The Fine Art Print is an original work of art, a multiple original graphic work. Original print techniques include etching, silkscreen, woodcut, lithography, stonecut, etc. An original print is an impression which has been produced directly from an image created by an artist or his printer on a matrix, and has been hand-pulled. Print is not to be confused with reproduction, which is a copy of an original work of art produced in another medium; usually a photo-mechanical reproduction can be identified as such by close examination. The print edition is a series of images produced following the standard set by the artist’s and the printer’s proofs, pulled from the matrix and numbered consecutively. In an edition of 50 prints, the first one pulled would be numbered 1/50, the second one 2/50, and so on. Limited edition refers to the total finite number of prints in a specific series or edition.
Etching: A zinc or copper plate is covered with an acid resistant ground on which a design is scratched with any variety of sharp tools. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, and the acid eats away (bites, etches) the areas exposed, where the resinous ground has been scratched away. The longer a plate has been left in the acid, the deeper and hence the darker the etched areas become. The matrix/plate is inked and then rubbed clean leaving only the ink in the furrows carved by the etching process. A dampened paper is laid on the plate and the two are rolled together through a heavy press. The paper is thereby forced into the recessed design , and the drawing is transferred.
Aquatint: Technically aquatint is a form of etching, using tonal values instead of lines.the plate islightly coated with a powdered porous ground(such as finely powdered resin or spray paint) through which the acid bites, giving tonal effects loke ink or watercolour washes. To allow for varying degrees of darkness, areas may be ‘stopped-out’ with an acid resistant varnishat any stage ofthe etching, and the time during which areas of the plate are exposedmay be varied. Aquatint is generally used in conjunction with etching.
Mezzotint: A plate is roughened with a network of small burred dots, applied by a toothed “rocker”, which, if printed, would produce a rich black. To achieve tonal variations, up to white, the plate is then scratched and burnished to various degrees to determine how much ink is accepted: the smoother the surface, the less receptive it is to ink. It is inked and printed like an etching. (See also resumé of Kath Rutherford.)
Silkscreen or Serigraphy: Based on stencil techniques, serigraphy involves a masking of a fabric screen by either a paper stencil or a glue sizing. Through the screen areas left open (unmasked), ink or paint is applied to a sheet of paper below. (See also resumé of Robert Rutherford.)