Drop the Beet!

Untitled, 2021, brush and handmade beet ink, over drypoint, on paper, image 6 x 9 inches, sheet 9 x 12 inches. 

I have been exploring drawing, and it's many possibilities, a little more this year.  Such is the case with this drawing, which began as a failed attempt at a drypoint. 

Towards the end of last year decided to give drypoint a try.  COVID lockdowns were still a thing, print shops and schools remained closed, and I had no access to work on monotypes or etchings.  I had began studying etching earlier in 2020 but that was cut short.  I thought dry point would be an easy and ideal process for me to try until I could resume my etching class.  Scratch into the surface of the copper plate, and that's it, easy right?  At first it seemed I was heading in the right direction.  After each session of work I would ink up the plate just to check on my progress.  On the plate, it looked good, and I thought I was ready to print.

After finally getting access to a press, I ran my drypoint through the press.  The lines barely left a mark on my paper.  I added more pressure to the press thinking that would fix the problem.  Second try and still I pulled a very faded print.  I gave up on drypoint after that try, and I now had on my hands two failed attempts.  Months later I revisited the prints and decided to draw on top of them.  I had just purchased new handmade ink by a local NYC artist and thought maybe this would be a good way to test it out.  

I chose Stone Inks beet ink because I was interested in getting a natural crimson red tone.  To my surprise it was more of a walnut hue, but that didn't deter me from continuing with the drawing.  The ink is so delicate, very transparent, and it needs multiple layers to get a good tonal range from it.  This ink is not like the modern day inks, and might not be for everyone since it requires time and patience to reveal its beauty.  After a number of days and quite a number of layers, I had completed this drawing, which is very different to what I have been working on.  I have other colors of this ink to try, I have yet to figure out a good way of incorporating them in my work.  In the meantime, I'll keep thinking about it and let those ideas steep in my head as I continue working on other drawings.     



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