SAPER GALLERIES

and Custom Framing

Stephen McMillan

Home       About       Inventory       Contact       Testimonials      Chat Live Now

Follow @SaperGalleries

Please contact us to confirm availability of your selections.

New McMillan etchings just added!  See images below!

Enjoy these fabulously striking aquatint etchings by California artist Stephen McMillan, a favorite among collectors at Saper Galleries. 

No, they are not photographs!  

You may enjoy reading the news article below about an exhibit of Stephen's work and a description of the arduous medium. 

And check out this new article about McMillan and his work!
  
For detailed information about the images shown here and how they were created,
click here to be taken to Stephen's website. 

Each of the aquatint etchings illustrated here is now on display at Saper Galleries.  The quality of these etchings is truly phenomenal.  There is little wonder why Stephen McMillan's artwork is one of the most sought after in our collection -- and one of the best values in original, limited edition artwork. 

We look forward to sharing them with you!
Misty
                      Morning
Misty Morning
4-plate aquatint etching, 16 x 24"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, CA)
$500


Pacific Oaks
Pacific Oaks <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 4 x 5.25"
(Henry Coe State Park, Santa Clara County, California)
$50


East From Orcas
East from Orcas <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 11.9 x 8.6"
(View east from Orcas Island, San Juan Island, WA)
$180


Forest Walk
Forest Walk <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 15 x 10"
(Chuckanut Mountains, Bellingham, Washington)
$180


Bison
Bison <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 x 10.3"
(Bison in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming)
$150


Coastal Hills
Coastal Hills <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 24 x 15.5"
(Hills above San Juan Bautisita, San Benito County, CA)
$450


Point Reyes Seashore
Point Reyes Seashore  <Just Added!
3-plate aquatint etching, 24 x 36"
(Tomales Point, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California)
$750


Agave
Agave <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 10.5 x 16"
(Agave plants, La Mesa, California)
$180


Venice
Venice

Aquatint etching, 6 x 8 1/4"
(Venice, Italy)
Gondolas bob in their slips by Piazza San Marco as a boat
passes by San Giorgio Maggione in the distance.
$80


Boats
Boats <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 x 6"
(Reflections of boats, Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham, Washington)
$180

Stephen McMillan weaves landscape artistry

By SARAH JUNIPER RABKIN
Special to the Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 20, 2002)

In an old snapshot, printmaker Stephen McMillan stands grinning before a warren of condominiums near the UC Santa Cruz campus, under a street sign bearing his name.

The match is more than happenstance. Like other roads in the condo development, McMillan Drive was named for a Nobel laureate: the late nuclear scientist Edwin McMillan, Stephen’s father.

The younger McMillan, who studied art at UCSC in the 1970s, grew up in a household animated by curiosity about the way things work.

As if in tribute to this legacy, his landscape etchings — on exhibit at the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum through Aug. 4 — reveal not only attentiveness to the natural world, but a mind in search of a challenge.

For starters, McMillan’s chosen technique, aquatint etching, is one you’d expect of an artist who might have chosen a life in science.

His mastery of this technically complex printing method yields images whose accuracy astonishes fellow printmakers and misleads many first-time viewers.

"There’s hardly anybody I know of who’s willing to take the trouble to do aquatint anymore," said Anne Sawyer, owner of a Santa Fe gallery that has carried the artist’s work for more than 25 years.

"People are more inclined to do fast, easier photomechanical processes. People who know what they’re looking at fall on the floor when they see his work.

"Others stare and begin by asking whether it’s a photograph. They end up being blown away."

While other printing techniques produce contrasting areas of inked or blank paper, aquatint — like a watercolor painting or ink wash — allows the artist to produce tonal gradations from dark to light. McMillan exploits this subtlety to capture the play of light on water, the range of hues in a twilight sky or the deepening shadows in an Anasazi ruin.

The painstaking process begins with a photograph taken on one of McMillan’s frequent expeditions: a bicycle ride through the Sonoma County countryside near his Petaluma home, a backpack through High Sierra back country, a trip to Finland to visit friends.

Relying loosely on his photo as a guide, he draws the image freehand onto a rosin-coated copper plate, using a watercolor brush dipped in tarry, acid-resistant goo.

Between applications of this viscous medium, he subjects the plates to a series of acid baths, etching the unprotected portions in a scrimshaw-like pattern. Ultimately, the most deeply etched areas will hold the most ink, producing the most intensely colored areas in the finished print.

