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Video: an etching story

Rebeccca Vincent On the Right Path coastal seaside etching Northumberland seedheads sea campion

On the Right Path, two-plate etching

If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know that, from time to time, I produce a short video to help explain what I do. This is my most ambitious video to date! Filmed over several months, it shows, for the first time, the creation of the copper plates all the way through to printing them in multi-colour. I hope it gives you an insight into the lengthy etching process. Enjoy!

"On the Right Path" began it's journey last spring when I started work on the two copper plates. To be honest, I've lost track of how long it took but I must've been working on the plates for at least 8 weeks. Not every day you understand - I have to keep other work going at the same time! If you're familiar with etching, you'll notice that my process is the less toxic acrylic resist method, rather than the traditional solvent based method.

When the plates were finished, I printed them to check the etch was good, and then they were sent away to have an iron facing put on them - it's an electrolytic process that I can't do myself.

What happened next? Well, the school summer holidays came along which meant that very little got done as I went on holiday and attended to the needs of my family!

Back-to-school time was also return-to-etching time. Over three weeks, I proofed the plates which means trying out a lot of different colours and refining the print to the best possible combination. I think I did about 12 prints before it started coming together. It isn't easy to get the balance between the background and the foreground. This little slide show includes some of the proofs leading up to the finished result.

So I bet you're thinking now that I must be completely nuts to go to all this trouble to make one image! Why? By innovating with the etching process, I've developed a style of image and range of marks that cannot be replicated in any other way. They give intense colour, rich detail and a variety of textures. The subject of a coastal bay has been painted and drawn millions of times. I hope that my interpretation is completely unique and appreciated by those who like something a little different.

Is the bay a real place? Although it's reminiscent of the Northumberland coast, there are many parts of the UK that could claim a view like this including Dorset and Pembrokeshire. But this is an imagined view - an ideal, if you like, that brings together all those views into one essential image. For flower enthusiasts, the foreground flowers are Sea Campion, albeit a little stylized.

Where does the title come from? I gave a lot of thought to this and I wanted to call to mind the excitement of trips to the seaside, looking for the right path to get down to the beach. The metaphorical use of the phrase, to mean one's life is going in the right direction adds to the joyful emotions I hope this image will elicit.

Where does it make you think of? I'd love to hear your impressions of the process and the finished result in the comments below.

This etching has now been editioned (50 were printed by hand as shown in the video) and is ready to purchase from my online shop both framed and mounted.

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