The workshop of multiplate colour etching run by Swietlan N. Kraczyna came to its climax this afternoon with an exhibition of work produced by the students during the course, Carly Fuglei, Shane Kier, Lauren Miller, Kaitlynn Radloff and Marin Ines Saavedra. Included in the exhibition was the first viewing of the latest work from Swietlan, etched specially for the event, called “Arlecchino con la sua Arlecchina”
A short musical recital from Barga’s very own oboe player, William Moriconi completed the multi media event.
Carly Fuglei | Shane Kier | Lauren Miller | Kaitlynn Radloff | Marin Ines Saavedra[nggallery id=652]
Nick teaches an intensive mutliple colour class. Everyday the students do many color drills. Each person etches their plate to ten different horizontal levels of etch.Then takes one of the primary colors, yellow, red, and blue, inks their plate and then it is printed wet on wet with each plate rotated during the printing process.This gives us 100 different colors. They also learn to use transparency which is mixed with the the ink to give varying levels of saturation. They continue to do a subtractive print in this way, and finally a finished print using all the techniques they have used. Nick calls his methods “working in color not with color.”
Etching out a living – A lost art on display by Swietlan N. Kraczyna source
Still considered somewhat of ‘an outsider’ when compared to other more publicized art forms, the art of etching has always been surrounded by an air of mystery. Throughout its veiled history, it has often been seen as a ‘misplaced’ technique, searching for its role among the pillars of art, alchemy and artisanship.
While ‘noble’ art forms such as sculpture and painting could lead to hard-won fame and glory, creative etchings often served solely to win over women. While a modern Italian may invite a lovely woman to come and see his ‘butterfly collection,’ Renaissance chaps would court a lady by offering the chance to come and see his ‘etchings.’ Etching was an esoteric art form appreciated by few and far-between, and if the pretty damsel accepted the offer, you knew that she was willing to come into your luxurious abode, with little interest in art or butterflies.
Yet, etching does have a very noble birth and prestigious history. Capable of gathering together great artists throughout the centuries, this art form was born here in Florence at the height of the Renaissance.
Il pianeta Mercurio created by Maestro dei Pianeti in 1460 is the earliest known example of an engraving, the predecessor of etching. This technique was further developed in the 1470s and used by the likes of Antonio del Pollaiolo to create his famous La Battaglia dei Nudi. Twenty years later, Andrea Mantegna engraved his noteworthy Baccanale con Tino and many of his techniques spread north to inspire the works of Martin Schongauer, Luca di Leida, Hans Holbein, and Luca Cronach.
Artist Albrecht Dùrer graced the scene by the 16th century, creating some of the most important etchings of his era. The advent of Mannerism, and a regained interest in alchemy and other occult activities, prompted many artists to experiment with new methods and ideas designed to speed up the creative process and eliminate the kinks of the craft. Parmigianino, for example, who worked in Bologna in 1530, employed a corrosive agent called acquaforte—or ‘strong water.’
Parmigianino would cover a copper-plate with an acid resist made up of beeswax and asphaltum. He’d draw the line to be engraved into the acid resist covering, exposing the metal. Then he’d submerge the whole plate into the acquaforte. The acid would corrode wherever the metal was exposed, leaving an etched grove, and the etching process was born. Inking and printing is carried out in much the same manner as with engraving, but the result is decidedly more fluid. Both techniques use many of the same hand joints used when drawing, but in engraving, lines are made with a tool that gauges out the metal with a forward action, thus favoring straight lines.
To engrave a curved line, one must pivot the plate with one hand against the tool, while the other hand pushes the engraving tool against the plate. Etching allowed greater freedom of creating lines, as if one were drawing with a pen. Dùrer (16th century), Rembrandt (17th century), and Goya (18th century) all became champions of this etching technique, producing breath-taking masterpieces cited in innumerable books on art history.
Piranese, another 18th-century artist, carved his imaginary ‘Carceri’ on the page of posterity and dedicated himself to creating evocative views of the Roman ruins. In 1879-89, Whistler traveled to Venice to reproduce lovely views the Serenissima. Mary Cassat, who lived in Paris during the late 19th century, also produced a magnificent series of color etchings. Picasso, throughout his long life in the 20th century, dedicated much of his time to etchings, from his 1904 Absinthe Drinkers to his late erotic prints in the 1970s. Morandi with his poetic still lifes and Chuck Close with his gigantic portraits are both certainly worthy of mention.