Etching Adventures, Part 5

Last week, I showed you the line work that I've done on my current etching. This week, I'll start showing you the aquatinting I've been doing to it.

On Saturday, several days before class, I went to the studio and coated my plate with hard ground. I blocked out the tree roots, but left the abstract clouds untouched because I was curious to see what aquatint would do to those lines.

When it came time for class on Wednesday, I was ready for the spraypaint.

The head of the print studio, Gregg Blasdel (who also has a show currently up at BCA), had switched out the old spraypaint for a new can of protective enamel. I was initially surprised at the red color, but it let me see what I was doing to the plate more easily.

Admittedly, I also like the red enamel because it looks pretty. Yes, my judgement can be that superficial.

For my last aquatint, I had only submerged the plate in the acid bath once. This time around, I wanted to experiment with different gradations, so I put the plate in the bath three times.

Between each bath, I coated the parts of the plate that I didn't want to get any darker with a material called stop-out. It's softer and stickier than hard ground, but it dries quickly and protects the plate effectively. Unlike hard ground, which is primarily for line etching, stop-out is used exclusively for aquatint. It also bears an uncanny resemblance to ketchup.

My plate after its second aquatint acid bath.

My plate right before its third acid bath, after an additional coating of stop out.
After the third bath, it was time to clean off the plate:

My cleaned plate; note the varying textures due to the different gradations.

 Finally, it was time to do a test print and see what it looked like:

This plate isn't finished in my eyes because the aquatint was lighter than I had expected, so I'll be plunging it in the acid again this week. It's definitely going in an interesting direction though, one that I've never taken before.

This Wednesday is our final class, so check back next Monday to see how this plate turns out.