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Preparing an etching

This week, I started an etching of DJCAD. I chose the subject matter for my Dad’s birthday, as he did his postgrad at the college back in the day. But I was also interested in depicting more buildings in my work, and etching seemed liked a good medium to depict the large swathes of tone found in the structure of buildings. In a way, it’s similar to how the snow scenes I first depicted lend themselves to etching, in how they have large areas of relative tonal consistency. This makes it a lot easier to block in different parts of the image when aquatinting.

With my first two etchings, I chose to trace the initial sketch from photographs using carbon paper (or from one of my paintings in the etching of Overlooking Town, Snowfall) so as to focus more on the etching itself and get used to the medium. I would say that’s cheating a bit though, and a bit of a waste of time as I’m not training my eye as much, so now that I’m more settled I want to work from drawings, which I then trace onto the plate. Drawing freehand onto the plate seems very difficult, though this might be something I try in the future on some of scraps of metal the Printing Workshop has lying around.

I've been looking at the work of Dutch Golden Age artist Hercules Segers. I appreciate his paintings but I particularly enjoy his etchings. The various textures give a lot of life to the pieces and his compositions are striking. I also feel inspired by the various experimentations he does with the prints - treatments of the paper, rubbing away of elements, use of watercolour in certain parts to make them stand out... There's a great book in the library which shows the various versions he would print of his etchings.


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