Polka Dots Hand-Painted Etching by Beth Bird

Beth Bird

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This is a signed limited edition hand-painted etching by Beth Bird of Galena, Illinois.

Image Size: approximately 10" x 14"

Framed Size: 21.75" x 26"

Edition number: 56/100


Please note that all hand-painted etchings/drypoints usually require a special order and colors will vary from what is shown due to the hand-made nature of each piece.


Etching is a print making process that involves drawing on a metal plate, putting the plate in an acid bath to "eat" the drawing into the metal, and then inking the plate and running it through a printing press.  It is a tedious process that was created as a way to make multiples of an image before photography, photocopying, and digital technology.

Today, artists continue to make etchings and other prints as an artistic process and it allows them to produce multiple copies of an image without the use of photography. After Beth prints her etching she then adds another step and paints with gouache (a less transparent type of watercolor) to colorize her etchings.  Each one created is then a unique piece of art.  Ultimately, etchings have more value and cost more than reproductions.



Beth Bird began her study of art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa and completed her degree in 1965 in Art Education.  While there, she had the opportunity to study under Mauricio Lasansky in the printmaking department and to take part in the University’s now famous Writer’s Workshop.  Together these early experiences  introduced her to the idea of narrative art. 

After marrying and raising four children, she returned to her study of art at the Chicago School of the Art Institute and completed a master's degree in art therapy.  Her years at the Art Institute gave her time to think about the psychological component of making art and telling stories.

She found her way back to print making at a class at The Evanston Art Center that at the time was taught by Audrey Niffenegger. It was an exciting place to work and collaborate over the presses.

Fellow printmakers came from all over the world and ranged in ages from eighteen to eighty three. For seven years, Bird had the time to test every kind of technique in the field but eventually chose etching, dry point and often hand coloring the print as her favored methods of art making.

Bird set up her own print studio in a one hundred year old farmhouse near Elizabeth, Illinois in 1996.

Two years later, she was invited to be a Ragdale fellow in Lake Forest, Illinois. Ragdale is a beautiful old estate devoted to the arts. Artists are invited to come and work on their writing, painting and composing projects. Bird spent her time there working on the narrative artwork of The Red Shoes.

In 1999, her work became part of the permanent collection at The Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. The Ballad of the Red Shoes was shown at the Dubuque Museum of Art in Dubuque, Iowa, and in 2005 was shown at the Union League Club in Chicago, Illinois.

In recent years Bird has focused on paintings portraits of girls - girls with various flavors of pie, girls with birds, and girls staged by the light of the moon.  Her paintings are gouache and water soluble oil pastels on rag paper.  She collaborated with the late local photographer Richard Pearce in creating fine art reproductions of many of these paintings.    


 Find more of Beth's work here.

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