Categories
1: Landscape Natural

Landscape composition

Some key considerations in landscape composition are:

  • what shape is the picture? 19C conventions were usually landscape format with broad vistas. But some late 19C landscapes and also earlier drawings were much more focused on particular elements in portrait format eg trees. Japanese and Chinese landscapes were also  often vertical. There can also be very long thin panoramas, or tall thin verticals also.
  • what sort of terrain is depicted? 19C conventions and also Chinese and Japanese landscapes were concerned with mountains, trees, flat fields, sky, water, river. Sometimes cottages, houses, castles. 
  • what is in it?  Are there people? 19C conventions and before generally used landscape as a backdrop to religious or historical paintings. ‘Landscape paintings’ in both Western and Asian traditions generally had one or two people or a small group of people dwarfed by the natural elements. Sometimes they are excluded altogether eg  Monet’s waterlillies and abstract landscapes like Richter. 
  • how are the subjects arrangedAccording to rule of thirds composition. Pleasing. But might have high, low or central horizons, and diagonals and triangular relationships or swirling circles.
  • how might you describe the ‘mood‘ of the picture. Awestruck, calm, Turner’s turbulence.  David’s mystique. Whistler’s mistiness. Colour and dramatic distortions in Hockney.

Landscape Composition: some established wisdoms

There are many books and You Tube videos on landscape composition, most of which are pretty conventional.

1) Developing an Eye for Landscape Composition gives an overview of conventional 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

It also gives examples from artists like Cezanne who broke the rules.

2) Golden Section discusses the development, theory and uses of the Golden Section as a compositional tool.

3) Landscape Painting Techniques discusses ways of using shapes to lead the eye into an image.

Designing a Landscape Image: my suggested process

  1. 3 quick 15 minute sketches of the same scene. Concentrate on capturing the sense of the place by recording the scale of the elements in the scene in relationship to each other. For each quick sketch change your viewpoint so that the relationship between the objects varies. Think carefully how the features appear on the page and the perspective.
  2. Line drawing: Spend up to an hour drawing the scene in detail using only lines. Pay particular attention to the shapes of leaves, trees, buildings and hills and try not to take any short cuts. You can draw some of the bricks in a wall, or grass in a field, for example, without drawing them all but make sure you have enough information in your drawing to remember everything.
  3. Tonal drawing: Make a couple more drawings of the scene in different lights. For example, make one during the morning and one in half light at the end of the day, or even at night. Concentrate on the tonal relationships between the features and the sky. Identify the lightest and darkest areas and work the middle tones into your sketches between these two extremes.
  4. Colour: Make descriptive colour notes from your scene. Use coloured media to record the colours – watercolour, pencils, crayons or similar.
  5. Photographs can be used as a reminder but always use them after your sketches. Sometimes it can be useful to sketch from your photograph to help understand the scene you are trying to represent.
  6. Final design: Try a few ideas out by making quick sketches in the middle of a piece of paper so that you can extend the image out in any direction. Develop the idea to cover the page using elements from your drawings. Then try masking off sections of your drawing with a pair of L-shaped cards, looking for a balanced design which has visual interest from tonal contrast, detail, texture, and so on.Then draw this composition again taking into account any changes you consider necessary.

 

Categories
1: Landscape Drypoint Media

Drypoint technique

What is Drypoint?

Drypoint is an intaglio technique in which an image is incised into a plate in a range of ways that enable combination of dynamic lines, including very fine lines, with tonal and textural effects.

There are many possible variations:

    • different types of incising tools:   with a hard-pointed “needle” of sharp metal or diamond point or power tools like dremel and a range of other more experimental incising tools.
    • different types of plate, including inkjet transparencies, acetate, perspex, card, zinc and also collagraph which differ in their degree of resistance to different tools and thereby give different qualities of line.
    • the plate can be modified with the addition of adhesive materials like carborundum, varnish, masking tape.
    • some types of plate like transparencies and card can be cut into shapes and overlaid to produce very complex effects.
    • final prints can be collaged to increase 3D effects and tonal depth and colour combinations.

Drypoint technique was used in:

Project 4.2: Self-portrait: Reflections

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

For ways in which other printmakers and artists have used and adapted Drypoint see: Drypoint inspiration

Drypoint process

1) 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.

Typically different types of line are produced on different types of plate.

