Schminke water-based inks

Used in:

Assignment 1: Willows

Project 2.2: Random Abstract Prints

Schminke water-based inks are the first inks I ever used. They are artist-quality linoprint inks, made with high-quality organic and inorganic pigments on a gum arabic base. They have good lightfastness (at least 4-5 stars). They dry within 15 minutes to be wipe-proof but not waterproof and can be overprinted if necessary. There are 15 colours and 3 effect colours.

They can be used for:

  • linocut: the fast-drying time means they can be quickly overprinted and give a sharp line
  • monoprint: being water-based, they are also diluted with water which can produce very beautiful water-colour effects on monoprint. They can also be laid onto softfoam and keep their texture well when used with a palette-knife.

Hiroshige and Hokusai: Japanese woodblock prints

The woodblock prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai were the source for my work in Project 2.1: Formal Abstracts: Japanese landscape.

Ukiyo-e

In-depth video on history and development of techniques of Japanese woodcut from monochrome through painted monochrome prints to multiblock printing. It looks at its influence on Western artists like Van Gogh and Monet following the exhibition of Japanese art for the first time at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. It also looks at the modern day revival of ukiyo-e prints as paintings on shops in Tokyo regeneration.

Japanese woodblock prints with Paul Binnie

Lecture on background and underlying ideas in Japanese printing techniques.

Japanese woodblock printing History Ukiyo-e Jose Ortega

History of Japanese printing and way it spread and related to earlier Chinese and Buddhist prints.

Technique (from Wikipedia)

The technique for printing texts and images was generally similar. The obvious differences were the volume produced when working with texts (many pages for a single work), and the complexity of multiple colours in some images. Images in books were almost always in monochrome (black ink only), and for a time art prints were likewise monochrome or done in only two or three colours.

The text or image was first drawn onto washi (Japanese paper), then glued face-down onto a plank of wood, usually cherry. Wood was then cut away, based on the drawing outlines. A small wooden hard object called a baren was used to press or burnish the paper against the inked woodblock to apply the ink to the paper. Although this may have been done purely by hand at first, complex wooden mechanisms were soon invented and adopted to help hold the woodblock perfectly still and apply proper pressure in the printing process. This was especially helpful with the introduction of multiple colours that had to be applied with precision over previous ink layers.

While, again, text was nearly always monochrome, as were images in books, the growth of the popularity of ukiyo-e brought with it demand for ever increasing numbers of colors and complexity of techniques. The stages of this development follow:

  • Sumizuri-e (墨摺り絵?, “ink printed pictures”)—monochrome printing using only black ink
  • Benizuri-e (紅摺り絵?, “crimson printed pictures”)—red ink details or highlights added by hand after the printing process;green was sometimes used as well
  • Tan-e (丹絵?)—orange highlights using a red pigment called tan
  • Aizuri-e (藍摺り絵?, “indigo printed pictures”), Murasaki-e (紫絵?, “purple pictures”), and other styles in which a single color was used in addition to, or instead of, black ink
  • Urushi-e (漆絵?)—a method that thickened the ink with glue, emboldening the image. Printers often used gold, mica, and other substances to enhance the image further. Urushi-e can also refer to paintings using lacquer instead of paint. Lacquer was rarely, if ever, used on prints.
  • Nishiki-e (錦絵?, “brocade pictures”)—a method of using multiple blocks for separate portions of the image, using a number of colors to achieve complex and detailed images. A separate block was carved to apply only the part of the image designated for a single color. Registration marks called kentō (見当) were used to ensure correspondence between the application of each block.

Contemporary Japanese woodblock

Katsutoshi Yuasa

Keizaburo Matsuzaki

Francis Bacon

!!to be further elaborated as I finalise Assignments 4 and 5

Francis Bacon’s edgy, visceral paintings tapping the unconscious a key source of inspiration for:

Quotations from the videos below:

We do with our lives what we can. And then we die. What else is there?

