Charles Shearer

Charles Shearer is an artist printmaker and teacher from Orkney, currently based in London. He also creates paintings and drawings of scenes inspired from his extensive travels both in the UK and overseas.

Google links to his images 

Many of his prints are single or multiplate collagraphs made from cutting, drawing and sculpting into display board. The plates are then printed using stencils and roller techniques to produce complex and multicoloured prints. This is the technique I started to explore in Assignment 5 The Dreaming.

His subjects are often ‘creative interpretations’ from his own travel sketchbooks, mostly from Wales, Ireland and his travels between London and Orkney. A key underlying theme is ‘man’s [sic] order within nature’. ‘Of particular interest are deserted buildings and the landscapes surrounding them as he describes “in a landscape stands a grand Irish ruin all in glorious decay, to contrast with a desolate and rutted land beyond the industrial estate”.

There are often fun images in his work too such as his large monoprints of King Flamingo or Night Prowl. He experiments too with texture and materials such as in Bubblewrap Joe.

In addition to making his own work he teaches printmaking at numerous art schools and runs creative print workshops. For experimental prints I produced from a workshop on ‘Cardboard Cuts’ see Collagraph techniques

For more about Charles Shearer see:

Emma Mason Arts

Exhibition at St Judes Prints

Exhibition at Southampton Solent University’s Andrews Concourse Gallery 2014- 2015.

David Dernie

David Dernie is a Cambridge-based architect and artist.

His exhibition ‘Heat’ shown as part of Cambridge Open Studios in July 2018 was a series of abstract collaged paintings ‘exploring built and natural landscapes in a warming world’.

Paintings below shown with permission from the artist.

The overlaying of abstract shapes, textures and washes inspired my work for Project 5.2 Arcadia Recycled and point to further directions I could pursue using print, collage and paint techniques.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt’s technique influenced:

Project 1.2 Urban landscapes etchings and drypoint

Assignment 3 Chiaroscuro

Project 4.2 Self Portraits

Sources and references

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.

Etchings

Christie’s exhibition

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.

Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt Mother in Widow's Dress and Black Gloves
Rembrandt Mother in Widow’s Dress and Black Gloves
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint

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.

Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634, etching, engraving and drypoint printed in black ink on cream paper.
Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634, etching, engraving and drypoint printed in black ink on cream paper.

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 technique

Rembrandt’s self portraits

Rembrandt The Late Works

John Virtue

Paintings on Google

WeAreOCA profile of John Virtue

John Virtue is an English artist who specialises in monochrome landscapes. He is honorary Professor of Fine Art at the University of Plymouth, and from 2003–2005 was the sixth Associate Artist at London’s National Gallery.[1]

Virtue was born in Accrington, Lancashire in 1947.[2] He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1965 to 1969. In 1971 he moved to Green Haworth, near Oswaldtwistle, painting landscapes for two years before abandoning painting in favour of pen and ink drawings comprising dense networks of lines akin to the work of Samuel Palmer.[3]

From 1978 he worked as a postman, giving this up in 1985 to work as a full-time artist. He lived in Devon from 1988–2004.[4]

Maintaining a studio in Exeter, he produced works around the Exe estuary, before being offered the post of Associate Artist at the National Gallery.[5] This scheme engages contemporary artists to produce work that “connects to the National Gallery Collection” and demonstrates “the continuing inspiration of the Old Master tradition”.[1]

Work[edit]

Virtue uses only black and white on his work as he sees colour as “unnecessary distraction”.[6] He uses shellac black ink and white paint.

He is well known for his “London Paintings” which were displayed in The National Gallery and focused on the London skyline, using easily distinguishable landmarks from the capital such as the Gherkin, the NatWest Tower and St. Paul’s Cathedral, to familiarise his audience with the otherwise hazy, smoggy and ambiguous drawings.

Virtue’s awards include: first prize in the Sunday Mirror painting competition (1964), Walter Neurath prize for painting awarded by Thames & Hudson Publishers (1966), Arts Council Major Award (1981), Joint First prize-winner in the 4th Tolly Cobbold Exhibition (1983), and Best Visual Artist in the South Bank Awards (2006).[7]

His work during his National Gallery tenure was exhibited in 2005 at the National Gallery and Courtauld Institute, and his final, large-scale, London works were exhibited at the University of Plymouth in 2007.[4]He moved to Italy to work and returned in 2009 to live in North Norfolk.[8] where he has continued to produce work, for example, ‘The Sea’ exhibitions[

Ross Loveday

website: http://www.rossloveday.com/prints.html

‘The fine line which separates figuration and abstraction interests me; time, place , weather and light alongside gesture, glimpse and memory.

