6: Review Artists Etching Inspiration Media Monoprint Printmakers

Maggi Hambling: Parallel Project

Maggi Hambling was the artist and printmaker chosen for my Parallel Project.

Life Unleashed: Movement in the Art of Maggi Hambling

considers the different techniques she uses to communicate movement in her drawing, painting and printmaking and some of the learnings for my own printmaking practice.

Other notes and video links

Overview of her work

for British Museum ‘Touch’ exhibition 2016

“The border-line between what is tragic and what is comic interests me…They are a pathetic human way of trying to come to terms with the fact of our own death, the fact of other peoples’ deaths, the fact of the horror we see on the news everyday, the terrible things that happen. Some moments you cry, other moments you laugh” (Conversation with Judith Collins Hambling 1993 p13)

Drawing and portraits

My first introduction to Maggi Hambling was through the ‘George always’ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2009.

Then her wave and Walls of Water paintings shown at the National Gallery. These include a series of monotypes first shown at Malborough Fine Art (see the exhibition), then the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the National Gallery.

More recently her work has been more political with the exhibitions, dealing with topics like global warming, migration and war:

How important is being ‘lesbionic’?

Book References

Hambling, M. (1993). Towards Laughter. Sunderland, UK, Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.
Hambling, M. (1998). maggi & henrietta.
Hambling, M. (2006). Maggi Hambling the Works and Conversations with Andrew Lambirth. London, Unicorn Press Ltd.
Hambling, M. (2009). The Sea. Salford Quays, The Lowry Press.
Hambling, M. (2009). You Are the Sea. Great Britain, Lux Books.
Hambling, M. (2015). War, Requiem and Aftermath. London, Unicorn Press Ltd.
Ramkalawon, J. (2016). Maggi Hambling Touch: works on paper. London, Lund Humphries and British Museum.

Maggi Hambling website


Attitude towards death and relationship with Henrietta Moraes Evening Standard 1999

5: Memory Artists Inspiration

Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Ann Parker OBE, RA (born 1956) is an English sculptor and installation artist. Her work covers sculpture, photography, performance. Her work is often in collaboration with institutions dealing with political as well as psychological themes.

Her ‘violent acts’,  the light textures cast by many of her sculptures and use of found objects were an inspiration for Project 5.2 Arcadia Recycled

Videos and interviews

“Beauty is too easy,” says the 56-year-old British artist Cornelia Parker. “Often in my work I take beautiful objects and do extreme things to them, so that they are overlaid with something a bit more sinister and violent.” She laughs. “I’m sure an analyst could have a field day on me.”

Cornelia Parker Tate

‘My work is all about the potential of materials ­– even when it looks like they’ve lost all possibilities.

From: ’ 

Printing with light and glass:

General Election

Objects of obsession


1: Landscape 5: Memory Abstract Artists Inspiration Urban

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.

5: Memory Artists Collagraph

Bradley Hart

Bradley Hart makes striking pixelated bubblewrap art using computer algorithms and syringes to inject pigment into the bubblewrap pustules.

See his website:

For details of his artistic process see his Artist Statement


4: Portrait Artists Exhibition Inspiration

Andrew Salgado

Andrew Salgado portraits Google


Interview for Artnet

Andrew Salgado is a Canadian artist who works in London and has exhibited his work around the world. His paintings are large-scale works of portraiture that incorporate elements of abstraction and symbolic meaning.

Storytelling on vimeo

4: Portrait 5: Memory Artists Inspiration Self-portrait

Tracey Emin


Google images for Tracey Emin Self Portrait

Tate page on Tracey Emin Self

Artists Inspiration Printmakers

Portrait Approaches

What is a portrait?

Portraits as a ‘likeness’ of an individual captured through painting, drawing and/or photography have been a part of human culture since prehistoric times. However portraits can have many different purposes that affect the way in which the concept of ‘likeness’ is interpreted,  the form of ‘capturing’.  Portraits vary widely in for example:

  • what is portrayed? is this a portrait of the face only (eg frontal, side or three quarters view)? is it just head and shoulders (what attitude?) is it the full body (what posture)? or part of the body only (eg hands? eyes? feet?) ? or is the main focus on context (some portraits contain objects and environment of the sitter without the sitter themselves)
  • external or internal ‘reality’? is the aim mainly a figurative likeness of external appearance? or more a ‘capturing of inner soul’ that permits abstraction and exaggeration of shapes, colours etc? or does it try to do both?

