Sunday, 19 September 2010

A Dog and a Chair

I started with a 10 x 15 cm aluminium plate.  I painted some Lascaux acrylic resist hard ground,  on to the plate - then I 'scribed'  my image through the ground,  using an etching needle, exerting only  light pressure.    The little dog like figure had evolved from my attic plate that I had done for the exhibition (New Zealand)  in Mark Graver's International print exhibition back in January.

 I think maybe the tiny chair which you would almost hardly even notice may have been inspired by David du Bose's gorgeous drypoint which is in the "Intaglio" book by Robert Adam and Carol Robertson... although it is a motif that I have always used in my artwork every now and again.
This Red proof shows the plate in the same state, as in the first one - I had some what over wiped it.

 I seem to remember that I then left that plate aside for ages as it had just been a little ditty plate that I did while I was waiting for something else to dry.
I decided that there wasn't enough variation of tone and for some reason decided to take an additive approach  to the plate using Lascaux acrylic pastel ground for the dark area - unfortunately I applied it to the plate,  in far too casual a manner and well you can see the consequence of this. Although I liked the dark background and the lighter foreground.

This application, i.e., to the plate that outputted the blue proof -  meant that,  in a way,  I was using a collagraph application onto a plate that had been etched ................but what matters to me is the final result when printed onto the paper.  Where I am concerned  having some kind of 'purist' attitude to etching  or to printmaking gets us nowhere.  I mean, if the 'technology' exists then use it........ well that's what I say.
As you can imagine - I wasn't too pleased with myself where that background was concerned so I though I would sand it down a bit which is what I did and then took another proof.

It still looked 'naff' so I concluded that it would be best to get rid of the layer of acrylic pastel ground.  So I put  the plate in some Lascaux remover for a while I think I had it in for about half an hour.  It came off pretty easily.

Then I decided to put the plate back into the copper sulphate mordant.    With plates of this size putting them into 'etch' in mordant,  is so easy.   I use those little black plastic rectangular trays that ready made pasta dishes come in.  They are  just  big enough for these 4 x 6 inch plates.  I painted Lascaux acrylic hard ground onto the plate which I had degreased using Jif  cleaner (what you use to clean the sink and the bath) .    Here's the plate with the acrylic resist ground applied.

I painted a layer of it,  onto half  of the  area I wanted to get etched.  I left it in the copper sulphate mordant about 5 minutes.  Then I put it in some remover  and when it was cleaned off I~ put it back into the mordant, for a further 5 mins.  I ought to add that while I was applying the acrylic resist I also put a layer of that over the bottom half of the image and went over the lines delineating the figures.  They looked a bit too light ..the lines...I wanted them to be a bit more pronounced.   It looked a lot better.

I don't know why I hadn't done this in the first place but it might be that I had some of the pastel ground on my brush that I was applying to another plate and that I though I would chuck some onto it while I had it out.  Anyway I took a proof to see how it looked   .Dab a bit here dab a bit there tra la la ....what a twerp !!

Much better and I also liked that the  lines of the figure were stronger.
It's funny how the colour you proof in,  can make such a difference to the mood of the image  isn't it?.

A few days later I did another quick proof with  "a la poupee" and liked that too.  When I finally do print this b.a.t, - I may add a little chine colle element,  printed inkjet on Japanese paper .... we will see.


  1. I really like this image, especially the last one. Thanks for showing all the different states, I liked following along. Have you ever done the photo-etching method? I'm really a monotype printer, but I've been thinking about trying it.

  2. Thanks for showing all these steps of your journey with this plate. The end result is so much more effective compared to the initial print you took. I like your experimental approach. Jo

  3. A comprehensive lesson. Thanks for sharing. Could you please let me know the thickness of the aluminium you use and do you glue it to another substrate? Also, where do you source the aluminium from? Is it the type of aluminium plate they use at Printers?

  4. oh what a beautiful progression. i love how the chair is so small you can barely see it. and then when you look up close, it is such a pleasant surprise to see it there, so unassuming but still very present. my favorites: the red proof and black on of the current state.

  5. Thanks for sharing, really love the work, and ditto the others on seeing the progression.


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