If anything ever does work in my case chance, and what I call ‘accident’ takes over.

Gamble everything on the next brush stroke…different strokes trying to do something else then develop themselves

How are you going to trap reality? How are you going to trap an appearance without making an illustration of it?

  • Colour of meat is beautiful

Issues for my printmaking:

  • Feeling the form as it emerges – particularly with monoprint or inking collagraph plates. One thing can turn into another.
  • Can work from photographs for portraits. But observe – Bacon could not draw.
  • Shadows do not need to relate to a subject – making them different can create considerable tension
  • his tryptichs ‘don’t relate to each other, but they play off one another…the balance seems better with three’

 

Key images

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944 The work’s exhibition in April 1945 coincided with the release of the first photographs and film footage of the Nazi concentration camps. (Tate Modern website)
Triptych August 1972. This work is generally considered one in a series of Black Triptychs which followed the suicide of Bacon’s lover, George Dyer. Dyer appears on the left and Bacon is on the right. The central group is derived from a photograph of wrestlers by Edward Muybridge, but also suggests a more sexual encounter. The seated figures and their coupling are set against black voids and the central flurry has been seen as ‘a life-and death struggle’. (Tate Modern website)
Study for a self-portrait. Also known as Businessman I 1952 or Man’s Head 1952

Other paintings

 1940s

Man in a Cap

Videos

BBC documentary

Tate Gallery Retrospective with words from Francis Bacon spoken by John Hurt

BBC Archive film

His last interview

Works set to music

Resources and references

Helen Frankenthaler experiments

Abstract from Frankenthaler

Studies for Project 2.2 Random Abstract Prints

Issues for printmaking technique:

  • Use water-based Schminke inks because they can be very dilute and mix beautifully on the paper.
  • Do a painting on the plate using different thicknesses of pigment and leave to dry fully.
  • Then selectively spray with water, and use gravity to move the pigment around, to produce the final painting.
  • Hand print on damp paper.
  • Many print variations can be made on the same inking plate through adding pigment and respraying.

About Helen Frankenthaler

Website of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters and is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting.

Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting, while at times referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. Her 1952 Mountains and Sea, was a seminal, breakthrough painting of American abstraction. Pioneering the “stain” painting technique, she poured thinned paint directly onto raw, unprimed canvas laid on the studio floor, working from all sides to create floating fields of translucent color. Mountains and Sea was immediately influential for the artists who formed the Color Field school of painting, notable among them Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland.

Helen Frankenthaler painting: HFF website

Some of the most impactful for the mixing of pigments on the surface are her watercolours.

Helen Frankenthaler watercolours: Google images

In addition to unique paintings on canvas and paper, she worked in a wide range of media, including ceramics, sculpture, tapestry, and especially printmaking. As a significant voice in the mid-century “print renaissance” among American abstract painters, she is particularly renowned for her woodcuts.

Helen Frankenthaler print: HFF website

Stain painting techniques

Abstract painting techniques

Research on abstract painting techniques for Project 2.2 Random Abstracts

Below are videos of different approaches in paint that I could explore in printmaking.

Hard Edge Abstraction

Possible to explore for masked monoprint and/or screen print. Or indeed using masking on any type of print. These techniques use masking tape that is also worth exploring.

See also: Abstract Expressionism

Mark Rothko techniques

Willem de Kooning

Clyfford Still

 

Chiaroscuro

 

The German Renaissance artist, Dürer, is well known for his fine woodcuts but these are exclusively in a single tone.  It is believed that chiaroscuro woodcuts were invented by Lucas Cranach while working at the court of Frederick the Wise of Saxony. His ‘Camaieu’ method of chiaroscuro printmaking relies on the line block and tonal blocks. This line block helps define the whole design.