For a single print, McMillan may create up to four separately drawn and etched plates, each to be inked with a different color. He calculates in his head how much of each ink to use so that the hues will combine effectively in the finished image.

The influences of science on McMillan’s art go beyond technical wizardry.

A childhood home frequented by intellectual luminaries provided early training in the rational consideration of problems.

The first useful bit of art criticism he received came from nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who saw one of 12-year-old Steve’s sketches of the San Francisco Bay as viewed from the family’s Berkeley Hills home.

Oppenheimer said he liked the drawing, but noted that the vegetation in the image looked "like spinach."

"He offered it as a neutral observation, without judgment," said McMillan. "It made me think more closely about my technique. I was impressed that a grown-up would make such a serious and helpful comment to a little kid."

At 16, McMillan won a prize in an international science fair for his speculations about the nature of space, drawing on both mathematics and imagination to envision a world beyond the third dimension.

A magazine ad for the oil company that sponsored the competition showed young Steve in 1966 — "cross-country track man, artist and explorer of worlds that do not exist" — staring out from behind the toothpick models he built to illustrate his ideas.

The same year, he had his first one-man show at a local library. One visitor wrote a congratulatory note to the senior McMillan, praising the young artist for "an extremely subtle line and a sense of organization.

"Your son explores many routes," continued the admirer, "and he always remains himself. His pictures are imaginative in the best sense of the term; they appear as true discoveries."

Considering the source, it’s not surprising that the artist still keeps a framed copy of the letter in his studio. It was signed by the photographer Ansel Adams.

In the spirit of that other master of two-dimensional landscapes, McMillan’s inspiration springs from his fascination with what he calls "magic" — the power of handmade images to evoke an experience of place.

"It’s fun to fool people," he said. "Part of being an artist is being a magician."

While he takes some pleasure in creating illusions through realism, he is fundamentally motivated by his fascination with patterns in nature, and by sensory engagement with landscapes that call to him.

He cites a print titled Oak Woodland. "It doesn’t really look like a photograph," he said.

"If you look closely, you see patterns and brushwork. It’s more like an abstract pattern. The labyrinth-like way the branches intertwine with each other is like a mosaic or a stained-glass window — pieces of color. I wouldn’t want it to look just like a photograph."

Jenifer Lienau, curator of his exhibit, said she was struck immediately by the power of McMillan’s landscapes to conjure an emotional response.

"When I showed one of his prints to the museum board," said Lienau, "I got a lot of gasps.

"Our mission at the Natural History Museum is to inspire people to make connections with the environment, in hopes that they will want to preserve it," she said. "Steve’s work is inspirational in that way."


For additional descriptive detail on the process of creating aquatint etchings you will enjoy visiting 
Stephen McMillan's website directly.  Enjoy!


Chuckanut Fog
Chuckanut Fog <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 36 x 24"
(Chuckanut Mountains, Bellingham, Washington)
$600


Buena Vista
Buena Vista  <Just Added!
3-plate aquatint etching, 36 x 24"
(Buena Vista Lake, Yosemite National Park, California)
$900
Doorway
Doorway <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
(Puye Cliff Dwellings, Santa Clara Indian Reservation, New Mexico)
$90

Carmel Bay
Carmel Bay <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
  (Carmel Bay from Point Lobos Reserve)
$150

Carmel Bay 1
                  plate
Carmel Bay <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
  (Carmel Bay from Point Lobos Reserve)
$50
Pacific Cove
Pacific Cove <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 9 x 6"
(View north on Big Sur coast)
$200

Salish Sea
Salish Sea <Just Added!
2-plate aquatint etching, 9 x 6"
(Salish Sea from Skyline Divide, WA)
$120
Shadow Creek
Shadow Creek <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 18 x 24"
(Ansel Adams Wilderness, California)
$450

Winter Walk
Winter Walk <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 13 x 18"
(Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California)
$450 (Last one available!)
Foxtail
                  Pines
Foxtail Pines <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 12 x 9"
(Cottonwood Lakes, John Muir Wilderness, California)
$300

Little Pete
                  Meadow
Little Pete Meadow <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 12 x 8"
(Middle Fork Kings River, Kings Canyon National Park, California)
$250

Chileno
                  Valley
Chileno Valley <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 4.6 x 14"
(West from Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$300 (Last one available)

Findland
Finland <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 4 x 12"
(Virolahti, Finland)
$180 (Last one available)

