Monday, January 19, 2015

Etching Bad

Crash and Burn
6" x 5"

As I mentioned before, I’m learning how to etch. You can't tell by this etching, but I’m making progress. Part of making progress is learning from your mistakes. This mistake pretty much falls into the Epic category. Just about everything bad that happened here happened at the stage of applying a soft ground coating to the copper plate: the ground is too thin, unevenly & sloppily applied; fingerprints and smudges along the edges. A real crash-and-burn etching scenario.

But wait—I sometimes spend hours in Photoshop trying to make images look this grungy. I’ve paid money for backgrounds this ugly. So rather than throw the plate and print away, I scanned the bad etching, used Photoshop’s clone tool to remove the most distracting blobs and blotches, then (most importantly) pretended I created this effect on purpose (a secret trick used by famous artists). 

Ten years from now I fully expect for someone to say “I know that image. Ten years ago my art teacher used it as an example of incredibly bad etching technique.” 

Genius is seldom recognized in cases like this. However, I do feel like I’m starting to get that tortured-artist feeling. I think that’s probably a good sign.