Printmakers You Should Know

Since I'm currently filing and coating my plate with hard ground for my new etching project, we'll be taking a break from my work this week and meeting another printmaker.

Last month I showed you an line etcher whom I really admire, Ernest Haskell. This month, I'll introduce you to an artist who helped me discover the beauty and versatility of aquatint: Doel Reed.

Doel Reed, Rio Grande, aquatint, ca. 1971, 11'' x 17''
Doel Reed, The Gorge at Pilar, aquatint, ca. 1978, 10'' x 15''
Originally from Indiana, Doel Reed is considered a master of aquatint. He's best known for his landscapes of Taos, New Mexico, where he had retired after teaching art at Oklahoma State University, and became an important member of the Taos artistic community in its post-1960s incarnation. He first discovered the southwest after suffering respiratory damage in Europe while serving in World War I, and needed the salutary benefits of a drier climate.

Reed trained as a painter, but today he's best known for his aquatints. Though essentially self-taught as a printmaker, Reed’s understanding of aquatint was profoundly influenced by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya, who is considered one of the great masters of the medium. Reed even published a book on aquatint called, appropriately enough, Doel Reed Makes and Aquatint. In this photographic picture book, Reed walks through reader through this complicated process, using photographs to explain the technique.

Doel Reed making his aquatint. You can buy used copies of this book on Amazon.

As with other printmakers I've featured on this blog so far, I first encountered Reed's work when I was an intern at the Dallas Museum of Art. The DMA has several of his prints, so it was hard to settle on just one. Here are a few examples:

Doel Reed, The Southwest, n.d.,
Doel Reed, The Morada, n.d.

Doel Reed, Demonstration Print, 1960, aquatint

Eventually, I settled on this one, to stick with my theme of landscapes.

Doel Reed, Willows at Ledoux, ca. 1970, approximate 13'' x 19''
I could have used the others, of course, but I liked the compositional arrangement of the trees. What I really love about this print, however, as I do with Reed's work in general, is its textural quality. Reed uses many gradations of aquatint here to achieve a rich range of tonal values, and the variety in his lines and textures, particularly in the foliage of the trees, makes this an extremely compelling print to look at in person. A photograph cannot do it justice.

Want to learn more? Check out these sites:


  1. Great prints! I especially like the southwestern themed ones.

    1. I'm glad you agree! Doel Reed created some beautiful work.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoy it! I post every Monday and Friday, and every first Monday of the month I introduce a new artist. Great website, by the way!


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