Process Overview - Bay Copper Art

My abstract prints are developed by photographically recording the chemical reactions that occur when liquid patina accelerants (available in many colors) and/or other chemicals are applied to the copper plate through myriad combinations and techniques. Heat may come into play, organic materials may be added, various found objects or just time itself may help obtain the results. The unusual aspect of my work derives from the point along the process I choose to capture the resulting chemical interactions. The prints you see are the only record of each work’s process, as I rarely use the final stabilized plate as the subject photo. The most exciting and rewarding aspect of this work is the element of surprise in every piece. I am mastering various techniques, but there is always the delightful element of surprise that makes each piece so unique. After the work is photographed, I may edit the photo further to produce the finished print file. One of the advantages prints allow is the choice of available sizes of the same subject. You can pick from a standard array of sizes or request a custom size.


This follows the progress of one work from start to finish in preparation for photo and printing.


My goal for this piece was to create a fantasy “forest” scene.




1. 6” x 6” #110 grade (99.9% pure) .090 ga. Copper Plate treated with metal cleaner, then abraded with cross graining as starting point for treatment.











2. Brush on 3 initial patina colors in crisscross pattern overlay. Each color dries before the next one is applied. There still is the expected bleed over. This will be the “background” for the work.











3. Use plastic wrap sprayed with a diluted Phosphoric Acid and add cover plate over that, weighted down to compress the plates sandwiched together.












4. Leave in place overnight and then uncover carefully. Let dry one more day.














5. Brush on a white patina with a clean feather. Heat plate with propane torch.


















6. Apply an acid wash over entire plate, compress again without wrap. Leave overnight.













7. Leave exposed overnight to completely cure in preparation for photo.














8. Adjust/edit for color, light, and clarity. Photograph the plate. Print in desired scale.












NOTE: Some steps are omitted for proprietary reasons.

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