The subjects are only the starting points- sometimes small insignificant details or texture triggers a complete piece.’

Drpoint and Carborundum
Lifelines. Monoprint and Drypoint
North Bank Monoprint and drypoint

Working process

He uses drypoint with monoprint and/or carborundum on a metal plate.

 

Landscape composition

Landscape composition overview of conventional rules. Introduces key concepts:

  • rule of thirds
  • tonal planes
  • different shape paths like S, L etc for leading the eye into the image
  • triangulation
  • rabattement
  • repetition and use of odd-numbers

She also discusses examples from artists like Cezanne who broke the rules.

Golden Section

More about shapes to lead the eye into an image.

Foamboard

Lilly Lake Series 1

From these I did a first series of prints using mostly foamboard. I found that when I tried to combine foamboard and softfoam it was difficult to register the image because softfoam changes size quite dramatically when it goes under the press. It is also difficult to draw on first because it is so soft so the slightest mark will show. The main technique that is possible is to start with softfoam and then do a print onto the foamboard. Then work with the foamboard making marks where needed from the impression. Then clean the ink off before re-inking. But it still only works if you do hand printing, if you want to use the softfoam again. It also only really works with water-based inks that dry quickly and rather unpredictably.

I also found using too many colours made things very messy – as this was a colour project, I decided to simplify things and use only softfoam. I found that when I cropped the prints below, some of them made more effective images – inspiration for further prints later. It would have been difficult to predict the effect through thumbnails because so much depended on the precise effects of the ink. It is very difficult to see where the ink is drying more quickly and so what prints and what does not – part of the joy but also frustration of the medium. These were the prints I sent to my tutor. But I was not very happy with them – more a work in progress to continue later than anything finished.

Stepping Stones

So I started again with a different set of sketches, again based on a photo. I used only foamboard and a limited palette, building up the tonal colours. I continued to use Caligo water-based ink but I chose to work with thin Hosho paper to increase the misty effect and also to make sensitive hand-printing easier.

Because this was a series and I was using only one plate, I chose my colours and sequencing very carefully – starting with yellow ochre and brown, then going to blue. I was also able to alter my wiping out and some of the details as I progressed. But how much the ink was drying and where as I worked remained a bit upredictable.

Softfoam

Willows ice moonlight draft

(further experiments and details planned)

Softfoam is a very cheap soft material that is used for children’s crafts. (click here for pictures and types).

I first used it for the Japanese landscape series ‘Stepping Stones’ in Printmaking 1. I really like the hazy effects.I used one softfoam plate inking several sheets with the same layer, but re-inking with different shades of a similar colour – starting with yellows then going to browns and then blues to produce a range of different prints. Although using softfoam in this way limits the amount of colour contrast that is possible, it does build up beautiful subtle tone and colour variation.

The focus of the assignment was on contrasting markmaking – I combined wiping out for the stones, scratching out with a screwdriver for the bamboos. I also used a drypoint tool on its side and with its point to get a range of different marks. A key issue though was how to make the stones recede into the background through making the outlines and contrast reduce in sharpness towards the back. I managed to achieve a range of dramatic contrasts in the marks from soft edged stones to very fine lines and bold sweeping lines.

I then used softfoam with Schminke water-based inks in Assignment 1: Willows.

I started with experimenting with different markmaking. The ink was quite clumpy at the beginning, but this gave interesting misty effects.

Drypoint

Giant of Nara

Assignment 4: Red white and black: Abstract self-portraits

Drypoint is an intaglio technique in which an image is incised into a plate (or “matrix”) with a hard-pointed “needle” of sharp metal or diamond point. In principle the method is practically identical to engraving. The difference is in the use of tools, and that the raised ridge along the furrow is not scraped or filed away as in engraving. It enables combination of dynamic lines, including very fine lines, with tonal and textural effects.

Printmakers

Drypoint Pinterest Board

The technique appears to have been invented by the Housebook Master, a south German 15th-century artist, all of whose prints are in drypoint only.

  • Albrecht Dürer produced 3 drypoints before abandoning the technique
  • Rembrandt used it frequently, but usually in conjunction with etching and engraving
  • Alex Katz used this process to create several of his famous works, such as “Sunny” and “The Swimmer”.
  • Pablo Picasso, 1909, Two Nude Figures (Deux figures nues), steel-faced drypoint on Arches laid paper, 13 x 11 cm
  • Max Beckmann
  • Milton Avery
  • Hermann-Paul.
  • Mary Cassatt adds aquatint with various colours.
  • David Brown Milne is credited as the first to produce coloured drypoints by the use of multiple plates, one for each colour.
  • Pedro Joseph de Lemos, simplified the methods for producing drypoints in art schools.
  • Stanisław Masłowski, ca 1905, Portrait of Artist’s Wife, drypoint, 11.5×7.7 cm, National Museum in Warsaw
  • Iona Howard with monoprint and carborundum
  • Ross Loveday with monoprint and carborundum

Drypoint process

Making the plate

Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are also commonly used. Drypoint technique of using the needle is like using a pencil.

Any sharp object can theoretically be used to make a drypoint, as long as it can be used to carve lines into metal. Dentistry tools, nails, and metal files can all be used to produce drypoints. However, certain types of needles are created specifically for drypoints:

  • Diamond-tipped needles carve easily through any metal and never need sharpening, but they are expensive.
  • Carbide-tipped steel needles can also be used to great effect, and are cheaper than diamond-tipped needles, but they need frequent sharpening to maintain a sharp point. Steel needles were traditionally used.

The lines produced by printing a drypoint are formed by the burr thrown up at the edge of the incised lines, in addition to the depressions formed in the surface of the plate. A larger burr, formed by a steep angle of the tool, will hold a lot of ink, producing a characteristically soft, dense line that differentiates drypoint from other intaglio methods such as etching or engraving which produce a smooth, hard-edged line.

The size or characteristics of the burr usually depend not on how much pressure is applied, but on the angle of the needle.

  • A perpendicular angle will leave little to no burr, while the smaller the angle gets to either side, the larger the burr pileup.
  • The deepest drypoint lines leave enough burr on either side of them that they prevent the paper from pushing down into the center of the stroke, creating a feathery black line with a fine, white center.
  • A lighter line may have no burr at all, creating a very fine line in the final print by holding very little ink.

Printing processes

Printing is essentially the same as for the other intaglio techniques, but extra care is taken to preserve the burr.

Applying the ink: After the image is finished, or at least ready to proof, the artist applies ink to the plate with a dauber. Too much pressure will flatten the burrs and ruin the image.

Wiping the ink: Drypoint wiping techniques vary slightly from other intaglio techniques. Less pressure is applied to achieve desirable lines, because the burrs forming the image are more fragile than etched or engraved lines, but also because the ink rests on the plate surface, instead of pressed down into indentations. Also, because of the characteristics of the way the burrs catch ink, the direction of the wiping matters. Ink tends to pile up in the lee of the burr during the application of the ink and wiping with the tarlatan, so if the printer wipes in the direction of the lines with their hand, they may remove most of the ink, leaving a light gray line. However, if they wipe perpendicularly to the line, they can actually increase the pile of ink on the other side of the line, darkening the printed line.

Once the plate is completely covered with a thin layer, a tarlatan cloth is used to wipe away excess ink, and paper (typically pages from old phone books) may be used for a final wipe of the lightest areas of the image. Some printmakers will use their bare hand instead to wipe these areas.

Printing
Once the desired amount of ink is removed, the plate is run through an etching press along with a piece of dampened paper to produce a print. Because the pressure of printing quickly destroys the burr, drypoint is useful only for comparatively small editions; as few as ten or twenty impressions with burr can be made, and after the burr has gone, the comparatively shallow lines will wear out relatively quickly. 

Tutorials

Best tutorials for Drypoint on plastic

  1. Very simple step by step overviews.

2) On plastic. Talks more about ink and ink removal. Using dirty tarlatan removes more ink because oil attracts oil. Don’t press too hard because you are trying to get the ink to bounce off. Make sure to wipe off the edge. Use damp paper. Uses marked Plexiglass for registration. There should be a ridge around the plate if pressure is right.

3) On copper. Discusses different tools and the mark-making process. With examples of different artists. Tones made through stippling, roulettes, mezzotint rocker. Roulettes with a fine tooth create subtle tones. Roulettes with coarse tooth create darker tones. Sandpaper can be used. Steel wool to create subtle tone. Try metal bristle brush.

4)

Uses machine polishing on copper.

Akua inks