Tag Archives: mezzotint

Like Chalk And Cheese

17 Sep

I went to a weekend etching course at Trefeglwys Print Studio the weekend before last with two other printmakers – one of whom was Husb. He did some beautiful work but looking at what we produced emphasised that we’re like chalk and cheese. Here’s Husb’s beautifully modulated head of a child, burnished into a copper mezzotint plate, and my bonkers Mari Lwyd, an ancient Welsh traditional life-size puppet with a horse’s skull. Vive le Difference 😀

baby

 

mari mezzo plate

 

The Double Drop

13 Sep

double drop 1

And the last thing I did with my mezzotint plate last weekend was a Double Drop! Trefeglwys Studio tutor, Andrew Baldwin, wanted us to get some experience of doing different things with our intaglio plates, not just printing in black. The Double Drop is a way of overprinting one colour over another to achieve a beautiful level of richness and depth. First, I inked up in orange and then took a conventional print, but stuck one end of the paper to the bed with masking tape before it went through the roller, so it was trapped when it had been printed. Then by a complex system of registration, the plate was removed, cleaned and inked with a Prussian Blue and was overprinted onto the orange. The result is rich and beautiful.

 

double drop 2

The first drop, the plate is printed in orange, then cleaned and inked ready for the second drop.

 

Andrew has developed his own non-toxic etching ground – B.I.G. or Baldwin’s Etching Ground and he runs regular workshops at his studio in the beautiful countryside of Powys. Printmakers come from all over the world to study this technique and there is an ancient cottage next door for people to stay in.

The image is developed from an original drawing I did of a Mari Lwyd, an ancient Welsh tradition based on the Celtic horse goddess Epona – a life size puppet made from a horse’s skull that welcomes in the New Year.

 

 

The Final Proof

12 Sep

final proof

I worked on my Mari Lwyd mezzotint plate again, after doing the first state print on the second morning of the weekend course I did at Trefeglwys Print Studio. I needed to burnish the highlights a lot more and lighten the Mari’s feet. Then onto another proof print which turned out to be the final proof because I’m very happy with the quality of the image and I don’t think I need to do any more plate work. I used Charbonnel black etching ink onto soaked Hannemuhle paper.

 

The First State

11 Sep

 

first state

 

I spent the first day of my weekend etching workshop at Trefeglwys Print Studio developing a mezzotint plate. With two other printmakers, I worked until quite late and got up early ready for day 2. I was ready to print the first state – which is the very first print off a plate, to see whether it’s ready to go or if it needs more work. Advised by Trefeglwys printmaker Andrew Baldwin, I used Charbonnel black etching ink onto Somerset paper, soaked for about half an hour. The print is nearly there ….. I need to strengthen the light tones around the head of the Mari Lwyd and do more work into the copper plate on the feet, which have all but disappeared. The tones on the clothing need to be lightened too, with a scraper and burnisher. It’s surprising how dark the image still is, despite looking quite light on the copper plate.

 

 

Scraping And Burnishing

10 Sep

plate prep3

I spent a very busy and creative weekend with two other printmakers from Swansea at Andrew Baldwin’s Trefeglwys Print Studio in mid-Wales, studying his non-toxic intaglio printmaking methods. We started with the ‘faux mezzotint’ technique, using his own make of etching ground to create a pitted surface, like a mezzotint plate and then, after transferring our drawings, set about creating the image by scraping and burnishing light and white tones onto the surface of the plate.

plate prep4

 

It’s a long and detailed process and I worked on it all afternoon and into the evening, stopping for a meal and then back into the studio until about 9.30. We were all shattered so after a quick cup of tea, we hit our pillows by 10 pm.

 

Chiaroscuro In A Doorway

28 Dec

door

After a bit of a break for Xmas and too much good food and gallivanting, it’s head down for a bit more serious work. I’m carrying on with my series of small drawings from photos taken in the old church recently, using the simplest of materials, white conte crayon into an A4 Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ sketchbook. I’m trying to explore atmospheric mark making and get out of my comfort zone, which is a fine pen into a little sketchbook. These drawings emphasise chiaroscuro and I hope they’ll eventually lead to some more finished work in manier noir style drawings or even some mezzotints. These interiors remind me a bit of German Expressionist film sets, one of my favourite periods of art and printmaking.

And A Cranny

21 Dec

cranny

Yesterday I drew a nook in the old church and today I drew a cranny. I was lucky enough to be able to take some photographs in an early 20th century church a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been drawing from them using white conte crayon into my Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook. It’s pulling me away from my usual reliance on fine, detailed line and into intangibles, atmospheres and emotions. I’m so enjoying it and getting ideas for manier noir drawings and mezzotint etchings. I’ll be doing a lot more of these sketches I think, I’m finding it very stimulating.

The Dark Manner

9 Mar

drawing 7

I’ve been working on some ‘manier noir’ drawings. The name means ‘in the dark manner’ and usually refers to the printmaking technique of mezzotint. I stretched the paper onto a wall originally, gave it 2 coats of gesso and when dry, I rubbed it all over with graphite block, then a rag dipped in turpentine to get a smooth slightly metallic finish. The drawing is done with wire wool and aluminium oxide paper, or fine sandpaper, removing the highlights and  paler tones. It’s a type of reductive drawing. One of the photos in the slideshow below shows how big the paper is, but I’m planning on getting three smaller drawings from it.

 

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Drawing Darkly

25 Feb

wpid-wp-1424897236656.jpeg

I spent some time in my studio today, starting a ‘manier noir’ style drawing. It’s a type of reductive drawing, working from black to white, rubbing away areas of charcoal to reveal the highlights. It’s the very first of a substantial body of drawings and original prints I have planned.

I prepared Fabriano Accademica paper with gesso and when it dried, I rubbed it evenly all over with compressed charcoal, using my hand to get a smooth black surface. I ‘draw’ into the charcoal with steel wool and very fine sandpaper. This technique results in a subtle but dramatic chiaroscuro.

Manier noir is an alternative name for the printmaking technique mezzotint, where an engraved metal plate has the highlights smoothed away with a steel burnisher.

Mezzotint on aluminium: Percy Cat

21 May

A fantastic printgeek blog about doing a mezzotint onto an aluminium plate from Nancy Farmer.

Mezzotint on aluminium: Percy Cat.

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