Richard Manning

Pretty Things Silk Torpedo 1974

Pretty Things Silk Torpedo  1974

Storm supplied me with two b/w prints and a mock up for the position to montage them. I masked the boat with transpaseal, cutting round the deck and superstructure and then along the bottom as it sat in the water. With a quite strong solution of Iodine I bleached the sky, trees and the darkness to the left of the boat to white. I neutralized the Iodine with developer, washed and blotted with water about six times. I watered down the Iodine and then carefully soft bleached the water at the back of the boat and also to the left of the boat, taking care not to bleach any of the reflections. Once satisfied with the result the print was washed thoroughly and left to dry and then dry mounted onto double weight mount board. I needed to keep as much of the reflections in the water, especially on the right hand side, as possible. The bow wave was added with the grainy airbrush using Winsor and Newton Permanent white Gouache. and the reflection from the bow was darkened to give a greater contrast to the spray. The print of the boat I worked on had extra paper on the right hand side. I laid transpaseal over the boat and cut down the right side of the wiggly dark line reflection below the girls heel, a straight cut across for the horizon and a straight cut across the bottom, allowing approximately one inch extra. This area was bleached to white and dried. I had made an accurate tracing of the finished composition and now taped it at the top of the board so as to be able to position it and flap it back when necessary.

 I airbrushed a tone grey with Photo dye to match the tone of the lighter part of the water beneath the boat. Arbitrary reflections were sprayed in free hand and then shapes cut out of clear acetate held loosely in position over these darker shapes, and minimal spray just to give a semi hard edge here and there. I masked the girl and torpedo and bleached the background to white. The print was half cut through round her foot and along the bottom and most of the nose of the torpedo and then cut through the print at an angle up and off to the right. Then half cut through the print round the rear propeller and then all the way through in a line up past her knee and to the edge of the print. I placed the print face down and at the point at which the print was half cut through gently tore the back away. Once completed the back was then sanded with very fine sand paper to make the edge extremely thin. The purpose for doing this almost eliminates a tiny cast shadow that forms when prints are montaged. In the area of the tracing paper where the girl and torpedo appear, small holes are cut round the edge and one or two in the middle. The girl/torpedo print is now positioned under the trace, face up (obviously), and small pieces of masking tape are placed over the holes, sticking to the trace and the print beneath. The print cannot move out of position. Lift the trace and lay face down above the board. I now used the wonderful Columbia Cement on the print, paying particular attention to the edge. Once coated in the Cement I now cemented the area of the boat print where the girl/torpedo print was to be stuck. I dried the cement thoroughly with a hairdryer and then lifted the trace and carefully placed it over the base print. I rolled the print with a wooden roller and then with care, lifted the trace away. I rubbed any lingering cement away with my finger and then cleaned the print with cotton wool and lighter fuel(petrol not gas!). This was sent to the photographers studio to have a best possible copy print on double weight glossy unglazed paper, and sepia toned.

 I mounted this onto double weight mount board. The straight lines created by the montage were bleached out to leave a white background above the montaged image. The sea was masked off and blue and green mixed dyes were airbrushed free hand. The lighter reflections on the right hand side were created using a Glass brush and 10a scalpel blade. Some darker dye squiggles applied with the Sable brush to the edges of the lighter reflections. The hull of the boat and the number on the side were masked and a light bluey green sprayed on. The torpedo masked and a cooler blue dye sprayed on and a touch of flesh colour sprayed onto the leg shadow. The girls body was masked and flesh colour sprayed on. The pink silk scarf was sprayed a weak magenta and darker pink with the Sable brush. The aqua colour bands on the dress masked andwashed in with the Sable. The dress was masked and a very weak cream colour airbrushed on. The flowers weren't on the original b/w print, so I drew them onto tracing paper and traced the shape onto the print, masked it and bleached to white. I then drew them in with the Sable brush and photo dye. The propellers front and back were softened and circular highlights knifed in to give the effect of movement. The whole image was then masked off leaving the sky area exposed. Odd shapes of cotton wool were placed on the print and then I sprayed a light sky blue to a loose shape. Removed the cotton wool to reveal the white fluffy clouds.

All works © Richard Manning 2000 - 2024