The Process and the Print

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On March 07, 2013, here in Goa CAP, I had my first gum print. Chaitanya is a consummate teacher who painstakingly guided us through the processes in the darkroom. For the gum print, one layer and one colour is what we worked upon – to start with.

Essentially, the gum with a dichromate and water soluble dyes/pigments hardens when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. While in the unexposed areas, the soluble gum washes off in water.

So here’s how the method went!

The Chemicals

Gum acacia

Potassium dichromate

The Colours

Camel artist water colours

Burnt Umber

Prussian Blue

The Chemistry

The first

Gum acacia – 33 gms

Distilled water – 100 ml

The gum was mixed thoroughly with the water until all the blobs and clots dissolved.

The second

Potassium dichromate – 1 g

Distilled water – 20 ml

One gm of potassium dichromate was mixed with water till it dissolved completely.

The Third

A blob each of Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue was mixed to get a shade of dark olive green.

To this colour, two ml each of the gum and dichromate solution was mixed to form a smooth liquidy paste.

Fabriano Artistico Cold Pressed 300 GSM paper was cut into the size of 8” by 10” and put in place with masking tape. The gum- dichromate- paint solution was poured out a syringe in blobs onto the paper and coated in strokes with a brush.

The coated paper was left to dry.

After drying, the coated paper was aligned with a negative transparency and covered with a glass plate. An exposure of three minutes was given to UV light in a covered lightbox. Subsequent to the exposure, the paper was washed in water and the image emerged in the water, beautifully! Yes, lovely!

My first gum print in a darkroom in a coconut grove of a home in Goa!

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