Materials like masking tape, carborundum and other adhesives can be added to the plate to give different effects in terms of texture, and also the type of line that can be produced.

Printing process

As with etching and other intaglio techniques, the inking process and different tonal and wiping in different parts of the plate can produce radically different images and emphasis.

Applying the ink

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

Wiping the ink

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. Compared to 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.
  • Direction of wiping matters because ink tends to pile up in the lee of the burr. 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. 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.

Subtractive monoprint techniques can also be used to create lines and images in the ink. In the image below, the small white figure at the bottom was made by drawing into the ink with a sharpened pencil.

Printing

Once the desired amount of ink is removed, the plate is run through an etching press on a piece of dampened paper to produce a print. It is best to put the softer blankets just above the plate to reduce the flattening of the burr.

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. 

Runs of prints can be made on different types of paper without re-inking as a series of ghost prints that can then be collaged to create depth. This is best done using thin paper.

Bibliography

Adler, K., (2006) Mary Cassatt: Prints, London: National Gallery.

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

Cohen, J. (ed.) (1995) Picasso: Inside the Image, London: Thames & Hudson.

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

Griffiths, A., (1980) Prints and Printmaking: An introduction to the history and techniques, London: British Museum Press.

Malbert, R., (2016) Louise Bourgeois: Autobiographical prints, London: Hayward Publishing.

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

Martin, J., (1993) The Encyclopedia of Printmaking Techniques, London: Quarto Publishing.

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

Salamon, F., (1972) The History of Prints and Printmaking from Durer to Picasso: A guide to collecting, New York, Sat Louis, San Francisco: American Heritage Press.

Stobart, J., (2001) Printmaking for Beginners, London: A&C Black.

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

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.

Combination monoprint and drypoint.

Uses machine polishing on copper.

Akua inks

 

 

Categories
1: Landscape Etching Media

Etching techniques

See also my post Etching Inspiration

What is Etching?

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints. It was used by Rembrandt with differential inking to get very varied chiaroscuro effects.

I used etching in Printmaking 2 in Project 1.2 Urban Landscapes and Assignment 1 Willows.

Etching Process

1) Preparing the plate: different types of etching

Etching is done on metal plates that differ both in durability and ease/speed of etching. The type of metal used for the plate impacts the number of prints the plate will produce. The firm pressure of the printing press slowly rubs out the finer details of the image with every pass-through.

  • Copper is a traditional metal, and is still preferred, for etching, as it bites evenly, holds texture well, and does not distort the color of the ink when wiped. It can produce a few hundred printings of a strongly etched imaged before the degradation is considered too great by the artist. At that point, the artist can manually restore the plate by re-etching it, essentially putting ground back on and retracing their lines; alternatively, plates can be electro-plated before printing with a harder metal to preserve the surface.
  •  Zinc  is cheaper. As a softer metal, etching times are shorter, but it does not bite as cleanly as copper does, and it alters some colours of ink. Softness also leads to faster degradation of the image in the press.
  • Steel is growing in popularity as an etching substrate. Increases in the prices of copper and zinc have steered steel to an acceptable alternative. The line quality of steel is less fine than copper, but finer than zinc. Steel has a natural and rich aquatint.

The plate needs first to be cleaned to be clear from marks and finger prints. With Whiting.

The plate is then covered with a waxy ground that is resistant to acid. The nature of the ground affects the type of line, possibilities for tonal additions and inking. There are a number of distinct methods.

  1. Hard ground

This gives a sharp and defined line with tone achieved either through different types of cross-hatching and/or differential wiping of the plate.

Hard ground can be applied in two ways.

Solid hard ground comes in a hard waxy block. To apply hard ground of this variety, the plate to be etched is placed upon a hot-plate (set at 70 degrees C), a kind of metal worktop that is heated up. The plate heats up and the ground is applied by hand, melting onto the plate as it is applied. The ground is spread over the plate as evenly as possible using a roller. Once applied the etching plate is removed from the hot-plate and allowed to cool which hardens the ground.

Liquid hard ground comes in a can and is applied with a brush upon the plate to be etched. Exposed to air the hard ground will harden. Some printmakers use oil/tar based as hard ground, although often bitumen is used to protect steel plates from rust and copper plates from ageing.

