Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Damselflight. Etching. 12x12" approx.

Judith Angell Meyer asked a question about coloring an etching. For those who do not know
about etching, this is a brief description.

Most of the color in my etchings were created using intaglio inks. My etching images were made on zinc plates, with a combination of fine lines and dots etched at varied depths to hold the inks, which are about like oil colors in texture, and usually very dark in value. My method was to push the thick inks down into the crevasses, carefully separating the areas of color. The surface of the plate was then selectively rubbed with tarlatan, a stiff material which clears the smooth levels of the plate to reveal the light values.

The paper was wet when placed over the plate. Thick blankets were placed over that, and the press bed was rolled between rollers under great pressure. This forced the image up so it was absorbed by the paper. The print was pulled off the plate and dried between blotters.

Some of my complicated etchings were remarqued with colored pencils to heighten and separate the colors. Another method of adding color was to roll as many as three transparent colors onto the surface of the plate over the intaglio colors. (See Damselflight)

I use the past tense here because my studio is not set up for printing at this time.

All images and writings are the exclusive property of Ruth Zachary.

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