Myths and Legends

Using myths and legends as inspiration, I created drypoint prints with my interpretations of the myth/legend of my choice in the Printmaking Lab. The first step was to create sketches of the designs I wanted to print. After reversing them on my computer I printed them out, ready to print during class.The actual printmaking process happened during class hours. While letting my printmaking paper soak in the water, I used an etching needle to carve my final designs into an acrylic plate. I mixed several colors of oil based ink on palette paper, warming them up with the spreading knife before applying them to my plate. Then I covered the etchings in my plate, wiping away the excess ink with tarlatan and soft clothes. After retrieving my paper from the sink, I laid it out on the printmaking bed along with my acrylic plate, covering both with the mats and newsprint paper. Finally, I rolled my paper through the machine and peeled back the mats to reveal a finished print.

I was drawn to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion carved a female out of ivory and wished she were real. His wish came true when he kissed his statue and a woman came to life with the statue’s qualities. In the end the pair were married by Venus. This myth reminded me of how I recently went to The Met and sketched several pieces in their sculpture garden, which prompted me to further my exploration with anatomy and sculpture. My personal interest in sculpture also inspired my piece. I decided to draw the torso of a female statue, representing Galatea before she came alive, with Pygmalion’s hands carving and softening her shape. I wanted to portray that he was a man at work, but also cared a great deal about this sculpture because of the way he holds the torso. For the colors I decided to do two different versions. I mixed my own deep green, symbolizing envy and royalty because they were gods and Pygmalion loved his sculpture. After I mixed a light pink because I thought the color would look nice with my design, also the pink could represent love.


Sacred Medicine Water was the legend I chose to interpret. When I read the legend, I though more about what type of creatures would drink, live, or use this pure water. Influenced by my love for marine biology I decided to design a composition of fish for this print. I focused more on the positioning and sizing of this print, rather than the etching and detail like the last one. The two fish also are symbolic of the harmony and balance that is restored and maintained in the spot where the medicine water comes from. I decided to experiment with color more on this print. I started with a simple light blue ink to represent the water. I transitioned to making one fish orange and the other blue. Then I tried to create an ombre effect using orange and blue, which created a green hue in the middle.

Overall I loved this project, and how my prints came out. I did find it difficult at first to etch into the plates, besides the physical work being exhausting, I had to go over lines multiple times because I was unsure if the lines were deep enough. It was a very tedious process, continually switching colors, cleaning ink, drying paper, and putting on and taking off gloves, but it was very rewarding. I was very surprised with how well my designs transformed into prints, the line work so clean and precise. I do wish I played around with the amount of ink I could have left on the plate, but I am happy with the clean cut prints I made. I think the color progression is very apparent in my work, and I would love to experiment more with color and design technique in the Printmaking Lab in the future!

(reversed) Sketch of Pygmalion and Galatea Myth

Acrylic Plate

Green print of myth (first print)

Pink print of myth (second print)

(reversed) Sketch of Sacred Medicine Water legend

Carving into plate

Acrylic Plate

Acrylic Plate

Blue print of legend (first print)

Orange and blue legend print (second print)

Color gradient legend print (third print)

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