There’s nothing worse than having time to work, and being completely unable to make any positive use of it. Lame! I’ll have the second installment of the print in progress up sometime this weekend…
Over the next week or so, I’m going to go through the evolution of a print. Why? Well, why not? I’m working on a print, I’ve got a scanner and an internet connection, and it seems like a good idea.
What we have here is the first image I printed from the plate that I’m working on. What you see is called line etching. It’s the result of covering a copper plate with a ground (asphaltum, in this case), and then using a stylus to break through the ground. The exposed copper etches when put into acid, and that’s how you get lines. There’s a lot you can do with line etching (pretty much anything you can draw with a pen you can do in printmaking), but there are things you can’t do as well (varying line weight, for instance). To make up for the flat line weight, you can vary the length of time that each line is etched for, resulting in a difference in boldness of the lines. That difference doesn’t really come out as much when line etching is the sole technique used, but when combined with other techniques, it makes a huge difference.
In this state, I’ve etched lines in three stages. The bulk of the line work was in the acid (ferric chloride) for an hour total. The second stage was etched for around 30 minutes (for example, the outline of the sun, and a lot of the small detail work). The final stage was etched for only 10 minutes (mostly the hair on the farmer’s arms).
Next time: aquatint.