JAMES DARCY: Keeping Traditions Alive

Northport Life - November 2013

Northport resident Jim Darcy grew up in Rockport and Gloucester, an area on the north shore of Massachusetts that is rich in the tradition of both fishing and art. He worked in the commercial fishing industry as a young man and moved to New York in 1983. He chose to settle in Northport to raise his family because of the similarities it has to his hometown.

Return to his craft
Having studied art in high school, Jim resumed his artwork in earnest several years ago concentrating on watercolors, drawing, and print-making: etchings, lithographs and linoleum & wood-cuts. The rugged coast and commercial fishing industry have strongly influenced many of his paintings and prints.

Classic Technique
Jim’s etchings use the traditional techniques of aquatint or engraving to create an image on a copper plate.

Where the engraving technique uses a needle to inscribe lines that will print, aquatint uses powdered rosin to create tonal areas. The rosin is acid-resistant and is adhered to the plate by heating gently.

Tonal gradations are controlled by the amount of time the plate is in the acid bath. The inked plate is passed through a manual printing press together with a sheet of 100% rag paper, resulting in a transfer of the ink to the paper.
Another method

Jim also creates lithographs and relief prints. Lithographs are created by drawing on an oil-sensitive limestone slab, gently etching the image onto the surface of the stone by placing it in a mild acid bath.

Linoleum and wood-cut prints are created by carving into the surface of a flat plate. When an ink-charged roller is run over the surface, the carved or ‘relieved’ areas will not catch the ink. The inked plates are run through the press.

One of a kind
All of Jim’s prints are ‘hand-pulled’: they are inked and printed by the artist by hand, one at a time. This gives each print the quality of an original work of art and results in limited editions that make the prints more valuable.

Where to find him
Jim Darcy is a member of The Firefly Artists, a cooperative of local artists. His work is on view at their gallery located at 127 Main Street, Northport Village, (Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 12-4). See more of Jim’s work at Caffé Portofino on Main Street, Northport and on his Facebook page: James Darcy Artist.







The Firefly Artists gallery is located at 127 Main Street in the heart of Northport

The artists of the Firefly Artists collective include Jim Darcy, Celeste Mauro, Cathy Nichols, Kate Sydney, Julia Zaffer, Kat Shewan, Demerise and Greg Tsontakis-Mally. The cooperative has its own gallery at Main Street in Northport. The gallery is open to guests Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from noon to 4pm. The gallery artists encourage feedback and discussion from the community and try to accommodate requests for customized sizes and color schemes. Customers can always commission a piece of art from the gallery.
For more information or to view the cooperative’s on line gallery, visit the  – Kyle Noone

Steps of stone lithography

“The lithographic process is based on the principle that oil and water don’t mix. Working with lithography allows me to draw directly onto the smooth surface of the polished limestone. Using a litho crayon, I render an image that has a full range of tones and textures. I then treat the drawn-on stone with a mixture of acid and gum arabic - ‘etching’ the portions of the stone that were not covered by the grease pencil marks. When the stone is moistened with a clean sponge, the etched areas retain a thin film of water. After charging up a roller with oil-based ink, I roll the ink over the stone. Like magic, the ink only sticks to the original drawing! Running the stone through a press especially designed for lithography, the scraper bar presses the paper against the stone transferring the inked image. The stone is ‘put to bed’ in between printing sessions by applying talc and gum arabic; it then must be ‘woken up’ with water for the next printing. – Jim Darcy