Come Up And See My Etchings

drypoing.jpgDrypoint etching of a black and white warbler with pencil drawing alongside.

A nice day to stay in and make pictures; the wind is blowing to beat the band and you have to lean against it to stand up straight. A while ago a great dust cloud engulfed us and blocked the sun all morning, turning the sky an eery bright brown. I could begin to imagine what the Dirty Thirties were like around here in Oklahoma. The dust today was just a pale reminder, but it made it very creepy to look out the window.

So today, among other things, is Etching Day, with a small scrap of zinc plate to play with. It has a blue photo-sensitive coating on it, already exposed to light so that I can draw through it with a steel etching tool. The fine lines show up white through the blue; the next step in the process is dropping it in a warm bath of acid long enough to deepen the lines so ink can get a foothold. Drawing directly on the plate like this called drypoint. You are trying to gouge into the metal. Another way to make an etching is to coat the plate with melted asphaltum (smells like tar, too) and draw through the hardened asphaltum down to the metal without gouging into it. When it goes in the acid, the asphaltum blocks the acid, and the acid eats into the scratched-away lines to make the ink-holding grooves.

The sky is back to blue but the wind is still gusty. Just outside all the deck chairs have been rearranged: big heavy wooden Adirondacks lofted up and sailed straight off the edge into the garden. Impressive what can happen to outdoor furniture in a state where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.

2 thoughts on “Come Up And See My Etchings

  1. Melissa says:

    I really love your work, I wish I could sketch that well in the field, but my sketches are not quite as developed, you really have a wonderful quality to your work.

    Great blog!


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