What is Giclee printing?

Examples of Peter Welton’s work

Unlikely though it may sound giclee comes from the French verb gicler - to splash, to squirt. And this is because the ink is squirted through fine jets on to the paper. The whole process is computer-controlled with an amazing degree of accuracy. Although my aim is not to produce a replica of an original painting but to create a new image based on the original I would defy anyone quickly to determine which is the original.

I was recently invited to exhibit four original watercolours together with their giclee prints. One of the ‘pairs’ was framed identically. The owners of the original wanted their picture back before the exhibition closed and I promise you I had to dismantle one of the pair to make sure I wasn’t giving them the print!

Thisexciting new technology is transforming the fine art print world and although it is fairly new in England it is well-established in the USA where virtually all prints are now being produced by the giclee process.

Apart from the stunning quality of the prints there are other advantages for the artist. For a start the economics attract us. Under the old system of photo-lithography it was advisable to buy a whole print run (usually of 850) from the start. This was not only expensive but required time to be spent signing and numbering the edition. And as I have published over 50 lithographic prints in the last ten years the storage problem is not inconsiderable. The edition run number of 850, incidentally, is an arbitrary figure chosen by artists over a hundred years ago in response to an edict from the Fine Art Trade Guild who decreed that any print run over a thousand should not be referred to as a limited edition. This was prompted by the recognition that lithographic plates would deteriorate after long runs and there would be a consequent and significant difference between early ‘pulls’ and later ones.

I am now able to have scanned every picture I paint and that explains why there is such an extensive range of giclee prints on my website.

There is one other advantage with giclee printing which I frequently offer customers. Although the sizes of the prints shown on this web-site are usually same-size as the original paintings, I can offer larger (or smaller) finished prints. Larger ones cost more and there is a limit to how big a print will ‘blow-up’ without unacceptable deterioration of the image, but should you be interested contact me and we can discuss what you have in mind.

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