Beyond Direct-to-Plate: Multiplate Color Photopolymer

Workshop with Neal Smith and Don Messec

Beyond Direct-to-Plate: Multiplate Color Photopolymer

July 15-19, 2019

Welcome support of Hahnemühle USA

Limited to 8 – intimate enrollment but running all the same

From the very launch of Direct-to-Plate (DTP) people have asked to learn the process for color work. Neal Smith has been getting excellent results with multi-plate photopolymer intaglio as well as a mixed media component of his monotypes. In this workshop, for the first time, we are combining his creative approach to printmaking with DTP (Direct-to-Plate). Neal is the artist with the large plate (30×40″) plate in these early DTP videos. DTP produces gravure quality plates ready to print without the need of a vacuum frame, transparency, screen or carbon tissue, not even baths of chemicals except water. With the introduction of new Solarplates, there is now no need to go through the process of making your own sensitized plate.

Once learned, DTP becomes an artist-friendly process in that it is, as implied, more direct, simpler, and unimaginably quicker than classic gravure with none of the mess and chemistry. Results are far more controllable and reliable than transparency based photo processing. All that adds up to a process that is creatively dialectic by getting to the print much sooner. Getting to the print sooner gets you from the plate process to the art process quick enough to enjoy it.

Using any one of many Epson inkjet printers you will be able to print your image directly to the emulsion before exposure. Plus it is now possible to expose in the sun, or under fluorescent lights as well as point light sources to great effect. There is something uniquely soulful about gravure prints. It is still a form of alchemy pressing ink into paper. And because the plate has an emulsion of photopolymers you can go beyond transferring only photographic digital files to a plate. You can let DTP open a whole world of mark making and composition that will take your work new places, places that classic gravure could not.

As this is a new offering, anywhere, there are no examples of work beyond Neal’s which can be viewed here. There are examples of DTP prints in DTP gallery.

For a short history and explanation of photopolymer gravure plus additional examples please visit here.

2 spots remain open

What’s Included

Plates sizes for the workshop are 4×5” through 8×10″. Squares up to 8×8″ can be cut from longer plates here at MakingArtSafely. Your fees include enough Solarplates to learn the process with 4×5″ or 6×8″. The studio includes printing presses, digital printers, printing inks and etching paper, a few computers for class use along with all the other common tools materials for making photopolymer plates and prints.

What to Bring

  • Source materials such as digitized drawings and digital photographs in any of the following formats – PSD, jpg, TIFF, RAW. It is important that you bring original unaltered files at in addition to the processed or manipulated versions. It can be than useful to go back to an unmodified file to re-interpret the image once you have a print in hand.
  • Digital camera if you have one. Of course you will take pictures and video! Yes, you can bring film, too. There is still a good lab in Santa Fe for developing and scanning. But don’t depend on miracle turn arounds.
  • Jump drive (thumb drive or other portable read/write media)
  • Laptop if you have one. Especially if it has Photoshop and/or Lightroom. If you do not have any of this software please download a trial version for the workshop. This is more important in Canada and EU as the host studios rarely have digital equipment for you to use. We have some, but not enough to cover everyone’s needs.
  • Large enough luggage and/or box to pack prints, with stiff protector (cardboard or matt board). Paper will be torn down to approximately 11×15”
  • Note that your General Studio Fee is partially a materials fee but also supports an extensive array of relevant communal shop needs, costs and consumables.

That’s it! Any questions about supplies, please feel free to contact us.

Workshop Itinerary

  • Monday morning begins with students arriving at the studio between 9:30-10 AM.
  • Daily instruction is 10 AM to 4 PM with the studio open to students between 9:30 AM and 7 PM. Exception is Friday when the workshop ends at 4 PM.
  • Bring a lunch everyday except Tuesday when we go out Dutch for a late lunch
  • Thursday night we host a dinner in our courtyard. Companion welcome.
  • If opportunity and conditions collide we may get to add a photo excursion.