Cyanotypes

Waves I, 2014, Cyanotype on Arches paper, 12 x 15 inches

This summer I took a course in Alternative Photographic Processes with Karen Lindsay at the National Academy and expanded my practice to include cyanotypes.  Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan blue image.  It was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842 to create "blueprints", but Anna Atkins (considered the first female photographer) was the first to use the process to create photograms by placing specimens of plant life directly on coated paper and exposing them to light.  

Today, artists still use this old process to create captivating images.  Some use objects like Atkins to create photograms, while others use film or digital negatives.  For my first cyanotype series, I decided to make my own negative with layers of translucent papers and developed the Wave series.   It took me many test prints using different papers and exposure times to get the exposure and values of the cyan blue that I wanted.   The wave or serpentine shape repeated in this series was inspired by my "pour series" paintings where I create images by pouring layers of diluted paint onto the canvas.  Instead of relying on various viscosities of paint and paint thinner to get subtle value shifts, these cyanotypes rely on layers of cut translucent papers and their position to uv-light.  

Intersecting Waves, 2014, Cyanotype on Arches paper, 14 x 10.5 inches.

I am now pushing these wave-like forms further in a new series inspired by light reflections and movement on water called Currents.  In this series I am varying the compositions more and working on larger sheets of paper.  While in the Wave series I aimed for uniformity, in the Currents series, I am more interested in slight shifts and variations.