Stephen McMillan

Stephen McMillan

Bellingham, WA
January Snow, Aquatint
26 x 18

This aquatint was drawn freehand from a photograph that I took near my home in Bellingham, WA. It was etched onto an 18 x 12 copper plate. I used a series 7 watercolor brush to paint asphaltum thinned with mineral spirits onto the plate. The asphaltum is used to block various areas of the plate from the acid as the image is etched into the copper. I start by painting out the lightest tone and then dip the plate in a hydrochloric acid mix. I progressively paint and etch, each time increasing the etch time.

For this print I dropped and melted two separate aquatints onto the plate. The first was a dense, coarse grain aquatint. It created the visible texture in the snow and background. I did 6 etches over this aquatint. 4 of these etches were creep-etches, that is, the plate was gradually lowered into the acid bath to create a gradated tonal passage in the image. The second aquatint was fine grained and was used to add detail and darker tones to the image. I did 4 etches, including 2 creep etches, over this aquatint.