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Stephanie Zeiler Martin's Profile

About

I am fortunate to live along the central coast of California, where I am surrounded by spectacular wilderness, farmlands, and wildlife. When my two daughters left the nest a few years ago, I decided to pursue a lifelong dream and take some art classes. I began painting "plein aire" landscapes in pastels and oils. But what could I do at nighttime? Enter printmaking.

Whereas painting is a very direct process, etching (a type of intaglio process) is convoluted and mercurial: strange things can happen in the acid tank. Here is a short description of the process:

The artist polishes a copper plate, and coats it with a protective waxy layer. A sharp metal point is used to draw lines by scribing through this layer. The copper is then immersed in the acid bath, and the acid etches grooves in the plate where the copper has been been…

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  • Female
  • Born on April 19
  • Joined June 15, 2010

Favorite materials

copper, archival paper and ink, hard ground etching, aquatint, intaglio print

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About

I am fortunate to live along the central coast of California, where I am surrounded by spectacular wilderness, farmlands, and wildlife. When my two daughters left the nest a few years ago, I decided to pursue a lifelong dream and take some art classes. I began painting "plein aire" landscapes in pastels and oils. But what could I do at nighttime? Enter printmaking.

Whereas painting is a very direct process, etching (a type of intaglio process) is convoluted and mercurial: strange things can happen in the acid tank. Here is a short description of the process:

The artist polishes a copper plate, and coats it with a protective waxy layer. A sharp metal point is used to draw lines by scribing through this layer. The copper is then immersed in the acid bath, and the acid etches grooves in the plate where the copper has been been exposed. These grooves will hold the ink in the printing process. A longer immersion in the tank creates a deeper groove, hence a darker line in the image.

After repeated drawing and etching of the plate, the linework is ready, and the process of aquatint begins. This is a complex procedure for getting tonal areas in the plate, which takes much longer than the line etching. One hopes that eventually the plate will be ready for printing. Unlike relief print methods (such as wood- or lino-cut) in which the ink is rolled on the surface, in intaglio the ink is pushed into the grooves of the plate. Then the plate is carefully wiped with a special fabric to remove the surface ink. (Yes, this takes much more time than relief printing!)

Lastly, the inked plate is placed on the press bed, covered with the damp paper and felt blankets, and submitted to great pressure. The damp paper fibers are forced into the grooves of the plate, picking up the ink.

The plate is then once again inked and wiped for each print. Because of the handmade nature of an etched print, slight differences are inevitable, and each image is an original piece of art.

I am slow to embrace new technologies, as evidenced that I did not learn to drive a car until I was 30 (an Angeleno, no less). But I do have a website where you can see other work www.stephaniemartinfineart.com and a facebook page you should 'like':stephaniemartinart.

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