This is often affected by:

  • the relationship between the person portrayed and the person doing the portrayal: who commissioned it? who is paying? who is in control of the decisions? 
    • was the portrait commissioned by the subject? why and for whom? how do they wish themselves to be represented?
    • was the portrait instigated by the artist? using a paid model? or a friend/lover etc? why and for whom? do they have a specific artistic style?
  •  the context in which the portrait is to be viewed:
    • is it a private, personal painting to be seen by a few close friends and family members who know the person well? 
    • does the intended audience have particular views about what is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ portrait? or are they more interested in innovative approaches?

These factors have varied significantly over time.

Evolution of approaches

‘Ideal beauties’ : ancient and medieval world

Portraits in the ancient world were very stylised – like the Photoshop social media images of today. These idealised images often said more about the social norms of beauty in different cultures than the sitter themselves – the sitter as they wish to be remembered.

Prehistoric cave paintings, pottery and statuettes depicted people in abstracted form. Some of these may have represented particular people eg chiefs, or deities where particular characteristics have been exaggerated eg fertility or facial features/hairstyles/clothing showing ethnic identity.

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

China: Portrait painting of notables in China probably goes back to over 1000 BC, though none survive from that age. Existing Chinese portraits go back to about 1000 AD

Bust of Socrates
Roman-Egyptian funeral portrait of a woman

Ancient Greek and Roman portraiture was often very idealised. But some  sculpted heads of rulers and famous personalities like Socrates (see discussion on Gumberg library) were depicted with relatively little flattery.

Middle Ages Most early medieval portraits were commissioned by , initially mostly of popes in Roman mosaics, and illuminated manuscripts.

Move to ‘Realism’: Renaissance to 18th Century

Economic and social changes in the role of the artist, and technological innovations eg use of oil paints that enabled finer brush strokes started a move towards more ‘realistic’ figurative depictions.

In Italy the Florentine and Milanese nobility wanted more recognisable representations of themselves. This stimulated experimentation and innovation particularly in creating convincing full and three-quarter views. Some drawings that were used as studies for religious art by artists like Leonardo da Vinci started to depict grotesque faces. However patrons were still concerned to project a certain image of themselves in their portraits – men with power or women portraits continued to depict an ideal of female beauty in both religious art and portraits like the Mona Lisa. It was at this time also that  artists like Leonardo and Pisanello started to add allegorical ‘contextual’ symbols to their secular portraits as in Lady with an ermine – the ermine is said to represent purity and moderation.

Grotesque heads. Leonardo da Vinci drawing.
Grotesque heads. Leonardo da Vinci drawing.
Mona Lisa Leonardo da Vinci

It was only however in Northern Europe that a real move to ‘warts and all’ depictions of real life occurred.  Portrait paintings by Durer, Jan van Eyck and  Holbein continued to be largely idealised – as for example Durer’s self-portraits.  Holbein’s portraits of Henry VIII are commissioned to create an image of supreme power, enhanced by costume and background trappings.

Albrecht Durer painted like Christ
Holbein the Younger: Henry the Eighth
Holbein the Younger: Henry the Eighth

But other artists like Bosch, Lucas van Leyden and Quinten Massys and later masters such as Pieter Aertsen en Pieter Bruegel started to produce  ‘politically incorrect’ paintings and prints of people and everyday life.

In the 16th Century artists increasingly experimented with printmaking techniques to produce figurative portraits as for example:

Rembrandt van Rijn  who painted powerful portraits of himself ‘warts and all’ as he grew older. In addition to paintings he also made etchings.

 Benedetto Castiglione who, influenced by Rembrandt, experimented with monoprint from 1640 to produce very detailed portraits.

18th and 19th Centuries: caricature and inner turmoil

This emphasis on idealism changed during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The economic and social upheavals of the eighteenth century in countries like Britain and France led to the rise of political satire and caricature in which an irreverant approach to portraits of the rich and famous spread not only through painting but also prints.

While some Impressionists in France continued an idealised focus on fleeting impressions and light, other painters were experimenting with semi-abstraction and colour to portray inner lives.

Self-portraits began to be autobiographical, done at intervals tracking the evolution of an artist’s life and art. Gauguin used colour and semi-caricature to create a self-image. Courbet and Van Gogh painted numerous self-portraits with graphic portrayal of their internal mental turmoil.

