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            fine art and custom murals

Copper Plate Etchings



Original, hand-pressed copper plate etchings are some of my favorite prints to make. In order to produce the solid lines in these images, I coat a sheet of copper with a waxy substance, and then carve the design through the wax with a sharp needle. The half-tone shading is created by using an airbrush to spray a dot pattern of wax. I then take the waxed plate and soak it in a bath of corrosive salts. (Traditionlly printmakers used acid, but this newer technique is non-toxic and equally effective.) The salt eats into the exposed areas of metal, recreating my wax design in the surface of the copper. I then rub the cleaned, waxless plate with thick ink, working it into the groves and half-tone pock marks. I wipe the surface of the plate clean, using a special cloth and then run my plate through a hand-cranked press with a sheet of damp paper placed on top of it. The damp paper sucks the ink out of the groves in the plate, transferring my image to the paper. You can identify an authentic etching by the slightly recessed edges around the image. This is where the press stretched the damp paper over the edges of the plate, permanently embossing the paper.

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Fiskar's Medly




As the name implies, a Collagraph is a print made from a collage.This assemblage of cardboard, fabric, plastic and other textured items is then treated with a water resistant coating of gesso or shellac and inked in the same manner as an etching. That is, the thick ink is first rubbed into every crack and crevice, and then wiped gently from the surface, leaving only the indentations inky. The plate is run through a press with damp paper and often leaves an elaborately embossed and colorful image.

The puzzle-piece technique which I use in many of the prints on this site is created by first printing an etched copper plate image onto a piece of mat board. I then cut this reverse-image mat print into several puzzle-like pieces. Each piece is rolled with various colors of ink and then I reassemble the puzzle on the press bed. First I run my wet paper through the press with this color collage, then I run the same piece through a second time with the copper plate etching. This second run adds the shading and detail to the collagraph's blocks of color.

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9 Lives on a Glass Harmonica



Lithographs come in many varieties, but the basics behind them are similar. They are always printed off of a flat (no relief) surface which has been chemically treated to allow certain areas the ability to accept ink and other areas to reject it.

One traditional method which I prefer involves using a large, perfectly flat chunk of limestone as the printing surface. After using a heavy, handled disk called a levigator to level the surface, I draw or paint my design onto the stone using a greasy crayon, paint or ink. I then apply a series of chemicals to the stone itself, causing the greasy design to become hyper attractive to ink and the undrawn areas to become super water absorbant. As you know, water is highly grease repellant, so as I roll an inked roller over the absolutly textureless surface of my wet stone, the ink only sticks to my image. By carefully counting the number of ink passes I have made over the stone before each printing, I can keep a uniform richness to my image as I print. The lithographic press scrapes the image onto dry paper, using the preassure of a sliding bar, rather than a roller.

Specially designed metal plates can be used in much the same way as stones and are more popular now due to their ease of use a mobility (my stones weighed about 300 pounds each and had to be moved with a small fork lift.)

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Serigraphs (Silk Screens)


Serigraphs are the oldest type of printmaking. Some of the earliest cave paintings we find are of paint blown over a hand pressed to the wall. From stencils to silkscreens, any time you mask one area and paint in or around it, you are using this method of printing. For my serigraphs, I do use a framed piece of silk which I block out with a photo sensitive chemical that hardens when exposed to light. By cutting out pieces of photoresistant material and placing them on the screen, I can make "holes" where ink can be squeegeed through my screen. For each color in a picture I create a separate screen. I then start with the palest color and use a hard rubber spatula to squish the ink through the open mesh of my screen onto each sheet of paper. The first round always looks strange. maybe I will have only a pair of yellow eyes staring out at me from every page. But as I progress through color after color, the images start to build and become recognizable. After 10 or so colors, I ended up with the image to the right.

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