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Print Makers

28th of September 2014 to the 2nd of November 2014

All dimensions are stated by the standard X,Y,Z = Width, Height, Depth - This Exhibition opens at 2:00pm 28/09/2014

Print Makers exhibition, curated by Jenny Bastians, is a very interesting variety of techniques and subject matter and are exhibited in the works by six highly accomplished South Australian artists and printmakers. Elizabeth Abbott, Bev Bills, Rob Johnston, Lizzie Renner, Simone Tippett, and Tony Wynne. The exhibition will be opened by Georgia Willoughby.  

The history and processes of printmaking are fascinating. Tracing back to prehistoric times engravings have been found on bones, cave walls and stones. Clay seals were used for art and trade in ancient Mesopotamia. The first images and texts printed on to paper were produced in China and later in Japan. In Europe block prints were used to make prints on textiles, until the development of movable type and production of paper became widely used. There are many techniques and processes in printing which have developed over the centuries to the present.

“Mythical imagery” by Bev Bills
Collograph print on handmade paper 50cm x 40cm framed

Mythical imagery - Bev Bills sm2

“In the landscape” by Bev Bills
Collograph print on handmade paper 50cm x 40cm framed

In the Landscape - Bev Bills sm2

“...Connaught” by Rob Johnston
lithograph 30cm x 11cm unframed $110 or framed $200

The Rock sm3

“Japan Series - Embrace 01” by Elizabeth Abbott
Photopolymer Etching and Chine Colle 21cm x 15cm

Japan Series - Embrace 01

“Japan Series - Love 01” by Elizabeth Abbott
Monotype  23cm x 21cm

Japan Series - Love 01

“Blue” by Lizzie Renner

DSC_00491-Blue-Lizzie Renner sm

“Reality Tv” by Lizzie Renner

DSC_00511 Reality Tv - Lizzie Renner

“Fascination 1” by Lizzie Renner

DSC_00531 Fascination 1- Lizzie Renner

“Into the sea of fabric” by Bev Bills
Collograph print on handmade paper 50cm x 40cm framed

Into the sea - Bev Bills sm2

“Conversation on Croagh Patrick” by Rob Johnston
photopolymer intaglio 10.5cm x 14cm framed $120

Croagh Patrick sm2

“Japan Series - Embrace 02” by Elizabeth Abbott
Photopolymer Etching and Chine Colle 10cm x 14cm

Japan Series - Embrace 02

“Red” by Lizzie Renner

DSC_00501 Letting Go

Simone Tippett

Simmone Tippet

“Fascination 2” by Lizzie Renner

DSC_00521 Fascination 2 - Lizzie Renner

“Photographs of exhibition by Jenny Bastions

DSC02176 DSC02177
DSC02178 DSC02180
DSC02185 DSC02189

The Photopolymer Process by Tony Wynne

(Also known as solar plate printmaking)

This printmaking method was developed for industrial use in about 1960. It was adopted by artists in the 1980’s, and has become popular in recent years due to greater awareness of environmental and safety aspects. Some art schools now only teach the photopolymer process because of the difficulty of complying with health and safety standards for traditional etching.

For contemporary artists working with computers and digital images the process enables digital images to be converted to plates which can be printed with traditional inks on an etching press. These prints are usually indistinguishable from metal plate etchings, and their visual and tactile qualities are often preferred to inkjet or laser prints.

Photopolymer is a synthetic material that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light. For printmaking purposes there are essentially two types. The first is a thin film (eg Imagon) which is attached to a metal plate under pressure while wet. This type is relatively inexpensive and has the advantage that it can also be used as a resist for conventional etching – lines that have cut/washed through to the metal plate can be etched deeper using a mordant. The second type (eg Torelief and Miraclon) comprise a thicker layer of photopolymer material backed by a thin metal support.

