Offset Lithography is the printing process used for the majority of the early images (2002-2005) published by Susquehanna Editions, including regular signed and numbered prints, artist's proofs, publishers proofs, and artist's remarques. At it's most basic, an offset lithograph is a four color print created on a mechanical press by master craftsmen. A painting is first digitally scanned into a computer where it is then color separated into the four process colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Each of these four separations are then used to create a negative from the computer. Each negative is then used to create a metal plate for the printing press. Throughout this process we monitor the quality and accuracy of each step to determine if additional plates need to be made to either match colors that may be difficult to reproduce or to add depth to match some of the rich tones the artist is able to achieve in his original painting. This has at times led us to the use of up to ten colors to accurately reproduce an image.
The giclée process, which has evolved rapidly since the early nineties, is solely based on the use of digital technology. The digital scan is first captured, just as in the offset process, but the image is instead separated into red, green, and blue for color manipulation. This is the same color format that your home computer monitor reproduces colors in. From this point, special computer software is used to convert this three color format into an eight color format to be sent to the digital press. On this press, high quality pigment based inks are sprayed onto specially coated cotton rag paper. The resulting giclée offers a richness and depth of color unattainable by other methods of printing. Special care is required for handling giclée prints. Since the ink sits on top of the coated paper without being allowed to soak into it, these prints are more susceptible to scratching or smearing than regular offset prints created with oil based inks. Once properly framed, however, the care for these prints is the same as other paper based artwork.
Often considered a multiple original, an etching is not really a reproduction of a piece of artwork so much as it is it's own creation. An etching is created with the use of a metal plate, acids, and an assortment of needles and fine points to produce an image. On a zinc or copper plate, an image is scratched onto the surface of the metal in reverse, since the plate is to be inked and printed. The scratching removes a very thin protective barrier applied by the artist, called hard or soft ground, from the plate. Raw metal is then exposed through these fine lines. The plate is then submerged or brushed with an acid that will eat away at the exposed raw metal creating an image with the lines. This process is repeated many times, re-working the etched lines to determine depth. Depth determines the amount of ink the lines can retain.
Once the entire plate is etched in this manner, it is rubbed with an oil-based ink making sure that the ink is pushed into each line, especially the deepest lines. The entire plate is rubbed clean with a cloth, stiff or soft, called tarlatan or cheesecloth, but the etched lines retain their ink. The inked plate is placed on an etching press bed, with damp paper placed carefully over the plate, because this will become the print. A piece of blotter paper to dry the print as it goes through the press is also placed on top of the print paper. The papers are covered with a set of felt blankets and pulled under the etching press's steel roller using a star wheel crank. The final impression on the paper needs to dry before being hand-colored, signed, and numbered. Each print made in this manner, even though it is created from the same plate as all the others in the edition, will have it's own characteristics. Subtle differences in tone and depth can occur depending on the amount of ink applied to or wiped from the plate before pulling the print. Also, each piece being hand colored creates a unique, as no two are ever exactly the same.
Early on, Artist's Proofs were among the very first impressions printed or pulled from a press for the artist to inspect quality and color of the art reproduction. As craftsmen perfected the printing processes the Artist Proof evolved into a separate portion of the edition generally equal to around 10% of the regular edition size. These prints are numbered separately from the normal limited edition and either designated as an Artist Proof or A/P beside the print number. Although there are some exceptions to the normal, Artist's Proofs are today generally printed on the same paper to the same quality standard as the regular limited edition prints.
Similar to the Artist's Proof portion of the edition, Publisher's Proofs are a small portion of the edition reserved for special purposes. These prints are of the same quality as the Artist's Proofs and regular print edition but numbered in their own edition designated by Publisher Proof or P/P beside the number. At Susquehanna Editions we don't generally offer Publisher's Proofs for sale. We retain most of the Publisher's Proofs for internal purposes and occasionally these prints are offered through fund-raising events or other charitable ventures.
An Artist's Remarque is a way for a collector to acquire a very special print from an artist. In addition to the collectible nature of a limited edition print an Artist's Remarque contains an original piece of artwork hand painted by the artist. Sometimes an artist will remarque a print upon request for a collector for an additional fee over the cost of the normal edition. These commissioned remarques can often be added to a regular edition print or other print edition. This is a practice common in the wildlife art field. At Susquehanna Editions a remarque from David Seybold is an entirely separate edition from the others and is identified by Artist Remarque with the edition number. David's remarques are usually in an edition of 12 prints although they have been in different amounts of up to 25 for special purposes such as benefit prints for non profit organizations and for his 25th year anniversary print "Colonial Dreams". From 2002-2005 the Artist's Remarques were painted in oil on the bottom print margin. After that the paintings have been separate and accompany the Artist Remarque print. While mostly oil paintings David may occasionally paint his remarques in a different medium.
Master Giclée is a term we use to describe the larger size of each of David's print releases. The first print we offered in more than one size was "Retired". The Master Giclée prints are identified by their larger physical image size than all the other editions as well as their more textured watercolor like etching paper and the fact that they have no white border. These prints are signed and numbered in the image by David and are only released in small quantities.
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