Sun Print – Ornamental grasses

Ornamental pampas grass tops on hand-coated cyanotype paper. The cyanotype chemicals are brushed onto paper, let dry in the dark. To make prints it is exposed to sunlight UV for this alternative process and analog printmaking technique.
Ornamental pampas grass tops on hand-coated cyanotype paper.

If you’ve followed my Instagram posts these blue prints should look familiar. I started making cyanotypes using this old-fashioned alternative process photography printmaking technique last summer. It brings the magic of watching a darkroom print develop to the fresh air and sunshine of being outdoors and making art!

To make a print, the cyanotype chemicals are brushed onto a surface, watercolor paper in this case, and let air dry in the dark. To expose prints, a negative image or object is placed over the paper. After the chemistry has been exposed a while and reaches a shade of green-gray, the paper is washed in water. Where the paper is exposed to sunlight UV the chemistry oxidizes and remains on the paper, where the UV is weaker or blocked the chemistry is washed away.

Chemistry remaining turns from green-gray to blue when washed in plain old water. After a rinse, the print is treated with household hydrogen peroxide and turns the deep blue seen in this image.

It’s a fantastically simple, easy and enjoyable alternative process and analog printmaking technique.

Pampas grasses making sun print cyanotype photograms

Work in progress: Pampas grasses making sun print cyanotype photograms

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