For both types, a drawing (or other image) on a transparent support is placed over the photopolymer plate (firmly sandwiched with a backing plate and glass to ensure good contact – or in a vacuum frame). This is then exposed to a UV light source. Depending on the type of photopolymer, the plate is then washed and scrubbed lightly in water or in a dilute solution of washing soda (a reasonably safe household chemical). The areas that were protected from the light (ie the black lines or texture dots) wash out to form grooves or small depressions. The plate is exposed to UV again to fully harden it, and is then ready to be inked and printed. Ideally a point UV light source should be used as this will give the best results for fine lines and gradations. But these exposure units are costly, so units made with UV fluorescent tubes are commonly used. The sun is unreliable and the UV content varies, but it is otherwise an ideal source

As in conventional intaglio printmaking using metal plates, areas of tone need to be able to hold ink and so require a granular texture as in an aquatint. This can be done in two ways – either by first exposing the plate to a fine screen of random dots or, if the image is in a computer, by granulating the image digitally. Drawings done on a rough translucent support such as grained glass or matte drafting film usually require only a single exposure.

More recently, technology has provided another way to create an ‘etching’ plate from a digital image – by 3D digital printing. While better known for its use in ‘printing’ machine parts and illegal firearms, it is already being used by some printmakers in place of photopolymer.

Tony Wynne Prints

Boundary Track (Messent Conservation Park, SE)

A computer image was created partly from a pencil drawing from the subject and partly from a photograph, with further drawing into the image using Adobe Photoshop. The image was ‘granulated’ by bit-mapping and then printed as an inkjet positive transparency. This was used to create a photopolymer plate using Imagon film attached to a steel plate, with a single exposure to the sun. (Refer to the separate note on the photopolymer process.) This was then inked and printed on an etching press in the normal way.

River 2

This work was inspired by an aerial view of the River Murray while flying home after a holiday in Sydney. I used Google Maps to follow the Murray and Murrumbidgie Rivers and to find the place that I had seen. This provided the basis for a sumi ink drawing on a smooth ceramic plate. Sumi ink is the traditional Chinese semi-water-soluble ink made using an ink stick. The image was handprinted onto damp rice paper using a roller, and watercolour was added after printing.


While I prefer to draw direct from the subject and not to use photographs, a photograph was used for this work. The drawing was done using a tablet and computer with Corel Painter software, and Painter’s ‘real pencil’ tool.  The print on this exhibition is an inkjet print on transparent resin coated film – the first stage of the photopolymer process. Trial photopolymer prints did not reproduce the required delicacy of line so I stayed with inkjet. Hot pressed watercolour paper was used for the other prints in this edition.

Ilka Creek (Flinders Ranges West)

This drypoint was scratched into an aluminium plate direct from the subject using tungsten and diamond points and also a battery powered ‘Dremel’ high speed rotary tool. When fitted with a simple sharpened point, in place of an engraving burr, this enables a stronger and more fluent drypoint line than an ordinary scratching tool. Being a softer metal, aluminium will give fewer good prints than copper (only 5-6 if one prints carefully), but it holds and prints a drypoint line well

Another print from this edition was a finalist in the 2012 Heysen Prize for interpretation of place.

Near the Coast

The copper plate was needled direct from the subject at West Beach, Adelaide. It was drawn without reversal and the printed image is consequently in mirror image to the original scene. The rosin aquatint was applied after making a trial print. The plate was etched in a mixture of ferric chloride and citric acid.

Ardrossan Silos

This print is based on a pencil drawing from the subject. The image was ‘flipped’ horizonally and resized in the computer to fit the steel plate, which had been prepared with soft ground. In the ‘soft ground’ process, hard ground (a mixture of beeswax, bitumen and rosin) is mixed with Vaseline or grease so that it remains reasonably soft. A sheet of textured paper, which may already contain an image to be traced, is placed on the plate (very lightly) and drawn on so as to ‘lift’ the ground by transferring it from the plate to the back of the paper. When the plate is etched and printed this gives a grainy line similar to pencil or, if printed more heavily, more like a lithograph.

Steel is a good metal for soft ground because it etches to a natural grainy texture that prints black. So less care needs to be taken to avoid lines being too close together, when they might coalesce and print as a dull grey. eg. if copper or zinc were used. The plate was etched in nitric acid.

River Stour, Flatford

This work originates from a digital photograph taken on a visit to Flatford UK (Constable country). The image was cropped, converted to black and white and ‘photoshopped’ to remove unwanted background trees. It was then slightly modified by drawing into with a pen and tablet. But it remains essentially a photograph, which is why it is described as ‘photopolymer gravure’. The image was granulated by converting to bit-map and then printed on transparent film for the photopolymer process. The plate, again Imagon film on a steel plate, had a single exposure to the sun. 

 Native Pines, Warraweena

This was done at home after returning from a walking holiday at Warraweena in the northern Flinders Ranges. It is loosely based on drawings and a photograph of a hillside on the Warraweena property. The hard ground etching and aquatint (rosin method) was done on a steel plate which was etched in nitric acid.

Native Pines, Moralana

The small copper plate was needled direct from the subject (a landscape along the Moralana scenic drive in the Flinders Ranges). A rosin aquatint was applied after making a trial print of the line drawing. The plate was etched in a mixture of ferric chloride and citric acid.

Warraweena Landscape

This small print is based on a pencil drawing done from the subject. It was re-drawn using a tablet and computer, deliberately without line and with only a limited number of granulated tones. This was done by cloning from a separate black granular image file, using different ‘opacity’ settings for the different tones. It is equivalent to a pure aquatint print. In this instance a Torelief photopolymer plate was used, and exposed in a homemade UV fluorescent tube unit.

Elizabeth Abbott - PRINTMAKERS Exhibition

My main interest in the production of work for this exhibition has been influenced by my studies in Japanese Art, especially wood block prints.

Artists were producing Shunga illustrations during the Edo period in the Ukiyo tradition 1603–1868. I have been fascinated by the simple line drawing and the decorative attire of the lovers illustrated in these beautiful works of art.

Shunga prints (illustrations for lovers) were produced by artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Isoda Koryusai Kitagawa Utamaro and Keisei Eisen. These artists and their prints have been the main influence for this body of work.

Shunga means images of spring. Fun and humour were topics developed within the work by artists. The content of the images was highly complimented by the stylish fashion of the lovers.

Lizzie Renner

“It is through Art, and only art, that we shield ourselves from the sordid perils of existence”. Oscar Wilde

As a practising artist, I believe my art is a lifestyle, a paradigm for my existence. I do not necessarily have to “produce” art to be creative, or to “be” an artist. My life, in its “sordid perils”, and its joys, is the gestation of my creativity; I know it will eventuate in fertile productivity sooner or later.

Meanwhile I live in the Barossa Valley with my husband, 1 dog, 3 cats, numerous poultry, several jobs and the mortgage.
This latest series explores my fascination with opposites, and the spaces that exist in between.

Simone Tippett

I am fascinated by water. I find rich parallels in the way water moves and the way people come together, mix and grow. To me water is a universal amniotic that soothes, nourishes and inspires. These prints are the latest in my love affair with the morphing light ripples of the Burnside Pool.


These monotypes were made by hand stencilling individual patches of ink onto a blank plate and printing onto damp paper in a press. Each print has 4-5 layers, with each new layer made in response to the layers preceding it. Even with careful planning the process is unpredictable, so pulling print from the press has lovely elements of anticipation and surprise. Each print is unique, like a painting.

Rob Johnstone

Rob Johnston worked in industry and operated his own business before completing a Fine Art degree(Printmaking major)at the South Australian School of Art in 1985. He operated a printmaking studio in the Riverland over a number of years, pursuing his own practice as well as producing fine art prints for a number of professional artist and other clients.

In mid 1993 he joined Country Arts SA as Arts Officer for the Riverland and following other responsibilities retired from the organisation after 10 years as Visual Arts Manager in 2011.

Rob currently attends Adelaide College of the Arts part time (Printmaking)

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