Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Promises, Promises

After reading my last few posts from the fall semester, I realized that I had promised to post work that I had done then. I wish I had been more timely with this post, but I have a few photos that I can share with you now.

Here was my first installation project. It was lit from within so that you could see the shadows of people hovering over the animals (etchings printed on very thin asian paper). When you looked into the "windows" in the box (as illustrated by my classmates in the photos above) you could see the shadows form different points of view depending on which window you looked into. The outside was covered with woodprints from a really great gnarly piece of thrown-away plywood.

Below was my second project for this class where I created "corozas" (caps of shame) from a silkscreened image of one of my monotypes (last one below). It was the first time I had done a silkscreen project in many, many, many years (and I was a bit rusty).

Anyway, sorry for the delay in the posts. This work is not really what I want to do. I see myself as more of a printmaker and illustrator and I have no interest in installation work. But, here it is in all its 3Dness.

Experimenting with white ground etching

The Skeptic
Etching, ©2010 Elana Goren

This past fall, I experimented with etching techniques that I hadn't tried before such as white ground etching. For the print above, I used white ground as an acid resist on a zinc plate.

White ground is a soapy mixture that allows the artist to build up thicker layers of resist where the acid can't reach the plate as well as thinner, gradated areas that are more susceptible to the acid's bite. This ground is more unstable than regular asphaltum-based ground and so it needs to be monitored more closely when in the acid bath. But the instability of the ground adds to the textural and tonal quality that it yields.

It's a little tricky to paint with what is basically soap on the metal surface. But, it can be worked with while it is wet to add texture as you would a soft-ground application or it can be scratched into with a pointy object that's not too sharp to scratch the plate (unless you want to add some drypoint lines to your image). It's also nice to work with a medium that can be corrected easily by washing off the undesired application before starting to etch.

After applying the white ground, the plate is covered with aquatint rosin and it can then be etched. It's recommended to use the white ground before applying aquatint since this makes for a smoother surface to paint on. 

I took the photo of the plate (above) to see what would translate when the print was done. I believe this was taken in the middle of the process where I had already etched the plate and was applying new layers of the soap ground for another etch. You can see how some of the thinner applications of the ground have gone from light to dark grey and the thicker applications remain white. This process is alot like the aquatinting with asphaltum hardground but behaves less predictably in the acid. But the benefit to it is that it allows for a more fluid, gradated image and the white color makes it more visibly straightforward to paint where you want the image to be white.