What Is An Etching?

August 28, 2018

Moncontour is an etching and aquatint by Martha Hayden

Etching is an old medium and was perfected in Germany during the first quarter of the 16th Century. The image for an etching is created on a metal plate. The earliest etchings were done on iron but after 1520 copper was the most common metal. Zinc has gained in popularity in the last 100 years.

Keeper's Watch is an etching by David HunterThe metal plate is covered with an acid resisting ground. The artist free hand draws through this ground with an etching needle. When the plate is exposed to acid in the areas where the artist has drawn, the lines will be eaten away to create the design on the metal. The variation in the strength of the line is controlled by the number of times that the artist places the metal plate into the acid bath.

After the plate has been "bitten", the artist applies a very thick ink over the plate and then forces the ink into the lines. The surface ink is wiped off and a damp piece of paper is laid onto the plate. The ink is forcibly transferred to the paper by a special etching press. When the paper is removed from the plate, an original etching can be seen. Another etching can be created, but the artist must ink the plate each time. Most modern etchings are then signed and numbered to establish an edition. While this process is fairly easy to describe it requires a high degree of skill on the part of the artist. Even though there is more than one etching, each is considered an original work of art because it is not a copy of anything else.

Some of the most celebrated artists that worked in this medium are Rembrandt, Whistler and Picasso.

David Hunter will be demonstrating how etchings are pressed on Aug 31 to Sept 3, 2018. He will be here from 10 to 5 everyday except Sunday which will be 11 to 5. 

Seaside Art Gallery is here to help you find the perfect work of art. Contact us today by phone or online for any questions you may have about that certain piece catching your eye. We’ll help you find the right piece for your needs!

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