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Magical Secrets are quickly grasped. They open doors to fresh ways of seeing and understanding. Artists use aquatint, a form of etching, to create delicate washes, velvety blacks, and intricate layers of colour impossible in other art media. In this book, the third in the Magical Secrets series about etchings, Emily York discusses 46 aquatints by 32 artists, with special attention to fascinating sequential works by Richard Diebenkorn and Al Held.

Emily York is a master printer at Crown Point Press, a publishing workshop where artists have been creating etchings since 1962. She ties process directly to art, and with clear writing and abundant illustrations explains the aquatint processes of spit bite, sugar lift, soap ground, and water bite. She also details steel-facing and multiple-plate printing, and gives step-by-step instructions for making you own aquatints. The book has two appendices: Printing the Crown Point Way by Kathan Brown and Using Acid to Bite Plates by Catherine Brooks. Anyone who cares about art will enjoy this book, and anyone who makes etchings will find it indispensible. The included DVD demonstrates the processes, and the accompanying website provides ongoing information about printmaking. www.magical-secrets.com. Published by Crown Point Press, 2008. 360 pages, full color illustrations.

“The third in crown Point Press’s series on printmaking, this book does exactly what it says on the cover. Its meticulous, step-by-step approach means that even printmakers who are confident with aquatint will find it helpful.

The book is like a Russian doll in its presentation of the technique-each chapter revealing a different aspect of the process. While it can sometimes seem a little short of illustrations, the excellent text more than compensates. The ‘how to’ descriptions are also richly supported by the masterful images that the author has chosen to exemplify particular effects. Many are the work of some very famous artists: Al Held, Ed Ruscha, Tony Cragg, Elaine De Kooning and Francesco Clemente among them. Crown Point Press is, after all, among the most celebrated of all American print studios.

Whether you are a lover of aquatint or among those who have often found themselves frustrated by it, this is the book for you. The accompanying CD is 2 1/2 hours long (as long as it took me to read the book!) but being able to see the master printmaker at work, as described in the book, is a huge bonus.” –Megan Fishpool, Artist-printer & writer, UK, Printmaking Today, 2009

Specialized information. Beautiful color reproductions of artwork. Step-by-step instructions. Informative artist biographies. Very valuable dvd, detailing the entire processes. This book is a veritable handbook for aquatint! It contains a wealth of specific information which is written in a straight forward approach. There are many worthwhile insights into this process-heavy technique. Also, through the analysis of artists work, a window is opened into Crown Point Press’s history, and into the very studio were artists make etchings. It is the third volume in a series dedicated to the intaglio printmaking processes. The appendix reveals how to print your plate, The Crown Point Press Way, and you will be amazed at the difference in quality! This book is a perfect element to enhance every student’s printmaking studies. An essential tool in any print shop. Excellent addition to an art bookstore or library. A distinguished hardcover book to add to a collector’s shelf. (I also love the Sol LeWitt print on the cover!) Reasonably priced for the amount of information and detail provided. The book is worth the price alone; think of the dvd as a bonus! Reviewed by Dana Zullo; September 25, 2008

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