Finnish
                  Woods #2
Finnish Woods 2 <Just Added!
4-plate aquatint etching, 17 x 36"
(Virolahti, Finland)
$500

Solstice
Solstice <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 3/8 x 10"
(Heather Meadows, Mt Baker Ski Area, Washington)
$180

Harbor Music
Harbor Music <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 6 x 8"
(Under the pier in Friday Harbor, Washington)
$80
Geese
Geese <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Canada Geese in Lake Padden, Bellingham, Washington)
$180

Shorebirds
Shorebirds <Just Added!
2-plate aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Godwits on beach at Salmon Creek, California)
$200
Bellingham
                  Bay
Bellingham Bay <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 3/4 x 11 5/8"
(West from Taylor Dock, Bellingham, Washington)
$180

Into The
                  Woods
Into the Woods <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Silver Star Ski Resort, Vernon, British Columbia)
$180
Winter
                  Reflections
Winter Reflections <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Green Lake, Seattle, Washington)
$180

Perfect Day
Perfect Day <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Kayaks coming into Marine Park, Bellingham, Washington)
$160
Alder
                  Creek, 1 plate edition
Alder Creek, single plate edition <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 18 x 28"
(Sinkyone Wilderness, Mendocino County, California)
$300

Koi
Koi <Just Added!
7-plate aquatint etching, 28 x 20"
(Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California)
$500

Jewel lake
Jewel Lake <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 28 x 20"
(Jewel Lake, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California)
$600

Serenity
Serenity, Black Edition <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 20 x 28"
(Jewel Lake, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, California)
$400
Valley Fog
Valley Fog <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 24 x 36"
(Almond orchard, Atwater, Merced County, California)
$600


Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 8.75 x 5.25"
(A mountain goat in Glacier National Park, Montana)
$120
Mountain
                  Family
Mountain Family <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 10.5 x 7.875"
(Three mountain goats in Glacier National Park, Montana)
$150

Sand Tufa
Sand Tufa <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 4.5 x 9.25"
(Formations by Mono Lake, Mono County, California)
$80
Haiku
Haiku <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 5.5 x 8.875"
(Lake Whatcom, Bellingham, Washington)
$80

Island
                  Journey
Island Journey <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 4.875 x 8.875"
(View of the San Juan Is from Cypress Island, Washington)
$90
Dhauligiri
Dhauligiri <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 6.5 x 9.25"
(Dhauligiri, Anapurna Region, Nepal)
$100

Daydream
Daydream <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 6 x 9"
(Lake of the Woods, Desolation Wilderness, California)
$90
Dew Drops
Dew Drops <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
(Petaluma, California)
$60

Distant Sea
Distant Sea <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 4 x 10.5"
(West from Skyline Divide, Whatcom Co, Washington)
$80

Distant Peaks
Distant Peaks <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 5.875 x 7.875"
(East from Skyline Divide, Whatcom Co, Washington)
$80

Point Reyes
Point Reyes <Just Added!
3-plate aquatint etching, 5.6 x 8"
(Northwest from Point Reyes, Point Reyes National Seashore, California)
$180
Red Sky
Red Sky <Just Added!
2-plate aquatint etching, 4 x 6"
(Mono Creek area, John Muir Wilderness, California)
$100

Mt Shuksan
Mount Shuksan <Just Added!
Aquatint etching, 4 x 10.5"
(Mono Creek area, John Muir Wilderness, California)
$100
Winter
                  Afternoon
Winter Afternoon
Aquatint etching, 4 x 10"
(Bellingham, Washington)
$90

Winter
                  Oaks 2
Winter Oaks 2
Aquatint etching, 16 x 24"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$300

Valley
                  Light
Valley Light
4-plate aquatint etching, 12 x 35 1/2"
(West from Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$650

Mountain Light
Mountain Light
4-plate aquatint etching, 18 3/4 x 12 1/2"
(Long Lake, Emigrant Wilderness, California)
$350

Winter
                  Light
Winter Light
4-plate aquatint etching, 8 x 15"
(West from Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$250

Pacific
                  Light
Pacific Light
4-plate aquatint etching, 8 x 16"
(South from McClures Beach,
Point Reyes National Seashore, California)
$300

Russian River
Russian River
4-plate Aquatint etching, 10 x 24"
(Mouth of Russian River, California)
$350

Wild
                  Mustard 2
Wild Mustard 2
4-plate aquatint etching, 12 x 24"
(Southwest Napa Valley, Napa County, California)
$450


