PRINTMAKER GEORGE RAAB has gained an international reputation for his wilderness landscape etchings. He has held dozens of solo exhibitions and has participated in more than a hundred group shows world wide, and his work is included in many public, private, and corporate collections. Among George’s numerous awards is the Grand Prize for Prints at the prestigious American Biennial of Graphic Art; and his American exhibitions include the Pratt Graphics Center in New York, and the International Graphic Arts Foundation in Washington, D.C. Most recently, George was invited to have a solo exhibition at the Prince Takamado Gallery at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
His intaglio images are made by creating grooves and textures below the surface of zinc or copper plates. The techniques he uses most frequently are etching, aquatinting, photo-etching, and watercolour painting. In etching, primarily used to create lines, the surface of the plate is covered with a liquid acid-resistant ground. Tools are used to draw through the dried ground so that when immersed in an acid bath, the exposed metal is bitten. Aquatinting is a tonal process. Rosin powder is fused using heat to selected bare sections of the plate and the resulting acid bite creates an even texture. In both these methods, the longer the exposure to the acid, the darker the area will appear in the print. In photo-etching, a manipulated monochromatic photographic negative is enlarged onto litho film. It is then reworked by scratching out areas and adding to the image by drawing directly on the film with India ink. The litho film is then contacted onto the sensitized metal plate and hand worked below the surface using the preceding techniques, some of which date back to the 16th Century. The plate is cleaned, hand inked and wiped for each printing. The ink fills in wherever the metal has been disturbed. Prints are pulled on damp rag paper which is subjected to the great pressure of a manually operated printing press. Some of the resulting images are then hand watercoloured.
Raab has traveled extensively throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, China, North and Central America and the Canadian Arctic. His studio and home are located on a small farm in the historic village of MilIbrook, northeast of Toronto, where he and has wife Evelyn, a writer, are slaves to a menagerie of animals and assorted fowl. They are also the proud parents of two boys.