• Grant Handgis

"Sedona Mesas" ~ Destroyed

Having posted numerous gum dichromate and gum over palladium print articles it seems to me to be fair to post one that I basically destroyed after it was finished, trying to "smooth out an area". I deserved it. There are principles in place for such an endeavor, and such a maneuver is only to be attempted when the print is not savable by any other means, and then said principles are to be followed, so one doesn't do what I did today, using cool tap water over a nearly dried area of gum, using a soft brush to smooth out what was stippling of gum build up, which was in my mind unacceptable as a presentable exhibition quality print.

The painful part is beyond words having lost two weeks of work, although, all things considered I wasn't enthralled with how this print turned out. Perhaps, this was a Freudian thingy, subconsciously taking care of things. What I can say about it is that I will be reprinting this image, and go beyond what I was doing to improve upon the outcome. As I have noted, often, I am all but color blind to red/green so when I can see them plainly, they are quite obvious to all others. The color layers in this print were laid on very shear, and that led to too much buildup of gum. I have been trying not to overdo the color layers.

It is this very ability for interpretation of the image as one moves through the layers that makes the gum process the most personal and expressive of all the printing processes. The possibilities are truly endless, and there is no standard for printing. Gum printing is making photographic watercolors. Everything the printer does shapes the "gesture" of the print image. When a printer loses a gum or gum over print, that usually means losing at week or more of time. This one cost me two weeks. That I was after was the red clay rocks of the Sedona Mesas, as well as the blue/green evergreen flora of that altitude. I like most of what I did with it, yet I can see where the colors could be smoothed out in the mesas, and the sky deepened for late afternoon sun. I can only print theoretically, using the colors, I don't usually see the colors as they will be, usually, until it is too late to do much about it. So this is a theoretically colored image. I will do better next time. It's a worthy image. The original palladium image also needs to be lightened up by a minute during printing, as gum continues to darken a print with each new layer.

Gum Over Palladium Print

"Sedona Mesas" ~ 8x10 (Destroyed)

Sedona, Arizona


g. Michael Handgis Photography


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