Meyerovich Gallery - San Francisco, CA
Meyerovich Gallery - San Francisco, CA

Aquatint: An Intaglio technique that produces broad areas of texture instead of thin, dry lines. In this process, acid-resistant particles (powder or paint) are spread over certain areas of the metal plate. These particles are then fused to the plate with heat. When the plate is immersed in acid, the particles prevent bits of the surface from being eaten away. The result is a tiny polka dot texture that creates the illusion of tonal range when the plate is inked and printed. For color aquatint, see Helen Frankenthaler, A Page from a Book I, II, & III. For black and white aquatint.

Carborundum: Another name for silicon carbide, carborundum is a abrasive substance sometimes used to build up the surface of a metal plate. When the plate is pressed against dampened paper, the raised carborundum areas leave a craggy, relief impression on the paper. The Catalan artist Joan Miro' helped innovate and popularize this process in the 20th Century.

Drypoint: An intaglio technique which, in contrast to etching, does not require acid to bite the metal plate. In this process, a needle is used to cut directly into the plate. Unlike engraving, the metal is not permanently removed, but pushed into high ridges to either side of the line. In printing, ink gathers along these ridges to create a soft, velvety line in the final print.

A non-color technique that causes raised areas on the surface of a print. See Roy Lichtenstein, Reflections on Conversation.

Engraving: An Intaglio technique similar to drypoint. When engraving, the artist cuts his design directly into the metal plate. The depth and thickness of the line can be altered by hand pressure. As in the other intaglio methods, ink gathers in the recessed areas. Dampened paper is then pressed against the plate to absorb the ink and produce an image in reverse.

An Intaglio technique. The surface of the metal plate is coated with an acid-resistant varnish. The artist then creates an image by scraping away areas of the varnish. When the plate is dipped in acid, these exposed areas are dissolved. In printing, ink gathers in the recessed areas and produces an image in reverse when pressed against dampened paper.

An opaque and heavier form of watercolor. See Grisha Bruskin, Black and Red I, and Notes Revisited 10.

A category of printmaking in which an image is incised or etched into a metal plate. Ink is then applied to these incised or etched areas beneath the plate's surface. When pressed against dampened paper, the inked plate produces an image in reverse. Because most plates are smaller than the paper size, a plate mark is often left in the paper. Aquatint, etching, engraving and drypoint all fall into the Intaglio category.

Lift-ground Etching: see Sugar-lift Aquatint.

Linoleum cut (Linocut): A relief technique popularized by Matisse and Picasso in the 20th Century. In this technique, a thin block of linoleum is mounted on wood. The artist then uses a sharp instrument to cut away the linoleum. In contrast to the intaglio techniques, where the recessed areas are inked, only the higher areas of linoleum are inked and printed, not the areas that have been cut away.

The artist draws directly onto a stone block with greasy ink or crayon. The stone is then dampened. Color is applied but, being repelled by water, sticks only to the greasy lines. The stone is usually larger than the printing paper and therefore leaves no plate mark.

An intaglio technique. The artist begins by roughening the entire plate surface with a scratching tool. He or she then scrapes the design into the scratched areas. In printing, the ink sticks to the roughened areas but not the design. The result is an image in white on a black background. See Frank Stella, Nemrik.

A unique print made by painting directly onto a metal plate then pressing paper against it. The resulting image will be in reverse. Since the plate is not permanently marked, it can only be printed once. See Matt Phillips, Painter Alone.

Pochoir: A stenciling method for applying color. Famous pochoirs include The Jazz Series by Matisse and The Constellations Suite by Miro'.

Ink is printed onto the paper through a fine silk screen which produces areas of textured color. The areas not receiving color are blocked out with stencils. Screenprinting has its roots in commercial images, hence its appeal to Pop Artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Currently, screenprinting is popular in mixed media works where it adds a soft texture to complex images. For example, Frank Stella, The Great Heidelburgh Tun.

Sugar-Lift Aquatint (also known as Lift-ground Etching): An etching technique that preserves the artist's brushwork and permits broad areas of color instead of thin, dry lines. The artist begins by painting the metal plate with a solution of sugar and black ink. The entire plate is then coated with an acid-resistant varnish. When the plate is immersed in warm water, the sugar mixture melts, lifting away part of the varnish. The plate is then grained for texture (see aquatint method) and dipped in acid. Where the varnish has been lifted, the acid bites into the plate.* In printing, ink gathers in this etched area and creates a rich black tone on the paper. For sugar-lift aquatint, *It is also possible to apply acid directly to the metal plate with a brush. This method is difficult to control but Picasso favored it for the variety of unusual textures it could produce.

Woodcut: A relief technique, like the linocut, in which color is applied to the raised areas instead of the areas that have been carved away. In this process, the artist carves a design into a block of wood and then inks the areas that have not been cut away. In the resulting prints, the ink often retains the texture of the woodgrain. The woodcut technique originated in China and has a strong tradition in Japan. The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, known for his painting The Scream, helped revitalize the technique in Europe at the end of the 19th Century. In contemporary art, Helen Frankenthaler's color woodcuts are considered among her strongest works. For color woodcut, see Frankenthaler, Tales of Genji II, IV & VI.