After
                  the Rains
After the Rains
3-plate aquatint etching, 4 x 16"
(Four miles west of Petaluma, California)
$240

Northern Spring
Northern Spring
3-plate aquatint etching, 4 x 10"
(Virolahti, Finland)
$130

Petaluma
                  Oaks
Petaluma Oaks
Aquatint etching, 4 x 11"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$140

Alder
                  Creek
Alder Creek
4-plate aquatint etching, 18 x 28"
(Sinkyone Wilderness, Mendocino County, California)
$650

Skagit
Skagit
Aquatint etching, 3.8 x 11.3"
(Skagit Valley and the Cascades, Washington)
$80
Eagle
Eagle
Aquatint etching, 6 x 9.4"
(North Fork Nooksack River,
Whatcom County, Washington)
$80

Fall
                  Color
Fall Color
4-plate aquatint etching, 12 x 18"
(Bellingham, Washington)
$350
Lake
                  Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
Aquatint etching, 6 x 10"
(Lake Whatcom, Bellingham, Washington)
$80

Oak in
                  Fog
Oaks in Fog
  Aquatint etching, 10.2 x 16"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$180

January Snow
January Snow
Aquatint etching, 18 x 12"
(Bloedel Donovan Park, Lake Whatcom, Bellingham, Washington)
$250

Oak Grove
Oak Grove
4-plate Aquatint etching, 15 3/4 x 24"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$500


Grand
                  Canyon View
Grand Canyon View
  4-plate aquatint etching, 36 x 24"
(Toroweap Overlook,
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona)
$750

Early
                  Spring 2
Early Spring 2
4-plate aquatint etching, 18 x 24"
(Almond orchard, Atwater, Merced County, California)
$450

Evening Reflections
Evening Reflections
4-plate aquatint etching, 17 x 24"
(Jewel Lake, Tilden Park, Berkely, California)
Sorry, sold out at $600
Oak Woodland
Oak Woodland
Single-plate Aquatint etching, 12 x 24"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$250


Colorado
                  River
Colorado River
Aquatint etching, 6 x 3 1/2"
(Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park, Azrizona)
$80

Summer Shade
Summer Shade
  Aquatint etching, 8 x 24"
(By American River, East of Sacramento, California)
$300

The Slot #9
The Slot #9
3-plate aquatint etching, 36 x 24"
(Near Borrego Mountain, Anza Borrego State Park, San Diego County, California)
$1,000

Winter
Winter
Aquatint etching, 8 x 12"
(Mount Shasta Ski Park, Siskiyou County, California)
$180

Wildcat
                  Creek
Wildcat Creek
 4-color lithograph, 24 x 36"
(Above Lake Anza, Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA)
$800
Oak Grove1
Oak Grove
Single-plate aquatint etching, 15 3/4 x 24"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$250

Vernal
                  Fall   Vernal
                  Fall, Yosemite
           Vernal Fall       Vernal Fall, Yosemite
3-plate aquatint etching, 9 x 6" and single plate etching
(Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park, California)
$130                              $80

Morning
                  Fog
Morning Fog
Aquatint etching, 20 x 28"
(Near Sonoma, California)
$400 (Only one available)
Yosemite
                  Dreams
Yosemite Dreams
  Aquatint etching, 24 x 16"
(Southern Wall of Yosemite Valley, California)
$250

Light
                  Patterns
Light Patterns
4-color lithograph, 24 x 36"
(Jewel Lake, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California)
$600

Hillside
                  Barn
Hillside Barn
4-plate aquatint etching, 11 1/2 x 18 3/4"
(Sonoma Mountain, east of Petaluma, California)
$300
Winter Oaks
Winter Oaks
Aquatint etching, 24 x 36"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$1,000

Sawtooth Ridge
Sawtooth Ridge, 1987
4-plate aquatint etching, 36 x 24"
(Northeast Yosemite National Park, California)
$700

Enchanted Forest
Enchanted Forest
2-plate aquatint etching, 24 x 36"
(Patterned after coastal forest in Oregon)
$400

Windward
                  Passage
Windward Passage
Aquatint etching, 9 x 9"
(East of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, California)
$180

End of the
                  Road
End of the Road
Aquatint etching, 8 x 11"
(Early 1930s Model A truck, Marin County, California)
$120

Jerseys
Jerseys
Aquatint etching, 6 x 9 3/4"
(North of Petaluma, California)
$150
Still
                  Water
Still Water
Aquatint etching, 8 x 12"
(Yosemite Wilderness, California)
$160

