Tag Archives: aquatint

Coffee And Spit Bite

25 Jul

I’m going to be at Swansea Print Workshop tomorrow and I’ll be preparing some aluminium plates ready for some coffee bite etching, using some of my drawings of Neolithic stone monuments for inspiration. Here’s a blog I did a while back about this technique, which was invented by Andrew Baldwin of Aberystwyth University, an expert in non-toxic etching……

More geeky printmaking stuff from last weekend’s B.I.G. Etching course with Andrew Baldwin at Swansea Print Workshop. The aluminium plate was degreased with whiting and soy sauce to get it re…

Source: Coffee And Spit Bite

 

I have been travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures.

If you want to know more about my solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September, please click here.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.

Quoit

Copper And Stone

7 May
The first proof off the new etching plate

The first proof off the new etching plate

I etched two plates at the recent course at Swansea Print Workshop with Andrew Baldwin of Trefeglwys Print Studio, one aluminium, one copper. I’ve just done a first proof from the copper plate. I used a hardground and the traditional technique of drawing into it with an etching needle than adding aquatint. Andrew demonstrated how to do aquatint using his non-toxic B.I.G. process which involved putting the grounded plate through the etching press with a piece of emery paper face down on top of the ground. This cuts tiny holes into the ground which will etch as an aquatint. I did several dips into Ferric Chloride, ‘stopping’ out areas as I went along to develop the different tones.

 

Then I cleaned the B.I.G. ground off the plate, dried it and inked it up to take the first proof. It’s paler than I wanted it, possibly I needed to etch it for longer, possibly it’s a result of using a very soft ‘drypoint’ ink with a soft Somerset paper. I need to try another proof with a heavier, stiffer ink to see if it makes a difference, otherwise I’m going to have to do some work on the plate.

Andrew Baldwin’s new book comes out in October in conjunction with the opening of the ‘BIG Exhibition’. The book will give step by step guides to all the processes that can be used with BIG. The call for entries for the exhibition is open from 1st June and is open to all who have made prints using BIG. All entries should first be sent to Andrew via atb@aber.ac.uk. The exhibition will open at The School of Art in October and then travel to other galleries in UK before going over to USA.

The subject is the King’s Quoit stone monument at Manorbier in Pembrokeshire. I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

 

The First Proof!

5 May

First proof

I spent this afternoon at an Open Access session at Swansea Print Workshop, ready to take a first proof from my coffee-lift-spit-bite aluminium etching plate, developed at last weekend’s BIG Etching course with Andrew Baldwin. I chose a soft textured Somerset paper from St. Cuthbert’s Mill and Intaglio Printmaker’s Drypoint Shop Mix etching ink. It’s softer than the usual etching ink, specially designed for delicate drypoint plates, but I fancied using it on this because I like its soft smudginess.

 

I’m very pleased with this first proof of one of the standing stones I have been drawing over the past 2 months. The coffee lift technique is wonderfully free and suits my drawing style – I did most of the drawing onto the aluminium plate with a dip pen and a reed pen. I like the splashes and dribbles, so much more spontaneous than traditional copper plate etching with a hard ground.

Andrew Baldwin’s new book comes out in October in conjunction with the opening of the ‘BIG Exhibition’. The book will give step by step guides to all the processes that can be used with BIG. The call for entries for the exhibition is open from 1st June and is open to all who have made prints using BIG. All entries should first be sent to Andrew via atb@aber.ac.uk. The exhibition will open at The School of Art in October and then travel to other galleries in UK before going over to USA.

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

 

Coffee And Spit Bite

4 May
The plate ready to print

The plate ready to print

More geeky printmaking stuff from last weekend’s B.I.G. Etching course with Andrew Baldwin at Swansea Print Workshop. The aluminium plate was degreased with whiting and soy sauce to get it ready for drawing on with instant coffee solution. I forgot to take a photo of mine being drawn, but Andrew Baldwin has kindly lent me a photo from his forthcoming book (below). Once I finished the coffee drawing I gave it a quick flash in the oven to dry it and then rolled over a layer of Andrew’s B.I.G. etching ground. I baked it for 6 minutes and then bathed it in warm water, which lifted off the areas that had been drawn with the liquid coffee, revealing the areas to take an aquatint and spit bite, which will be the darker areas of the print. Then a quick dunk in copper sulphate solution to etch a light grey aquatint, giving the metal a bit of a ‘tooth’.

 

 

The copper sulphate does some chemistry and reacts with the aluminium, effervescing a red residue. Once that happens, the etching process stops and the residue washed off to reveal the lightly aquatinted surface beneath. Once it dried, I added layers of localised etching using a brush and concentrated copper sulphate solution to darken the selected areas. Then I scrubbed off the B.I.G. ground with non-toxic paint stripper and a stiff scrubbing brush. Now it’s ready to take a first proof, which I will do at an Open Access session at Swansea Print Workshop tomorrow.

 

The image is of a standing stone I drew recently on one of my adventures through South Wales hunting the wild megalith. Please click here if you would like to see more of my artworks.

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