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E. F. Yeager Garden Studios
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Printmaking and Original Prints

      AN ORIGINAL PRINT is a print created and hand printed by the artist using high quality, 100% rag or acid-free art paper. This fine art process can produce multiples (etchings, aquatints, collagraphs or linocuts) or one-of-a-kind prints (monoprints, monotypes or nature prints).   In no sense is an original print a copy or a reproduction of any kind.   Each print is, in itself, an original work of art produced by the artist, one at a time.

      Most of my works start out as Etchings, Aquatints, Collagraphs or Monotypes, and then I add Watercolor, Acrylic, Colored Pencil, Chine Collé, etc. to enhance and individualize the image -- whatever it takes to make it just so.   Every Original Print I produce has some additional hand work done to it by me after I run it manually through the press.   The following describes the printmaking techniques I use in producing the artwork displayed on my web site.

Etching ~~~ Nature Printing ~~~ Aquatint ~~~ Collagraph ~~~ Monoprint
Monotype ~~~ Limited Edition ~~~ Reproduction ~~~ Conservation Technique
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Etching

ChiliPepperRed Original Print - Etching Example *   I acid etch my designs into a metal plate.   To do this I first bevel the edges of my zinc plate so the rollers of the printing press can smoothly roll over it.

*   Next, I coat the plate with asphaltum, an acid-resist and the same black tarry product that is used to coat roads.

*   After it dries, I transfer my drawing onto the coated surface.   Since I want a fine line for my etching, I use a sewing needle to draw through the asphaltum, which exposes the zinc surface.   (I do not dig into the plate, as an engraver would--I let acid do the work for me.)

*   Next, I lower the plate into an acid bath and let the acid etch or "eat" into the metal for 15-20 minutes.   The acid etches into the metal everywhere I drew a line.   Once I clean off the asphaltum the plate is ready for inking with a thick oil based ink, developed for this process and typically dispensed from a squeeze tube.

*   Finally, I rub my printer's ink into the etched lines, wipe the plate surface to remove excess ink, and crank it through my printing press with a damp piece of high quality, 100% rag printmaking paper.   As it goes through the rollers the damp paper forms around the plate, producing the embossment, or plate mark, you see in the paper.   The pressure of the press and the wet paper also help to pull the ink out of the grooves so that it stands up on top of the paper surface.   The embossment authenticates the print as an Original Print (and not photographically or mechanicaly reproduced).

*   Normal yield per etching plate is 50 - 100 prints, depending on the hardness of the chosen metal and the depth of the acid etch.   (Each time my plate goes through the press the pressure causes the metal surface to wear down to the point where the grooves will eventually no longer hold ink.)   Also see Limited Editions below.

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Nature Printing

DetailThaiPartial350 Original Print - Nature Print Example
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Aquatint

DetailAquatintRoseGRed Original Print - Aquatint Example *   A method of introducing tonal areas into an etched metal plate.   The name derives from the Latin aquafortis, indicating nitric acid (literally, "strong water"), and the Italian tinto, meaning tone.
*   The plate is dusted with rosin and placed on a hot plate.   The rosin partially melts to the plate, producing a limited block to the acid bath process to follow.
*   Areas that are to remain totally blocked (and print white when inked) are painted with asphaltum, as in the etching process above.   So on the roses print at left I first painted out the highlights on the petals.
*   The plate is lowered into the acid, which eats into the plate all around the dots of rosin and the painted-out area, producing a tonal effect.
*   Next I paint out another section of the rose petals and again lower the plate into the acid.   I repeat this process for 4 to 10 times so I can produce a range of tones from light gray to black.
*   When I am finally satisfied, I frequently print the plate in shades of gray and then hand watercolor the print.   But I can also print the entire image in one ink color, say burgundy, and the resultant image will show a range of tone from light pink to burgundy.
*   Because of the shallow depth of the etch of the lightest tones, a typical yield from a plate might be 15 to 25 images. (Each time my plate goes through the press the pressure causes the metal surface to wear down to the point where the grooves will eventurally no longer hold ink.)   Also see Limited Editions below.

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Collagraph

DetailCollagraphRoseGardenLtBlue Original Print - Collagraph Example

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Monoprint

KGCoWmbgVAF Original Print - Monoprint Example       A Monoprint is a mix of something repeatable (i.e. Etching, Aquatint or Collagraph) with something unique (i.e. Nature Prints).   So, though you may see the etching and collagraph in a subsequent print, the leaf most often will be altered or destroyed in the process.   "Mono" indicates a one-of-a-kind print.

