Research point: Select several types of portraits from different periods if you can and begin to make notes and collect pictures for your learning log. For each portrait you select, Try and understand it from several points of view.
Sometimes the character of the sitter is conveyed through distorting reality.
At other times the person is depicted with objects from their life which tells us something about their status, interests or aspirations.
Maggi Hambling’s portrait of Dorothy Mary Hodgkin (1985, National Portrait Gallery) uses the sitter’s active mind and busy scientific career as an opportunity to explore our emotions by giving the Doctor many hands, all working away in front of us.
Present an unreal image of the painter to the world as they represent a reverse mirror image (until the use of photographs made a correct-way-round
portrayal possible). However, working in a printed form the artist’s self-portrait will be reversed again and appear as normal, not in reverse as in a mirror.
Can an artist represent themselves in profile?
In Egypt portraits of rulers and gods were highly stylised, and most in profile, usually on stone, metal, clay, plaster, or crystal. Egyptian portraiture placed relatively little emphasis on likeness, at least until the period of Akhenaten in the 14th century BC.portrait bust of Queen Nefertiti sculpted in c.1360 bc
Ancient Greek and Roman portraiture was often highly accurate and subjects were depicted with relatively little flattery. Sculpted heads of rulers and famous personalities like Socrates show why he had a reputation for being ugly.
During the Renaissance, the Florentine and Milanese nobility, in particular, wanted more realistic representations of themselves. The challenge of creating convincing full and three-quarter views stimulated experimentation and innovation. Sandro Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lorenzo di Credi, and Leonardo da Vinci and other artists expanded their technique accordingly, adding portraiture to traditional religious and classical subjects. Leonardo and Pisanello were among the first Italian artists to add allegorical symbols to their secular portraits
Rembrandt’s technique influenced:
Project 4.2 Self Portraits
Bikker, J. and G. J. M. Weber (2015). Rembrandt: The Late Works. London, National Gallery.
Royalton-Kisch, M. (2006). Rembrandt as Printmaker. London, Hayward Gallery Touring.
Rembrandt (1606-1669) was a Dutch painter, draughtsman and printmaker. His works cover a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies.
Rembrandt’s fame while he lived was greater as an etcher than as a painter (he did no engravings or woodcuts). He experimented with different etching and drypoint techniques. He used different mark-making tools to create different types of line – in contrast to the much more mechanical engraving techniques. Rembrandt sometimes employed even the V-shaped engraver’s burin in his etchings, combining it with the fine etching needle and thicker dry point needle, as in the work opposite, for richer pictorial effects.
He also experimented with different inking variations for chiaroscuro, producing very different interpretations of the same plate. Etching allows a lot of correction and burnishing to change the image. In some instances his etching were explorations of light and shade that he then transferred into his paintings.
Goldmark exhibition (has a loupe to see the detail of markmaking)
Detailed discussion of Rembrandt’s techniques and the background to his etchings.
Rembrandt’s self portraits
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:
The woodblock prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai were the source for my work in Project 2.1: Formal Abstracts: Japanese landscape.
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:
!!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:
Tate Gallery Retrospective with words from Francis Bacon spoken by John Hurt
BBC Archive film
His last interview
Works set to music
Studies for Project 2.2 Random Abstract Prints
Issues for printmaking technique:
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.
Some of the most impactful for the mixing of pigments on the surface are her watercolours.
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.
Stain 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.
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
Willem de Kooning