OK, stupid noobie question. I've been new to the PT printing scene and have been seeing a lot of "gum over this and that" prints. In dummy language, what does the "gum over ..." do exactly to my platinum print? Can I gum over my platinum prints?
In one of the print exchanges, I received a gum over something print (which was gorgeous) and I believe it was tri-coloured. So I thought "Does the gum-over thing add more colours?" Then I bought a print from Michael Mutmansky that was a gum over palladium print (and it too is gorgeous) but it was only one colour. So I don't know what the gum over thing does anymore.
Someone please explain.
Thanks in advance, Art.
Gum over just means that there is one or more layers of gum on top of another printing method like pt/pd or cyanotype. So, it is a combined process of gum and something else.
Gum adds a very thin layer of color so you can still see the layer underneath very well. That characteristic will give you an advantage of, for instance, being able to maintain a longer tonality of pt/pd print if you do it on top of a pt/pd print.
Some people do more than one coat of gum while others do just one coat. You can also add one color to highlight and a different color to, say, shadow. That is totally up to the printer.
Maybe what you have a tri-color gum is done on top of cyanotype which acts like cyan layer.
Hope this clarifies a little.
I treat the gum layers like split sepia and selenium toning in silver printing. The gum layers are modifiers to the basic color of a palladium print.
Others may do the tri-color gum, where they make seperations with the computer (probably) and then print in three or four layers of gum and maybe cyanotype as the base layer. There's lots of ways to do it, actually.
The basic principal is that an image is printed in one process and then cleared wased, etc., and then the paper is coated and printed again, but this time with a layer of gum bichromate that has some pigment (normally watercolor pigment). That is then processed and washed.
A single layer will add a shift to a platinum print, and as more layers are added, more color shift and more density is built up. Most of my prints are about three layers of gum on a palladium print.
Clay Harmon has an article here at Unblinking Eye that you might find interesting. It describes an approach to Gum Over Platinum.
Enumclaw WA USA
The print I sent you in the exchange was a tri-colored gum (actually two coats of gum over cyanotype), which was printed from color seperation negatives created in Photoshop and printed on an ink jet printer.
Originally Posted by gr82bart
If you want to learn gum over platinum take one of Kerik's workshops coming up in 2007. I hear it is an excellent workshop.
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Why\in what scenerios would you use gum??
Hey thanks for all the responses. I'm going to give this a try sometime.
The gum over cyanotype process sounds intriguing. The print I have from Don is gorgeous. To paraphrase Marko's question a bit, it looks like this process is particularly good for images with broad colour patches and not fine details. Or am I wrong?
Thanks again, Art.
Have been watching this thread with great interest, since I have just started gum over palladium. To paraphrase something Kerik had written in another thread, gum over helps almost any plt/pld print look better. In one of the many PM's I have had with Matt he mentioned that the first layer is for the highlights, the next for the mid-tones, etc. which would follows what Michael M mentioned above, like split toning.
Looks like I need to schedule a weekend workshop with one of these guys just to get a better understanding of what I am doing.
I wouldn't characterize gum as a 'fine detail' process, but it can maintain good detail, especially if you have it in the print through a seperate base layer process, like pt/pd or possibly cyanotype.
Some people would say that it is impossible to maintain fine detail, but I don't see that to be the case with my architectural images, where there is often the opportunity to maintain fine detail if care is taken to properly register the negative and paper for every layer of gum put down.
As Michael Mutmansky pointed out gum layers over a platinum/palladium or cyanotype layers will have very good detail if the negative is keep in registration with the base layer for the gum layer exposures. Straight multi-layer gum prints tend to be a little softer. The cyan or plt/pld layer sort of serves as the 'cartoon' for the subsequent layers of color.
Originally Posted by gr82bart
Gum is extremely flexible and presents many ways of making prints. You can literally spend the rest of your life exploring methods of gum printing.
Also I think it's fair to point out that it isn't an inexpensive process. Good quality watercolor pigments can be somewhat expensive when compared to the cost of student grade pigments which one should probably avoid.
Stuart Melvin wrote a very nice article for View Camera magazine about 5 or 6 years ago discussing gum over palladium. It serves as a pretty good primer for gum overs. If you can find it it's worth reading.
Here are some web links for gum which you may be interested in visiting:
If you decide to pursue gum printing be prepared for a labor of love. Gum overs take much more time and preparation when compared to other alternative processes.