The design is then drawn (in reverse) with an etching-needle or échoppe where want  a line to appear in the finished piece, so exposing the bare metal. The échoppe, a tool with a slanted oval section, is also used for “swelling” lines. An “echoppe” point can be made from an ordinary tempered steel etching needle, by grinding the point back on a carborundum stone, at a 45–60 degree angle. The “echoppe” works on the same principle that makes a fountain pen’s line more attractive than a ballpoint’s: The slight swelling variation caused by the natural movement of the hand “warms up” the line, and although hardly noticeable in any individual line, has a very attractive overall effect on the finished plate. It can be drawn with in the same way as an ordinary needle.

The work on the plate can also be added to by repeating the whole process; this creates an etching which exists in more than one state.

Soft ground

Gives a softer line with more variation in thickness, where tone can also be achieved through cross-hatching and shading as in ink drawing, and differential inking.

This uses a special softer ground. The artist places a piece of paper (or cloth etc. in modern uses) over the ground and draws on it. The print resembles a drawing.

Soft ground also comes in liquid form and is allowed to dry but it does not dry hard like hard ground and is impressionable. After the soft ground has dried the printmaker may apply materials such as leaves, objects, hand prints and so on which will penetrate the soft ground and expose the plate underneath.

After the ground has hardened the artist “smokes” the plate, classically with 3 beeswax tapers, applying the flame to the plate to darken the ground and make it easier to see what parts of the plate are exposed. Smoking not only darkens the plate but adds a small amount of wax. Afterwards the artist uses a sharp tool to scratch into the ground, exposing the metal.

Aquatint 

Aquatint uses acid-resistant resin to achieve tonal effects.

Particulate resin is evenly distributed on the plate using a special box. Resin is hazardous to health and it is important not to inhale.

The plate is then heated to form a screen ground of uniform, but less than perfect, density.

After etching, any exposed surface will result in a roughened (i.e., darkened) surface. Areas that are to be light in the final print are protected by varnishing between acid baths. Successive turns of varnishing and placing the plate in acid create areas of tone difficult or impossible to achieve by drawing through a wax ground.

Sugar lift

This gives a more painterly line.

Designs in a syrupy solution of sugar or Camp Coffee are painted onto the metal surface prior to it being coated in a liquid etching ground or ‘stop out’ varnish. When later the plate is placed in hot water the sugar dissolves and lifts off leaving the image. The plate can then be etched.

Relief etching

Relief etching was invented by William Blake in about 1788, and he has been almost the only artist to use it in its original form. However, from 1880–1950 a photo-mechanical (“line-block”) variant was the dominant form of commercial printing for images. A similar process to etching, but printed as a relief print, so it is the “white” background areas which are exposed to the acid, and the areas to print “black” which are covered with ground. Blake’s exact technique remains controversial. He used the technique to print texts and images together, writing the text and drawing lines with an acid-resistant medium.

Carbograph etching

Invented in 2006 and yields an image like that of a charcoal drawing:

www.randhuebsch.com/carbograph.html

2) Etching the plate

The plate is then completely submerged in a bath of acid technically called the mordant (French for “biting”) or etchant, or has acid washed over it.  Ferric chloride may be used for etching copper or zinc plates, whereas nitric acid may be used for etching zinc or steel plates.

  • The acid “bites” into the metal (it dissolves part of the metal) where it is exposed, leaving behind lines sunk into the plate. The waxy resist prevents the acid from biting the parts of the plate which have been covered.
  • The strength of the acid determines the speed of the etching process. Typical solutions are 1 part FeCl3 to 1 part water and 1 part nitric to 3 parts water.
  • The longer the plate remains in the acid the deeper the “bites” become.

During the etching process the printmaker uses a bird feather or similar item to wave away bubbles and detritus produced by the dissolving process, from the surface of the plate, or the plate may be periodically lifted from the acid bath. If a bubble is allowed to remain on the plate then it will stop the acid biting into the plate where the bubble touches it. Zinc produces more bubbles much more rapidly than copper and steel and some artists use this to produce interesting round bubble-like circles within their prints for a Milky Way effect.

The detritus is powdery dissolved metal that fills the etched grooves and can also block the acid from biting evenly into the exposed plate surfaces. Another way to remove detritus from a plate is to place the plate to be etched face down within the acid upon plasticine balls or marbles, although the drawback of this technique is the exposure to bubbles and the inability to remove them readily.

