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The Story of This Print: “Grapes for Claudio” / “Uvas para Claudio”

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Grapes for Claudio / Uvas para Claudio

In 2009 our son Bill and his wife Victoria adopted a two-and-a-half-year-old boy from an orphanage in Madagascar. We picked them up from the Granada airport when they arrived back with Claudio, after a two-month get-to-know-each-other period on the island. Claudio was in Bill’s arms with his hand stuck reassuringly in his new father’s shirt.

On his first visit to our house Claudio was taken with the bunches of ripe grapes hanging from the vines over our terrace. He stretched and fretted until Bill lifted him up to pick some, and Claudio stuffed his little cheeks full. There was so much joy in that image in my mind’s eye that I made an etching of the grape arbor. It’s called “Grapes for Claudio.”

Claudio is now four. He speaks Spanish like a four-year-old Granadino, and loves to paint.

Claudio painting with his Nana   Claudio painting in Maureen's studio

This is a relief acid etching worked on a 15 x 30 cm. zinc plate.  I first varnished
the plate then did all the line work. The nitric acid (28%) was diluted12:1.
Then I cleaned the plate and painted all the images with covering varnish, and
left it to harden overnight.  Next day I put the plate in a stronger acid bath,
and left it for a couple of hours, wiping away the bubbles frequently with
a feather, so as to keep the lines clean.  There is no aquatint on this plate.
The stronger acid makes an interesting background.  Then I printed it a la
poupé on hand made cream-colored Arpa paper.  The little birds are painted
on with  watercolor after the print is pressed.

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