THE MCCROSKEY COLLECTION

FACTS ABOUT THE MCCROSKEY COLLECTION

ACID FREE

A term used to describe paper materials with a 7 pH, or very close to 7 pH. Acid-free materials are more permanent and less likely to discolor over time. The terms “archival” or “conservation” quality more accurately describes true acid-free conservation quality matboard which McCroskey Studio accentuates.

ARCHIVAL INK

Archival prints are museum-quality pieces that use refined particles of pigment to create beautiful, high-resolution finished artwork. As its name suggests, this method of printing creates artwork that is designed to last for a long time. Two key elements play a role in how long of a lifespan an archival inkjet print will have — the ink and the paper.

Individuals, artists and museum curators have a variety of options to choose from, though McCroskey Studio will strive to provide quality Archival print products, ranging from canvas to cotton watercolor paper paired with the archival ink.

ARCHIVAL FRAMING

The framing procedure where all materials are of conservation quality. Conservation framing is the same.

ARCHIVAL PRINT

Unlike a standard dye-based inkjet printer that can produce larger quantities of work at a time, this method focuses more on individual pieces and designing them in a way that’s built to last. An archival print is meant to have a lifespan of a century — or more.

When it’s kept in the right conditions and lighting, an archival print on canvas will retain its colors and beauty through long-term display. Combined, all these qualities make archival prints ideal for displaying top-quality work in galleries and museums.  100% of McCroskey Studio prints are archival, equally worthy of display in your home.

CONSERVATION FRAMING

The framing procedure where all materials that come in contact with the artwork are completely acid-free. This minimizes the effect of adverse atmospheric conditions, and generally provides a lifetime of protection for artwork.  McCroskey Studio  products achieve this status as all the materials used are acid-free.  Conservation Glass is added as another layer of protection (99% UV protection) and reduced glare.

DOUBLE MAT

A double mat is two mats put together, but with a slightly larger opening on the top mat. This difference (the amount of the bottom matboard showing under the top mat) is called the "reveal". If framing your own prints when available, define only the exact opening you require and the reveal.  A common reveal is 3/16" which shows a solid color of about 1/8" once the bevel edge is cut.  One example of the products where we used this feature is the Studio Archive Engravings that feature an ivory double mat framing the image.

ENGRAVING

This is the oldest of the intaglio processes. Albrecht Durer was the first artist to popularize this medium although there are some examples of prints made from the engraved designs on suits of armor from almost one hundred years earlier. In this process the design is cut into a metal plate, usually copper or zinc, with a sharp tool called a burin. The plate is wiped clean with a type of starched cheesecloth called tarlatan. The ink remains only in the furrows left by the burin. Dampened paper (to make it soft) is placed on top of the plate and then they are cushioned by blankets on top and run through a flatbed press, between two rollers at several hundred pounds of pressure per square inch. This forces the ink that is down inside the lines of the plate onto the paper, leaving a raised inked line on the surface of the paper with the background printing white where the plate was wiped clean.  (See any of the 9-piece engravings in our Studio Archive Collection.)

ETCHING

Instead of cutting directly onto the plate the artist covers the plate with acid resistant wax or turbaned ground and then draws on the plate with a special sharp tool called an engraver's needle to remove the ground and expose the metal underneath. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath which bites into the plate where. The protective covering has been removed. By leaving different areas exposed to the acid for varying lengths of time the depth and quality of the line bitten can be controlled. The finished plate is then printed in the same way as an engraving. Rembrandt van Rijn first popularized this medium. Some consider him the father of printmaking as a fine art form.  Ozark Night, a feature print in the Betty Whiteaker Collection, is an example of an etching.

GICLEE

Giclee are digital inkjet prints of a digital image file.  Technically, they are copies, though some artists use this process to produce beautiful one-of-a-kind images on paper.

Many artists are experimenting with color copy machines as an additional tool for producing an image. Theoretically, original prints cannot be produced in this manner because of the lack of a matrix made by the artist that physically produces the image. However, a copy can be the basic image which the artist then adds to and modifies into a mixed media print. Giclee prints are another type of color copy produced with the aid of a computer on a large, special ink jet printer. Like other color copies they can be printed in quantity or one at a time.  Unlike offset lithographs however, they do not have the half-tone dot pattern, but a smoother and random array of tiny dots of color.  The giclee we produce use archival Ink on acid-free canvas.

LIMITED EDITION PRINT

A limited edition print may or may not be an original work of art. It might be just a photo-mechanical reproduction of a painting, photograph,  or drawing. The edition may be limited to an arbitrary number of 500, 1000, often more, and is sometimes even signed in pencil by the artist. It is not, however, actually printed by the artist.  Many of our works will be categorized as ‘limited edition’ prints as they will be a select size printed and signed by the artist.  Commonly, the more limited the print, the more valuable the piece.

