Portfolio - Etchings

Etching projects

Speyside Cooperage


Aberdeen Heliport and the East Hangar


In the Ring of Thainstone Mart


Knockando Woolmill


Shipyards of Aberdeen


Along the River Don


Artist’s Commentary

This body of work captures contemporary life at some of Scotland’s most iconic industries using printmaking and oil painting techniques. I have had behind-the-scenes access at Speyside Cooperage, stood on helicopters at Aberdeen Heliport, captured life at Shipyards of Aberdeen, Knockando Woolmill and Thainstone Mart.

This Printmaking and Whisky clip below shows tools and equipment I use in the studio when creating etchings. I find that a copper plate etching gives an unbeatable depth to an image with a unique quality.

I built up the drawing onto the copper plate in several layers. Each layer exposing unprotected copper is bathed in acid. The acid bites into the bare metal. The length of time the plate stays in acid depends on the depth of incision needed. I draw with a common household needle, a knitting needle and the side of a scraper from an etching tool. After the acid bath the plate is inked up and put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper. The paper picks up ink from the etched lines making a print. I also leave a lot of dark areas of ink on the plate, carefully wiping to add tone, texture and atmosphere to the composition. Every print within a limited edition is therefore unique, because of the application of various wiping techniques. James McNeill Whistler, one of the principal American artists of the late 19th century, also used this technique emulating with a wide range of wiping effects of mist, sunset or night.

I primarily use copper plates, it is an expensive material, yet I like the softness of the metal and the quality of the final print. Although printing technology has advanced greatly, such as 3D laser printing, I still find that an etching gives an unbeatable depth to an image, and in my opinion, still, a unique quality. Although it is a lot of work to create an image like this, I am addicted to the satisfaction I feel at the end result.

Copperplate illustration

The above image shows an etched copper plate with an inscribed drawing before it is inked up and run through the printmaking press with a piece of paper. The image below shows the final print. Note that this is the mirrored image of the drawing on the copper plate.

Copperplate etching

Previous exhibitions featuring Kate’s etchings

This multi-award-winning body of work has been exhibited between 2015 and 2021 in multiple solo shows (private and public galleries), such as at Duff House in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland & National Galleries of Scotland (2019-2020) as well as the Meffan Gallery (2018), Scuola di Grafica in Venice (2016) and Eion Stewart Fine Art Gallery in Stonehaven (2017) and the Compass Gallery in Glasgow (2021). Multiple works held in permanent public collections of Aberdeen Maritime Museum and Angus Council.

Solo shows: 2020 Whisky, Whisky, The Bute Gallery, Isle of Bute, UK

· 2019 – 2020 Duff House, Historic Environment Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland, Banff, UK

· 2017 Scotland: Darg and Drams, Meffan Museum and Art Gallery, Forfar, UK

· 2017 Whisky Galore – the Water of Life, Eion Stewart Fine Art Gallery, Stonehaven, UK

· 2016 Scotland: Darg and Drams, Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, Venice, Italy

· 2016 Aberdeen Airport in collaboration with Heinzel Gallery, Aberdeen, UK

· 2015 When the boat comes in, Grampian Hospital Arts Trust, Aberdeen, UK

Group shows: Over the years my work also has been regularly part of group shows, such as The Mall Galleries and Bankside Gallery in London, at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh (RSA, SSA and VAS), Royal Glasgow Institute and the Neoprint Prize in Bolton.