Friday 24 April 2020

Drypoint exploration

Drypoint is an intaglio printmaking process, which means the ink is printed from the depths of the plate - the areas cut away, rather than the surface. In that sense it's like etching - except that with drypoint you scratch directly into the plate, rather than using acid to bite the surface.

The lines created with drypoint are distinctive, because the ink is captured within the 'burr', the edge of the cut line. It is possible to use metal or perspex plates. In either instance the plats have a shorter life - because each printing serves to flatten the plate.

Enough of the background! Here are a couple of examples. To familiarise myself with my new Hawthorn etching press, I created a small drypoint image of Pittenweem on the Fife coast of Scotland. It's an atmospheric, beautiful fishing village - with cottages hiding from the sea down narrow alleys called 'wynds' which often connect to streets on other levels. My husbands family spent many holiday in the cottage on the right. It has been wonderful to revisit this beautiful area with him.

Test print - Pittenweem drypoint (perspex plate)

This image started as this little sketch, below:

Sometimes, I find I use drypoint to test a planned composition. This is a drypoint which I created as a little study for 'Above Ullswater' to see if I like the structure. I then went on to explore how to create this in a linocut. You can see more about this process in my blog on the topic here.

Initial drypoint test plate for 'Above Ullswater'

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