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Aquatint Magic: Intermediate Etching

  • 12000

 “Aquatint, if deeply bitten, looks like velvet when printed, but if lightly bitten it looks like watercolor.” –Crown Point Press

This two day intermediate class is for those with prior acid etching experience interested in various rosin-based techniques, which create full tonal range on copper plates. We will etch plates at varying depths through painterly and photographic approaches to step bite, spit bite, soap ground, and sugar lift. Each class day will be divided into half process demo and half studio time where the students can work with the instructor on specific projects.

Instructor: Michael Ezzell

Prerequisite: Intro to Etching or portfolio/process review with instructor 

Instructor’s mission:

To open etchers to the expressive mark-making and tonal quality of aquatint etching and to leave each student with the ability to make a single plate etching that holds a full range of values.

Class Breakdown

Day 1 - aquatint application, step bite, printing

+ Safe application and handling of rosin and acid will be thoroughly covered

+ Step bite tonal etching – etching plates with specific flats of tone by periodically removing the plate from acid and applying more ground

            + Specifics of wiping and printing aquatinted plates

Day 2 – spit bite, soap ground, sugar lift

+ Spite bite - painting with ferric chloride acid to create washy marks similar to a watercolor look

+ Soap ground aka white ground - malleable acid resist which protects the plate depending on the thickness of it’s application, essentially working in white against black

+ Sugar lift – painting with sugary compounds which act as flat stencils underneath grounds, they literally lift the ground away when submerged in warm water revealing large areas of clean copper to be aquatinted and etched

Required Supplies

+18 ga copper plates, either clean or with existing line etch
+ Disposable paint brushes
+ Reusable rubber gloves

Two sheets of paper BFK Rives ( Utrecht, Jerry's, Paperworks, RISD Store) 
+ Medium etching needle, or RISD Store Utrecht 
+ Drypoint scribe, Utrecht or RISD Store 
+ Scraper, Utrecht or RISD Store 
+ Burnisher (we prefer curved) Utrecht or RISD Store

Location and Parking

The AS220 Printshop is located in the Mercantile building at 131 Washington Street Providence, Rhode Island, on the 1st and 2nd floors. The shop's entrance is located at the back of the building on Lucie Way; ring the bell by the double doors. There is 2 hour metered on-street parking available, bring your quarters. We are also located near a parking garage with entry on Washington Street, look for the big blue parking sign.


Important Class Policies

Please be respectful of the short time you and the other participants have to learn, and arrive on time. If you are more than half an hour late, we will not be able to teach you what you signed up for. Plan ahead, it always takes time to find on-street parking. 
To cancel your reservation, you must email at least two weeks in advance, or risk losing your payment.



If minimum number is not met in class enrollment, the teacher may opt to cancel class. If this is the case, we will give a full refund of class payment and first choice to enroll in future classes. We will attempt to give as much notice as possible.




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