| Mezzotint was invented by Dutch artist Von Siegen at the beginning of the 17th century. The technique is measured by the artist spending a long period of time "rocking" the copper plate from which the print is "pulled".
The rocker tool is a small curved blade with fine ridges on the edge. The wooden handled tool is firmly rocked onto the metal plate created a systematic arrangement of impressed lines that intersect and cross in every direction. The small pits or roughened areas created by the rocker tool are uniform across the entire metal plate. Some artists spend weeks preparing their mezzotint plates.
If black ink was rolled onto the metal plate at this point, the paper printed from the inked plate would display a velvet-like impression.
The actual image is made by Schkolnyk using a burnisher to press down upon and flatten selected areas of the pitted plate. Those areas flattened by the burnisher will not hold the ink when transferring the image to the paper. The burnishing will yield variations of gray, white, or black, and in order to obtain strong white area, a tool called a scraper is used.
Mezzotints were very popular in England during the 18th and 19th century. During the 20th century the major names in mezzotint engraving were Avati, Hamaguchi, and Schkolnyk.
Laurent Schkolnyk creates his rich colors by producing three completely different plates each one using a primary color: blue, magenta and yellow. The plates are printed individually with the yellow color always printed first and then the second with magenta or red is printed on the yellow.
In the same manner the blue is added, thereby creating as much as seven or eight different tints and hues.
The light is brought out of darkness in these exquisite designs created by Laurent Schkolnyk. The works have a sensual quality and display a unity between realistic themes and fantastic compositions that resides in an intimate atmosphere which discloses the extreme attention and the loving respect of the artist for the birth of the precious image on the plate.
His imagery conveys intense emotion and above all, the beauty of his mezzotints are everlasting.