Wet cyanotype

Cyanotype in lockdown continues…

The weather and nature continues to be glorious. Sunny days, pure blue skies and birdsong are quickly becoming the new normal.

Sunshine inspires me to continue making cyanotype prints. I’ve been looking for some new images to use. Browsing through my old photographs I found images of flowers, leaves and shells, plus I downloaded some historic maps and printed them all out on sheets of acetate.

Images on acetate

I’ve been wanting to experiment more with wet cyanotype. I have tried it before but the results weren’t as colourful as I was expecting. I think they needed to be exposed for longer and I was being too impatient!

I found a short video by Kristy McCurdy on how to make wet cyanotype. I loved the colourful results she produces – moving away from the pure blue and white results of cyanotype – to achieve more subtle greens and varying shades of blues.

Feeling inspired, I had another go…

Using the new images I’d printed on acetate I tried splashing and spraying water, on both the cyanotype paper and on the acetate, before placing them between two panes of glass. I left them out in the afternoon sun for about an hour to expose the images.

Exposing wet cyanotype in the sun

The colours during exposure changed dramatically and were really vibrant and I did hope they would stay like this, but sadly they didn’t. Once the paper has been rinsed under the tap the stronger colours faded and the end results were more subtle.

Wet cyanotype results

I do like the effect it created in the background, with varying tones of blue, which reminded me of clouds.

These examples were created using splashed and sprayed water. Spraying water resulted in a more mottled effect on the leaves.

Wet cyanotype examples – using sprayed and splashed water techniques

I’m still hoping to create cyanotype prints that have more greens and blues in them, but again, I think even longer exposure times are probably required.

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