Mixed Media; Traditional Mezzotint (Oil on Italian-made Fabriano Paper with digital color enhancing and embossing)
A Mezzotint is defined as a printmaking process attained by a drypoint method invented in 1642.
I manually roughened a metal plate with a five inches wide steel rocker. I rocked steadily from side to side producing burrs in the surface of the plate rotating it in 90 degrees increments until the plate was evenly roughened. This process takes an immense amount of time and patience. The image of Or HaOlam was then created by burnishing areas of the metal plate with metal tools. The smoothed parts print lighter than the areas that are not smoothed because only the minutely protruding points are capable of holding ink. By varying the degree of smoothing, mid-tones between black and white are created, hence the name mezzo-tinto which is Italian for “half-tone” or “half-painted”. This is called working from “dark to light”, or the “subtractive” method.
To print Or HaOlam I inked the whole surface. Then I wiped the ink off the surface to leave ink only in the pits. The plate is put through a printing press. Because the pits in the plate are not deep, only a small number of top-quality impressions can be printed before the quality of the tone starts to degrade as the pressure of the press begins to smooth them out.
I used digital coloring and embossing to further enhance the image.
Or HaOlam אור העולם is Hebrew for “light of the world” or “the universe”. Just about every Hebrew prayer begins by saying, “Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha Olam” which translated means “Blessed are you O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe.” We find this mention of Or (light) already in G-d’s first act of creations. Genesis 1:3-4 G-d said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. G-d saw that the light was good, and G-d divided the light from the darkness. The term “Or HaOlam” is found in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.” We also find the concept of light in Hanukkah חנכה known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication. It’s an eight-day holiday to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple. To incorporate these concepts into the artwork of Or HaOlam I used a stylized Hanukiah to symbolize the Festival of Lights as well as the light of the world. The bottom of the Hanukiah is made from two intertwined roots becoming one light that illuminates the entire world. We do not only need exposure to natural light but also to spiritual light to live, flourish and grow. We then in turn are able to let our light shine before people (Matt. 5:16.)