Friday, June 24, 2016
Creating dense blacks with a new approach.
Here are some images of a small set of prints I have made using a refinement of a traditional etching process. One technique I use a lot to make plates to print images from is something called 'hardground'. Maybe 70% of the work on this blog is made using solely this etching process. Simply put the process involves covering a copper or zinc plate with a thin waxy substance that is impermeable to acid. I draw through the waxy 'ground' and then cover the whole thing with acid (or a similarly agressive liquid called ferric chloride). The acid eats away into the plate and when done, the ground is removed. The little grooves hold ink and that is how one prints. In etching, deep black tones are often made using a process called aquatint but I wanted to make images with similarly rich tones without using this technique. I made these dark and looming figures by repeatedly added hardgrounds, drawing and etching then doing more, many times over to gradually build up a complex network of tiny etched lines. Eventually the network is so entwined and full that it will print a beautiful dense black. One thing that I really enjoy with this practice is that as the multiple layers are added, certain elements of the drawing take on a life of their own and unplanned things appear and evolve.