In Italy what is called ‘true chiaroscuro’ printmaking developed. This relies solely on the juxtaposition of tonal relationships without outlines. Artists cut several blocks of the same design, each representing different tones. The darkest block often represented outlines. The image was printed in two or three colours, black and one or two mid-tones. The highlights of the design were cut from the blocks to reveal the colour of the paper. The mid-tones can vary from grey, green or brown. If two tones were used, the print achieved a rich, almost three-dimensional quality, not unlike paintings in imitation of sculptural relief by artists such as Mantegna. Works by Raphael and Parmigianino were copied as chiaroscuro woodcuts and distributed throughout Italy and beyond. In this way ideas spread and artists were able to see what their contemporaries were developing and respond to their influence in their own works.

Rembrandt

Caravaggio

Notan

German Expressionism

 

 

Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville’s extremely tactile approach to painting women’s bodies, including her own, as a feminist critique of the way the female nude has been portrayed by the male art establishment has influenced my work in:

Assignment 2: The Human Condition 2: Flesh Here my focus is on the tactility of the body and ways in which different types of paper eg wrinkled blotting paper or tracing paper give different body textures. As well as meanings of different shapes.

Assignment 4: Abstract Self-Portrait (forthcoming)

Assignment 5: Memory? (forthcoming influenced by Aleppo)

“The way to change peoples’ attitudes is just to do it.”

“The struggle is part of making things work”

“Try to create a balance of being unbalanced”

References and resources

Gray, J., L. Nochlin, D. Sylvester and S. Schama (2005?). Jenny Saville. New York, Rizzoli.

Google images

Katy Cowan (2018) “A major exhibition of works by British artist Jenny Saville to launch in Edinburgh” Creative Boom

Videos below

Key points for my printmaking:

  • She works from photos and sketches, not painting from live models
  • She plays with colours and composition in Photoshop
  • Some of her paintings use text – following the example of feminist photographers like Jo Spence
  • Mixing red and cyan on flesh creates tension because we do not know how to read it.
  • Body as narrative of traces, a copperplate to be etched on – possibilities for over-printing
  • Cut out the shape of a body and draw around and over it, then remove the mask. Keep going till you have something believable.

Videos

Jenny Saville discussing her painting process in 2018 in relation to the All Too Human exhibition at Tate Britain. This is a detailed discussion of her working process and evolution as an artist. She is interested in:

  • Relationship between ‘how you are’ and ‘how you are seen’ eg in work on plastic surgery, people saw themselves as ill because they did not have the nose or breasts they wanted. They saw surgery as enabling them to be their ‘real self’.
  • Paint as vocabulary and anatomy of paint traces from Pollock and de Kooning and document of the process of making

 

Earlier interview with Jenny Saville, focussing particularly on her recent work with its interest in time and traces, multiple figures and memory.

Aleppo

in exhibition ‘All Too Human’ pieta of people carrying bodies out from war zones. she used lots of photographs of a woman in burqa and lots of bodies.

Jenny Saville Aleppo

“I have been working on Pietas [depictions of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ] quite a bit, and a series of children being carried.

“Over 20 years I have collecting images of babies being carried out of bombings, war situations, in Pieta poses knowing that one day I will do a piece, so this work has been a long time in the making.

“Aleppo is the first one I have released like it.

“I have done paintings linked to war before, but not linked to a political situation – I have endless images from the internet, or from newspapers, of babies that have been killed in these bombings, and when I finished the piece, I have two children myself, how long will it be before we as humans know not to do this?

“When I was titling it, I thought I would link it – for the first time – to what is going on in Syria.

Interview with Phil Miller for Scottish Sunday Herald

Music Video of more of her paintings

Gerhard Richter experiments

Abstract in style of Richter

For Project 2.2 Random Abstract Prints To be more fully written up.

Possibilities for Printmaking:

  • Use Akua water-based relief inks and impasto medium applied with palette knife, then selectively scraped. This replicates the appearance of squeejee and acrylic paint.
  • Drip blending medium and/or liquid ink pigment and use gravity to make further marks
  • Hand print on thin Japanese paper to retain delicate markings and as much as possible of the impasto

About Richter’s painting technique

 

Squeejee techniques