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Sunday, July 31, 2016

And then the sun came out

The sun came out in SF and guess what happened?
Sun prints!
Some people call them sun prints but they are really called cyanotypes. You need sun and that isn't always easy to come by in San Francisco in the summer.  I know, the tourists don't believe that either and thats why they all have to buy sweatshirts that say they love San Francisco -- because they are freezing. But I digress....

You can make cyanotypes with all sorts of things, flowers and leaves have been popular for  many, many years -- google Anna Atkins if you don't believe me.
But a lot of artists, like Linda Clark Johnson are trying out new ideas and making the old process new. Check out Linda's work on her web site and FB page and Instagram and you'll see what I mean.
Linda came down from Sacramento to give us -- Monica, Leslie, Dorothy & me -- a workshop.
When you get a group of artists together, you get art.
If you live near Sacramento, you can take a class from Linda -- highly recommended.

See that fern?

Here it is on a piece of cyanotype paper with the sun doing it's thing.
The process is a pretty simple one, coat watercolor paper with cyanotype chemicals and press between two pieces of glass or plexi, expose 10-15-20 minutes till the paper turns kinda brown, wash in water and dip in a peroxide bath and hang to dry......
That's the simple version. You can look it up if you're interested in learning more.

This is how the paper looks after exposure to the sun.

And this is how it looks after the wash.

We all tried different ideas out to get an idea of what worked and what didn't...

There was a lunch break (of course!)

A bit of hanging out in my studio and then back to work/play......

We look like we were having fun, don't we?

The next day, we trooped over to Leslie's studio and we tried out toning the cyanotypes.

We cut our least favorite prints into ATC size and we tried out a variety of different toners.

Green tea, black tea, red wine, onion skin, beets and Borax.

Look at some of the results! Pretty interesting...
So, here I am, back in the studio with my prints. What should I do with them?

I cut this print up into Rolodex cards for my Rolodex art project. Kind of nice. You can cut the prints up for ATC's or rolodex cards or collage or if you really like one, you can frame it.
I'm thinking of some pages for my altered book.
So, there you have it. Two days of cyanotypes and yesterday was the Vintage Paper Fair.
Life is good.



  1. fantastic! I'll have to try this.

  2. Oh my goodness...those are fantastic! Love the blue originals as well as the toned ones. Great work!

    1. Thanks very much, Connie Rose -- glad you like them! I want to get busy and make more...

  3. Wow, those prints are amazing. I love the juxtaposition of natural and manmade designs. And lunch looks fantastic!

    1. FinnBadger -- thanks! Lunch was yummy and I liked trying out the different designs.....I have more ideas.

  4. Those are really cool. I hadn't seen that before.

  5. Love seeing these - thanks for posting!

    1. paintnow -- so happy you enjoyed seeing them. They were sure fun to make....

  6. I live where the sun shines most of the time so why haven't I tried cyanotypes??? Yours look fantastic. This is going on my "To Do" list. Thanks for sharing the process.

  7. Those are wonderful! Cyanotypes are a lot of work, but ultimately very rewarding, and addictive to make. They are so beautiful. My favourite is the one with the letters, wow, love it!

    1. i like that one with the letters too, Marie W! We think alike.

  8. I had never heard of this before, so pretty! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, TomoyoHime -- it is a very old process from the 1800's and it is fun to try to do more modern work with it. Thanks for the comment.

  9. These look amazing! So you can just put stencils down on the paper to get the effects of the ones hanging to dry? And in the first photo, is that a mix of natural plants and bird templates on the left? Really cool.

    1. Yes, that is a mix of nature and a bird stencil. You can use stencils, plants (dried or fresh), keys, chains...anything to make images. And our workshop leader, Linda, used a live model to make cyanotypes of bodies too -- very cool!



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