Ruth Leaf’s most recent artworks are hand-colored etchings and woodcuts. After printing small editions in black ink, each print is hand-colored with watercolor. This technique creates variations in the individual prints.

Etchings are made with acid resistant grounds on a metal plate. The image is drawn with etching needles that expose the metal beneath a waxy acid resistant ground. When the plate is put in an acid bath, the exposed metal is eaten away. Ink is rubbed into these depressions and the surface of the plate is wiped clean. When the plate goes through the press, the ink below the surface of the plate creates the image.

Woodcuts are the opposite of etchings. They are relief prints. The wood block is carved so that the image remains on the surface of the block. Ink is applied to this top surface only. When the block is put through the press, the ink on the surface creates the image.


Etching plate from center section of Hall of Memories 2 left) and woodcut block for Music (right).


When printed, both etchings and woodcuts are the reverse of the image on the plate or block.