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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.
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nationality Herb Gardens       Herb Mixtures       Herbal Quilt Garden
Historic Herb Gardens       Individual Herbs
Flower Gardens Home       Individual Flowers       Floral Trios       Monotype Florals       Floral Leaf Garden
Spring Garden       Summer Garden       Autumn Garden       Winter Garden
Dreams       Wine       Beach/Water       Strata
Wine Grapes of the World       Notecards and Reproductions      My Secret Garden       Landscapes       Hearts
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