Christine Porter, printmaker and watercolourist, has work in many public, private and corporate collections globally, including the Brisbane City Council Collection and the permanent collection of the National Museum of Watercolour in Mexico. In 1997 Christine was elected as one of only three Queensland artists to the Australian Watercolour Institute. Her etchings are in the collections of the Australian Police Force, Canberra, and Canson Australia, Melbourne, and are winning prizes in art shows all over the country.
Her work reflects her passion for things rural with most of her subject matter being drawn from Western Queensland. Running parallel with this is an ongoing series of etchings loosely entitled “other people’s treasures” (Scottish proverb “one man’s trash is ….”) that are more personal pieces.
ABOUT THE ETCHING
The technical term for this process in Intaglio – from the Latin which means “to incise” or scratch. It refers to the aspect of the process where the ink is rubbed into scratches made onto a metal plate. After any excess ink has been wiped off, the inked plate is put through an etching press, in appearance not dissimilar to an old fashioned wringer. It squeezes the ink out onto damp paper and by repeating the process, multiples of the same image can be made. The technique was initially used for illustration in books etcetera before photographic reproduction.
The “scratches” can be made in a variety of ways. The easiest being to physically scrape the surface with something sharp – called drypoint or engraving. Christine’s etchings however are made by laying a protective coat of bitumen over the surface of the plate, which is drawn through exposing the metal underneath. When the plate is immersed in a bath of acid, those drawn lines are etched into the metal. The longer in the acid; the deeper the lines; the more ink they hold and consequently the darker the printed line.
The tonal areas are created by melting a fine powdered form of the protective coating on the plate. This is alternatively protected and etched till there are areas of smooth metal and areas of bumpy metal across the surface, which will print dark or light depending on how much ink is in them.
Any coloured ink can be used at the printing stage and the multi plate process involves having several plates etched with different information and inked in different colours. These are printed on top of one another on the same place on the paper.