Process

I've always been drawn to the immediacy of drawing. Black on white, pencil or charcoal on paper. Press down, the marks darken, let up, they get lighter. Rub it, the marks change or disappear.

Printmaking became an extension of drawing, a way of illustrating stories and making multiple images while retaining the hand-made quality. Intaglio printmaking is the form I use most often.

The term "intaglio" is an Italian word meaning "incised". Line etching, aquatint, drypoint, engraving, soft-ground, and mezzotint are all intaglio techniques.

The images are usually begun as line etchings by melting and rolling a thin layer of a ground or varnish made of beeswax and asphaltum onto a warmed, mirror-finish copper plate. Fine lines are drawn through the ground into the plate with a steel needle, exposing the copper beneath. The plate is then submerged in a bath of ferric chloride, which etches the lines into the plate, the wax ground protects the undrawn areas. The ground is removed, and the etched plate is inked by rubbing a stiff oil-based ink into the lines and wiping the top surface clean.

Slightly dampened paper is placed over the plate, the wool felt blankets of the etching press are laid on top. The plate is drawn through the rollers of the press with a hand crank. Plates can be reworked by regrounding, adding lines and re-etching as needed until that mysterious point where the print "feels" done.

Color can be applied directly in different areas of the plate and carefully wiped, or two plates may be used to achieve multiple color effects. Sometimes prints are hand-colored with watercolor or colored pencil after the printing ink has dried. And sometimes only overlapping combinations of methods work.

Each plate is printed as a limited edition. The numbers in the left-hand corner of the print indicate the unique number of the print followed by the total number of prints in the edition. Papers are of 100‰ rag content and all matting materials are acid-free for longevity.