Uncertain Destinies, Nautical Art,Archival Framed 4 color etching of shrimp boats at Dog River Marina, Dauphin Island, Mobile, Printmaking

Uncertain Destinies, Nautical Art,Archival Framed 4 color etching of shrimp boats at Dog River Marina, Dauphin Island, Mobile, Printmaking



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  • Handmade
  • Vintage
  • Materials: Etching Ink, Acid free printmaking paper, Acid free foam board, Real wood frame, All acid free mats used

  • Height: 30 inches
  • Width: 31 1/2 inches

“Uncertain Destinies” a color Etching size - 16 1/2" x 20 1/2 , FRAMED with acid free cream and rust brown double mat and backing board. Brown, real wood frame size is 30" x 31 1/2 . The Uncertain Destinies etching has been accepted into the following local and National Shows:

*State of the Art ’93 National Show, The New England Fine Art Institute, April 1993, Boston, MA
*Eastern Shore Art Center Members Juried Exhibition, March , 1991, Merit Award. Fairhope, AL
*15th Harper College National Print and Drawing, Traveling Exhibition, Feb.-April 1991, Purchase Award, Palatine, IL
*NPVAG National Juried Art Show, May 1990, Honorable Mention, Scottsbluff, NE

This is a four color etching and one of the things that makes this print so unusual is it's large size in that there are four different etching plates that had to be drawn on, etched in acid, altered, scraped, burnished, re-drawn and re-etched many times to get it to this point where the four plates can be inked and printed one at the time to produce this one four color etching. The following describes the process in more detail.....

What is An Etching?
Etchings are drawings that are etched onto flat metal plates using an acid mordant. The plate is inked up and hand cranked through an etching press where the inked image is transferred from the plate, onto a damp piece of paper. Etchings are not photographic reproductions, but original prints that are pulled from these plates as each print has been hand inked, printed, signed and numbered by the artist who created it. Although there is a small edition of the same image, each print is in essence an original work of art.
The plate, usually copper, is first coated with a dark brown acid resistant substance called “ground”. After drying, an etching needle is used to draw through the thin layer of ground in order to expose the copper plate. After the drawing is complete, it is submerged into a pan of weak acid which “etches” the exposed lines down into the plate. The longer the plate remains in the acid, the deeper the drawn lines will become and the more ink they will hold producing darker lines when printed. If lighter lines or areas of value are desired the plate is left in the acid smaller amounts of time so the lines hold less ink. The plate therefore, is taken out of the acid at regular intervals and areas “stopping out” to create varying values on the plate which when inked will contain areas of many different values from light to dark. The lightest lines and values on the plate have been exposed to the acid the least, and the darkest lines and values have been exposed to the acid’s “biting” action the most.
The ground is cleaned after the etching process is completed and it is then ready to be inked up. A small mat board squeegee is used to drag the ink across the surface of the plate and a piece of Tarleton cloth works the ink down into the lines and grooves of the plate while the non-image areas wipe fairly clean.
The plate is then placed face up on the press bed and covered with a damp piece of archival, printmaking paper. As it is cranked through the etching press, the pressure from the roller actually presses the softened paper down into all the grooves and lines in the plate and lifts the ink of them. After the printing of the edition is completed, each print is then signed and numbered.

How Are Color Etchings Made?

This color etching was created using four copper plates where each plate is drawn on, etched in acid, and inked only in one color. One plate is inked in yellow, one in red, one in blue, and the final plate is inked in either brown or black. The plates are printed in that same order color wise with a unique registration system, one at the time, and the four colors mix together on the damp paper to create a limitless variety of color combinations. It sounds like a piece of cake, but it has taken me about 6 months to get these plates to this point for this particular etching. This is a working proof as I have not created an addition yet so this one is unique because the next proof I pull will have minor changes done to it but it is very close to being ready to edition. As you work on the plates, scraping and burnishing the metal to create lighter values, and as you add additional values by drawing and re-etching, you need to at different points ink up your plates and see where your plates are and what you need to do next in order to complete the work.

What inspired me to create "Uncertain Destinies"?

Although I was born in Biloxi, MS, I will always consider the Eastern Shores of Southern AL to be “home” to me. I took a series of pictures at Dog River Marina off Dauphin Island Parkway in Mobile, AL and I was taken back at the number of fishing boats that were not out shrimping as they normally would be that time of year. It remained a mystery to me, but I could only imagine it is a tough industry to make enough from the sale of their seafood to cover the cost of the gas it took to operate their large shrimp boats. The destinies of the shrimp boats I saw that day were at the very least, uncertain as well as the fishermen who owned and operated them.

Print sold matted with clear acetate covering on foam board, frame and mat not included. Image size is 16 1/2" x 20 1/2.

Artist Biography updated Oct 16, 2018

I graduated from the University of South Alabama with a BFA in graphic design in 1985. My primary areas of concentration in college, and in the years to follow, have been Drawing and Printmaking, although I also enjoy working in Pastel and Oil Painting. Over the years I have participated in many outdoor art shows, exhibited my work in local galleries and had my work accepted, exhibited, and awarded in various National Shows across the United States. One of my pastels, “Late Summer afternoon on the LeTort” was printed in a Fly Fishing Book published by Stackpole Books called “Selectivity”, written by a well-known author and fly fishing guide. I was also blessed to have a large color etching displayed in the Augusta National Club House, accepted and sold at the Master’s Golf Tournament from 1992-94. I was very fortunate my “Augusta National, View from Magnolia Lane” color etching was purchased by many patrons from Miami to California, Europe to South Africa as well as from the Far East. Truly humbled and honored, some of my patrons were past Master’s champions.

I enjoyed the opportunity to teach Youth and Adult, Drawing and Printmaking classes at the Danville Community Art Center in KY from 2011 to 2015 until my husband and I moved back to Ohio. We currently reside in Beavercreek, OH where I work full time in my home studio and am excited to currently have my work in on display at both the ARTery, and the Village Artisans Co-Op Gallery in the Dayton area as of 2019.


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Melanie Gleaves Morrett

Melanie Gleaves Morrett

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3 shop reviews

5 out of 5 stars

vicki662 Aug 31, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

This is so beautiful. Thank you, Melanie, it was a pleasure!

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Rita Feb 28, 2019

5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, just what I was looking for.

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Karen Major Oct 31, 2019

5 out of 5 stars

Very sweet, good quality print. Good communication with seller.

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