      Since each print is created individually by the artist, each image is unique and considered an original print.   Try as I may, I could never find a group of leaves the same or be able to duplicate exactly a previous print.   I build on the experience of each print, exploring new ways of combining elements into the next.

      In the illustration at left (from my Herb Theme Gardens page), all of the individual pieces were inked and run through the press together at the same time.   The Collagraph of sky, buildings, fence, path and yard were cut from mat board, then carved, texturized, inked and arranged.   Each (Nature Print) herb I grew, flattened, dried, rolled with printer's ink and arranged in the center garden.   Each Etching plate I designed, drew, incised, etched, inked and arranged.

      I covered the resultant composition with a damp piece of paper and cranked it through a printing press, the pressure of the press transferring both the color and the texture of the leaves.   Because the etching plates are thicker, their "plate mark" embosses into the print, giving it an added dimension of depth and marking of authenticity.

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MonotypeTulips1 Original Print - Monotype Example

Monotype

      A monotype is an image resulting from the direct transfer of a fresh painting or drawing from a previously unworked (blank) plate onto paper.   Since the image actually transfers from the plate, the process yields just one "mono" print "type".   There is simply not enough residual paint left on the plate for a second image.

      This differs from the monoprint described above in that a monoprint includes something repeatable, such as an etching, that will remain the same whenever it is printed again.

      The "plate" may be plexiglass, mylar, metal, cardboard, treated paperboard or any other surface I wish to work with.   Each affects the final result differently, so each has its merits.

This illustration is from my Monotype Garden.

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Limited Editions

      In printmaking, an Edition is a set of identical prints (all on the same color paper with the same color ink), numbered and signed, that have been hand-pulled from the same plate by the artist.   The number of prints in the edition is determined by the materials used in the process, and I have provided yield information in the descriptions above.   The commonly accepted practice, and one that I firmly adhere to, is to stop releasing any edition well before any falloff in quality is discernable.

      Prints are numbered in a format such as 1/50, where "1" is the first in an edition of "50".   You may occasionally see AP or A/P in place of 1/50; this is an "Artist Proof," and by convention is limited to 10% of the edition (My example of 50 would therefore be limited to 5 Artist Proofs).   These prints are the final developmental prints towards the full edition, and differ from it in subtle ways. They may also be printed on a different colored paper or with different colored ink.

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Reproductions

      Reproductions are a perfectly good and reasonable alternative for someone who is not in the market for the higher priced original.   However, they should be priced accordingly, in the $5 to $50 range, such as my notecards and reproductions (or $50 to $100 for signed limited editions--see below), but unfortunately are often found well above that price.   The method of reproduction can be digital, xerographic, photomechanical, "offset lithography" or some such other automated means.

      As reproductions, the artist's involvement is generally limited to overseeing the accurate rendition of her original work, and, occasionally, her signing of the copies.   Everything in between is handled by a machine.   The result can be an edition numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands.   The jury is still out on the reasonable size of a "Limited" Edition, especially when the run is potentially limitless.   Unfortunately, that decision must fall upon the buyer.

      My advice:   If the signature of the artist has its own intrinsic value, or the run is sufficiently small to give the reproduction some investment opportunity, then go for it.   However, if all you are looking for is an attractive piece for your wall for a few years, then demand a reasonable price.

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Conservation Technique

      What is the value of applying conservation technique to the production and display of fine art?   You have only to look at an old newspaper or an old paperback novel for examples.   These, and the vast majority of paper-based products, are produced with wood pulp materials containing certain acids which "burn" paper, causing them to turn brown, to become brittle and eventually to disintegrate.

      I have created all of my Original Prints on 100% acid-free rag paper, hinged or corner mounted them with acid-free materials onto acid-free mounting board, and matted them with acid-free mat board.   In other words, I have done everything museum curators and connoisseurs of fine art would expect to preserve my artwork for your heirs and their heirs and their heirs.

      Any competent framer should be able to finish this presentation to your satisfaction without defeating the museum quality preservation techniques I have employed.   If your framer responds with "Huh?" or insists it doesn't matter, get a second opinion.


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