Fine Art collecting can be an enjoyable and lucrative enterprise, but it can be easy to get lost in the process (no pun intended). As a new collector it may seem intimidating and somewhat confusing.
Aquatint: A process for producing tone etchings, so named because the finished print resembles watercolor drawings in quality. The ordinary bitten line of etching is combined with a delicate tone or tint produced by etching the copper plate with acid through a protective resist. This resist, or ground, is laid by flooding the copper plate with dissolved powdered resin, or by inserting the copper plate in a dust box. Using the dust box method, the coating of resin dust has to be fastened to the plate by heating it. From this stage on the process is similar to etching. Those parts of the design which are to be left white are protected with an acid resistant material such as varnish, or are "stopped out", and the rest of the plate is bitten. Varying tonal effects are achieved by repeated varnishing and immersion. After preparation of the plate, the edition is pulled as would be in other etching techniques.
Drypoint, Drypoint Engraving: A process of engraving upon a copper plate with a burin, scoring deeply into the plate, creating a furrow bordered by rough, upturned edges (the burr), which hold the ink. In line engraving, the slight burr made by the burin is removed, but in drypoint engraving the burr is left. Therefore, prints taken from a drypoint engraving have a special velvety black line.
Etching: A process by which graphics are taken from a metal plate, on which the drawing is bitten with acid into the surface of the plate. A clean polished copper plate (or occasionally zinc or steel), is covered with a thin coating of acid-resisting etching ground. The drawing to be reproduced is either traced onto the blackened surface of the grounded plate, or is drawn directly onto the surface, using the burin, which exposes the metal in the drawn areas. The edges and back of the plate are then coated with an acid-resistant varnish and it is then immersed in a bath of acid which attacks the metal where it is exposed. When the lightest parts are bitten to the artist's liking, the plate is taken out of the acid and the work stopped out with varnish. The process can then be repeated until the work is completed to the artist's satisfaction. The ground and varnish are then removed with a solvent and the plate is then inked. Ink is applied to the entire surface and then carefully rubbed off, leaving the ink in the bitten areas. Impressions are made on damp paper, which is forced into the ink filled lines as the paper and plate are put through a pressure press.
Linocut: The full term is linoleum cut. A surface printing process similar to woodcutting. The image is dug into the linoleum (linoleum is a hard, smooth washable floor covering made of a mixture of ground cork, wood, and linseed oil) with the areas not to be printed being cut away. The block is then inked and paper is pressed down on the linoleum. Colors can be added by using different blocks, or altering the one block and re-inking.
Silkscreen or Serigraph: A printing process which involves the use of various screens or stencils. The design is drawn on the screen (at one time silk was the general material of choice, before technology provided better materials at less cost) and is either cut out (stencil) or stopped out with varnish. Ink or paint is then wiped or squeegee across the screen, and penetrates to the paper placed immediately below the screen. Different colors usually require the use of different screens, with the many colors being built up on the paper with each successive squeegee of ink or paint.
Woodcut: One of the earliest forms of printmaking, in which the design is carved in wood, with the areas not to be printed being cut away. The block is then inked and paper is pressed down on the woodblock. Colors can be added by using different blocks, or altering the one block and re-inking.