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A Woman Picking up a Rock, 2011, relief etching with watercolor,
6 x 4
1/4 inches

RELIEF ETCHING: AN EXPERIMENT

 I was reading Joseph Viscomi's book, Blake and The Idea of the Book, in which the author tries to reconstruct the obscure printmaking methods Blake used to produce his Illuminated Books. Relief etching looked pretty easy - a sort of reverse process like my linocuts - so I decided to give it a try. Oh, easy for William!


 11/12/11, painting on copper plate

11/12/11, varnished plate with fine lines drawn with needle

11/15/11, 5th proof with watercolor

 This was only a test-- just to see if it would work. Not as easy to draw and paint on copper with asphaltum as it looked in the book. The varnish wanted to spread out on the plate, refused to hold a line. Aj Smith told me the varnish wasn't thick enough, and it turned out he was right. But then I had trouble ethching the plate because my nitric bath was old and produced no bubbles, so I tried some old ferric chloride (it had been, like, 10 years since I had done any etching) and that worked pretty well--too well, in fact, since I got some foul biting in the dark areas--but it bit the fine lines pretty well. Until I get some more acid I don't have a strong enough mordant to bite the large open areas, like the back of the woman here. I had to wipe that out with a rag before printing. But I think I might like this technique.
 
11/14/11, 1st proof, with watercolor
  
11/14/11, 2nd proof, with watercolor


11/15/11, 3rd proof


11/15/11, 3rd proof with watercolor

 

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