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Cat Outram

Cat Outram
I was born in 1959 in Nairobi, Kenya, a country my dads’ family have lived in since the early 1900s. We emigrated to the UK in 1966, settling in Edinburgh. I went to school here, ending up at the Art College, doing Drawing and Painting from 1977 to 1981.

After working for a few years, first at Thins bookshop and then at the newly re-furbished Fruitmarket Gallery, I was made redundant in 1989. Luckily I qualified for the Enterprise Allowance scheme which I did as a Printmaker, becoming officially professional in 1990.

Meanwhile, I have two sons.

I exhibit regularly in small galleries in and around Edinburgh, at Craft fairs, Charity exhibitions, Open exhibitions and members shows at Edinburgh Printmakers, which is where I make my etchings.

I draw anything that strikes me as beautiful. As an etcher I am particularly drawn to the linear around me, I love the tracery of winter branches against a clear sky, the shape of things against a bright window, or the contrast of textures. But it is light especially, that moves me, the way shadows and highlights mark an image; the way sunlight is captured.
Though largely known these days for images of my home city of Edinburgh, I have done many pictures of plants, flowers and landscape. It is lovely to be invited to this gallery and to be given the opportunity to show some of these other works of mine.
Since my sons have grown and I am able to work full time, I have started to explore the medium more, to try to be more ambitious, more personal in my choices. I have been looking at different ways of adding colour by incorporating collagraph and mono-print techniques and I mean to explore further the possibilities of deep intaglio

What is an etching?
Essentially an ETCHING is a hand-made print. First a sheet or PLATE of, usually copper or zinc, is prepared and covered with a thin layer of an acid-resistant GROUND. Then the image is drawn into this ground using an ETCHING NEEDLE. When the drawing is finished the plate is put into an ACID-BATH. The acid eats at the plate where it has been exposed by the drawn lines. The length of time the plate is in the acid determines the depth of line and eventually how dark or light the image is. Once the etching process is complete the plate is cleaned of all the “grounds” and is then ready to print from. The Plate is INKED-UP so that the ink goes into all the lines and then the surface is wiped clean. Now the plate is put onto the bed of a press, a sheet of damp paper is placed on top and the whole lot is rolled through. The paper is peeled off and you have your ETCHING. To make another copy, the plate has to be inked-up again and the process repeated with another sheet of paper. It is traditional to limit the EDITION, so each print is numbered (bottom left side, under image) and signed by the artist (bottom right side).