Aquatint, Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Etching, Past/Present, Prints

Past/Present: Water

Today we have a new P/P post, featuring two prints of watery reflections. Both are currently in our Summer gallery show Water, along with other works by contemporary and early 20th century artists. The earlier work is by artist Alessandro Mastro-Valerio,  a highly regarded painter and watercolorist prior to the start of his printmaking career in 1930. Although best known for his mezzotints which won him many awards, he worked in drypoint, etching, aquatint, wood engraving and experimented with continuous bite and sugar lift aquatints. Similar to Maestro-Valerio, the contemporary artist featured in this post, Takamune Ishiguro, employs aquatint in his printmaking. Drawn to this medium, Ishiguro explains “[Aquatint] has many attractive expressions such as lines or areas caused by corrosion and unplanned occurrences.” 

Aquatint is a fantastic technique for capturing water, as it is an etching process concerned with areas of tone rather than line. For this technique, the plate is covered with a ground or powdered resin that is granular rather than solid (as in etching). The plate is then submerged in an acid bath.  The acid bites between the granules of the resin. The design, wholly in tonal areas, is produced by protecting certain areas of the plate from the acid by the application of an impervious varnish. Submerging the plate in the acid bath multiple times can produce different degrees of darkness. Artists will also use several resins with different grains, for a varied effect.

Image on Left: Life in Still Water. By Alessandro Maestro-Valerio. Aquatint, c. 1950.

Image on Right: Some Fragments VIII-C. By Takamune Ishiguro. Etching and aquatint, 2005. Edition 50.











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