Printmaking

ORIGINAL PRINTS AT THE GALLERY AT ICE

The Gallery at Ice showcases collectable, original, signed prints by highly acclaimed artists of International standing.  We are also delighted to represent our own resident, renowned British printmakers:  Barry Goodman, Trevor Price R.E and Catherine Williams MA.  All the prints in our browser are handmade and hand printed by each artist.

The History of Printmaking
Prints have played an important role in the history of art. Before the invention of photography, it was through engravings that many people were able to become familiar with great works of art which would otherwise have been inaccessible. This tradition of bringing paintings to a wider public dates back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when many artists employed engravers to reproduce their work.

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Above illustration: Albrecht Dürer’s “Knight Death and the Devil” 1513 copper engraving.

Many of the greatest artists themselves made original prints. Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt are notable examples of painters who were also highly skilled etchers and produced some of their most memorable images in this medium.

The technical discipline of printmaking, the appearance of ink on paper and the ability to create different ‘impressions’ of the same image through different inking, has inspired artists throughout the history of art. Hogarth recreated many of the images from his paintings in engravings; Picasso was a prolific printmaker in the media of etching, lithography and linocut. Some of Matisse’s best known images are his simple lithographs and stencils.

Other artists whose important works include prints are Canaletto, Tiepolo, Goya, Piranesi, Munch, Toulouse-Lautrec, Whistler, Sickert, Warhol, Freud, Hodgkin and Hockney.

If you are interested in purchasing a collectable original print from The Gallery at Ice, please contact the Gallery Director who will be happy to source images for your consideration.

Printmaking Techniques

There are several different methods of printmaking. Amongst the most common are the following:

Intaglio prints
These are prints where the image is cut into a surface or plate (from the Italian ‘Intagliare’, to cut into). When the plate is inked, the incised lines hold the ink and the image is transferred to a second surface, usually paper. The inked lines on the finished surface are often slightly raised and there is generally a visible line around the image where the plate has been pressed into the paper, called the plate mark.

Engraving
The image is engraved directly onto a metal plate, usually made of copper, with a sharp tool called a burin.

Drypoint
As with an engraving, the dry point needle draws the image directly onto the plate. The residue copper is left on the side of the etched lines, which then collects the ink, creating a furry effect called burr.

Mezzotint
This technique is used to create a tonal effect over large areas. The whole plate is worked with a rocker, creating a rough surface which will hold ink and produce an overall black velvety effect. A second tool is used to burnish certain areas which are intended to be white in the final image.

Relief prints
With these particular prints, the area surrounding the image which is to be printed are cut away, leaving the image on the block in relief. These raised areas are then inked and transferred onto a second surface, usually paper. The most common relief prints include Woodcut and Linocut.

Lithograph
The biggest advantage of lithography is that it does not require the printmaker to etch an image into metal plates, or physically carve out the image on blocks of wood like some other reproduction methods. Instead, an artist uses a set of greasy crayons or pencils to draw a mirrored image of the artwork, usually onto a smooth stone tablet or metal plate. While this can take less time than etching the image into metal, it is still the most time-consuming part of lithography. If the final image has multiple colours, it may be necessary to make separate stones or plates for each.

Screenprint or Silkscreen
A form of stencil printing in which ink is pressed through a fine-mesh screen (traditionally silk) onto a sheet of paper. A design can be applied to the screen in various ways to produce an image. Screenprints are often produced in colour, using different screens for each colour.

Etching
This involves using a metal plate and applying a wax ground.  The ground is then etched into and the plate is submerged into a mild acid that reacts with the metal.  Wherever the metal is exposed,  the acids eat into it, leaving a ridge.   Ink is then rubbed into the ridge and the top surface is wiped clean. The plate is then placed face up on the bed of the press and the paper positioned on top, they are both covered in blankets and rolled through the press.  The paper is then removed and the image is transferred to the paper.  Depending on the edition size the plate can be repeatedly inked and a variety of textures and lines can be attained from etching depending on the length of time it is submerged in the acid.

Variations of Etching include:

Sugar-lift etching: a sugary solution is drawn onto the plate and a wax layer is applied.  It is then submerged in water and the sugar solution lifts off to leave an open clear surface.  This is then etched as above.

Aquatint: the whole plate is covered with grains of resin called an aquatint ground.  It allows acid to bite into the entire area, creating an overall grainy, tonal effect which differs depending on the length of time in contact with the acid.

Chine Colle: this process enables the printmaker to print on to delicate surfaces such as Japanese paper or linen.  In this technique, the etching plate has a layer of paper placed between the plate and printing paper shortly before being rolled through the press.

Carborundum: this is the most heavily embossed of the printing processes because a paste is built on top of the metal plate which sets rock hard.  This is inked up in exactly the same way as etching and dry point but uses far more ink, as the surface is deeper.  The end result is very distinctive and this process lends itself well to strong textural images like themes of the sea.

Collagraph: collagraphy is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate, such as paperboard or wood. The plate can be intaglio inked with a roller or paintbrush, or a combination of both. Ink or pigment is then applied to the resulting collage and the board is used to print onto paper or other material using either a printing press or various hand tools. The printed result is termed a collagraph. Materials such as sandpapers, bubble wrap, string, cut card, leaves, grasses and carborundum can all be used in creating the collagraph plate.

Provenance
Provenance is the cataloguing of the history and prior ownership of an original art work.   Obtaining a proven historical record which can be authenticated can significantly increase the value of original prints.