Works on Paper      Professional Framing Services

Fine Impressions Gallery is a fine art print gallery offering a wide selection of original antique and contemporary handmade prints and other works on paper, including watercolors and drawings. We have something for every interest, including architecture, botanicals, maps, birds, historical subjects, literary subjects, satire, costumes, and much more. Our professional framing services will protect and display your artwork, providing a lifetime of enjoyment.

Serving the
art community
since 1981

Gallery Hours:
Tues-Sat 11-5
or by appointment

8300 5th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Click for map

Laurent Schkolnyk
Color Mezzotint  

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Specializing in "Works on Paper", we are often asked how to identify an original work from a reproduction. A reproduction is a copy made by photographing or scanning an original work of art and printing it from a machine, such as an offset press (offset lithograph) or inkjet printer (giclee print). An original print, however, is handmade by the artist, who creates the image on the plate, inks it and transfers it to paper.

To kick off the New Year, we are exploring the basics of printmaking and the fundamentals for discerning between a reproduction and a print. In the following months, we will take a more in depth look at the many forms of printmaking and share examples form our collection. You can also visit our Printmaking Terms page for more information or come in and visit the shop to see more.

There are four basic types of fine art prints - intaglio, relief, planographic and stencil - ranging in style from precise to painterly.

  Relief prints: The block is carved and the image comes from the ink rolled onto the surface of the block. Only the surface prints. Any carved areas remain the “white” of the image. Relief prints include linocuts, woodblocks, wood engravings and collographs.

  Intaglio prints: Intaglio is Italian for “in the lines.” The ink is forced into incised images that have been engraved or etched into the plate and then wiped clean. A printing press is needed to impress the remaining ink into the paper, often leaving a visible plate mark around the print. Examples include etchings, engravings, aquatints, and mezzotints.

"Solemn Stream"
Jim Meyer
Color Woodblock, 2014

"Le Wo Tai Shan" 10/50
Jean Houplain

  Planographic prints: There is no carving or cutting but instead artists draw directly onto the stone or plate with waxy crayon and use a resist to transfer the ink to paper. Lithographs can look like paintings or drawings. Chromolithographs require multiple stones to create each color in print.

  Stencil prints: Serigraphs, also called silkscreens, and pochoir are examples of stencil prints. Using screens or stencils, they block part of the paper so that the ink only comes through to create the image. Stencil prints have a distinct look with rich colors that remain the same value throughout.

"Autumn Hillside" 231/260
Robert Kipness
Lithograph, 1976

"Winter Wren" 33/40
Sherry Buckner

While black and white prints are created using one plate, color prints are more complex. They require a different plate for each of the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue), as seen in the Schkolnyk piece at the top. The colors mix on the damp paper, creating many shades. This accounts for the discrepancy in the price for each style. Some artists on the other hand choose to hand watercolor their black and white prints, blending the art of printmaking and painting.

"Carmel Bay" a/p vi/viii
Stephen McMillan

"Carmel Bay" 10/160
Stephen McMillan
Color Aquatint, 4 plates

Stages of a 6 block color print by artist Jim Meyer seen at the right.

"If You Want to See a Caribou"
Jim Meyer
Book, Cover is a Color Woodblock

"Ficus Indica"
Basilius Besler
Hand Colored Etching, 1613

Remember, we have many items in the gallery that are not on our website.

Just click on your browser's File menu and select "Email link" or "Send link by email"

We are continually adding new listings, images, and information to our website. Please contact us if you are interested in an item that is listed without an image, or if you have any other questions about our inventory or services.
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