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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Back to etching and aquatint

Aquatint etching Mariann Johansen-Ellis
 I spent some time up at our house in the Spanish country, having a look to see that everything is alright after the copious amounts of rain we have had, and apart from the fact that you need to be a rally driver to get to the house, (mud season, oh yes!) things are good! The river is teeming with life, birds, turtles, frogs, lots of little green lizzards and other creepy crawlies. The river and the next door farm, has always been a total delight for me, the river because of all the above, and the farm next door, because it always provides a backdrop of goat bells to life in the house, there is a huge flock of gray goats, beautiful.... goats are such an integral part of Spanish country life, that you almost don't think of them.
Living in a village, has reminded me though, and I came home, got out some copper plates and set to work. These 2 are the first results, and I hope I have managed to convey how cheeky my goats look, they are always and forever on the look out for something to chew on, much like myself actually ;o)
I am on a continuous path to find a language artistically, that stem from here, and depict my world around me, and as always animals are my favorite choice. It is interesting to see how over the last year, I feel I have grown as an artist, I look at things in a different, less rigid light, my line is less rigid, although this could be because I seriously need new glasses, (hold on to these though) and I am having such fun! Is there anything better as an artist, than these growth spurts? These moments of inner peace when you feel that actually, what you are doing is not half bad........ hmmm..... long may it last!
Now, instead of sitting here rambling on, I am going to go and proof the next 2 plates!
Happy Sunday to all of you!
aquatint etching Mariann Johansen-Ellis


  1. Mariann, Thank you for your generosity in sharing your printmaking process. I have just watched the three part videos as I am setting up to do etching/aquatint after many years in Screenprint. I was introduced to aquatint in Venice this year at a residency. I have a small question about melting the had a plastic film on the back of the plate, which mystifies me because it seems you must have removed it before heating? I will be using my hotplate to melt the rosin, but wonder if the backing must be removed beforhand?
    Any clarification would be most appreciated,

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I can't reply to your own blog, as it is for invited only ( psst, invite me!!;o) but yes, I have a plastic backing on my plates, and salthough it blisters a little bit, it is fine with the heating, i don't use a hotplate, but a primus stove or a blow torch..... so maybe that's the difference?
      the plastic backing is great as it provides the plate with protection that is easy to put on, and that stands up to the acid. I often turn my plates over when they are printed out, so as to take full advantage of expensive copper.... and love the acid "damage" that comes with the blisters....
      Let me know if you need me to be clearer.... all the best and merry Christmas, Mariann

    2. Mariann, Thanks very much, I think I know how to make it work now...I used shellac to back plates during my work time this year in Venice. It gets melty though when put onto the hotplate, but not with heat gun for some reason. I will forge ahead. You can read my writings now at, no permissions needed.
      I am really getting a lot from your videos.
      Happy New Year,