With Collectables 2020 cancelled by Covid, it was nice to be ‘back in business’ and have our Maleny Printmakers exhibition at Munnimbah-dja gallery at Maleny in 2021. Four of the prints that I made for the exhibition were on aluminium plates etched with a Copper Sulphate and salt solution, however each one was slightly different in process.
Bilby was a continuation of my ‘Endangered Species’ series. So, in keeping with the Quoll and Burramys parvus prints, it is a straightforward line drawing. The linework was drawn with a stylus into a hard ground on the plate, and then etched.
Stripey Light is also a line drawing from the plate point of view. I used some watercolour to add colour to the lighthouse, but probably the main difference is that the work was printed on a piece of nautical chart instead of a printmaking paper. The chart was one of the many charts that accompanied us on our circumnavigation on the Yacht Burramys from 1991-2003.
Captive also started as an etched line drawing and initially etched the same way as the above two plates. To add some colour to the image, the plate was inked up the same as any other intaglio plate, then a fairly transparent layer of colour was rolled over the inked plate before printing with my etching press.
I got a bit braver with Outback Love. The plate of the birds was a 20cm x 20cm print that I had made for a print exchange. I’d thought of putting a tone in the background, but also thought there was a fair chance it just wasn’t going to work so left it as a line etching. But, the thought was still there so I cut the plate down to fit on 11.5 cm x 13.5cm paper (‘Collectables’ size) and proceeded to block out birds and twigs with shellac, then re-etched to get the tone. I think I was rather surprised when it actually worked quite well.
For the 2019 Collectables exhibition by the Maleny Printmakers I started a collection of Australian endangered species. Admittedly I didn’t get far – only my first two – a quoll and a mountain pygmy possum. Aluminium plate etchings on Garza Engraving paper (paper size 11.5cm x 13.5cm).
Floating By and Drifting By
I rather like the old book illustration quality of these small etchings (paper size 11.5cm x 13.5cm) that were done for Collectables 2018. They are printed on BFK Rives paper and handpainted with watercolour.
Copper Sulphate etching on aluminium
I have only recently discovered Copper Sulphate etching on aluminium plates. It is a relatively easy process and safer than etching with nitric acid. In many ways it is similar – the plate is covered with a ground (in this case a hard ground) and the image drawn into the ground with a stylus. The plate is then etched with a solution of copper sulphate, salt and tepid water.
‘Antichinus’ is printed on Garza Engraving paper with sepia ink and was made for the After Dark exhibition at the Mary Cairncross Interpretive Centre at Maleny.
Zinc plate etchings (2005-8)
I took to etching on zinc plates with nitric acid like a duck to water, until I decided that I really didn’t like playing around with nitric acid.