Digital prints of fine art work, often called giclees, are reproductions of original images produced with ink jet printers from scans or photographs of these images. The quality of these prints varies greatly. The resolution of the image, the quality of the printer and pigment inks, the use of proper profiles for printer and substrate, and the substrate itself all contribute to the look and quality of the print.
Digital prints allow the artist to sell work at affordable prices. They also provide the opportunity for the artist to creatively experiment with variations on original works. Many artists choose to have their work printed by professional labs. I find however that I enjoy the process of creating a print as well as the control this gives me over the image. I therefore create my own prints beginning with photographing my original work and then adjusting hue, saturation, and brightness in Photoshop until I am satisfied that the resulting print is indistinguishable from the original.* This part of the process often involves numerous rounds of proofs, as the image on a luminous computer screen does not necessarily print on paper as one would expect. In this regard, I find it useful to turn down the brightness of the screen to get a better sense of how the image will print.
Once I have finished fine tuning and proofing the image on relatively inexpensive paper, it is time to print it on the actual substrate. After much experimenting with many fine art papers, I settled upon a beautiful heavy mould-made paper, BFK Rives made by Canson & Arches in France. With the settings of my Epson Stylus Pro 3880 calibrated specifically for this paper, the result is an image with rich, deep and accurate color. The paper is a lovely soft white, 100% cotton and exceptionally heavy (310gsm). Its heritage and history as a fine art paper extends back to the 15th century, although the version I use has a special coating for inkjet printing. I use this paper for almost all of my prints.
Finally, I sign the prints and number them in limited editions. The notion of numbered editions is actually a hold-over from traditional printmaking, where the number of impressions and their order in the edition can result in individual print differences. This of course is not the case with digital prints, where each image is identical to the next. I have kept this tradition however as I would like the owner of my print to know that there is a set limit to the number of them available and that it has been produced with great care in contrast to many mass produced items.
Some of my prints are available with a deckle edge that I create by hand using a technique I have developed that works well with the BFK Rives paper. This involves very lightly scoring the paper on the reverse side with an exact blade held firmly against a ruler, and then tearing the paper along the scored line. It is a somewhat lengthy process but I find it adds a special touch to the prints, especially the smaller ones.
If you would like to purchase a print, please go to my online shop
In addition to the unadorned prints described above, I also create one-of-a-kind hand-embellished prints. For these, I begin with a print as described above and then add pastel or other art mediums such as gold leaf or mica powder to the print’s surface. In order for pastel to adhere to the surface, it is usually necessary first to apply a medium with some grit, such as Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels. (Like original pastels, these prints must be framed with a spacer in order to prevent any loose pastel from adhering to the glass.) Gold leaf or mica powder require a layer of special glue or “gilding size” placed on the print surface.
Sometimes I will manipulate the image in Photoshop, perhaps changing the color of a background, cropping an image, or otherwise modifying it so as to create an interesting variation by printing the image on highly textured papers.