What is an Etching?
Unlike paintings or drawings, prints exist in multiple examples. They are created by drawing a composition not on paper but on another surface (often referred to as the Matrix) and transferring the composition to paper. This is done by placing a sheet of paper on the drawn surface and running it through a press, or, depending on the technique, by pressing the paper onto the surface by hand. Numerous “impressions” can be made by printing new pieces of paper in the same way. The total number of impressions an artist decides to make for any one image is called an edition. Each impression in an edition is signed and numbered by the artist. Each of various methods of printmaking yields a distinct appearance, and an artist will choose a technique in order to achieve a specific desired effect. Since some printing techniques are quite complicated, many artists use professional printers to create the final work.
Intaglio Printing. Intaglio comes from the Italian word intagliare, meaning “to incise.” In intaglio printing, an image is incised with a pointed tool or “bitten” with acid into a metal plate, usually copper or zinc. The plate is covered with ink, and then cleaned so that only the incised grooves contain ink. The plate and dampened paper are run through a press to create the print. Usually, the plate is smaller than the paper, so that the impression of the plate, or the platemark, remains on the paper. When a limited edition of impressions has been printed, the plate is usually defaced with gouges or holes to ensure that it cannot be used again. The intaglio family of printmaking techniques includes engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, etching, and aquatint.
Etching has been a favored technique for artists for centuries, thanks largely to the ease with which an etched image is created. An etching begins with a metal plate (usually copper) that has been coated with a waxy substance called a “ground.” The artist creates his or her composition by drawing through the ground to expose the metal. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, which “bites” or chemically dissolves the exposed lines. For printing, the ground is removed, ink is introduced into the incised lines, and the plate is wiped clean. The plate is covered with dampened paper and run through a press under great pressure in order to force the paper into the lines, resulting in the raised characteristic of etching.
Drypoint prints are created by scratching a drawing on the plate with a needle. The incised lines of a drypoint are shallower than those in an etching, and in this technique the burr is not scraped away before printing. The result is characterized by heavier, softer-looking lines than those in an engraving.
Aquatint is an etching process in which the artist is concerned with tone rather than line. For this technique, a plate is covered with particles of acid-resistant material such as resin and heated to make the particles stick. The treated plate is then placed in an acid bath, which bites into the copper that is exposed between grains of resin, yielding a composition marked by texture and tone.
Over a period of forty years Pro Hart has painted watercolours for his own enjoyment. Most of these watercolours are stored in albums in Pro Hart’s studio. It has been a long term desire of Pro Hart for the widest possible audience to enjoy his art. The Gicléigital printing technology offers Pro Hart the opportunity of developing his personal collection into graphic prints in strictly limited editions of one hundred and fifty copies.
What is a Giclé Print?
The word Giclé is a French word meaning ‘fine spray’, which is what a digital printer does as it prints this type of art. An original is produced and entered into a computer through a digital scan. The Giclé process then is digital printmaking with an iris printer that uses minute droplets of ink to create prints that cannot be duplicated by other printing techniques. Because there is no visible dot screen pattern, the resulting image has all of the subtle tonalities of the original art. This produces exceptional museum quality prints. The entire Giclé movement emerged in the 1990s and has allowed many artists to experiment with printmaking in ways that were not involved before. It permits an artist to make the artwork any size and to print on any substrate or type of paper or canvas in very small quantities at any one time. Giclé prints have a very impressive track record for exhibition at prestigious galleries and museums such as:
- The Louvre museum in Paris
- The British Museum
- The Washington Post Collection
- The New York Public Library
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art
- The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
- The New York Metropolitan Museum
- The National Art Museum
- The San Francisco Museum of Art
To make a screen print, an image that has been cut out of a material such as paper or fabric is attached to a piece of tautly stretched mesh. Paint is then forced through the mesh or screen onto a sheet of paper below by means of a squeegee. The uncovered areas of the screen will, of course, allow the paint to pass through, while the areas covered by the compositional shapes will not. For works with more than one colour, a separate screen is required for each colour