Mary Taylor is a New Zealand artist, born in Devonport. Educated at Takapuna Grammar School, Auckland University and Massey University, she was formerly a teacher. She has worked as a professional,
full-time artist since 1983. Mary exhibits and sells her work throughout New Zealand. Her work is held in collections in New Zealand and other countries.
She produces limited edition, hand-coloured etchings and relief block images.
She paints in oils, acrylics and water-colours. Her picture book Old Blue: The Rarest Bird in the World won a national non-fiction award.
Mary lives and works on Auckland’s west coast in a wilderness area of
exceptional beauty, of lush forest and rugged coastline.
Mary’s work draws inspiration and subject matter from New Zealand’s urban life, from its unique native flora and fauna, landscape, seascape and pristine wilderness. Her work is featured in New Zealand’s Favourite Artists (ed Denis Robinson, 2006).
The Etching Process
The design is drawn through a dark varnish on to prepared zinc plate. Metal needles are used for the drawing. When the first lines are ready, the plate is immersed in a solution of
nitric acid and the acid bites away (etches) the exposed
parts of the plate. This process is repeated many times.
Some etchings include aquatint. This involves showering the prepared plate with finely-powdered resin, baking it so that it fuses with the metal, then immersing the plate in acid. Areas that require gradation may be scraped back and burnished.
A fine quality acid-free paper is soaked in water.The
metal plate is carefullyinked with special printing ink. When ready the plate is placed on the bed of the etching press and the damp paper laid on top. Then the two are rolled through together.
An impression is transferred from the plate to the paper. Each time a print is pulled, the plate must be inked afresh. The paper is pressed flat as it slowly dries over a number of days. Each etching may then be hand-coloured by the artist.
The process is time-consuming and manual. Each etching will vary from others in the edition and is an original work of art.
When a block is carved only the raised part, which is left in relief, transfers the image.
Mary Taylor’s relief blocks are printed from carved linoleum. Each image is individually printed and then hand-painted. Mary favours the use of a strong, dark key block, influenced by both Japanese woodblock tradition and stained-glass art.
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