Exhibition Quality Editions
The Quality of our limited edition digital (giclée) prints starts with choosing the finest papers, canvas, inks, photographic and printmaking equipment, but depends on our skill and experience to light and photograph the original so that accurate colour, texture and detail comes through in the final print. This is explained in detail in "Perfect Reproductions [or Why Use a Specialist Photographic Studio to Reproduce Your Art?"
Choice of Materials: Whenever possible, printing on the same material as an original painting gives each piece the look and feel of the original work of art. For example, opaque water based paint on paper reproduces well on paper, but for an oil based work on canvas, printing on canvas and treating with a clearcoat will better imitate the original. Mixed-media on panel/board looks best on a smooth paper (the texture of canvas interferes with the detail) and can be further enhanced by being treated with a laminate. We will advise you as to the best media to use for the job on sight of the originals.
Mixed-media works incorporating reflective surfaces such as metallic paint or even metal itself can be very effectively reproduced. The problem of having the reflective surfaces "shine" whilst not washing out the colour in the rest of the work is overcome by making two exposures with the lights coming from different directions for each. Then in PhotoShop the reflective surfaces are "selected" from the image file in which they shine and superimposed onto the image file in which the rest of the painting is appropriately lit. This is time consuming but worth the effort, as shown by the two examples below.
Further, to enhance the effect of different surfaces in a mixed-media original, a mask can be made to enable selective clearcoating or varnish can be applied to specific areas of the print by us or by you.
Embellishing: With or without appropriate surface treatment, you can paint on top of, or retouch an image to produce a one-off "embellished" print, making it a "monoprint". This is very popular with the public and as such these naturally command a higher price, as determined by an artist's reputation.
Reproduction of a 'DECKLE Edge' [creative use of a paper border]
Original: Mixed media on heavyweight handmade paper with a deckle edge.
Left: Reproduction made in-house with the Better Light Scanning Back, printed on Cold Press Natural Fine Art Paper at the original size. (Paper size 32"x 24")
Photographed against a white background the deckle edge is well defined. The addition of a drop shadow to the final print file really enhances the edge whilst giving the illusion that the image is floating above the paper.
"The Water Carrier"; Annette Nieukerk, BC
Essential differences between digital prints and paintings
- Surface Texture: The above has explained the lengths we can go to and how well we can reproduce the original, but it is pigmented ink being laid down on the surface, not paint. If the original is an opaque water based paint on paper such as watercolour, gouache or a pencil drawing for example, the print can be indistinguishable from the original. However if the painting is oil paint or acrylic thickly applied it must be born in mind that the print, because it is ink sprayed onto the chosen media it will be flat and there's no getting away from that. The best way to think of the print is as a new and different piece of work with a life of it's own, rather than as simply a reproduction that "should look exactly like the original". This is a realistic approach, allowing the artist to appreciate what will be a fine print that can be presented to a viewing public who will most likely never see the original and therefore will not be making that comparison.
- Colour Balance: Different media reflect the same light source differently because the reflective properties of the pigments of, for example, pure yellow ink are different to those of the same pure yellow oil paint or the equivalent watercolour. To further complicate the issue the same media will look different under different light sources. So if you view any painting or print in daylight and then compare it to how it's rendered under incandescent or fluorescent light you will observe that the colours change, taking on the quality of the light source. (Phenomenon known as metamerism*.) This is why artists have for centuries favoured a soft 'north light' to paint by because it will remain consistent for longer and it is somewhere in the middle of the range between 'warm' and 'cold' light. This is imitated by the lights that we use in our studio, actually named "North Lights". When we carry out the colour correction on the calibrated monitor the original is viewed in a viewing booth equipped with strip lights balanced to the same colour temperature. Whilst not solving the 'problem' because it's simply a fact of life, using these lights gives the best possible average colour balance to our prints.
* In colorimetry, metamerism is a perceived matching of the colors that, based on differences in spectral power distribution, do not actually match. Colors that match this way are called metamers. (Wikipedia)