Tradicional cyanotype illustrations have been my fourth experimentation for the FMP project. After I have done research on other alternative photography techniques other than photograms, I have learned that there are few different types of cyanotypes which I have talked about a lot more in a narrow way in my previous blog posts. The cyanotypes I have been interested in were: traditional cyanotypes, cyanotype rex and cyanotype bichromate. I have decided to stick with the tradicional cyanotype for the very start, as this technique is completely new to me and it involves a specific technique which requires time in learning and getting skills in. One of my biggest inspirations was the artist who released the first illustrative cyanotype book – Anna Atkins ( art work shown below).
What I like the most in these illustrations is the contrast between white and blue colours. Anna Atkins has used real plants and herbs and exposing them on a layer of chemical infused paper in order to create these cyanotypes. What is more, in some of the pictures we can see the gradient of blue colour which explains that some plants have been more transparent then others – his creates another effect of a fogginess. I like the idea of using real objects in creating illustrations that reflect to them however create their own world and their own reality.
For the traditional cyanotype technique I have set myself some time in creating the workshop as soon as there was a warm and sunny day so I could experiment a lot more. The process itself did not seem as hard as I thought before, however, I did not follow the main instructions correctly which only shows that the information provided online or in books can sometimes not be enough in gaining skill of working in this technique. My first mistakes would be not allowing the paper to dry fully when infused with the sensitizer. This ended up in leaving yellowish orange marks on the paper which not allowed the image to transfer as well as ruining the tracing paper prints that were put on top of them as when sun was drying the chemicals the wetness transferred to them and made them wavy. The second mistake was the use of paper – I have read that everyone was suggesting in using watercolour paper- however I did not have any at the moment so I was experimenting with sketchbook paper – that ended up wavy and ripping in the end- and card paper 480 msg – which ended up separating in layers, creating bubbles underneath the paper surface and ripping as well in big chunks. I have ended up with only few examples at the end of the day that reflected to my experimentation workshop I have set for myself. Would I continue working in this technique? Yes, I have found the making of it quite easy and the marks of orange spots in some parts looked amazing – blue and orange colours look great next to each other. I would need to get more skills and buy appropriate materials for next time I will be doing this technique. Here are the pieces I came up in the end with for this technique: