Come Up and See My Etchings

Whilst in college, I took multiple courses in the ancient art of etching, which is the process of rendering artwork on a metal plate, and transferring it to paper. I actually developed some of my own unique techniques for creating deep, dense blacks, which can be the most challenging aspect of the process.

For those who may be interested in a peek at what I did, here are a select few examples. I'd created dozens of works, but they were all lost when I had a nervous breakdown in 2000; these survivors are reproduced from a set of prints I'd given to a good friend, who still has them hanging on his dining room wall. One will notice an obvious theme; indeed, nearly all of my renderings were railroad-related.

The first print I did using my special "soft ground" technique for strong blacks was inspired by one of my all-time favorite photographs, "The Hand of Man" by Alfred Stieglitz.

Subsequent pieces used the same technique to create dark, moody images. "Dust and Dereliction" was inspired by a photograph from Twilight of Steam, an obscure old book on the declining years of steam railroads in Europe.

Unfortunately, I didn't have as much luck with designs of my own. "Steaming Into the Moonlight" was corny, to put it politely.

A marginally better example of an original design, "Station at Sunset" loosely portrays a railroad station in West Trenton, New Jersey, not far from college.

I can't complain; my work earned me four consecutive A's. As a bonus, I could invite a young lady to "come up and see my etchings," and be totally innocent and honest. (If you don't understand the reference, I leave you to look it up.)

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