The print is composed of one oversized plate, engraved over a period of four months, two shades of black ink, printed in a single run. In etching printmaking, the etching needle easily engraves lines and contours. What is difficult to represent, however; are the light washes of ink in the original painting. An alternative to the etching needle is to rub sand paper on the copper plate, covering a wider area with a less defined and course texture. Another alternative is a contemporary printmaking technique called acid painting, in which nitric acid is directly applied on the plate with a brush. Without the prior assistance of engraved marks by the etching needle, the acid’s effect on the plate is also less defined and more spontaneous.
While ink painting is soft, etching printmaking is hard. Traditional Chinese painting prizes both brushwork and inkplay. As for etching, the needle is the brush. In order to recreate inkplay, acid painting is adopted. In Liu Kuo-sung’s rejection of literati painting, he believes the creation of great painting does not require traditional brushwork and advocates a “revolution against the brush.” Inspired by Liu, the printmakers have sought out alternatives to the etching needle, in a kind of revolution against conventional printmaking.