LITHOGRAPH

Lithography was invented by Aloys Senefelder in 1798 and immediately became immensely popular as an artistic medium. Stone lithography has gone out of favor in recent years mainly because of the physical demands involved. Also, a much easier and relatively new process called "mylar transfer". Metal litho plates are very lightweight and portable, but do not produce as fine an image as stone. A good stone lithograph print is almost indistinguishable from an original drawing.

After the drawing is finished on the stone or plate it is then treated with a mixture of gum arabic and dilute phosphoric acid which reacts with the waxy drawing materials to produce a type of water repellent soap that will accept the oil based printing ink.

During printing the stone is alternately kept damp with water and then rolled up with the oil based ink. If the stone isn't kept damp enough, or the water is either too acidic or too basic, the whole image can be lost irretrievably and all the time spent developing it wasted. The print paper is placed on top of the freshly inked stone or plate. A specially constructed press has to be used not only to bear the weight of the stones, but to support the extreme pressures needed to print the image. Instead of a press with a metal roller on top and on bottom like an etching press, the litho press uses a narrow wooden or plastic scraper bar above in contact with a greased sheet of metal or plastic over the print paper. Pressure of up to two thousand pounds per square inch is applied to this stone, paper, and plastic sandwich as it is cranked by hand through the press. As in most other print media, if more than one color is used separate plates or stones must be made for each color. Each new color must be printed again on top of the previous runs through the press.  Tom Corbin’s “About Face” and “Girl Undefined” are both Lithograph prints.

ORIGINAL PRINT

An original print is a work of art created by hand and printed by hand, either by the artist or by a professional assistant (often called an artisan), from a plate, block, stone, or stencil that has been hand created by the artist for the sole purpose of producing the desired image. The plates or stencils it is printed from bear no resemblance to the finished work of art, which means its not a copy or a reproduction of anything.

Original prints are traditionally signed in pencil by the artist. They are numbered to indicate how many prints there are in the edition and to identify the individual print. This number appears written as a fraction, for example: 34/75. This is called the edition number. The number to the right of the slash (in this example, 75) indicates the size of the edition: 75 prints have been produced. The number to the left is the actual number of the print. This number is read: "print number thirty four of seventy five". There are other types of identifying marks as well. The artist traditionally keeps a separate group of prints aside from the edition marked as artist's proofs, normally about ten or less. These are marked A/P, sometimes with an edition number after (such as: A/P  2/5) to indicate how many A/P's there are.
An original print is almost always a limited edition print simply because the edition is limited to the actual number of prints that can be safely "pulled" or printed from the plates before the plates begin to wear out and break down from the physical wear and tear of the printing process.

PLEXIGLASS

An acrylic material used instead of glass. It is very light in comparison to glass and much more resistant to breakage. McCroskey Studio will use Plexi for the larger items for this very reason.

We use both 1 mm. plexi (.040") and 3 mm. plexi (1/8").  There are various grades and glare qualities of Plexi as well.

SPACER

Can be used between the mat and backing to create a space when a "shadow box" effect is required. A piece of foamcore will give 3/16 inch space for the shadow box effect.  A Studio example of this technique is how Kim Taggart’s pieces are framed and displayed, they have the illusion of ‘floating’.

SILVER PRINT

Print produced on the most common form of photographic paper up to the present day, introduced into general use in the 1880s. These prints are made with silver halides suspended in a layer of gelatin on fiber based paper.  Nick Vedros’s “American Grit” is a great example of this rare print technique.

WHITE CORE

This is a mat especially designed to have a very white core. Usually it is not of conservation or archival quality. It is a bit more expensive than a regular matboard.  Some works with this feature include Kim Taggarts prints as well as Brian McCroskey’s Vertical Trees and Horizontal Tree-Divided.

WOODCUT

This technique involves the use of a plank of wood or plywood on which the artist draws a design and then carves away the wood in the parts of the picture that are not to be printed. The raised surface retains some of the pattern of the wood grain which shows up in the finished prints. Only one or two colors can be applied to the plate at one time. For prints with many colors a separate block must be carved for each color, and must line up exactly with all the other blocks or the print will be out of register like a badly printed color newspaper photograph.

This is the process that gave rise to the first information revolution and helped to start the Renaissance. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and movable type in the 1400's. His books were all printed from these little blocks of wood carved into the shape of letters and the pictures were printed from woodcuts.  “Dutch Town”, a piece of the Studio Archive Collection is a print of such a work.

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