Hello and Welcome Friends,

  February 2008
volume 7 number 2

Last month I joked about the drawback of having a printing press - I spend most of my time making prints. Well, this month has been little different. So let me share some of those prints with you.

First I want to show you something that is new for me, drypoint etching. A drypoint etching is generally made by scratching a line drawing into a metal plate and printing it like an etching. Because the lines are thin and shallow, the size of the editions is usually very small since the grooves of the scratches wear out as the number of prints increases.

I am not interested in pursuing traditional etching with its accompanying metals and acids, so I don't have metal plates hanging around my studio. But I do have some sheets of plexiglass. These too can be etched by scratching a drawing into the surface with a scribe or a knife. The results are similar to using a metal plate, but they wear out faster since they are soft plastic. They cannot be printed by hand alone. A press is needed to exert the pressure required to push the paper down into the little scratches to pick up the ink.

Prior to these two drypoint prints, I had not done this type of printing for more than 30 years. So the following two prints were as much experiments to see how it would go as anything else. This first print is based on an oil painting, based on a sketch of the two tugboats, "Vim" and "Vigor" in Halifax harbor, Nova Scotia.

    "Two Tugs" Drypoint Etching 5" x 7" edition of 15

The second drypoint is based on a sketch of (greater) scaups - a salt water duck - bobbing about in the surf at the end of Western Head, near Liverpool, Nova Scotia. There are eddies in the currents just in front of the lighthouse there. In these pockets of relative calm, the scaups swim and dive in small groups, feeding among the Irish moss that coats the rocks.

    "Scaups In The Surf" Drypoint Etching 7" x 5" edition of 15

These are the only two prints of this type I've done to date.

Next, let me show you two more reduction linocut prints that are based in maritime subjects as well. The first is a typical composition for me of the North Atlantic coast.

    "Shoreline Sunshine" 8-color Linocut 9" x 12" edition of 34

The second linoleum cut print from this month is of the Orient Point lighthouse off the far east end of Long Island's North Fork. This light is well known to those who go back and forth on the ferry from New London, Connecticut to Orient, New York.

    "Orient Point Light" 6-color Linocut, 9" x 12" edition of 27

As you might imagine, these four prints kept me busy during this short month. But in the spaces between doing the prints, I have been working on the following painting for the month. It is a complicated painting and I found it rather difficult to do. I can only suggest to you how difficult it is to paint the litter of dead leaves and sticks on the forest floor. It is a follow up to one of the paintings I did last month looking at light filtering through the forest in New England. There is a long tradition in America of artists addressing this subject. I take much of my inspiration from the Hudson River School artists who enjoyed the challenges of such paintings, particularly Asher Durand.


    "Forest Light III" Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

And that about does it for this month. I do hope you've enjoyed seeing these prints and paintings I've been working on. I welcome your comments and will remind you, once again, that the prints are available for purchase online from my "Prints Gallery" page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Yours,

William H. Hays


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The Artist's Loft Bed & Breakfast and Gallery, Vermont
103 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301-4308  USA
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