An Alvar lithograph is never a reproduction or photograph of a previously created painting. Instead, each is an original work of art that is time consuming and requires Alvar's creative genius at every stage.
To produce a lithograph, Alvar first creates a conceptual sketch or sketches. The final sketch is made to the desired lithograph size and the various colors are applied, either in watercolor or in oil paint. He then must make a drawing on a zinc plate with a black crayon or greasy liquid. The plate is bathed in nitric acid and then gum arabic is applied. The drawing is washed off leaving the image faintly visible. The zinc plate is now sponged with water which does not penetrate the greasy image or drawing. Ink in the color of Alvar's choosing is applied to a roller. The roller passes over the specially prepared plate; the ink is adhered to the area where the drawing was made, but not to the area that was sponged with water. Next, Alvar may alter the image on the zinc plate that has received the ink from the roller by using lace fabric, crumbled paper, water drops, etc. to create special effects in the image. After, another roller is rolled over the zinc plate, thus picking up the image from the plate. The roller is then passed over the lithograph paper where the image is transferred to the paper. If Alvar is satisfied with the result, the number of copies that make up the edition then receive this one color. For each color used, Alvar must repeat this process, making modifications to the drawing on the zinc plate to achieve the desired effects. Often up to one day is required to print an individual color on the paper. Many times the lithograph will have 15 different colors such as the new Homenaje A Pau Casals.
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