Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Drypoint etching I

I made this series of 8x10 prints a couple of months ago, but never got around to sharing it, so here we go!
Above is a drypoint etching, a method of making groves in a plate that will hold ink by physically inscribing them. Rather than using nitric acid to etch a line into metal, a sharp tool is scratched across the surface of a plate to both create a grove and to raise a burr that will both hold ink. The modern day printmaker is fortunate to be able to use a plastic film called Duralar which allows crisp lines and the displaced material, or burr, withstands the pressure of the press for a good number of runs. The burr gives drypoint prints their characteristically soft line.

After printing 10 or 12 of the dry point seed pods and letting them dry for a week, I mixed 2 colors of ink and rolled out a "rainbow roll". This is the blending of 2 or more colors on a single roller. I rolled the colors across a smooth sheet of plexiglass that was the exact size of my seed pod line etching. I then placed the colorful plate over my drawing on a light table so that I could see the image through the newly inked plate and wiped away the ink from the areas where my line work was.

 When I had removed the ink from the color plate in the areas I wanted to remain untouched, I carefully placed the inked side of the plate down on one of the black and white prints and ran it through the press. The resulting print had crisp black and white plus an interesting graduated color that I found pleasing.

I ran a secondary print, a "ghost print", with the ink that remained on the plate. I placed the plexiglass once again over another of my black and white prints for a trip through the press to get a softer looking print.

After printing the ghost, I cleaned the small amount of residual ink from the plexiglass, rolled it once again and made my way to the light table to carefully wipe away ink for another two prints.

Each of the 3 has a very different feel and stand alone as variations. According to personality, taste or mood, people choose  which one is most appealing to them. I like them all, and simply enjoy the process of making them!

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