On and off, I've been trying for some time to find a way to successfully combine an etched landscape image with colour.
Initially I tried using two etched plates, one printed black and one printed in a colour. On both plates I resorted to scribbly marks on a soft ground to mimic the feel of some of my location sketches. The result was not at all what I had in mind.
I next created a single etched plate and printed this as a second layer on top of a colour monotype. (I previously used the same monotype technique on its own to create some painterly landscape prints.) There were two shortcomings with this approach. Firstly, the added aquatint tone combined unhelpfully with areas of sketched texture to produce undesired, patchy regions of open bite. Secondly, the use of white ink in the mix produced more or less chalky colours. Whilst these had worked satisfactorily on their own, with black ink printed over they did not. The combined effect of these two drawbacks was to reduce the contrast of the etched textures, muddying the overall effect. My most recent attempt has sought to remedy both issues.
Firstly, bite times for the aquatint have been reduced so tones are lighter, allowing the colour layer to show through more effectively.
The partially stopped-out soft ground covered zinc plate prior to biting in nitric acid (left), plus the monochrome image printed from it once etching was complete (right).
Secondly, the intensity of colour has been modified by using an extender rather than by adding white. This results in a colour layer with the appearance of a watercolour wash. Colours are more transparent and do not modify the intensity of the black .
Coloured inks applied to a (slightly stained) plastic sheet (left) and subsequently transferred to paper. (right).
Below is the finished print, with etching printed over coloured monotype.