An etching is an image that is cut into a metal plate using acid. When done, the plate is inked and the plate surface is wiped clean, with ink remaining in the etched areas of the plate. The inked plate is then printed. The art of etching involves using a variety of different methods to etch the image into the plate. I use a process called an aquatint. The plate is painted with an acid resist except for the area to be worked on. The open area is lightly sprayed with enamel spray paint and is put into the acid bath. The acid will etch in between the particles of spray paint, leaving a pitted surface. The aquatinting process is carefully planned and very mechanical, but there is also spontaneity in the chemical reaction between the plate and the acid that I can’t always predict. I can get a wide variety of shapes, textures and resonant grays and blacks that are not possible with other mediums.
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