Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Photo Etching the Churches of New Mexico

I have had yet another busy week! Between the Print & Ceramics studio, I've logged over 50 hours this week. Which, of course doesn't include time at home spent researching, editing photos for projects, and writing papers! But, I am determined to squeeze every ounce of learning in that I can, and while I feel I am sorely lacking balance in my life, I only have a couple more short weeks to wrap up projects! Here are the results from my latest two plates~

I was absolutely thrilled with this print! I just LOVE IT!! For some reason, I can't get the "add a caption" feature to work on Blogger today, so I will just tell you~ this is the San Francisco de Asis Church in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico. It is such a beautiful church, and Artists of all types have long been drawn to photograph & paint it... including Georgia O'Keefe, Ansel Adams... and ME! Below is the original photograph~

I spent a bit more time on this one in photoshop before printing out the transparency, dodging & burning to bring out the highlights & shadows, with the goal of achieving a more contrasted final print.

And because I can't help but show a bit of process...  as it absolutely fascinates me~
below is an example of an original copper plate (top) and one that has been painstakingly hand sanded~

Look at that copper shine! Once you've got a good transparency, and the plate is prepped, the light sensitive film is applied & you are ready to expose!

The image was exposed for about 12 minutes, then into the developing bath it goes!

In order to tell when it is developed properly, a keen eye & loupe are used to make sure the film is "opening up." It can be quite tricky! Then into the ferric chloride (acid) for etching!

I know, you are wondering... does this excitement ever end?! Not just yet!!!
After the initial etch shown above, it must be aquatinted & etched at least two more times!
Below, an example of aquatinting from last quarter~

The plate is sprayed very lightly with a water based latex & then etched again, which results in more tonal ranges. After all that, you are free to clean your plate & get ready to print! It can be an all day process from start to finish just to get one good print!! But, if you're lucky... you'll get something you like, and once you've got that plate finished... it's only about 20 minutes or so to ink, wipe & print.
Below is the resulting image from another plate that I did, but I didn't have as good of results with the development process. This lovely little church is in Golden, New Mexico.

The white smudgy areas are where the film did not "open up" during the developing process. It's a tricky process to get all the areas to open evenly, I'm tellin' ya... which is why I was so absolutely thrilled with the first print! While I love the look of etched photographs... all our final images for class must be altered, so as not to look so Photographic! LOTS to learn in 8 short weeks!!


Barb said...

Lots to learn and look how far you've come, Becky! It has been fascinating to learn a bit about this process. I, too, love the first etching! You must hang it n your home.

KClark Photography said...

Becky these images are great. They satisfy my vintage eye. I wish I had the time to take as many classes as I'd like. Soak up as much as you can.

Pat said...

Looks like a lot of work, but the end result is worth it! I love those old adobe churches, too. That top church looks exactly like the one we saw on our way to Chimayo in New Mexico. Is this one actually located in Taos or just named that?

Downstairscreator said...

Becky...you left a comment on my blog about the monoprint I did (thanks), just wanted to say that you are right, there are so many techniques to try. This one is super!!!