Nearly three decades after first using the color separation process in his dye-transfer prints and acrylic paintings, Close finally devised a printmaking process by which he could “break a drawing down into its component colors and put a piece of that drawing on a different plate.” Pushing the limits of the medium to make an intaglio print in twelve colors as opposed to the usual upper limit of six, Close used twelve different colored pencils to draw scribble lines in slightly different patterns, using a projected image as an aid. Multicolor etchings require a separate plate for each color, each printed on top of the last, which in this case required the assistance of four printers and entailed printing three colors a day for four days. In 2000 the scribble marks represented a new undertaking for Close. Applied from warm to cool and irregularly in different lengths and densities, they form a delicate, interwoven net of colored threads that verge on abstraction. The overall pattern recalls Close’s hatch-marked conté drawings of the 1970s and bears an affinity with Georges Seurat’s Neoimpressionist drawings.
The Self Portrait, 2000 scribble etching is significant in that it provides a gentler and decidedly more accessible portrait of the artist using the three-quarter view. Created in 2000, this scribble etching is hand-signed by Chuck Close in pencil in the lower margin and numbered from the edition of 60. The work is floated in a white-washed maple frame.