Marie-Louise is attending a short weekend course on using alternatives to Nitric Acid for the etch. There have been, in the past, forays into this area, and not with high rates of success with respect to the quality of the line. Preliminary results are positive, and here's what she said to good friend and fellow artist Raphael Hynes:
I had a great weekend on print course, and I was pleased with results.
It will need a lot of practice to get up to speed and get the results I want from it. The aluminium tends to foul bite very easily if it hasn't been degreased properly, and if you are very fussy about pure white areas this could drive you bonkers. But you can etch the plate completely and treat it like a mezzotint, which you might like. I couldn't believe the speed the plate etched to a black.....5 MINIUTES!!!! This was a fresh bath on the first day, and the second day it took almost 15 minutes. It's very like steel, as it has a plate tone, and the results reminded me of my first experiences using steel... I thought it was quite crude, but with practice it got more refined. It would certainly be worth looking into as a safer substitute for nitric."
The course is given by another friend and long-standing member of the Blanc Church Print Studio, Vincent Sheridan.
Images of plate tones, lines and soft grounds to follow...