, , , , , ,

Le carnet bleu (7.5 x 9 inches), a stone lithograph, with two passages.
During the course of a stone lithography workshop with Carlos Calado at Atelier Circulaire, I revisited my mylar drawing entitled Le carnet in stone lithography with the aim of applying the techniques of photocopy transfer to the stone, pinhole needle registration and the soap procedure for a second color passage.
As a starting point, to add newspaper elements as a background to the figures, I transferred the photocopy of a portion of the ads section of a newspaper to the prepared stone, using Circa 1850 Soft Strip, a gel varnish remover which can be safely used indoors.
Stone lithography is based on the repulsion of grease and water and, in this instance, I sketched the image free hand directly on the stone starting with a hard no. 5 lithographic crayon, progressively adding values with softer no. 3, no. 2 and very soft no. 1 crayons. Lithographic crayons are composed of a mixture of wax, grease and ink and the softer the lithographic crayon, the darker will be the image as more and more grease is deposited on the stone. I was interested in keeping visible in the printed proofs the marks of the crayon, as in a charcoal or pencil drawing.

I wanted the second color passage to consist only of a transparent blue color in the area of the « carnet bleu ». The main advantage of using the soap procedure for the second color passage is that it allowed me to continue to work on the very same stone, which I prepared and reworked in the designated area with a mixture of marseille soap and water.

Pinhole registration allows for perfect registration but, in order to use that technique, before the first printing two very tiny registration holes are drilled into the stone in the area of the image. If you look closely, you will notice on the above print the telltale signs of the tiny pinholes on the top left portion and bottom right portion of the image. The process of aligning an already printed proof with the inked stone using the registration pins is however a bit tricky to master.
Stone lithography is a fascinating, complex and rather time consuming adventure. If you are curious about what it involves, Ken Pattern offers first hand detailed information on his Stone Lithography site. How Stuff Works, How Stone Lithography Works also offers some basic information on the process.