Use the form on the right to contact Jo.

423 Southeast 69th Avenue
Portland, OR, 97215
United States


Filtering by Category: Testimonial

on etching......

Jo Brody

I have been learning the art of etching (a very traditional way of printmaking) over the past several years and am coming to find my way, slowly. I write about the technique here because it is one of those art forms which I will probably always be drawn to. I love small etchings, in little frames with lovely inked areas of color and delicate lines. Most of the famous artists whose work I love to look at have  found their way to etching. Richard Diebenkorn, one of my favorites, made many beautiful etchings, many of them at Crown Point Press, a legendary printmaking studio in San Francisco. I will likely not become an etching expert (an "etch-pert?) because there are lots of other forms of printmaking that I prefer--monotype, collograph, and relief printing. Less process, more spontaneity. But I am enamored with the etching results and find I am really enjoying the review class/open work session I am enrolled in right now at  my local art center

Etching is, in it's most commonly known form, a copper or other metal plate that has been incised with a drawing or ink painting, using line and built up tonal areas using crosshatching, oil paint, or even photos burned into the copper. The plate is then dipped into an acid bath(and later dipped again for darker tones) as the acid bites away at the copper( the word "etching" means "to eat" in Dutch) , leaving a series of deep grooves and carved away areas. Later, these "bitten" marks will hold ink and appear as a positive image when printed on paper using a printing press. The areas that are to remain untouched by ink are protected with a material that is acid resistant. This material is called "ground" and can be made of asphalt, rosin (from the sap of a tree) or wax among other substances. There are many steps to etching and one must be mindful of the amount of time the plate is left in the acid bath, the way one rubs ink on the plate before printing, and the order and time one leaves the plate in subsequent acid bath dips to make darker areas.

After my first class in this process I swore I would never do etching again. It was complicated and I couldn't understand my own notes scrawled in my notebook. Even now after a couple more classes I consistently forget the order of things, and which liquids are used to take off ground and clean plates. It's not an intuitive process for me but I am drawn to it anyway! I have made a few little pieces I like and see improvement in my process and technical abilities. I think as an artist one of the most pleasurable things is to learn how things are made, the Magical Secrets of the story behind the works of art we know and love. Then, even if that technique or medium doesn't become our favored medium, we have gained a deeper knowledge about the work we enjoy. Maybe later we'll become the "etch-pert"....ya never know! 




Well, it sure has been a while since I posted and I have no excuse except that as the saying goes, " life is for living". To my knowledge no one ever said, " life is for blogging", so there's my excuse. I been living! Art school at PNCA ( much drawing, some painting), jewelry design( yes I'm still at it so look for a post next week about my upcoming December shows) . Oh yes and parenting two teen boys. Whew! That's the real work and I love every minute of it ( on good days).... Please look at this incredible video my husband Mark Brody made for our 20th anniversary which we celebrated this August. My eldest son had a party for us. We were not invited. I digress. The pictures in "Timeless" are mostly mine. The editing genius and musical timing is all him.... I love you Mosaic Mark!  

Betty Love!



I went on an artist's date today. An artist's date is a concept from Julia Cameron's Artist's Way, a runaway bestseller that promotes, among other nurturing practices for artists' block or insecure artist syndrome, the taking of a couple of hours for oneself, alone, to be inspired and re-filled when the cup hath run dry. The idea is that during an artist's date, simply spending time visiting an art gallery or museum, or walking in the forest, or eating brunch at a cute diner with only your sketchbook for company, provides inspiration and self soothing that is often missing in one's busy life.  

This is exactly what I did today, when I visited Portland's wonderful Museum of Contemporary Craft to see the Betty Feves exhibit. Betty Feves(1918-1985) was a pioneering modernist ceramicist living and working in the Pendleton area of Eastern Oregon. Her use of local clays, colors and monumental landscape forms put her at the forefront of the "think globally, act locally movement" that has morphed into the regionalism that is all the rage in nearly every art media today. Her humble persona as a farmer's daughter and a working mom is appealing and down-to-earth, but it is her mastery over form, color and texture that make her a giant in the world of modern ceramics. Some of her works are lighthearted, almost humorous, with big faces and a clash of textures that make one smile. Much of the work is so large and muscular it feels as if it were forced up through the ground by a seismic event. Namita Gupta Wiggers, the museum's curator and now, Director, has done a marvelous job of elucidating Ms. Feves' artistic process and personal voice, as described in an informative article in Oregon Arts Watch.   My artist's date was a huge success.I feel inspired, moved to make work that is truly me, as Betty Feves insisted upon throughout her career. Fortunately The Contemporary Crafts Museum on the Park Blocks in Portland's Pearl District will be open through July 28. Please go!