I Like...Printmaking Mondays

by Ross Bannister
(Port Douglas QLD Australia)

1-Autumn Moon Dreaming

1-Autumn Moon Dreaming

Welcome to what was my world of Printmaking on Mondays at DAB Studio Gallery in Mossman.

Mondays meant to me...creativity and community with other artists getting down and inky with one fabulous tutor, Elizabeth Hunter...imported from Cairns especially to guide us through the labyrinth of printmaking techniques and the fun stuff of rolling off our early attempts through the press.

I am personally, one satisfied novice and devotee of my new found love of printmaking. Thanks Elizabeth for your guidance and endurance of eight Mondays in a hot tin shed with many excited puppies...high on turps and ink fumes I think!!

I will now reel you all through my etching experience over the four stages of an artwork titled "Autumn Moon Dreaming". Yes, its a fancy name, but that's what it is, so hang in there!

Starting with No.1 stage... ahhh the magic and mastery of incising your design onto the bitumen coated zinc plate with an etching needle. Voila! we have the design embedded into the plate. Not too much detail, as we want to build the image as we go.

Into the acid bath now to bite the exposed line work, just minutes after we have the desired results, out of the acid and into the water to rinse. Remove the bitumen with a soft cloth and mineral turps prior to proofing the plate...and on and on and did I stay on it goes, repeating this theme after every stage. I will step it up by noting now that

No.2 stage involved aquatint, actively spraying a mist of fine black paint onto the plate's surface, then tarring the areas that I wanted to leave lighter...acid bath time.

No.3 involved blocking in the design of the clothing with diluted ink and white ground and then again tarring the areas I wanted to remain lighter...acid bath time, oooh!

No.4 was the grand finale, placing the little tacker dried hydrangea petals onto the plate. My plastic surgeon skills came into play by using a sharpened satay skewer I think to arrange the petals... so sue me, botched or not, no refunds!

One more time with the tacky tar to painfully cover the areas I wanted to keep light...into the acid bath girlie, for the last time.

There you have it, Autumn Moon Dreaming with an antique finish, compliments of my mac.

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Autumn Dreaming
by: Judith

Hi Ross, I find your story inspiring and I hope my students get as much joy from etching. Your aquatinting procedure is pretty sensible. I have been doing it the other way round. Thank you dear friend.

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