Behind the Scenes with Printmaker Westen Muntain

The artist runs the printmaking and ceramics workshop at Arlington's Lee Arts Center.

Westen Muntain at her studio. Photo by Christopher Shane

Westen Muntain runs the printmaking and ceramics workshops at Arlington’s Lee Arts Center. She’s also a prolific artist, known for small- and large-scale prints depicting nature in all its forms—blue mornings on undisturbed shorelines, verdant expanses of grassy fields, close-up tangles of wildflowers.

Her current work combines intaglio printmaking—an art she humbly describes as “glorified stamp-making”—with painting. She starts each image with an acrylic “wash” for color and texture, then prints on top of that surface. In the intaglio process, printing plates are made of copper or zinc sheets that have been etched with acid to create a design.

Muntain, who lives in Falls Church, often relies on photographs for reference or derives inspiration from the landscapes around her. “Right now,” she says, “that’s the beach.”

Printmaking can be a bit unpredictable in that the design that’s etched into the plate is a mirror image of what ends up on paper—but that just makes the medium more exciting, she says: “With printmaking, you never quite know exactly what you’re going to get. You end up with the reverse of the image you’ve been working on.”

Prints by Westen Muntain. Photo by Christopher Shane

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