Mabou Under Snow
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framed dimensions: 18.5 x 32 in.
Original prints are distinguished from offset reproductions in that they are not mechanical copies of paintings, but are hand made and hand printed in small editions and therefore more valuable. They are usually historic techniques -woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithography on stone, silkscreen etc. My interest is in the intaglio, or ‘under the surface’ technique, which includes etching, engraving, aquatint and drypoint.
Etching process- the basic technique:
Starting off with an idea and a blank shiny piece of copper, I coat the copper plate with an acid resistant ground (wax).
Then, with a needle, I draw the image into the ground, exposing the copper below. The plate is then immersed in acid which etches lines into the plate. Once the image is etched into the copper plate deep enough, I take it out of the acid and clean off the hardground. I hand rub ink into the etched plate and then I wipe the excess ink off the surface of the plate. It is then sandwiched between the surface of the etching press with damp, high quality rag paper on top and then rolled through the press squeezing the ink onto the paper and embossing the plate and the lines into the damp paper. Out come the finished masterpiece, one always hopes.
There are many added techniques in intaglio, which can be worked on the same plate or on separate plates printed on top of one another.
“Mabou under Snow” - etching
The beautiful Cape Breton village of Mabou, just as a snowstorm begins, and all the colours are reduced to a pale soft blue-grey. I started with a straightforward hard-ground line etch, and made successive etches on the foreground trees to make them rich and dark. Then I laid an aquatint over the whole plate and stopped out the fields of snow and the snowflakes with stop-out varnish so that they would stay white when the rest of the plate was inked a soft blue-grey.
- Anna Syperek