Nov. 2, 2001. Working on a plate (12 X 18 in.) of
some white trillium
growing in the woods. There are a zillion different kinds of
which look very different and are found in different places.
is a type which occurs around where I live.
This is the drawing, on tracing paper, whose lines get transferred
to the plate. This one uses a thin layer of soft ground on
with the drawing laid face down on the soft ground and the lines
with a pencil, which presses into the soft ground and makes lines in it
which are then etched into the copper when the plate is immersed in
chloride. This gives a soft line similar to a pencil on
I'll use etched lines needled through hard ground for the flower
to help accentuate them. Next step, Aquatints!!
19. Christmas rush. Orders to
fill. Platework ends up on the back burner. Anyway,
a picture of the first line proof, printed from the plate before the
get etched. For this image I plan to use a fine aquatint for the
medium for the middle ground, and coarse for the background.
lines look about right so on to the fine aquatint.
plate while working on the fine aquatint.
This is the copper plate with the lines etched into it and a variety of
things adhering to the surface of the plate. First, the whole plate is
coated with fine particles of rosin which are then heated and melt and
stick to the plate. (you can'tsee it here) This allows the acid to eat
away the copper between the dots, roughs up the surface of the copper
it holds ink and prints a tone, called an aquatint. I only want it on
foreground, so everything else has been blocked out by painting it with
asphaltum ground. (the brown stuff)
The flowers, plants and dry leaves have been painted with a permeable
(the white stuff) which gives a painterly looking result. I
wanted some very light tones on the blossoms, so I put the plate into
ferric chloride for 18 seconds, which will give me about a 10% tone on
all exposed areas. (per centages refer to tones on a grayscale, 10% is
light gray and 100% is black) The blossoms were then stopped
with asphaltum, more white stopout applied to the rest of it, and now
ready to put back in the ferric chloride for an additional 17 seconds
will make a total of 35 seconds in the ferric chloride which will etch
all exposed areas to about a 20% tone. I'll then stop out all
plants, since I don't want any tones darker than 20% on them, and
the "step biting" process in the leaves for tones of 30%, 60% and 80%.
Then I'll clean everything off down to bare copper and repeat the whole
process for the middle ground imagery, then do it again for the
This will give the image more depth and more impact than if I used one
aquatint for the whole image.