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Nancy Farmer Art Blog

Etching... burnishing... and, well, hello!

by nancy_farmer , January 20, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: burnishing, etching, printing

Hi. New to artid here, so I have no idea who's going to read this, but what the hell. Have blog thingy, will post :-)

Now I'm never really bothered by natural daylight when painting, which is supposed to be all-important, but then again I don't paint 'natural' paintings. All the same, it's a cold, clear bright sky out there, which for once is very usefull as I have an etching plate to burnish - see the piccy.

To give you a very brief idea of what I'm doing, I first etched the outlines of the women, then the entire surface of the plate was etched. So it's rough all over and if I were to ink it up and print it at that point I'd get black outlines against dark grey background. Now to put in the highlights. To do this I'm burnishing - rubbing the surface smooth and shiny again - the shiny bits won't hold ink and so they will print white, or paler. They show up in the photo as bright white... with the right sort of lighting. No daylight and lighting from the wrong angle and you have your shiny highlights showing up darker than the rest of it of course, which makes this a good daytime job and not a thing to do in the evenings.

The burnishing tools are made of agate and haematite and actually supposed to be for gold leaf, but the plate is aluminium, so relatively soft, otherwise I'd probably need steel tools, though don't quote me on that - I've only really used aluminium for etching, and frankly I've not been using this technique for long. All I know is this seems to work for me.... Here's a similar one I already finished and printed:



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