Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Out Damned Spot." I am practicing working with spotone. I try to make as clean a print as I can but on every print there are those annoying little blemishes. Spotone is no longer made but it is fairly simple to find on e-bay or in camera shops that buy up a lot of old stock from defunct camera shops and photo studios. The tiny bottles of different shades of pigment seem to last forever. The way it is used it is hard to imagine anyone in their lifetime actually using up a whole bottle unless they spilled it. You take a drop of spotone and place it on a palette and then spread it around so it will dry out. You then take a very tiny brush and dampen it with water (or some people say in your mouth, yuck) and then squeeze with your fingers or your tongue (no way) till you get a very fine tip on your brush. You then dip your damp brush in to the dried residue of spotone and lightly dot at your little spots on your print until they disappear. If you have the shade right they do, if you don't your little white spot becomes a little black spot. The skill is in matching the shade of the spotone through mixing and thinning then applying very lightly. I worked on this for several hours last night on different prints with varying degrees of failure. I am rewashing some of the worst mistakes in my print washer in hopes the pigment will soak out. I guess after trying it out I can see why the company went out of business and why there are so many bottles of the stuff left over. There is a workshop given at Newspace in preparing prints for presentation that I want to take next time it is offered so I can learn more about retouching as well as dry mounting and over matting prints. Update 9/30. I checked out a forum where someone wrote some really good advice on using this product. Spread it out on a glass surface and let it sit for 24 hours before using. Thin with distilled water to lighten. Instead of trying to paint in a spot you "dot" with the tip of a very fine brush producing artificial "grain" in the imperfections so they blend in with the rest of the print. Tried this last night with slightly better results. Still can't get the shade right for gold toned prints though.


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