Petra Tolboom graduated from the “Gerrit Rietveld Academie,” a Dutch Visual Arts & Design Academy, internationally known for its quirky and autonomous character. She studied all graphic techniques but they were not really her passion at that time.
In 1996 she met Jan Montyn (1924-2015), a Dutch printmaker, painter and poet, during an exhibition of her work in Salernes in the South of France. He looked at her work and said; you should be etching as well. The seed was planted and her love for etching awakened.
In 2006 she took a five day workshop on photopolymer and non-toxic etching by Filip Le Roy, a former professor in Printmaking of the Anderlecht School of Art (Belgium).
It was during this workshop that Petra was introduced to the Akua Intaglio Inks. Already after the first day she was very enthusiastic and discovered the enormous amount of possibilities this way of etching and printing had to offer. What a freedom and literally “relief” compared to the traditional way of etching.
The alternation of creative thinking, searching, weighing and looking at the traditional aspect of etching: I find (besides drawing) sanding, degreasing, biting and scratching relaxing and inspiring. Printing is always exciting, because rarely is the result as you have ‘printed’ it in your mind.
For me that’s the challenge; searching and looking over and over again. The image requires attention and the dialogue with my print starts. The landscape gives the opportunity to work poetically and abstract. As well as it gives enormous freedom to experiment with techniques. Color over color in combination with area and line. I walk through my landscapes. No human being present, the elements in charge. Nature is breathtaking beautiful to terrifyingly overwhelming. Very vulnerably and yet extremely strong. These and everything in between fascinate. My works often do not have separate titles; they are part of a series with a theme. The theme offers me focus while creating and space to explore.
Animals also feature my work. Sometimes hidden and then a little on the foreground. Although they do not play a leading role in my work, they are inextricably linked to it. Birds are especially important, they suggest movement, sound and most important: Freedom.
The Akua Intaglio Inks are just right for the precise feeling of freedom and relief: no more hanging endlessly above the heat place with the dizzying fumes and no longer with your hands wiping the plates. No more environmentally harmful and common cleaning products needed to clean up. Safer for yourself too.
Safer, finer and of a super quality. Easy to handle, easy to mix, beautiful colors with lots of pigment, also suitable for monotype and ideal for workshops and lessons for children and adults. In short; I don’t work with anything else anymore. The traditional printmaker is not easily convinced when it comes to the ‘velvet black’ common ink. With Akua Intaglio carbon black it has been possible several times to put the colleague on the “wrong foot”. That’s nice.
Because of the Akua inks and the way I use them my prints look often as if they were painted; the combination of the colors and especially the transparent base (my favorite) makes people ask often, "Are they watercolors?" In short, if you want to give yourself something of a gift; I would recommend every etcher to use these inks once to experience themselves what they do and can do.
Miniatures; Exhibition at “Museum Mohlmann Appingedam (Netherlands)” September 2021