Tag Archives: copper

Rocking a Mezzotint

19 Aug

I started preparing a copper plate for a new mezzotint this week.  This process is quite long winded and involves passing a ‘rocker’ across the plate in at least 20 different directions. 

Rocking a mezzotint

Rocking a mezzotint

The rocker is a curved tool with tiny teeth that are designed to leave a row of dots on the metal surface that will hold ink. 

Rocking a mezzotint

Rocking a mezzotint

By ‘rocking’ the plate in several directions the surface becomes rough and covered in burs that will now hold ink and if printed at this stage the plate should print a velvet black.


To create the image the rough burs are then scraped away and burnished to create lighter tones that will hold less ink.


Below is a reminder of my willow tree mezzotint plate and the print taken from it.  This was one of my first successful mezzotints, and i’m glad to have finally got round to trying this method again! (however long it may take me!)

Willow tree Mezzotint in progress, this shows the mere foundations of where i've started to map out the image.  At this angle it looks like it's printable but there's a lot more work to do before it can be proofed!

Willow tree Mezzotint in progress, this shows the mere foundations of where i’ve started to map out the image. At this angle it looks like it’s printable but there’s a lot more work to do before it can be proofed!


It's almost there, I just want to define the edges a bit more and add some more highlights.

It’s almost there, I just want to define the edges a bit more and add some more highlights.

Monoprint/Etching experiments

18 Aug

I have recently started experimenting with the idea of the ‘multiple’ by playing around with an old etching and printing over the top of monoprints.  I bought myself a beautiful book called ‘Wildlife in Printmaking’ and came across some amazing monoprints which inspired me to consider using this technique more in my own work.

There are six main methods of monoprinting, some of which are more controlled, but on the whole the great (or perhaps frustrating) thing is that you never quite know what you’re going to get!

Different methods:

1. Positive – Rolling out a thin layer of ink, placing your paper onto the ink and drawing directly onto the back

2. Negative – After taking your positive print, place a new piece of paper onto the ink and rub.  This should pick up the negative marks.

3. Stencil – Using shapes to block areas of the rolled out ink. Also can be flipped over and double printed/layered.

4. Painterly – Painting the ink onto surface using different brushes and tools, laying the paper down and rubbing the back.

5. Reductive – Rolling out the ink and then using different tools e.g. pallet knife or end of a paintbrush to remove ink and make different marks before laying paper over and rubbing.

6. Found objects – Using materials, fabrics, bubble wrap, sand, folded paper etc to take ink away.  Then perhaps flip the materials over to pick up ink from the different textures.

Below are some of the examples of my experiments using stencils for my monoprints.  As you can see they come out quite differently each time!

WP_20140815_006 WP_20140815_009 WP_20140815_004

Etching Experiment

13 May

I produced this etching as part of a demonstration for the Level 3 Printmaking learners at Wensum Lodge. I prepared the plates for them by filing the edges and painting a hard ground onto the surface. I then demonstrated how to draw through the ground and to protect the back before placing in the ferric chloride. It was then etched for 35 minutes to get a strong line. (Hover over each image for more info..)

I then demonstrated how to apply a soft ground to and used some scrim and a cotton bud to remove some of the ground, creating a textured effect on the plate.


I will be editioning this etching soon!

Norwich Open Studios 24th May – 8th June: Martin Mitchell

12 May

I met Martin in 2010 by contacting the Norwich Print Fair about my hope to continue with printmaking after leaving university. Martin contacted me and offered to show me how to produce a ‘Mezzotint’ which is a very old printing technique and involves a lot of patience and dedication! Martin’s work often depicts the beautiful landscapes of Norfolk and Cumbria and he has developed his own techniques in order to create great detail and atmosphere in his work. I have now tried my hand at a few mezzotints myself and although it takes me much longer than Martin, I love the quality of the final print and hope to produce more soon! I am very lucky to still have access to Martin’s workshop and this is where I often spend my days off!

As part of their ‘Intaglio’ project I arranged for a couple of learners from the Level 3 Printmaking course (Wensum Lodge) to see Martin at work in his studio at Muspole Street, Norwich. He kindly demonstrated ‘rocking the plate’ and also proofed a plate that he was still working on. Below are some images from his demonstration but also if you want to go and see for yourself, you can visit him at the Norwich Open Studios from Saturday the 24th May – Sunday the 8th June!!

The Aidan Kirkpatrick Studio

12 May

I vaguely mentioned before now that I have been assisting 82 year old artist-printmaker, Aidan Kirkpatrick, since November 2013. He contacted me through the Norwich Art School to find someone who could help with an order of prints and I have felt very honoured to have the opportunity to work with such an experienced artist. Aidan used to teach etching at Langley School and since retiring several years ago has successfully continued with his own practice, exhibiting throughout the country and also particularly in Bruges – as depicted in many of his works.

I have learnt several new techniques while working with Aidan, for example using a ‘dolly’ to spread the ink across the copper plate, this is when you take a small ball of cotton wool and wrap it in a piece of soft scrim – tying it at the neck with a bit of string or masking tape. I have also been shown how to cut a mount, the best way to dry prints, how to remove unwanted marks and how to cut glass!

I assisted Aidan with an order of around 30 prints, which we completed a few weeks ago. These mostly were his etchings of Bruges as they were then sent off to his contact out there. Since finishing the order, Aidan has kindly let me use his workshop and as it is out in the country, I intend to spend some sunny days producing more work over the summer.

Below are some images of The Aidan Kirkpatrick Studio and Gallery in Loddon, if you pass it – go and have a look!

Aidan Kirkpatrick

2 Dec

I have recently been travelling to Loddon, outside Norwich to assist an artist called Aidan Kirkpatrick at his printmaking studio.  Aidan is an 82 year artist and ex-art teacher and has been doing etchings for a number of years.  He is what I would call a very traditional printer, working from his own drawings to make copper etchings that he then prints with oil based inks and chalk.  I have been learning his technique and helping him to complete an order of his work.  It has been so interesting to discuss art with someone so well travelled and experienced and I hope to pass on what I have learnt to others.

Here is a link to some of Aidan’s work: http://www.eastangliangroupofmarineartists.org.uk/EAGMA%20Gallery%208.htm

'Snape' by Aidan Kirkpatrick


24 Mar

My Dad told me about this programme that I missed on BBC4 last Tuesday, I’m really pleased that he pointed it out to me as I have found it really inspiring! All I can say is I would love to live Norman Ackroyd’s way of life! That’s the dream!!

Watch him on What Do Artists Do All Day


Also have a look at his website at: