.org.uk in his gallery, but look so much better in the hand of course.
     
  22. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    thanks, i would have missed this without your help.

    I picked up a couple of soft form rollers in our local hardward store, it is goinng to be interesting to see what happens.

    the information about the consistency of the ink is helpful.
     
  23. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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  24. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    thanks Dave;
    Definitely will bookmark that location .

    I am up todate with the information provided. My questions involves the ink itself. Much of the research indicates the need to thicken with beeswax, or to thin with oil. When how how is the delicate question.

    THis seems to be a much more popular technique across the "pond".

    George Laughter has some interesting stuff and does some workshops in the USA, but so far I have not heard from him regarding his teaching schedule. Also David Lewis is doing a workshop this fall at the Formulary, but other than that we are just experimenting with the research that can be found on the internet.
     
  25. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    As I said the other day the ink I’ve seen used is very thick, almost solid. It took quite a lot of effort to prise the little piece required out of the tin and on to the inking tile. Several minutes were then required to spread the ink on the tile. When I tried Bromoil work a few years ago I was given ordinary printers ink that was far to soft, and it proved impossible to work with it. As Dave says in his article the type of fixer used is of importance. I think if you contact some of the people listed on the Bromoil web site who live in your part of the world, then they may give you a trustworthy supplier who can sell you the correct product. Good luck, may we look forward to seeing some of your work displayed here?
     
  26. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    The fixer needs to be a 10% solution of pure hypo; especially for the second bath )after the bleaching process.

    Mixed the bleach this morning and will begin making some prints.

    Will probably gather a group before inking. Can go ahead and make the matrix's and then begin the most important section. laying down the ink.

    As I am a computer dumby, I don't have a clue how to post any prints, let alone the bromoils. Perhaps by the time i have some ready i can get some help from some of my students. I did get a scanner for myself (a christmas present), but i haven't used it but once. So that will be a new adventure.

    Appreciate all the help. Reading articles is one thing, talking withsome who has seen or attempted a process always works better for me.