Franc Van Oort at the Fairview Manor Gallery

by Cathy Blake

The vernissage for Fran van Oort’s exhibit, Lanark Landscapes, at Fairview Manor  ran from 7-9 on Thursday evening, June 11. The guests enjoyed the talk given by Franc to explain the process of making an etching.  He originally  trained in Holland where he and his wife come from, and he is a meticulous craftsman.

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Franc Von Oort talking with Betty McCubbin
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Franc Von Oort talking with Betty McCubbi. Cathy Blake, Chris Xenos, Jan Gilbert and Rod Trider in the background. Photo: © John Fowler

Franc Van Oort – bio

Franc Van Oort was born in 1953 into a family of artists in Soest, the Netherlands. Encouraged by his parents and art teacher he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
Since 1978 Franc has worked full time at etching and painting, producing hundreds of copperplates and countless watercolours.Franc emigrated with his family to Canada in 1985, and settled on a farm near Perth, Ontario

He describes his art as “A lifetime of looking and making drawings, whether locally or during frequent travels abroad using my palette of lines, from deeply etched to the most delicately rendered, to portray the world around me”

Franc’s etching are worked into copperplates in a tradition passed on through the centuries… the highly polished copperplate is coated with a wax ground, the image drawn with a steel point slicing through the wax. The plate is then immersed in nitric acid which etches the copper where the lines were drawn. The longer the place remains in the acid bath, the deeper and wider the lines will be bitten. A broad variety of lines can be obtained by manipulating the biting process.

The copperplate is worked in a series of stages until the desired effect is achieved.

Franc often adds to the image by engraving directly into the copper with a burin. He uses a manual press to print hand inked plates on fine rag paper in edition of up to 150.

Franc’s prints are on permanent display at Riverguild in Perth and Cornerstone in Kingston, and are available through his website francvanoort.com.