Etching on Copperplate

Last stage of an edition of 12


The light grey tone was the first, red second placed and registered over the grey and then the black area was printed last. I hadn’t done a drypoint using rollers and roulettes to get tonal areas as opposed to aquatint and etching with acid combined with masking out different areas of the composition. The result, which I’m still adjusting to, is more graphic than my usually painterly look especially without any chine-colle application.


Copperplate etching, first stage

Copperplate is quite a hard surface in comparison to zinc or aluminium. I haven’t etched on copper for a while. This was an old plate with an aquatint that provided me with a dark area from which I began the composition. The composition is based on an earlier work titled Maria found the “golden spike”, an oil on gessoed paper.

Titled Maria Located the Golden Spike, 2013, 54x72 cm, oil on gessoed paper

Maria Located the Golden Spike, 2013


The term “golden spike” refers to a part of the early boundary within the Flinders Ranges where 635-542 million  year old fossils were found. The significance of the find led the world science community to recognise a new geological period termed the Ediacaran period. The three printed images are firstly with red ink and then I tried a black area on top of the red. In the third image I printed red over dark grey in the background making it a little too dark. I needed to have a lighter grey under the red as a base. I then masked out the areas left as white.


Several attempts at a suitable base layer with trial and error.


More modification with the red layer.


The red could be made lighter by a further lightening of the grey base layer. At this stage I’m half way through the process.

Frottage connection as the first stage of a new painting

This frottage taken at Mungo consists of graphite and red chalk is the first layer for a painting. In this underpainting the red chalk is similar to part of the geology known as the Gol gol formation above which the clay and sand of the dune formed. The red oxide-like pigment of the soil blown onto the dune by Westerlies gives the dune its pink colour as it gradually seeped into the porous sand.

I try to mimic aspects of the way the landscape formed by incorporating dry pigment and stained and frottage traces on paper into layers of paint.