Both platinum and palladium are classified as noble metals. The metals are extracted from underground mines and have a shiny silver appearance. The raw metals are ground into a fine powder and mixed with water to make a working emulsion solution. The solution is typically coated onto a specially designed watercolor paper using a very fine haired brush. Japanese handmade paper is also a popular choice to use. A negative the same size as the finished print is then placed on top of the paper after the emulsion has dried. An ultraviolet light source is used to expose the paper under the negative. The paper is now placed in a tray of developer and develops instantly. The last step in the process is to wash the unused metals from the paper. The print is then dried and flattened in a heat press.
A palladium print takes on that classic brown tone, while platinum is more of a pure black. Most artists will combine both platinum and palladium to achieve a look that is a unique combination. The platinum palladium print has a range of tones that is superior to traditional silver gelatin prints. The platinum palladium print can last over one thousand years and will never fade. The paper would need to deteriorate as the image is permanent.
Platinum palladium prints have seen a huge resurgence over the past several years. The nature of the handmade process has attracted both collectors and serious art lovers. Each print is a one of a kind piece of artwork that can be passed down for many generations.
Gary’s Place - Bicknell, Indiana
The palladium print above was printed on Arches Platine watercolor paper. The brush marks were left as is to give that handmade look. The brush can easily be masked out when the print is exposed. The scanned image can’t possibly convey the depth and scale of the original palladium print.