Brush Action. Fig. 3.
Fig. 4. C. H. Hewitt.
Brush Action. Fig. 5.
Fig. 6. C.H. Hewitt.
Method II. Figures 3 and 4 illustrate this method. Here the brush is held much lower and with a decidedly firm grip. In Figure 4 we see it being applied with considerable vigour to the print, the action being a slight dragging action, from heel to toe of the brush, and almost working in a circle, the brush touching the print for say, three-quarters of the down movement and one-third of the upward movement. This method is recommended where strong effects are desired.
The Hopper. This is a very useful adjunct to the oil printer, and its use is seen in Figs. 5 and 6. A print may be pigmented entirely by means of the hopper, but I do not recommend this being done. Rely on the brush held in the hand, and use the hopper for special purposes. Generally speaking, the hopper should only be used in such a way that the brush is lifted about 1/2 inch above the print. The action should generally be rapid, and if the hopper is held with the fore-finger along the wire it may be very exactly controlled. To bring out detail or contrast in any one part, it may be necessary to use the hopper more vigorously, raising the brush 2 or 3 inches, but such action should not be prolonged, or the print will be covered with broken hairs from the brush. It should be remembered " That a slow dragging action deposits pigment on the print, and tends to softness." " That a quick action with a brush charged with pigment tends to contrast." " That stiff inks give contrast and lack of detail." ' That thin inks give detail and lack of contrast." ' That a quick dabbing action with a dry brush removes ink and gives softness."
I have remarked that the ink should be stiff to begin with, and should be very gradually thinned down until the print commences to take it. As soon as this occurs, the print may be pigmented boldly and freely. A great many failures, I believe, occur because the pigmenting is commenced timidly. Of course, light portions of the print need not be smothered with ink ; they may be treated with a partially emptied brush, but - assuming the print has proper relief - the darker portions may be boldly covered. The top right-hand corner of the illustration shows how bold this pigmenting may be. Such an effect frightens many workers, who remember the earliest instructions in pigment printing about applying the ink in extremely attenuated layers.
Of course, one does not need to apply pigment merely for the fun of removing it again later. In the illustrative print the cottages on the left and the distant hill might be pigmented with a brush half emptied of ink. In other words, when the brush has been freshly charged with ink it should preferably be used first on the darker portions, and then, when nearly ready for re-charging, some lighter portion of the print, such as the distance, may be worked on. Thus, the top right-hand corner shows bold pigmenting with a fully charged brush - the brush, in fact, being returned to the palette for more ink after every three or four dabs. But such a part as that immediately to the right of the vertical line C D would be worked with a brush almost emptied of ink.
It is a great advantage to work quickly, and to get the whole of the print covered with the film of greasy ink. This appears to prevent the rapid evaporation of the moisture on the surface of the gelatine. But it is not a good plan to omit the sky when thus working, for it will sometimes happen that the edge of the pigmenting cannot in such a case be obliterated when the sky is afterwards commenced.
Having roughly covered the print, with the above-mentioned due regard for the required tones, the brush may be worked over and over again on the various portions, without, of course, recharging it with pigment. This working equalizes the ink over the print, removing the patchiness and bringing out detail. The gable-end of the timbered cottage shows the effect of this smoothing up. With some prints this equalizing process not only gets rid of the irregular dabs, but also produces sufficient contrast. This depends on the character of the subject, the effect desired, the strength of the original (negative and) print, and the amount of relief obtained in the preparation of the print. Supposing, however, that in the nearer portions more contrast is required, " hopping " must be resorted to. That portion of the print below the line A B shows the effect produced by " hopping."