‘Portrait of the Artist with the Yellow Christ’, 1889
Gustave Courbet, “Self-Portrait as the Desperate Man,” 1845, oil

See also:

20th century: abstraction and internal lives

In the 20th century many  artists took the focus on abstraction and internal mental states  even further, including:

  • Egon Schiele’s very explicit portrayal of sexual angst in his distinctive ‘blind contour style’
  • Fauvists and expressionists whose woodcut portraits and paintings used exaggerated forms of distortion and use of colour to express emotion and tried to capture ‘inner essence’ and/or the feelings of the artist towards the subject.
  • Picasso
  • Francis Bacon

Other artists like Andy Warhol started to look at the commercialisation of portrait images.

Contemporary:  the politics of portraiture: feminism and identity

Contemporary portraits now cover a broad spectrum of approaches and styles, drawing on approaches from photography as well as painting.

Some artists have taken a detailed and sensitive figurative approach, with  an emphasis on intensity and changing inner states in both portraits and self-portraits:

Other artists focus more on symbolic objects and autobiographical narrative than figurative representation of the subject themselves:


Angier, R., (2007) Train Your Gaze: A Practical and Theoretical Introduction to Portrait Photography, Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

Bikker, J., Webber, G. J. M., Wiesman, M. W. & Hinterding, E., (2014) Rembrandt: the late works, London: National Gallery.

Borchardt-Hume, A. & Ireson, N. (eds.) (2018) Picasso 1932: The EY Exhibition, London: Tate Publishing.

Brighton, A., (1966) Francis Bacon, London: Tate Gallery Publishing.

Brown, N., Tracey Emin, London: Tate Publishing.

Coppel, S., (1998) Picasso and Printmaking in Paris, London: South BGank Publishing.

Crippa, E. (ed.) (2018) All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life, London: Tate Publishing.

Cumming, L., (2009) A Face to the World: on self-portraits, London: Harper Press.

Dumas, M., (2014) The Image as Burden, London: Tate Publishing.

Elderfield, J., (2017) Cezanne Portraits, London: National Portrait Gallery Publications.

Ewing, W. A., (2006) Face: The New Photographic Portrait, London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Freud, L., (2008) On Paper, London: Jonathan Cape.

Freud, L., (2012) Painting People, London: National Portrait Gallery.

Gale, M. & Stephens, C.(2008) Francis Bacon. London: Tate Publishing.

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

Hambling, M., (1998) maggi & henrietta, London: Bloomsbury.

Hambling, M., (2006) Maggi Hambling the Works and Conversations with Andrew Lambirth, London: Unicorn Press Ltd.

Humphreys, R., (2004) Wyndham Lewis, London: Tate Publishing.

Kallir, J., (2003) Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolours, London: Thames & Hudson.

Lloyd, R., (2014) Hockney Printmaker, London: Acala Arts & Heritage Publishers Ltd.

Luckhardt, U. & Melia, P., (1995) Hockney: A Drawing Retrospective, London: Royal Academy of Arts and Thames & Hudson.

Marquis, A., (2018) Marcellin Desboutin, Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum.

Merck, M. & Townsend, C. (eds.) (2002) The Art of Tracey Emin, London: Thames & Hudson.

Moorhouse, P., (2013) A Guide to Twentieth Century Portraits, London: National Portrait Gallery.

Muller-Westermann, I. (ed.) (2015) Louise Bourgeois: I Have Been to Hell and Back, Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Royalton-Kisch, M., (2006) Rembrandt as Printmaker, London: Hayward Gallery Touring.

Russell, J., (1971) Francis Bacon, London: Thames & Hudson.

Sanchez, L. G., (2004) Frida Kahlo, Mexico: Banco de Mexico.

Serres, K. & Wright, B., (2017) Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters & Bellboys, London: The Courtauld Gallery.

Smee, S., (2007) Lucian Freud, Koln: Taschen.

Stevens, C. & Wilson, A. (eds.) (2017) David Hockney, London: Tate Publishing.

Vann, P., (2004) Face to Face: British self-portraits in the twentieth century, Bristol: Samson & Company Ltd.

Wye, D., (2017) Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait, New York: MoMA.

Zigrosser, C., (1951) Prints and Drawings of Kathhe Kollwitz, New York: Dover Publications.

