Local Heart, Global Soul

October 25, 2017

I Can At Least Dream…

Filed under: A sketching Journey,ART,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing with the arty theme of the past two days with a post about “long, long ago”.

When I was sixteen and studying practical art, we could choose between two areas for our exam portfolios.

One area was “General” and involved things like life drawing, still life, sculpture, photography (and other things that I now forget) and the other branch was “Graphic Design” where various mediums were explored to complete packaging designs, posters and advertisements, gift wrap (and other things that I now forget… it was a while ago after all and my memory is muddled with medication).

The added bonus, at least in the design course was that you could choose to specialise in a specific genre to achieve these tasks, and I choose Printmaking.

During the course I did lithographic and intaglio printing techniques which encompassed; woodcuts, linocuts, screen printing, lithographs and etchings. In later years whilst I travelled I put my things in a storage facility, a change of manager of which saw most of my things (and those of the other clients), and the manager in charge of it all go walk-a-bout (missing).

Back in 1996 when Himself and I were back in New Zealand and had our first opportunity to see the communal pile of what had been left behind, I found by chance a small lone folder containing a few pieces of my artwork, everything else in my larger folders having completely disappeared.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We found one tray and almost nothing else of all of my possessions. I bought these few art pieces back to the Netherlands and dug them out earlier this year. These were the first of a series of etchings, the first that helped me become familiar with the techniques.

I was shocked when Kiwi Daughter did an “etching” at school, yes, I suppose it was in the letter of the word but in my eyes not in the spirit of it.

She showed me a perspex sheet into which she had scratched lines with a needle: gone was the zink plate, gone was the “ground” which was a concoction of all sorts of things, including petrol, gone was the acid and the feathers used in the acid baths to pick up the plates and gone were many of the ‘old school” minae that to me make up real etching.

I was shown the correct handling techniques, and a grave respect for the materials and machinery we were using was drummed into us.

It’s like keeping sharp knives: teach respect for them and your kids can learn to use them at a surprisingly young age. This etching was done with a zink plate and the final print is a compilation of four passes through the printing press. The first pass is a light print of the drawn/scratched image into the ground which is then etched in the acid.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The acid eats into the area exposed, the ink later collects into these etched scratches and is drawn back out onto paper under the pressure of the printing press rollers. Ground is then applied to the plate and more drawing / scratching takes place, cross-hatching and the like.

A second round of etching and printing and darker areas are applied in areas where shadows etc are wanted.

The third stage is a Mezzotint effect, not using the rocker technique (I did that later) here but another one where a bag of powdered resin was gently shaken over the plate resulting in grains of various sizes falling down and shielding it from the third etch. Solid areas that were not to be mezzo’ed were painted out with ground.

The resulting third print gives texture, in this case to the bricks. The last etch and pass through the printing press is another one for the darkened areas, putting in the final touches like the mortar between the bricks and shadows around the windows.

That is at least everything I remember, of course some of the extra details have gone. This is the only  remaining art piece from my teens, everything thereafter is gone but it gives you a tiny idea of the detail I used love. It’s what I aspire to one day get back to, if at least we can get my pain levels back to manageable levels and concentration can return. I can at least dream about the distant past.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. these are stunning!

    Comment by Maureen Sudlow — October 25, 2017 @ 4:11 am | Reply

    • Maureen,
      thank you! I think we will have to together push one another, post our efforts and see if we can spot progress 🙂 If you can do it so can I, if I can do it so can you ! 🙂

      Comment by kiwidutch — October 26, 2017 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  2. How very sad that you were robbed of what belonged to you. I had a similar experience when everything I owned went into storage many years ago. The contents of your little folder are mesmerizing to me. I had no idea of the process involved and the end result is fascinating! Thank-you for this interesting and educational post. I wish your pain would disappear!

    Comment by Ellen — October 25, 2017 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

    • Ellen,
      Thank you for your kind words. yes, I wish the pain would disappear too, I would still need crutches, wheelchair etc but at least I would be able to concentrate, be free of morphine and get some of the mental and emotional part of my life back.

      In the meantime I need to make do with what I have, and be thankful that things are not worse.

      Long term storage facilities are a risk in that the wrong manager, knowing that the clients are not returning soon, can almost strip the place bare. C’est la vie, it’s life and there is no rewind button. You shed a tear (or cry buckets) and then you face the future with what you have and not with what you have lost.

      I am delighted that you like my etching work… it motivates me to try harder and push myself. after all being half asleep, tired, sore and forgetful (and still loved by my nearest and dearest) is still a better life than some people get, … or no life at all.

      Comment by kiwidutch — October 26, 2017 @ 9:17 am | Reply

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