SafetyKut on Masa, linocut on Rising Stonehenge (top) & kitakata (bottom)
in Faust AquaLine, Graphic Chemical & Akua Intaglio
Today I did an actual, side-by-side comparison of various water soluble relief printing inks. I printed three inks using my most recent linocut, on both a heavy "Western" (RisingStonehenge) and a light "Oriental" (kitakata green) paper. The inks I tested were Akua Intaglio, Graphic Chemical, and Faust AquaLine. I also tried the GC & Faust on a SafetyKut block using another "Oriental" paper, masa.
Overall, I was not impressed (pardon the pun!) with the Akua, but then, perhaps I didn't try hard enough. I found that the impression was somewhat fuzzier on the edges, and even though the ink sang when brayered, it acted kind of dry. Perhaps that's a factor of it being an oil-based ink? I liked both the AquaLine & GC inks, although the GC surprisingly performed better overall. The image was sharper, and I seemed to get a nicer impression. I found that the trick was to use a much heavier amount of ink than I thought appropriate, and that worked really well. The black was such a beautiful rich black with the GC. The Faust is a lovely buttery consistency to brayer, and it rolls on well and quickly; it just seems to not quite transfer as well as the GC. But then, in earlier trials, I wasn't happy with the GC at all (but I did use a lot less ink before). Also, the Faust definitely has an odour that is starting to bother me, while the GC is practically odourless.
I have emailed both companies and asked them for their input on whether their available colours match what I require, or if they can provide them for me. My wish list of pigments is as follows:
Cadmium Red Light or Medium or Deep - Pigment Red 108
Quinacridone Red/Violet - Pigment Violet 19
French Ultramarine - Pigment Blue 29
Cerulean Blue - Pigment Blue 35
Arylide Yellow - Pigment Yellow 3 (but not PY 1)
Cadmium Yellow - Pigment Yellow 35 or pure PY37
Burnt Sienna - Pigment Brown 7
Burnt Umber - Pigment Brown 7
Yellow Ochre - Pigment Yellow 43
Phthalocyanine Green - Pigment Green 7
Prussian Blue - Pigment Blue 27
based on the recommendations of Michael Wilcox in his The Artist's Guide to Selecting Colours and Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green, both of which are quite useful colour theory books for any artist. Suzanne Northcott originally introduced me to Wilcox's "Colour Bias Wheel", which, as far as I'm concerned, is a great, simple, appropriate way of looking at colour.
So we'll see how things go! As it stands, it looks like the GC line of colours might be the "brights" and the Faust the "earth tones". I don't even know if they'll mix, it would be interesting to see. I'll have to try with the blacks to see what results.