Galleries and exhibitions

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

From Bosch to Bruegel – Uncovering Everyday Life (November 2015 – January 2016)

Rembrandt Etchings permanent collection

British Museum

Picasso post-war prints: lithographs and aquatints (27 January – 3 March 2017)

Maggi Hambling – Touch: works on paper  (8 September 2016 –29 January 2017)

Defining beauty the body in ancient Greek art (26 March – 5 July 2015)

Drawing in silver and gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns (10 September – 6 December 2015)

Recent acquisitions two sets of Picasso linocuts (10 January – 6 May 2014)

Germany divided: Baselitz and his generation From the Duerckheim Collection (6 February – 31 August 2014)

Courtauld Gallery, London

Soutine’s Portraits: Waiters, Cooks and Bellhops (October 19 2017 – January 21 2018)

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude  (23 October 2014 to 18 January 2015)

The Spanish Line: Drawings from Ribera to Picasso (13 October 2011 to 15 January 2012)

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Degas’ Drinker: Portraits by Marcellin Desboutin (19th September 2017 – 25th February 2018) Drypoint portraits

Degas, Desboutin and Rembrandt: parallels in prints (27 October 2017 – 25 February 2018)

Degas: A Passion for Perfection  (3 October 2017 – 14 January 2018) prints in various media

Degas: Caricature and Modernity ( 12 September 2017 – 21 January 2018) lithographs and drypoints

National Gallery

Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell (20 September 2017 – 7 May 2018)

Beyond Caravaggio  (12 October 2016 – 15 January 2017)

Rembrandt: The Late Works: (15 October 2014 to 18 January 2015)
Inventing Impressionism (4 March – 31 May 2015)

The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt (13 July – 22 October 2017)

Cézanne Portraits (October 26 2017 – February 11 2018)

Royal Academy

James Ensor Intrigue (29 October 2016 — 29 January 2017)

Tate Britain

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life (28 Feb – 27 Aug 2018)

David Hockney 9 February– 29 May 2017

Frank Auerbach  (9 Oct 2015 – 13 Mar 2016)

2: Abstraction Artists Inspiration Random abstract

Helen Frankenthaler experiments

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

1: Landscape Abstract Artists Inspiration

John Virtue

Paintings on Google

WeAreOCA profile of John Virtue

John Virtue is an English artist who specialises in monochrome landscapes. Virtue uses only black and white on his work as he sees colour as “unnecessary distraction”.He uses shellacblack 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.

2: Abstraction 4: Portrait Artists Figure Inspiration

Fauvism and Expressionism

Fauvism and Expressionism influenced:

Project 4.1 Portrait of a Friend

Fauvism is the name applied to the work produced from around 1905 to 1910 by a group of French artists led by  Henri Matisse and André Derain, but including Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Georges Rouault, and Maurice de Vlaminck ). It was inspired by post-impressionism of Vincent van GoghPaul GauguinGeorges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne.  The name les fauves (‘the wild beasts’) was coined by the critic Louis Vauxcelles when he saw the work of Henri Matisse and André Derain in an exhibition, the salon d’automne in Paris, in 1905.

Fauvism was characterised by:

  • use of strong saturated colours as independent elements that projected a mood and established a structure for a painting  without having to be true to the natural world. They were interested in scientific colour theories and often juxtaposed complementary colours to increase vibrancy.
  • concern with strong and unified compositional balance of colour and shape elements to give an immediate strong and unified visual impression
  • fierce dynamic brushwork juxtaposed with areas of flat colour
  • all elements aimed to promote the artist’s individual expression, their direct experience of their subjects, emotional response to nature, and intuition were all more important than academic theory or elevated subject matter.

It was an important precursor to Expressionism, Cubism and future modes of abstraction.

Alexej Georgewitsch von Jawlensky (RussianАлексей Георгиевич Явленский) (13 March 1864 – 15 March 1941) was a Russian expressionist painter active in Germany. He was a key member of the New Munich Artist’s Association (Neue Künstlervereinigung München), Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group and later the Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four).



    • Connaissance des arts (2017). Andre Derain: 1904-1914 La Decennie Radicale. Paris: Connaissance des arts.
    • Barnett, V. E., Ed. (2017). Alexei Jawlensky. Munich, London, New York: Prestel.
    • Derain, A. (2017). Andre Derain. London and Paris: FAGE.
    • Muller, J. E. (1967). Fauvism. London: Thames and Hudson.

Tate website: