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About the Artist
Asian Brush Painting Gallery
Printmaking Gallery
  Relief Prints
  Intaglio Prints
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  I Am Art by Cassius Taylor
  Red Pears-S. Williamson
  Self Portrait with Silver Pitcher-E. Robson
  A Patch of Yellow-D.J. Wood
  Studio Shelf-G. Berry
  Angel with Flute-C.Davis
ArtSmart Travels/Writing
  Barcelona’s Modernisme
  Mudejar Style in Seville
  Visiting Vizcaya
  Discovering the Medici's painter in Durham, NC
  The Magnificent and Macabre in Bohemia
  Machu Picchu, Cusco & the Inca's Sacred Valley
  Discovering History and Hospitality in Crete
  Signs of Our Times in Cincinnati, OH
  Discovering Dr. Seuss and More in Springfield,MA
  Ancient Temples of Cambodia
  Dali's Fascinating Self-built World in Spain
  A Valentine from Vienna: the Glint of Klimt
  A "Fan"-tastic Museum at Greenwich, England
  A Winter Garden in Cambridge, MA
  Literally Monumental, Norfolk, VA
  Art, Literature and History in Salem, MA
  Studio Art Glass in the Pacific Northwest
  National Parks/ NW
  Magnificent Murals/Philadelphia
  Vermont's Balloon Festival (Quechee Gorge)
  Discovering the Past in Pompeii
  Prague: Mucha and So Much More
  The Sounds and Sights of San Antonio
  Literally Monumental: Norfolk, VA
  Embracing Eternity (Rome)
  Writing/Poetry Samples
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Angel with flute

As an art historian, as well as a printmaker, I love to reinterpret traditional methods of art- making for contemporary aesthetics, using modern materials. I especially love the qualities of mezzotints first created in the Baroque period, by such artists as Rembrandt and Durer.  Like etching, mezzotint is considered an intaglio printing process, since the ink must go “into” the plate rather than sit on the surface (as with woodcuts) before printing. Damp paper, which is forced into the groves or etched spaces of a metal plate, pulls out the ink to create the print. Of course, the finished artwork, as in most print methods, is a reversed, mirror image of the original drawing.


My angel series combines the mezzotint method of printing with Renaissance-style figures. The labor-intensive process that leads to the finished images is part of their appeal. I start with pre-rocked copper plates (available from New Zealand). The rocking (covering the plate in multiple directions with a curved serrated blade that creates pits to hold ink) raises burrs of copper in the process. At this point, if the plate were printed, it would be completely black. I draw directly or transfer my drawn image onto the plate. To created the whitest/lightest areas, I must remove the burr using a sharp, three-sided scraping tool, which brings the area back to its original shiny copper. Ink will not adhere to these surfaces. For tonal areas of shadows, shades or highlights, I press down the burr using a different tool to burnish the plate with varied amounts of pressure. Once the image is created to my satisfaction and proofs are taken, I apply thick black ink over the entire surface using a soft card to force the ink deep into the plate. I use modern, non-toxic, water mixable inks unavailable in the Baroque era. Then, with a traditional tarlatan (soft, mesh-like cloth,) I gently remove all the surface ink, leaving it only in the recessed areas to be printed.  Next, I pass the inked plate and high quality, thick paper (I use German-made Zerkall Copperplate paper), which has been water-soaked and blotted, through my studio printing press under very strong pressure.  The finished print is placed between sheets of tissue and pressed under heavy weights (books) to prevent buckling as the paper dries. The result is a rich, dark, velvet-toned picture, with a unique mezzotint quality.


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Previously published:

The Art and Writing of Barbara Rizza Mellin