On Etching


What is there, is there, simply because all my life I have been unable to refrain from doing it. Dreams are transformed into earthly plod with acid, salt, polished and unpolished heavy zinc. The eye sees groove and structure: this is an engraving technique. In my etchings, only the nervation of what once was is visible. Trailing tendrils (in myths often representing the birth of the sun or a rebirth) are a recurring motif: entrapping or liberating? Walking through my garden I find what is needed, such as clary, foxglove, star-of-Bethlehem. In vernis-mou under the printing press, sparked with enthusiasm, the process continues. This is the beginning; the image follows, and finally the word. In the silence of the pure landscape of the Betuwe, there is air and space for ideas coming to mind effortlessly, transforming themselves into vivid colours on handmade paper made out of rags and cotton. In Amsterdam, during holidays, my eye is caught in passing by graceful or eccentric leaves, calling out: 'Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!' ; and I do. Or I may find them lying on paths, on the asphalt, in the meadow, in the forest, on the street, asking to be picked up. If I hesitate, or refrain from picking it up, the leaf becomes fixed in my head, making me turn around and take it to my etching room anyway.

Two impressions from my small etching room during the making of
Peltiphyllum Peltatum, 1999:





The finished print