Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist


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Rooftop Blues in Bangkok

Some images from recent printing sessions at my studio:

Developing Cyanotypes in the Sun

Experimenting with new ways to apply cyanotype chemicals

Here are some Artists Proofs baking in the midday sun, quickly turning from green to dark Prussian blue then bleached by the sun into Prussian White.

These images developed in record time for me – just over ten minutes.

Developing Cyanotypes on Bangkok Rooftop

Prints developing on the rooftop, with neighborhood houses in the background

Directions for the photo chemicals say: “For consistent results, a UV lightbox is recommended,” and “best applied with a glass rod for even coverage.”

But I ignore these extra tools.

Every one of my cyanotype prints is the result of a unique juxtaposition of sunlight and humidity, acidity and images. I stroke chemicals onto paper with my paintbrush, held with confidence from years of training. It’s key to the variety within the blues of every series I make.

Rinsing Cyanotypes

Rinsing the prints

The first time I developed one of my own images in a darkroom, I was hooked. “It’s magic,” I thought.

In the trays under my fingers emerged an abandoned building covered in ice from a spring hailstorm. Pure Gothic kitsch, and no doubt it presaged my Bokor series.

Rinsing cyanotypes is simpler than a series of darkroom trays -these require  just 5 minutes under running water.

Highlights appear within a minute and the blues grow deeper as the image dries.

Later I scrutinize my prints and note the variety of borders on each one as they fade toward the paper’s edge: a water drop fallen on the drying print here, an extra stain from chemicals accentuate the image there.  Other prints go into the recycling bin, their irregularities too much of a distraction.

Like the imperfections that distinguish all of us from one another, it’s these variations that makes each print a unique work of art.

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