Marja-Leena Rathje
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Lea, an etching


an early trial proof


a later colour trial proof, almost there


Lea - etching, 1983
image: 22.2 x 22.5 cm. (8.75" x 8.8")
Paper: 38 x 38 cm. (15" x15")

Here is one of my very early etchings from the time when I returned to printmaking. As I've mentioned in the past, I fell in love with printmaking in my last year at art school, too late to major in it, but left with the feeling that I wanted to return to it some day. The opportunity came much much later and of course, I had to spend time relearning the processes.

After deep etching this plate, I worked on numerous proofs, trying out different colours and various ways of inking it. I wrote many notes on the proofs about those processes. The top one is getting close to what I wanted, to my eye at the time, with the technique of intaglio wiping (the blues), then with a relief roll (red) over it. More colour trials were made, with the second image above getting very close. The final editioned version is shown last.

I'm not overly fond of how I designed the image and I now rather prefer the colours in the first one shown, but it's an example of the process of learning technique before mastering the image along with it.

Marja-Leena | 04/06/2012 | 6 comments
themes: Older Works, Printmaking, Printworks


It's an elegant design and I like the way you adjusted the depth of the form.

I hope you're enjoying having your family at home to stay for a while.


interesting to see the developing of the etching. I have a niece whose name is Lea, not look-alike at all, but who I often think, as we live quite far away from eachothers.

ahaa, it looks like a very passionate picture, indeed. Leda is not cold woman at all.

I wonder if you ever saw any works by Ina Colliander, she did mostly graphics in many different techniques. Her husband was a wrtier and they were from east, either from Isthmus or further, Inkeri, which is around St. Petersburg and ended up this side, in Finland.

They were orthodoxes, which made part of the content, but: Leda and Swan is also a mythical event. But more importantly, Colliander used similar gestus's and habitus's of persons, animals, houses, like you do in this picture. I came back to look at this one, because it looked familiar.

The couple have died long time ago, but the works exist.

Your way of handling etching is very skillfull, thinking, how rough the picture is, strong,even robust.