Lithography is created with lithographic limestone traditionally found in Germany. The stone is exceptionally fine-grained and can be finely polished. The stone’s surface is drawn on with oil-based dermatograph pencils. The drawn image is then treated with nitric acid to help the image absorb oil and repel water. On the other hand, gum arabic, a natural gum made of hardened tree sap, is applied elsewhere on the surface, which creates the opposite effect and makes the blank portions absorb water and repel oil. Thereafter, oil-based ink is applied with rollers, and is absorbed only by the portions treated with acid. On the blank portions, water is applied to dampen the surface in preparation for printing. Lastly, paper is placed on the stone and fed through the printing press, transferring the inked image onto paper.
The original painting of Mountain Light blown into Wrinkles features an ensemble of fine dots created by the interaction of ink and turpentine in water. Visually, the ink dots bear a striking resemblance to the natural grain patterns of limestone, and lithography was therefore the definite choice for recreating Mountain Light.
Firstly, the lithographic limestone is polished with fine sandpaper to manipulate the grain pattern to further emulate the size and pattern of the ink dots of the original. Working with dermatograph pencils, the printmakers spent over a month recreating the composition. The stone’s surface is then carefully treated with nitric acid to enhance the lines and contours of the drawn image. After being inked and pressed, the printed result brilliantly represents the monochromatic and elegant nature of the original painting.