"Elegy" is a mezzotint created in 2000 by American printmaker Holly Downing. It is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned 12/40. "Elegy" was printed by Kathleen Watson on wove Rives BFK paper measuring 22-3/8 x 29-7/8 inches.
Downing wrote: "Mezzotint is a form of engraving, whose subtle qualities are achieved with tone rather than line. The artist spends many hours rocking a copper plate until the plate has thousands of tiny holes, each with a bit of raised burr that hold a tremendous amount of ink. A fully rocked plate prints a lush, velvety black, unparalleled in any other medium. To obtain an image, the artist scrapes the surface of the plate, variously lowering the levels of the burrs so they will hold less ink and thereby yield gradations of dark and light. Gradually an image emerges out of the darkness."
Holly Downing, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in San Francisco in 1948. She earned her B.A. at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1972. She also studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and earned her MFA from Goddard College where she researched mezzotint technique. She taught art for twenty-three years at the Santa Rosa Junior College and also taught at the University of California Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University.
Downing received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Greenshields Foundation, Canada; the Arts Council of Great Britain; the Graham Foundation, Chicago; and the San Francisco Phelan Foundation. She is an elected member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London.
Her work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum; Ashmoleon Museum, Oxford; Scottish National Art Gallery, Edinburgh; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Chi-ba Art Museum and Nakasatsunai Art Museum, Japan; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Stanford University Art Museum. Downing's mezzotints are featured in "The Mezzotint, History and Technique" by Carol Wax, 1990.