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Kitty Watt, printmaker — the art of aquatint etching

Published on 12/07/2017

  • Kitty Watt, printmaker — the art of aquatint etching

KITTY WATT is a master of the art of aquatint etching. She has a number of fine prints in our current Summer Exhibition. Here she explains the printmaking process. 

 

Kitty Watt print rollers

Etching is an exciting and varied art form and Aquatint is one of many techniques used. There is as much skill in the inking of the plate as in producing an image in the metal, which is what makes each print so unique.

 

Kitty Watt soft ground Kitty Watt Grassland and Flight
Grassland and Flight     two plate etching     soft ground

 

The etching plate is usually made of zinc, copper or steel. It is cleaned and coated in acid resistant 'hard ground'. The design is scratched onto the plate and immersed in acid which bites into the metal, forming a groove. This gives a line print.

Kitty Watt Trees at Crathes plate Kitty Watt Trees at Crathes line print
Kitty Watt  Trees at Crathes aquatint Kitty Watt  Trees at Crathes  inked plate
From metal plate to line print, aquatint and inked plate

 

Trees at Crathes — etching by Kitty Watt

Trees at Crathes  finished etching

 

Powdered rosin is sprinkled onto the plate and sealed with heat. This coats the metal in a fine dust, varnish is painted on areas of the plate to be kept light and immersed in acid for a very short time. More areas of the plate are painted as it is immersed for longer and longer times. This gives tones to the etching.

Gathering 1 — etching by Kitty Watt Gathering 2 — etching by Kitty Watt
Gathering 3 — etching by Kitty Watt Gathering 4 — etching by Kitty Watt
Gathering 5 — etching by Kitty Watt Gathering 6 — etching by Kitty Watt
Developing tones in an etching

 

The cleaned plate is coated in ink, polished with muslin and tissue paper, before it is placed, face up, on the etching press. It is covered with damp paper and blankets before it is moved through the etching press to produce one print. It has to be re-inked for each individual Aquatint etching.

Kitty Watt etching process Kitty Watt etching process 2
Kitty Watt etching process 3 Kitty Watt etching process 4
Kitty Watt etching process 5 Kitty Watt etching process 7 
Inking up and printing in press

 

Kitty Watt etching

 Finished etching
 
Blog by Kitty Watt

 

COMMENTS

From Comment
Avi Chakravarty
5/09/2017

Amazing artist - love her etching/prints!

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