Explorative Solar Plate Etching

6 weeks course starting tomorrow!

tabis header 3

6 weeks course starts tomorrow, 24th October, DC Eastbourne, 11am – 1:30pm.

You do not need to book all 6 sessions but if you like to get a print after introduction to the exposure options you need to book 2 sessions. If you’ve been on the taster sessions,  please come in to print your plates. Get in touch so I am able to ensure I have enough material on the day.

Solar-Plate-Collagraph and Solar-Plate-Collage

The introduction day on Saturday to solar plate etching using real sun light exposure or a UV exposure box was a real treat again. Artist Tabi Turner and Sue Sergeant experimented with different techniques of Solar-Plate-Collagraph and Solar-Plate-Collage.

Even with Storm Brian around, we found a moment of sun. We where finding out if we could expose a B&W paper copy onto the plate. We hold out for 10 min but unfortunately it wasn’t enough light and the plate stayed unexposed.

We did not gave up on the plate and  Sue experimented with pressing texture into the wet polymere surface of the unexposed area:

A process which created a similar look to a collagraph – the Solar-Plate-Collograph. Above you see the plate and print.

Below an example  by Tabi of creating the layout for the Solar Plate using indian ink drawings on tracing paper, mark resits and adding textured, semi transparent templates to the plate – the Solar-Plate -Collage. This plate was exposed for 3 minutes under the newly build UV exposure box.

We went back to expose the B&W paper copy onto the plate using the UV light box. To be sure the plate will be exposed we left it under the box for 2 hours – and got a result!

The plate might have been over exposed in some areas and next testing by gradually reducing the exposure time of the UV box should hopefully provide a shorter timeframe.

Below are some of the prints created:

sue solar collagraph

Printed by Sue Sergeant, using the Solar-Plate-Collargraph method.






tabi print no 1

Tabi Turners print using the Solar-Plate-Collage technique. This is one-plate print, inked up in two colours in intaglio and relief.





first UV box test print

My own little test print when using the newly build UV box the first time.

Time of exposure from 1- 3 min. The image used was a B&W photo of a textured graveyard stone, printed on acetate and the original has a light area in the middle.



By Nickova Behling

Taster Days for Solar Plate Etching using Natural Sunlight


The first Taster-Day, in Eastbourne, Sussex, UK went extremely well. All participants were up for the experiment of exposing the solar plate to the real sunlight.

Everyone had brought an image on acetate or mark resists transparent, either a drawing with Indian ink or a B&W photograph.

After explaining the process and possibilities of solar plate etching, as well as the unpredictability if using real sunlight exposure, all decided to go ahead and expose their plate to the sun.

Although it clouded over, the plates were well exposed with 3 minutes under the sky.

Developed in hand-warm water, air-dried with a hair dryer and hardened by further post exposure to the daylight, the plates were ready to be inked up and printed after our lunch break.

All prints came out very well and due to the individual templates used, to create the plate, the outcome were diverse in tone, contrast and composition.

Prints by:                 A Hyde, P Bartholomew, S Johnston and M Lindsdell

Next Taster-Days for Solar Plate Etching:

I will do another taster day on Saturday 21st, Oct, this week, 11am -4pm, £25 per day. Plates and printing paper to be purchased by me or bring your own, water based ink and cartridge paper for test prints will be freely provided. (We work with A5 size Toyobo plates from Lawrence).

People can also bring an A5 B&W photo image printed on acetate or draw their image on mark resist on the day.

I will give a detailed explanation of solar plate etching, different forms of the use of templates and the exposure with natural sunlight. Printing of the plate happens on the second half of the day.

Half-Day Introduction and possible exposure of a plate and 6 weeks course:

I am also starting a 6 weeks course from Tue 24th October with an introduction on Tue 24th – if anyone is interested this is only half day 11-13:30,including a theoretical introduction and the possibility to create a plate, but there will be no time for printing on Tue 24th. Printing will be possible in the 5 weeks afterwards. The 6 weeks course will also give time to explore variations of template exposure, creating texture plates and printing with multiple plates.

Cost for 6 week course or half day Introduction:

Half- day Introduction on 24th/10,    £15,

All 6 session, £90, advance booking necessary.

Leaving out the 1 intro session because you’ve been on a taster day, is £75 for the following 5 session. (Please pre book)

Cost includes ink (Water based intaglio/relief ink) and cartridge paper for test prints. It does not include the plate or printing paper. (Purchase from me: £6 for A5 Toyobo plate and £2 for A1 Fabriano paper. People can buy half size or share the paper) or bring your own.

Address for the workshop:

The Print Room,

Devonshire Collective Eastbourne,

DC2 Artist Studios & Makerspaces

137-139 Seaside Road, Eastbourne BN21 3PG

WEB: http://devonshirecollective.co.uk/

By Nickova Behling

Solar-Plate Etching – using the natural sunlight for the exposure

Working in preparation of the Solarplate workshops, organised by the Blue Monkey Network at Devonshire Collective, Eastbourne, UK

AP 1 Hausfrau             AP 2 Hausfrau


These images are the first results using writing and photographic images copied on ink-jet film.

