This is one of the plates that I have been blogging about recently. The shapes are random, just moving the hand round and not thinking about that too much. What we have here in technical terms, though, is about the best aquatint I've done since I worked in Thomas Gosebruch's studio in London (where I first learned some non-toxic techniques).
The bright area came from an acrylic stop out. The dark lines inside the stopped out area are a mixture of line etching into a Pledge floor polish hard ground, plus drypoint (which is obvs non-toxic because it's just scratching into the bare metal.) The aquatinted background has two layers: the grey feline shape, which was etched for 40 minutes then stopped out; and the very black background, which was resprayed and etcehd more for a total of about 75 minutes (in 45 baume ferric chloride).
The left hand area of the actual proof is very black, too, it just looks lighted because of the glare of a studio light. Altogether, this prooof exceeded the expectations I had in my last blog post about it. It gives me hope that I can now embark on that series of etchings I've been itching to do for most of this year.
The thing about using acrylic based/non-toxic products for etching is that it has to accomplish a number of things:
* Degrease the plate.
* Supply a coating (hard ground, soft ground, aquatint) that will resist the mordant and which you can work into and make marks easily.
* Strips off the plate easily so you can print it or work with other techniques on it.
So far, I've got the degreasing part in hand (soy sauce and water, followed by a paste of bon ami and water), the resists mostly in hand (Pledge floor wax for a hard ground, Speedball screen filler for aquatint, stop out made from GAC200 + acrylic paint), and the stripping solution doing ok (soda ash in warm water).
The resists are still the trickiest part. I'm still testing how to apply them properly, how long you can make marks in them before they harden, how long you should etch them. But with the copper plate shown in the photo above, it looks like things might be converging on a usable set of procedures. The bright areas were protected by the acrylic stop-out. The dark areas are an aquatint created using the acrylic spray with an airbrush. The lines in the stopped out areas were created by stripping off the aquatint, then reapplying the Pledge hard ground, and re-etching the plate. When I print it tomorrow, I should be able to see: a) whether the resists etched properly; whether the reapplied hard ground protected the aquatint from further etching; whether the stripping solution removed the resists entirely.
From the look of the plate, though, I'm hopeful that it will produce a good proof.
This is my studio blog. I also have another blog, Praeterita, which contains more general art-related posts.