Etchings sometime

by maggie

At Morley College we are working through the techniques and having got a hang of the press and printing we are now moving on to old skool etching with metal plates, acid and the weight of the Western Art Cannon.

Etching seems to be taught by building up techniques; hard ground, soft ground, aquatint and the various means of stopping out. Taking Artists Proofs as the plate progresses is a way of marking the development of the image from a straight forward line drawing to something approaching atmospheric tonal deaths (if that’s your thing).
I’m never very happy with my line drawings and there are often only a first step sketch so we shall see how things turn out.
This is the image I want to work from.

Scan 2015-10-6 map

It comprises a night view, north, over Lynn Padarn from above Llanberis. the foreground is illuminated by an out door lamp on a nearby building. Other sources of illumination are, on the left: the hydro-powerstation, central: a dock light on the lake and light scatter in the sky.
The bulk of the Elidir Fawr with it’s abandoned slate quarries forms the back drop. The top of the mountain is obscured by cloud and the top of the tree seemed the same tone as the sky. (The little blobs in the sky are bats.)

This image should make an excellent aquatint if I can get the gradation of greys to work. (My last attempt came out rather too dark.) Hard ground provides the bones of the piece. Soft ground, which makes a more pencil line, will be used for the sharp shadows in the grass of the foreground and the tree.

I am quite anxious about this project. It a much bigger investment of time and resources than the previous dry points. I thought I would do all sorts of preparatory work to understand the landscape. Here’s one of the drawings I did in Paper 53. The fill tool is very useful…

reversed image to get an idea what working on the plate would be like.

reversed image to get an idea what working on the plate would be like.

The original drawing was done in soft pencil, and couldn’t get it dark enough. there is of course much more potential detail than solid black walls.

I’ll add my artists proofs as i go so you can see how the state of the plate progresses.


Update: December ’15

I probably won’t be working any more on this image until the summer, when there is a six week course on etching. So here’s the first of a series of artist proofs to keep you going.


Update Dec ’16