Saturday, June 11, 2005

Beginning a new etching

Its been quite a while now since I've begun a major etching. I find now as the years roll on that each new work takes longer to begin. I really don't want to add another mindless piece of art to the stockpile of images cluttering up visual space.

Before I begin to work on a landscape based image, I find it important that the idea or the place impresses itself strongly upon me so that I begin to think about it and the possibilities it offers as an image of visual strength historical reference .

I often ride my bike or walk the dog along a path by the Ross river in Townsville. In the course of the journey we pass through a group of old mango trees. By late afternoon as the sun begins to set, the trunks darken and the light traces along the edges of the trees standing a little away from the main group. I have often wanted to make an etching of the trees at this time of the day. They sometimes remind me of a work by John martin from his "Paradise Lost" series of Mezzotints. In the Martin Mezzotint of Adam and Eve being expelled form the garden, the couple flee through a cavern of dark trees illuminated from within. Adam looks toward heaven while covers herself in fear.

I've now taken several photographs of the trees. While I did this, the dog kept trying to drag me back onto the path for her regular walk. In preparation, I have grounded a copper plate with a Charbonnel hard ground, which has a great smell, but is probably very dangerous to my health. I use this brand of hard ground because of its resilience in acid.

I really do not know whether my personal attraction to these old mango trees and the fact that they hold some loose association with John Martin, are a strong enough reason for me to begin destroy such a large piece of copper plate.