Constraints and possibilites

by maggie

This is my excuse and I’m sticking to it – the contents of this post has distracted me from posting regularly and keeping you all up to date with my activities.

Last summer i dropped into the mix a selection of abstract, colour field type images, without much explanation. The earliest images date back to around 2003-4 when I was still a college studying weaving. Since then they’ve been refined and pared down and reinterpreted and played around with. Sometimes I can think about them in terms of field, column* and strike, other times its – meh, or okay.

*Lately I’ve been thinking absence is a better term than column.

There’s an opportunity coming to investigate different etching techniques and I thought this subject would be appropriate. So I began to fill a new sketch book, all 120 pages, with new work.

Here’s the  syllabus 6 week Etching course….

WK. 1 Hardground
WK. 2 Softground
WK. 3 Aquatint, including sugarlift and spit biting
WK. 4 Disrupted/mixed grounds
WK. 5 Other processes as requested. this could include openbite or tusche
Wk. 6 Revisiting any of these processes plus class show and tell session.

Of all the people in my class I’m the only one interested in pursuing new knowledge. I’ve done hard and soft ground before, as well as some aquatint process like sugar lift and open bite.

I want to learn about spit bite, white ground as well as disrupted/mixed grounds.

Then there’s mixing techniques up. Inking two colours on a plate (possibly) and wiping, paper and always more stuff.

But enough words, your here to look at the pictures. (Goes to fire up scanner… )

Here’s one image to get started, the rest I’ll post separately.

And here are some proofs – the beginnings of some finished printed images


Here we have the field in blue, the absence (or column) and the strike in red. This is the plan that most images will follow. Blue can be replaced by red and the various elements can expand or contract. The overall proportions of the image vary between 1:1, 2:3 and 2:1. The strike is always vertical, although the image can be either landscape or portrait.

I used a wide variety of techniques* as you can produce different effects. As for a successful image i’m hoping for a sense of depth and personal involvement.


Soft pastel, oil pastel, pastel pencil, colour pencil, watercolour wash, gouache, oil paint, felt pen, collage, correction fluid, ink…