Saturday, April 05, 2014

Fraternal twins

4.75" etching on Stonehenge paper

I'm still on my little etching path and reusing disc protectors as etching plates.  As a result, a fish is born.  Well, two, to be precise, and likely more.

I was looking at the acrylic protector and thinking how could I incorporate the central hole into the etching, then of course! The pupil of an eye.  I scratched the image into the disc with a little etching needle.  I torn some Stonehenge paper into 6 x 8 sheets, sprayed then and put them into a ziplock plastic bag to sit overnight and become pliable and plump.  The next morning I coated the plate with Caligo oil based ink in Carbon Black (I love how intense and matte this ink is) then ran a print under the press.  The first print was great (but a couple of tiny flecks of ink on the surface); the second print ok and the third a bit blurred as the paper was too damp.

4.75" original etching on stonehenge

With the second print, I added watercolour washes to it and like the effect as I can see the lines clearly through the pigment.  Put next to each other they look like fraternal twins.  Alike but different.

I'll be printing more of this image as long as the plate holds up.  With acrylic plates the lines compress and burrs become less distinct as the run proceeds, so most are limited editions due to the more fragile nature of the plate.

I've ordered some acrylic plates and etching needles as well as some more printmaking papers to try.  I'm familiar with a lot, but there are always new ones coming out and its good to keep testing and see what may become a new favourite.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Etching in the round

 Double Dipping

A late snowstorm shut down most things today and provided me with a snow day. Hopefully the last til next winter.  I can't begin to tell you how tired I am of winter, its been relentless this year.

So having a day to be in studio was a bonus.  I am in between paintings, so was clearing up, writing content for an upcoming online drawing workshop and uncovered some blank acrylic cd protectors.  These are the clear acrylic sheets, the same size and shape as the cd which protect the top of a stack of blank cds that come on a spool, if that makes sense.  As I use a fair number of cds at work there were a handful kicking around so I grabbed them, thinking I could do something with them.

Using an etching stylus, I scratched an image of a boy fishing for capelin with dip nets taken last summer at the beach.  Of course the central hole and circular ridge are present, but that adds to the uniqueness of the etching.

I used Caligo etching ink in Carbon Black to cover the plate, removed the excess, then hunted around for a few pieces of paper to test print.  The first I grabbed was an Unryu Japanese paper known as “cloud-dragon” This paper istranslucent with long kōzo fibers embedded in it.  I sprayed it lightly with water then sandwiched the disc, paper and padding and put it through my bottlejack press.  The image above is the result.

I did a couple more which were not as clear and may be because the paper wasn't as damp, but I will keep them and add some colour to them and see how well that works.  The etching burrs on drypoint tend to degrade with excess prints and don't hold as much ink, so the number of prints will be limited.

There are any number of options for etchings using these disc protectors that likely would just be thrown out or recycled in other ways.  Watch for more circular etching ideas using these in the future.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The End of Summer

 16" x 40"
oil on gallery canvas

I've completed the second salted cod painting.  I enjoy exploring the multitude of colours which appear in the flesh of the fish as it dries. Going from soft pastels to glowing golds or greys and blues to rich siennas, they never fail to fascinate.

And while dried fish takes a backseat in most food cupboards these days, salt cod seems to stay, at least in Newfoundland. Tradition and history die hard.

In communities dotted throughout the landscape, you'll find cod drying as it has done for hundreds of years on lines, on flakes, on anywhere that it can, to sustain and add to food sources during the winter.

If you'd like to try your hand at this centuries old tradition, here's how.