For aquatinting a printmaker will often use a test strip of metal about a centimetre to three centimetres wide. The strip will be dipped into the acid for a specific number of minutes or seconds. The metal strip will then be removed and the acid washed off with water. Part of the strip will be covered in ground and then the strip is redipped into the acid and the process repeated. The ground will then be removed from the strip and the strip inked up and printed. This will show the printmaker the different degrees or depths of the etch, and therefore the strength of the ink color, based upon how long the plate is left in the acid.

Spit-biting

A mixture of nitric acid and/or gum arabic and/or rosin and/or water (or almost never – saliva) is applied to certain areas of the plate with a brush, dripped, spattered or painted onto a metal surface giving interesting results. The plate may be aquatinted for this purpose or exposed directly to the acid. 

3) Cleaning the plate

The plate is removed from the acid and washed over with water to remove the acid. The remaining ground is removed with a solvent such as turpentine. Turpentine is often removed from the plate using methylated spirits since turpentine is greasy and can affect the application of ink and the printing of the plate.

Foul-biting
Example of foul bite in acid etching (Wikipedia)

Foul-bite or “over-biting” is common in etching, and is the effect of minuscule amounts of acid leaking through the ground to create minor pitting and burning on the surface. This incidental roughening may be removed by smoothing and polishing the surface, but artists often leave faux-bite, or deliberately court it by handling the plate roughly, because it is viewed as a desirable mark of the process.

 4) Inking

The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. The plate is inked all over, and then the ink wiped off the surface, leaving only the ink in the etched lines.
A piece of matte board, a plastic “card”, or a wad of cloth is often used to push the ink into the incised lines.

  • Oil based etching inks
  • Akua inks – don’t find these too good.

The surface is wiped clean with a piece of stiff fabric known as tarlatan and then wiped with newsprint paper; some printmakers prefer to use the blade part of their hand or palm at the base of their thumb. You may also use a folded piece of organza silk to do the final wipe.

If copper or zinc plates are used, then the plate surface is left very clean and therefore white in the print. If steel plate is used, then the plate’s natural tooth gives the print a grey background similar to the effects of aquatinting. As a result, steel plates do not need aquatinting as gradual exposure of the plate via successive dips into acid will produce the same result.

Differential inking can significantly affect the impact of the image – as exploited by eg Rembrandt and can be seen on the markmaking on the etching plate in the prints below.

5) Printing

The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it).

The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the plate shows much sign of wear.

Printing the plate is done by covering the surface with printing ink, then rubbing the ink off the surface with tarlatan cloth or newsprint, leaving ink in the roughened areas and lines. Damp paper is placed on the plate, and both are run through a printing press; the pressure forces the paper into contact with the ink, transferring the image (c.f., chine-collé).

Nontoxic etching

Growing concerns about the health effects of acids and solvents led to the development of less toxic etching methods in the late 20th century. An early innovation was the use of floor wax as a hard ground for coating the plate. Others, such as printmakers Mark Zaffron and Keith Howard, developed systems using acrylic polymers as a ground and ferric chloride for etching. The polymers are removed with sodium carbonate (washing soda) solution, rather than solvents. When used for etching, ferric chloride does not produce a corrosive gas, as acids do, thus eliminating another danger of traditional etching.

The traditional aquatint, which uses either powdered rosin or enamel spray paint, is replaced with an airbrush application of the acrylic polymer hard ground. Again, no solvents are needed beyond the soda ash solution, though a ventilation hood is needed due to acrylic particulates from the air brush spray.

The traditional soft ground, requiring solvents for removal from the plate, is replaced with water-based relief printing ink. The ink receives impressions like traditional soft ground, resists the ferric chloride etchant, yet can be cleaned up with warm water and either soda ash solution or ammonia.

Anodic etching has been used in industrial processes for over a century. The etching power is a source of direct current. The item to be etched (anode) is connected to its positive pole. A receiver plate (cathode) is connected to its negative pole. Both, spaced slightly apart, are immersed in a suitable aqueous solution of a suitable electrolyte. The current pushes the metal out from the anode into solution and deposits it as metal on the cathode. Shortly before 1990, two groups working independently developed different ways of applying it to creating intaglio printing plates.

