Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ray Maseman makes a big impression with his new etchings!

There is a consensus. Ray Maseman was voted “Best Artist” in Local IQ’s smart list because he IS the best! He has had five successful solo shows at New Grounds, his work was voted “best of show” at numerous art festivals, his work is sold in several galleries throughout the United States, and he is one of the few artists whose editions sell out on a regular basis. We bow before you Ray!

Our March 5 reception started out slowly, mainly because it was one of the few nice days we have seen recently. However, by the time Ray had to present his demonstration the house was once again packed!

Yet Ray seemed to be crying when New Grounds director Regina Held introduced him before the demo. Seriously Ray, what DID she say to you?!?

Ray uses “Hansel and Gretel” from his new fairy tales series to demonstrate how in etching we can to achieve all kinds of colors with only two plates. In this image, the key plate was used to create the details and grey values. This plate is printed in sepia. The color plate consists of aquatints only, which are basically a dot pattern etched on the plate capable of holding ink.

Here Ray is ready to ink the plates. He starts by spreading sepia ink on the key plate, and then wiping off the excess ink with a tarlatan (a heavily sized piece of cheese cloth) and phone book pages so that ink remains only in the lower, etched areas of the plate.

The inked plate is quite beautiful. Not shown is how Ray treats the color plate. If you look carefully you see three different colors in the image. There is a green band of color on the top, a yellow field inside the witch’s house, and everything else is infused with an orange glow. We call this kind of color application “selective wiping” as opposed to covering the entire plate with on color. Ray used tiny strips of mat board to carefully card the different colors of ink on the plate, the excess ink is equally carefully removed with card board strips, and then the excess ink is wiped away with phone book pages, or newsprint in order not to contaminate the lighter colors with black printers ink.

Ray now places the color plate on the press bed and covers it with a piece of printmaking paper. Both are run through the press. Using a brick as weight, the paper is lifted up but held in place and the color plate is replaced with the key plate. The paper is placed over it and then both are run through the press again. Now the details of the key plates sit on top of the color fields of the first plate!

Ray also teaches the etching class at New Grounds which is held in June and November. If you like detailed line work, this class is for you. A slightly obsessive streak is very helpful in this medium!

Thank you all for coming to New Grounds for this reception. The pictures were taken by Mike Rudahl, and the blog was submitted by Tanya and Regina.

We see you again for our April show which will be monotypes by Sarah Anderson.