Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Printing Some Old Etching Plates

I want to try some more etching and so thought I would print up some of the old USA  plates to get me going. I had made them in Florida at an evening class run by David Hunter. David’s work is classic, detailed, precise and lovely. I learnt a lot in just a term.

Here is one of his etchings called Fisher Creek. It is the quintessential Florida waterline with elegant white egrets slowly flapping along past the strange knees of the Bald Cypress trees. He achieves a lovely range of tones in his prints which can really only be seen in the originals.

Fisher Creek 12 x 6 inches. See more of David’s work on his website here

The plates were one of the few art things that made it back to me in the UK. The USA customs “took” all my watercolours and best brushes. I guess these plates were not immediately useful!


So here they are, the Bee, Jessie my old lurcher, and some decorative plates which I combined with the bee. They seem Ok, except for some oxidisation spots here and there but they are fine for some experiments.

Inking up an etching plate is so different from lino. I remembered using bits of card for applying the ink and then scrim and tissue to clean up. Wiping away is an art in itself as you can clean up too much, or leave the ink patchy. 

Then the paper needs to be dampened and then blotted and I had to make a different sort of registration plate and adjust the press.
Also I was using oil based inks which means more cleaning up.

The 5 prints I managed were varied; some over inked, some not inked up enough, one single bee not too bad. None really perfect. It’s a learning process.

This plate was made with soft ground and impressed leaves. (I think this technique is rather frowned upon by purists!)

This is a combination of the bee and the ginkgo

Here are the five prints two Jessies, and the Bee and Ginkgo combos plus the plates.

I am going to try different sorts of plates, acrylic, paper and maybe, when I feel ready some copper.  Tomorrow I am attempting to prepare a zinc plate. It will be interesting!

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