River's
                  End
River's End
4-plate aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Mouth of Russian River, California)
$250
Pacific
                  Fog
Pacific Fog
Aquatint etching, 9 x 12"
(Point Lobos State Reserve, Monterey County, CA)
$200
Spring
                  Blossoms
Spring Blossoms
3-plate aquatint etching, 6 x 9"
(Berkeley, California)
$130

Mmmmmmmmm
Mmmooooo
  Aquatint etching, 5 x 6"
(North of London, England)
Sorry, sold out at $250

Live Oaks
Live Oaks
4-plate aquatint etching, 24 x 36"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, CA)
$800
SnowBirs
Snow Bird
Aquatint etching, 14 x 24"
(Bellingham, Washington)
$250

Neigh
                  Sayer
Neigh Sayer
Aquatint etching, 9 1/2 x 6 3/4"
(Horse in hills in south central Idaho)
$140

Grand Canal
Grand Canal
4-plate aquatint etching, 24 x 13"
(Venice, Italy)
$450 unframed
$1,190 framed as on display now

Chuckanut
                  View
Chuckanut View
Aquatint etching, 6 x 20.5"
(View northwest into San Juan Islands and Canadian Gulf Islands from Chuckanut Ridge, south of Bellingham, Washington)
$180
Sisters
Sisters
Aquatint etching, 9 1/4 x 17"
(The Sisters Range, Whatcom County, Washington)
$180

Rooster
Rooster
Aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
Printed "a la poupée", using different colors over the single plate
(John Day, Oregon)
$160

Nightfall
Nightfall
Aquatint etching, 8 x 9"
(By Lake Whatcom, Bellingham, Washington)
$80

Rooster
Rooster
Aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
(John Day, Oregon)
$50

Tatoosh
                  Range
Tatoosh Range
3-plate aquatint etching, 10 1/2 x 24"
(Tatoosh Range, seen from the slopes of Mt Rainier, Mt Rainier National Park, WA)
$450

Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake
Aquatint etching, 9.8 x 15.3"
(Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park, WA)
$180

Shadows
Shadows
Aquatint etching, 5.8 x 10.2"
(Side Delivery Rake, Hovander Park, Whatcom Co, WA)
$100

San Juan
                  Hills
San Juan Hills
4-plate aquatint etching, 6 x 4"
(Hills above San Juan Bautista, San Benito County, California)
$150

Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood
Aquatint etching, 5.8 x 19"
(Mt Hood, seen from the slopes of Mt Rainier, Mt Rainier National Park, WA)
$150

Mmmmm
Mmmmmooooo, 2003
  Aquatint etching, 5.4 x 7"
(North of London, England)
Sorry, sold out at $200

Putnam Park
Putnam Park
Aquatint etching, 2.2 x 6"
(Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma, California)
$60

Drawing a Crowd
Drawing a Crowd
Aquatint etching, 9.8 x 7.9"
(Cows near Lynden, Whatcom Co. WA)
$150

Snow
                  Patterns
Snow Patterns
Aquatint etching, 6.8 x 10.2"
(Bellingham, WA)
$100

Sea Rocks
Sea Rocks
Aquatint etching in 2 plates, 12.3 x 7.9"
(Point Lobos State Reserve, Monterey County, CA)
$200

Rosario
                  Strait
Rosario Strait
Aquatint etching, 3.8 x 12.8"
(View southeast from Orcas Island, San Juan Island, WA)
$80
Winter Path
Winter Path
Aquatint etching, 21 x 14"
(Whatcom Falls Park, Bellingham, WA)
$250

Flight
Flight
Aquatint etching, 3.6 x 10"
(Seagulls over the Nooksack River, East of Bellingham, WA)
$60
Dunlins
Dunlins
Aquatint etching, 5.9 x 7.1"
(Dunlins, Birch Bay, WA)
$80

Orchard
Orchard
Aquatint etching, 5 x 8.5"
(Almond orchard, Atwater, Merced County, CA)
$100

High Country
High Country
Aquatint etching, 4.7 x 7.5"
(Nine Laker Basin, Sequoia National Park, CA)
$60
Home       About       Inventory       Contact       Testimonials      Chat Live Now

Return to top of page

  Saper Galleries....where excellence is the standard!

                     


433 Albert Avenue       East Lansing, Michigan 48823 USA       TOLL FREE now: (877)537-5251     (517)351-0815