In the patented Electroetch system, invented by Marion and Omri Behr, in contrast to certain nontoxic etching methods, an etched plate can be reworked as often as the artist desires.The system uses voltages below 2 volts which exposes the uneven metal crystals in the etched areas resulting in superior ink retention and printed image appearance of quality equivalent to traditional acid methods. With polarity reversed the low voltage provides a simpler method of making mezzotint plates as well as the “steel facing”copper plates.

Some of the earliest printmaking workshops experimenting with, developing and promoting nontoxic techniques include Grafisk Eksperimentarium, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Edinburgh Printmakers, in Scotland, and New Grounds Print Workshop, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photo-etching

Light sensitive polymer plates allow for photorealistic etchings. A photo-sensitive coating is applied to the plate by either the plate supplier or the artist. Light is projected onto the plate as a negative image to expose it. Photopolymer plates are either washed in hot water or under other chemicals according to the plate manufacturers’ instructions. Areas of the photo-etch image may be stopped-out before etching to exclude them from the final image on the plate, or removed or lightened by scraping and burnishing once the plate has been etched. Once the photo-etching process is complete, the plate can be worked further as a normal intaglio plate, using drypoint, further etching, engraving, etc. The final result is an intaglio plate which is printed like any other.

Bibliography

Adler, K., (2006) Mary Cassatt: Prints, London: National Gallery.

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

Bikker, J. & Weber, G. J. M., (2015) Rembrandt: The Late Works, London: National Gallery.

Cate, P. D. & Grivel, M., (1992) From Pissaro to Picasso: color etching in France, Paris: Flammarion.

Cohen, J. (ed.) (1995) Picasso: Inside the Image, London: Thames & Hudson.

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

D’arcy Hughes, A. & Vernon-Morris, H., (2008) The Printmaking Bible: the complete guide to materials and techniques, San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

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

Grabowski, B. & Flick, B., (2009) Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and processes, London: Lawrence King Publishing.

Griffiths, A., (1980) Prints and Printmaking: An introduction to the history and techniques, London: British Museum Press.

Guse, E.-G. & Morat, F. A., (2008) Georio Morandi: paintings, watercolours, drawings, etchings, Munich, Berlin, London, New York: Prestel.

Hambling, M., (2009) The Sea, Salford Quays: The Lowry Press.

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

Martin, J., (1993) The Encyclopedia of Printmaking Techniques, London: Quarto Publishing.

Meyrick, R., (2013) Sydney Lee Prints: A Catalogue Raisonnee, London: Royal Academy of the Arts.

Pogue, D., (2012) Printmaking Revolution : new advancements in technology, safety and sustainability, New York: watson-guptill publications.

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

Salamon, F., (1972) The History of Prints and Printmaking from Durer to Picasso: A guide to collecting, New York, Sat Louis, San Francisco: American Heritage Press.

Stobart, J., (2001) Printmaking for Beginners, London: A&C Black.

Woods, L., (2011) The Printmaking Handbook: Simple techniques and step-be-step projects, London: Search Press.

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

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

Exhibitions and Galleries

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

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)

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

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

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

Fatal Consequences:The Chapman Brothers and Goya’s Disasters of War  (14 October 2014 – 8 February 2015) etchings

Maggi Hambling: The Wave (27 April – 8 August 2010) monoprints and ethcings

National Gallery

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

Royal Academy

Etching: The Infernal Method  (15 September 2017 — 19 February 2018)

Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Regular sales and exhibitions of prints and landscapes from Suffolk.

You Tube Tutorials

Non-toxic

Traditional

Categories
1: Landscape 5: Memory Abstract Collagraph Inspiration Media Printmakers

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.

Categories
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.

Categories
1: Landscape 3: Chiaroscuro 4: Portrait Media Self-portrait Urban

Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt’s was a key inspiration for:

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.

Goldmark exhibition (has a loupe to see the detail of markmaking)

CD of Rembrandt etchings purchased from Rembrandthuis.

https://www.rembrandthuis.nl/en/rembrandt-2/collection/etchings/

Christie’s exhibition

Rembrandt as printmaker

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.

Landscape

Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint

See also Google images

Rembrandt’s landscape etchings and drypoints are in the classic Dutch ink and watercolour tradition with broody skies over low horizon and dark, cold foreground.

Portrait prints

He makes the subjects look alive through the way he uses tone to draw the eye to visual features.

Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt with Saskia etching

Chiaroscuro

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.

Technique

Detailed discussion of Rembrandt’s techniques and the background to his etchings.

