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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The BRG Weekly Artist Compendious

Image: Brotherly Counsel, a 4" circular original etching, by William F. Cox.

Every week we will be profiling a different artist, some contemporary and some from the past. We will not limit ourselves to any single art form but look at artist from many different disciplines.

This week’s featured artist is William F. Cox of Pilot, Virginia.

William F. Cox, Internationally acclaimed artist/printmaker, has delighted audiences with his intricate original copperplate etchings for the past thirty years.

Cox is a former teacher and artist-in-residence; he lives and works in the rural mountain setting of southwestern Virginia with his family. He has been awarded numerous Best in Show and First Place awards over the past quarter century, his etchings can be found in permanent collections such as the State University of New York at Buffalo, the Library of Congress, and Vatican City, as well as countless private collections worldwide.

Copperplate etching is the second oldest family of printmaking, the intaglio process, which dates from the mid 15th century. Well-known masters of this medium include Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Rembrandt (1606-1669), Wm Blake (1757-1827), and M. C. Esher (1898-1972).

Image right: Close up on the village on the left side in the background of the above image, Brotherly Counsel, by William F. Cox.

The process involves scratching a copper plate thru a thin resist to expose the metal. What the artist sees is a negative; bright metal against the dark wax background, and reversed left-to-right. After the drawn plate is submerged in acid to eat lines into the scratches, the wax is removed. Ink is forced into the lines and carefully wiped off the surface to leave ink only in the lines of the image. Dampened acid-free paper and a felt blanket are placed over the inked plate and slowly rolled under tremendous pressure through the press to transfer the image to the paper. The resulting image has a three-dimensional raised line embossed effect characterized by greater permanence and quality of detail than the best pen and ink drawings.

Etching is the most time-consuming form of printmaking; each plate takes from fifty to hundreds of hours to make. The hand inking and wiping process has to be repeated for each individual impression of a copper plate, taking from twenty minutes to an hour or more.

Artist Contact Information:

4818 Gold Rush Rd
Pilot, VA 24138
Phone: 1 [540] 382-3254

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