I found this brilliant video introduction to Intaglio printmaking on Youtube:

Very well-edited and informative video clip.

Mezzotint is one of Intaglio printmaking techniques. Strictly speaking, it is a drypoint, as the image on the plate is formed by roughening the surface of the plate and then smoothing some areas, as opposed to incising the metal in engraving, or biting with acid in etching.


by Philip Scott Johnson

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Music: Bach’s Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV

Mixed media original print by Margaret van Patten

"Paper Thin"

While looking for artists working in mezzotint, found an amazing art by an artist Margaret van Patten.

Paper Thin
photo by Harold Hutchinson
Etching with mezzotint

The image is rich in content – messages from conscious and subconscious levels merge in an emotional and elegant manner. The technical diversity the artist applied to creating the plate makes for a complex yet un-crowded image.

Love her work!

I seem to be managing with less proofs now than I used to.

Some prints took around 20 or more stage proofs before the final image. Especially the larger portrait mezzotints, like “Girl by the Window”, “Mother and Child” and “Alina’s Faces”. The smaller and less detailed mezzotints were finished with 4-7 proofs.

I put together a couple of video clips made of a succession of stage proofs. Here is the “Alina’s Faces” – 1:

Experience helps. Now I can judge better the depth of the burnishing by the look of the plate. Important to get the right light on the plate. It has to be diffused yet strong enough.

There were many frustrating moments while I was trying out a variety of rocking methods.

I gave up rocking the plates myself very early on. The process of working on the image itself is time consuming hard and slow enough without wanting to devote another double that time and effort to preparing the plate.

Before I found my present supplier of pre-rocked plates, I tried machine-rocked plates made in Japan. These were no good – very shallow rocking.

Although it was much easier to work on the plate and achieve fine detail without too much effort, the burr was too shallow to hold enough ink. Even light wiping of the plate would lift the ink up and leave bold grey patches on the bakground.

Mezzotint print. "Claire". Marina Kim Mezzotints.


The “Claire” was made on such a plate. The inferriority of the plate made the wiping process extremely fiddly. I manage to print around 60 impressions including author’s proofs and a few rejects simply because I like the image too much to give up sooner.

Faces Everywhere…

April 24, 2011

Funny how things get connected these days through thin invisible digital threads…

An artist came to the gallery today => I posted a link to his work => Someone “liked” my post => I went to see their blog => that reminded me of a drawing which happened long time ago…

That drawing “happened”. One of my daughters (don’t remember now which one of them) made a little doodle with watercolours on  the back of one of my rejected prints. A charming toddler’s doodle. The ease, the precision, the confidence of naivety.

And, as usual, I saw a face in it. To make it more even more obvious I very lightly touched the drawing to add eyes, nose, lips.

I wish things “happened” more often.

…And then I go on to see what more that Someone-who-“liked”-me has to show, and he has this:

Everything is connected. Things do happen. And I imagine that I know and notice. And that should be enough.

Scottish castle.

April 22, 2011

“I’m the king of the castle!
You’re a …” — ahem…

May. I am off to a Scottish castle for a week on a new portrait commission assignment. One of those things which I never anticipated ever doing in my life. Still, one never knows…

I had this uneasy feeling again and decided to do something constructive about it.

Step one: Identify what caused that feeling.

To help with that, think back to the time when it first appeared. Then, think what exactly caused it – someone’s remark, or action, or some event. Then, think what it made you feel like, or what negative thought that thing evoked in you.

Step two: Breath deliberately.

Concentrate on getting your body, especially brain, oxygenated (but not hyperventilated!)

Step three: Take action.

Whatever that event or thought was, take action to minimise the impact of it. If it’s an event with possible negative consequences, think how you can reduce the harm and take steps to do it. If it is a thought which caused you grief, analyse what makes it negative and think how you can turn it into a positive thought.

Step four: Let go.

Now, decide whether the action you took is all you can do at the moment. If the answer is positive, let go of the whole thing and go do something else. If the answer is negative, repeat steps 1-4.

Q: How do I know if what I did is enough?

A: You’ll know because the uneasy feeling is gone.

It worked!

Just thought that sometimes people live with those uneasy feelings lingering for years!..