California Sycamore, Spring – solar cyanotype

California Sycamore, Spring (#2224) 2023 copyright Douglas Stockdale –

The first time I wrote about this California Sycamore, above, using the original digital photograph, I had cropped it tighter to create an 8 x 10″ image on the 11 x 14″ cotton rag. That image of this composition was also posted as a digital black & white as a comp of what I was considering. In the ensuring months I have been evaluating different presentation formats, and this photograph really lent itself to a larger print in conjunction with not cropping it as tight, thus I opened it up to a 9 x 12″ on 11 x 14″ sheet. The larger visual expanse of this image is subtle, while I think the immense size of this tree is more apparent and this also allows me to include more details in the context of where in the arroyo this Sycamore lives; win-win.

One of the intriguing aspects of solar cyanotype printing is how these prints look; just different. I find myself recalling the Garry Winogrand quote: ‘I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed“. Likewise, I find myself printing cyanotypes of photographs to see what something will look like as a cyanotype print.

I have been printing solar cyanotypes of various series of subjects, such as these California Sycamore trees in the Spring, in groups of five images, which this is the fifth of this particular series. In part this self-assignment was to learn the solar cyanotype process with a variety of different subjects to help find my ‘voice’ with this new medium; winter, beach, urban landscape and trees. Each of which has its own visual challenges when rendered as a cyanotype, while I allowed myself more experimentation with this medium, such as overlaying the cyanotype with watercolor or Prismacolor pencils.

I now find myself considering how the solar cyanotypes might work with one of my in-process projects, thus I have the first four of those solar cyanotypes completed and in evaluation; stay tuned!

Above: California Sycamore, Spring (#2224), Unique solar cyanotype print, 9″ x 12″ on 11″ x 14″ sheet of Revere Platinum rag in a Variable Edition of 5 + 1 AP

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



 The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, Fall 2022 release, $60.00 (CA sales tax for those residing in the USA) plus shipping expenses. Message me or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Note: The Artist Special Edition (book + extra print) is Sold Out.


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