Skip to main content

Acrylic hard ground prints

 I'm continuing my exploration of non-toxic printmaking, looking for ways to achieve the sorts of marks you get via traditional intaglio etching but without using the chemicals, acids, and so on. Below are two proofs of a print I made as follows:

Take an old steel plate, 5" x 7".

Coat it with three layers of an acrylic hard ground, consisting of 90% GAC 200 acrylic varnish and 10% black airbrush pigment. Wait for one layer to dry completely between coatings.

Scratch lines into the dried varnish using a drypoint needle and an etching needle. Some of the lines are very shallow, some of them are very deep.

Ink and wipe as for an intaglio plate. I used a red-black mixture of Akua inks.


The first proof looks like a hard-ground etching. Even the lightest lines held ink and printed well. For the second proof, I added a lot more deep lines, wiped it less, and it came out more like a drypoint. All in all, the experiment was a success.

There are a couple of things that I haven't solved yet. One of them is how to lay the varnish on the plate so that it's flat and smooth, without any ink-trapping ridges or hills. To get the white areas in these proofs, I had to wipe heavily using a lot of newsprint and even Q-tips. Of course, I might also want to have plates that display a lot of texture, so this medium would be great whenever I want that result.

The other thing is that the initial creation of the plate is time consuming, as it can take two full days for the layers of resist to be completely dry. For a more traditional hard ground etching, you could lay down the resist, dry it out, draw into it, etch it, clean off the plate, ink it and proof it in half a day. Nevertheless, this acrylic non-toxic method would be good to use, for example, in a classroom setting.

Comments

  1. there are no images here and the link are not working

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.


A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Artist-Writer-Artist: Gerard Woodward

I am extremely pleased that poet and author Gerard Woodward agreed to be interviewed for this series. Gerard and my wife, Patty, were colleagues for a short while at the end of 2008, when Patty taught for one semester at Bath Spa University, where Gerard is a faculty member in the Creative Writing program. Gerard spent the spring semester of 2011 in Chicago on a reciprocal visit. Gerard has published poetry, short-stories, and novels. "Householder", his 1991 collection of poetry, won the Somerset Maugham Award in the UK, and his novel "I'll Go to bed at Noon" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. Of his most recent novel, "Nourishment", The Daily Telegraph reviewer wrote: "It is a novel to be savoured, and Woodward is a novelist to be treasured." It turns out that in addition to his success as a writer, Gerard started his adult life in art college, and still draws and paints when he can. So here, from a writer's point of view…