“Why do I do what I do?” was the question posed. Not so easy to answer.
I do etchings because it is a technical medium yet is completely hands-on and does not involve computers. As a former computer professional, I am interested in a medium that has been around for centuries and has a rich history. I love the challenge of taking a vision in my mind to an image etched in metal and then printed. This progression from internal vision to external print is always a fascinating journey fraught with obstacles to be overcome and successes to be cherished, as well as some failures from which lessons are learned.
I do color etchings, rather than the traditional black and white style, for the same reason that I do color photography rather than black and white. While structure and composition are the essential elements of black and white photography and etching, these elements are also important in color etchings with the added dimension of the interaction of colors in the image. In my etchings, I like to play with color variations of an image to see how the color shifts change the impact of the image. Sometimes, only small color variations can drastically alter the impact of the image. Besides, the world is a place of color and most of the images in my mind are in color. There are times when the greatest challenge is to make the colors in the print match the colors in my mind. I have one rule: color is applied to the plates before printing, never after printing. This separates my work from the form known as “hand colored” etchings.
Finally, part of the appeal of doing etchings is that it is such a rare art form. There are not many people who do etchings and there is not a common understanding in the public of this art form. This gives me the opportunity to explain to people what etchings are and how I do them.
Lately, I have begun making prints using various techniques on discarded CDs. The base material is a plastic which lends itself to some limited engraving. I also use GAC 200 to glue various materials to the disc for texture.
I have also recently taken up serigraphy - fine art screen-printing. So far, I have used photographic techniques as well as hand painting to place images on the screen for printing. The biggest advantage to serigraphy is that no press is involved. The biggest disadvantage is that tones and textures are difficult to produce which results in flat areas of color. I'm still experimenting with serigraphy.
I have also recently taken up relief printing - wood and linoleum blocks. I have done several hand-carved images in both wood block and linoleum block. I am also working with someone who programs a CNC machine to do the carving of images. So far, we have tested both wood and linoleum blocks with simple and more complex images. One image, of an egret stalking through the water, has been hand carved in linoleum and machine carved in both linoleum and wood. It is not possible to tell from the prints which blocks were used to make the prints.