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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Etchings

Following up on the etching theme; I thought I would post some of the etchings I did many years ago. These hand pulled original prints were pulled from zinc plates that were etched with nitric acid and then inked a la poupee (with little wads of fabric), relief (with big rubber or gelatin rollers) and intaglio (ink wiped deeply into the incisions). The plates were in many cases cut apart with a jeweller's saw and re-assembled on the press like jigsaw puzzles after the individual pieces were inked. All of the inks I used were oil based so that all the plates had to be cleaned with paint thinner. It was a stinky, yucky mess and I had black ink under my fingernails for about 12 years. Yuk!!

I printed on many kinds of paper but mostly on Murillo which is an ivory colored paper that took embossment very well. You can see the paper pillowing up around the plates which were quite thick. The paper had to be soaked for about half an hour and printed on while damp.

I think the script on the plate above is called Carolingian (my calligraphy memory is rusty) and in latin reads: "Everything that lives is holy." I looked at wrought iron gates for the embossed white-line imagery. I've always loved the flowing lines and grew up in a place where I saw a lot of it. The imagery was transferred to the plates by a photographic method that involved Photo Resist, exposing the plates to a bright light for a certain amount of time, washing it out in a chemical and then cleaning the plate before multiple acid baths to add aquatint and deep embossment. Are you snoring yet?

Cicada Song was the follow up to Chrysanthemum Page. (Those were the titles of the two prints directly above.) On this page I wrote in Persian the same quote as above and in addition it says, "Every Creature Loves It's Life". I found an Iranian student at PSU who did the translation for me. That was before the days of Babelfish.

I am doing some painting for a commission and ramping up a bit for the season but not very ambitious yet. Today it hailed outside for about 20 minutes so I put my brush down and stood outside to marvel in the sounds and sight of the weather. It was cold, noisy, and enchanting. There is something I do love about dramatic weather.

See you again in awhile.


As an afterthought I decided to add this close-up so you could see more of the detail in the etching. Click on the image to see it up close.

11 comments:

Heather said...

Oh my Judy.. these are AMAZING. I took only one semester of printmaking in college and enjoyed it but we never did anything so intricate as these. I am in awe of their beauty.. and your talent! Thank you for sharing them.

DAWN said...

Those are really just so beautiful! How talented are you! The colors really pop off the paper.

katie said...

my mouth is hanging open...good lord judy, these are beautiful. you are gifted in so many areas. thank you for sharing these with us and explaining the process.

Arty Lady's blog said...

Judy, these are gorgeous. It sounds like too much hard work for me though. Great work.

Norah's said...

I am so happy that you thought to share these with us. They are breathtakingly beautiful. I also enjoyed all the details of the process.

Janet said...

This brought back some old memories for me. Years ago (in the 80's) I worked with an artist who created etchings. I printed them for him. He began developing some that were made from some heavy thick cardboard-like material. They were in pieces like a puzzle and each had to be inked individually and put onto the bed of the press. I loved the work and often wonder what happened to the artist. Your work is just beautiful. I like all the flowing lines of the flowers. They look so elegant.

Pam Aries said...

Yes Yes! THese are fabulous! I wish I patience enough to attempt something like this!

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Judy...

your prints are BEAUTIFUL... WOW!!!!

Thanks so much for sharing

martha said...

These are truly stunning!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I bought a print of "Cicada Song" in the mid 1980's. Several years ago, a man from Persia was my guest. He was extremely moved by the quotation and told me over and over how happy it made him to see the picture and to think about life and its preciousness. He was far from home, and I think it brought comfort as well as beauty to his soul.

Ricë said...

these are lovely, judy--