From Goose to Geese

Etching is extremely exciting. Your basically drawing but on a metal plate and then there's acid and chemicals. It's a mess and a process. It's fun. I made a few pieces recently. One was a composition i'd been wanting to try out but never had the opportunity to work with. The project was open so I went for it. Organic tree or root shapes filled the borders and an oval incased emptiness in the middle. 

I couldn't figure out what I wanted to put in this space. It was all very open and on the spot. I thought of nursery rhymes and children stories with illustrations in watercolor and light hatching. I found a goose and decided "that's that." With this project I used copper plate coated in some nice tar like substance. Once that was dry I transferred my image and started scratching in my lines. Well, scratching is a bit more aggressive an action then it was. I was really just drawing, lightly pulling my pin tool through the black goodness. 

A lot of people would stop every now and then to etch their plate. Etching is where the acid comes in. Where ever the copper plate is exposed (where ever you scratched through to it) is eaten by the acid and produces a black line when you add ink as you print. I never did this. I drew the whole image. I hatched and cross-hatched my lines until the image looked complete. This took my about a week, maybe 30 hours all together. I like to take my time and think about it. There isn't any easy ways to 'erase' your mistakes so I just went for it. A little here, a little there. 

I ended up etching my plate twice. The second time was to fix a few small mistakes. But since this was my first etching to be put through an acid bath I felt it was a good start. I didn't make some great work of art but I completed the task that I had set for myself and that was pretty great. Now i'm sure I would take the time to make my image cleaner and more engaging where the roots are involved. I like it though. I think it's a promising start.

K.C. Johnson