Irvine Fine Arts Center
This past fall, I enjoyed my first in-depth experience with etching under the wonderful guidance of Ethan Rice, a printmaker and teacher at the Irvine Fine Arts center. The IFAC has a beautiful little print shop, well stocked with excellent presses and clean working spaces...truly the best kept secret in town.
While the technical side of me relished the delicacy and almost scientific order of the steps and calculations involved in creating a detailed etching with aquatint, the right hemisphere of my brain quailed at the sheer quantity of diligent mark-making, time-consuming experiments, and columns of times and numbers. This is quite a statement coming from someone willing to patiently sit, month after month, drawing individual pine needles.
Ethan walked by at one point during my 5th or so round of masking off bits of fur for aquatint and asked: “Does your brain hurt yet?” It most definitely did. Nobody mentioned that a superhuman amount of mental RAM would be required for detailed and compounding layers of aquatint! Possibly I should have started with something slightly simpler, but I am forever in the habit of jumping straight into the deep end with new endeavors.
In the end, I found my way around a process I will surely grow to love as I have time to devote to it in the future...the quiet rhythm and labor of the print shop is soothing to both mind and soul. It is a place to harness all of one’s knowledge and experience in the field of drawing, and re-cast them for another medium....one intimately related to--but fundamentally different from--that first and greatest love of mine.