AP 3 Hausfrau

The film was placed onto the solar –plate, a Toyoto- K73 plate, and developed with real ‘Irish’ sunlight, actually under a cloudy sky at 12:30 pm.

More testing is going to happen here in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland in September before I will return to England.

The solar-plate workshops are running in October in Eastbourne, south England. For dates and how to register check out the Blue Monkey Network


Looking forward to seeing you then.


(The plates are inked with water based relief ink, individually inked in combination of intaglio and relief, then printed on Hahnemuehle paper. The third image was done with 2 plates.)

By Nickova Behling

Painting In Progress


Finally I am finding my expression!

Its not what I though I am going to do here but the surrounding is so incredible, the landscape so dominant, the sky’s are dramatic, the details are full with beauty and everything comes and goes with the ever changing tide.

Mountains covered in misty clouds, rocks like floating in water or sitting in golden sand, small islands swimming in the sea and lakes; circles, reflection, sunshine, raindrops, glistening leaves, sea wheat, jellyfish, washed up riverbanks and glittering beaches.


It feels like it wants to come out all at once!

By Nickova Behling

The Common Jellyfish

I am getting obsessed with the common jellyfish, I am finding here washed up at the beaches.

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It’s the Chrysaora hysoscella, also known as the compass jellyfish. It is in fact (reading Wikipedia) a very common species of jellyfish that lives in coastal waters of the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

The Chrysaora can be as big as 30cm in diameter. Its 24 tentacles are arranged in eight groups of three. It usually has 16 markings on the bell resembling extended v’s, surrounding a central brown spot.

There is actually a mouth located at the bottom centre of the bell, between 4 larger tentacles. I believe they catch their prey (I don’t know what they feed on?) with the sting of their tentacles. These ones have apparently only a light sting (I have not experienced it).

The tentacles are often underneath the belly when washed up at the beach or gone already, but the 16 doted markings and the drawn out v-lines from each spot are visible. A very beautiful creature of course much more so when they’re swimming in the sea. Unfortunately I am not a diver, only saw them when on a small boats tour here at Clew Bay, Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.

I am taking the challenge of creating some small lino cuts of Chrysaora.


By Nickova Behling

“Better no spoon than no soup” – so a German Proverb say’s.

Version 2

Today, here in, for me foreign country of Ireland, I learned about the importance of a SPOON.

I took one of a total of six metal spoons away –into my studio – unpermitted.

I took one of the two smaller, thinner ones; believing it would be of less value and surely not being missed.

How did I not see the value of the spoon, it’s intrinsic worth and meanings?

Everyone knows they are the oldest eating tools. Spoons where not merely used for eating but became symbols of status, wealth and rituals. Some people are even borne with a silver spoon in their mouth. Or just remember the tradition of giving silver, ornamented christening spoons.

Not enough I also learned the spoon I took was a ‘dessert spoon’!

Now you can see where things went wrong. In Germany we do not have dessertspoons. We have soupspoons, larger dishing-up spoons and the small, so called ‘teaspoon’. In Germany you would usually use a teaspoon for dessert.

When I was told that one of the ‘larger spoons’ is missing, I shrugged my shoulders; I haven’t taken a dishing up spoon, I thought. “A dessertspoon”, was the demanding voice explaining their loss. I took a moment of contemplation before realising what I had done: I did not take one of the smaller, thinner, less valuable ‘soupspoons’- No! – What did I think! I took one of only two ‘dessertspoons’!

And then dear old auntie Mary came to visit.


Irish dessertspoon, Stainless Steel, front and back.

By Nickova Behling

Real Sunlight Exposure for Solarplate Etching

Today I did my first solar plate test printing using direct sunlight.

Test plate  solar etching

Relief  test-print from solar plate developed in direct sunlight. Nickova Behling

Working in preparation of the Solarplate workshops, organised by the Blue Monkey Network at Devonshire Collective, Eastbourne, UK

The solar plate was covered with a simple natural leave and a paper template, developed without an aquatint screen, using direct sunlight for the exposure. Inked in relief and printed on Hahnemuehle printing paper.


By Nickova Behling

Nick Moss: Curatorial Ethics and Outsider Art — kdoutsiderart

In this post, writer Nick Moss reflects on the curatorial issues facing outsider art curators – and curators more widely. What follows are simply observations on issues arising from curation practices in relation to outsider art. They follow on from discussions with Kate Davey, further to my earlier reviews of the Ida Applebroog exhibition at […]

via Nick Moss: Curatorial Ethics and Outsider Art — kdoutsiderart

By Nickova Behling