An etching is really distinguished from other printmaking methods in several distinctive ways; how the plate is "drawn on", inked and printed. Scratches, lines and other indentations or grounds are filled with ink, and then the surface of the plate, usually either copper or zinc, is wiped clean with a rag. The plate and paper are then run through a press using considerable pressure. This forces the pre-dampened paper into the indentations on the plate and creating the image on the paper. This process is called "Intaglio" printing and has not really changed since the first press was invented.

I began making etchings in 1988. Printmaking was an interest to me since I had spent so much time with the photographic process in the seventies and early eighties. At first, I only worked in black and white and then began to make color etchings.

As you will see, as I began to explore the effects of space and planes in my paintings, I began to follow that interest with multiple plate etchings.

I use copper plates and either scratch directly on the plate or use what is known as hard or soft grounds and then imerse the plates in acid to "bite" the plate for various lengths of time until the image appears satisfactary to me. It is a patient process. Here is just a sample of the prints during this period.

If you are interested in seeing the etchings of other Santa Fe Artists,
they, along with myself are in the book:


Robert Bell
Santa Fe, NM




5" x 6"



5 " X 9"



Dos Equis 1
5" x 6"



14 " X 11 "



Then and Now
6" x 9"



Untitled 1
4 " X 7 "



Untitled 2
8 " x 10 "



Momento Mori
14 " X 10 "



Idee Fixe
12" x 10"



Il Sentiaro 1
9" x 9"



Il Sentiaro 2
9 " X 9 "



After working with etchings for two days each week for 5 years, I finally did my first color etching. It was a still life and was a four color etching; or made using four plates. When you use multiple plates for a color etching it is a difficult printing process because the plates have to align with each other or the print will show the errors. Also, you have to overlay your plates to get various color hues. But, the process and results are always worth every bit of extra effort!



Still Life with Blue Bottle
8" x 5"
4 Color
Sold Out Edition of 25

My first color etching!



Mountain Pond
15 " X 12 "
4 Color



6 " x 9 "
2 Color



4 Color
Accompaniment 28
25 " X 18 "



9" x 7"
3 Color