Portrait paintings

‘Warts and all’

Rembrandt’s self portraits

Rembrandt The Late Works

Categories
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.

Categories
1: Landscape Abstract Drypoint Inspiration Printmakers

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.

 

Categories
1: Landscape Natural Urban

Landscape Visions

Landscape art, even when it aims to be figurative, implicitly or explicitly reflects our visions for how the natural and human-made world should be and our place in it.

Landscape is essentially about exploring the relationships between the maker, their subjects and where they are, both geographically and spiritually or psychologically. .. Whether celebrated for its beauty and the bounties it provides or respected for its power and the challenges it presents, the different ways we’ve presented the landscape – and continue to present it – tell us above all, about the depth, range and contrasting values we place upon it. … This reflects an urge – perhaps even an instinct – to tame the land, and in an abstract sense to take ownership of it. (Jesse Alexander 2013 p.14)

Dutch landscape : drama, comfort and beauty in bleakness

My approach in Project 1.1 Natural Landscape draws on the traditions of Dutch landscape inspired by the similar flat landscapes of the River Cam that I chose as my subject.

Dutch Golden Age painting of the 17th century saw the dramatic growth of landscape painting. The popularity of landscapes in the Netherlands was in part a reflection of the virtual disappearance of religious painting in a Calvinist society. Until the seventeenth century landscape was confined to the background of portraits or paintings dealing principally with religious, mythological or historical subjects. In the 16th Century Pieter Brueghel the Elder perfected the “world landscape”  style of panoramic landscape with small figures and using a high aerial viewpoint. But these were still generally idealised images, not of any particular place. Certain popular styles became formulas that were copied again and again.

The first major shift  towards depiction of identifiable country estates and villages populated with figures engaged in daily activities was in publication in Antwerp in 1559 and 1561 of two series of a total of 48 prints (the Small Landscapes) after drawings by an anonymous artist referred to as the Master of the Small Landscapes.  Artists developed extremely subtle realistic techniques for depicting dramatic light and weather on simple, flat and otherwise quite bleak landscapes. They made some significant innovations in technique, including variation in horizon lines, aerial perspective and rendering of clouds to make them seem overhead and lead the eye into the painting.

Because of this similarity between the flat Dutch landscape and those of East Anglia where I live, much of my own landscape art has been strongly influenced by Netherlands art, particularly since visiting Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam permanent collection of Dutch landscape. See also Logan, A.-M., (1988) and Stechow, W., (1966). Some of the oil and watercolour paintings that were most influential in my development of Project 1.1 were:

Although the approaches here are largely figurative, many of these images chronicle the harshness of poverty in the Northern climate. The attention to detail and appreciation of the beauty of these human ‘natural’ landscapes under the powerful skies convey a sense of peoples’ place in the world – sometimes lonely and sometimes comforting.

Key Considerations in Landscape Art

Some key considerations in my work are:

  • what is the picture trying to communicate? what is the ‘mood‘ of the picture. Awestruck/Sublime, calm/serene, Turner’s turbulence.  David’s mystique. Whistler’s mistiness. Colour and dramatic distortions in Hockney. Joy or sorrow in Hambling’s watercolour sunrises and sunsets?
  • what shape is the picture? 19th century conventions were usually landscape format with broad vistas. But some late 19th century landscapes and also earlier drawings were much more focused on particular elements in portrait format e.g. trees. Japanese and Chinese landscapes were also  often vertical. There can also be very long thin panoramas, or tall thin verticals, square formats also.
  • what sort of terrain is depicted? 19th century conventions and also Chinese and Japanese landscapes were concerned with mountains, trees, flat fields, sky, water, river. Sometimes cottages, houses, castles. 
  • what/who is in it?  Are there people? 19th century conventions and before generally used landscape as a backdrop to religious or historical paintings. ‘Landscape paintings’ in both Western and Asian traditions generally had one or two people or a small group of people dwarfed by the natural elements. Sometimes people are excluded altogether e.g  Monet’s waterlillies and abstract landscapes like Richter. 
  • how are the subjects arrangedAccording to rule of thirds composition to focus or lead the eye to certain features or meaning? Pleasing/picturesque? Are there high, low or central horizons, and diagonals and triangular relationships or swirling circles (See post Landscape Composition).

See further discussion, links and references from:

traditions of etching and lithography of Rembrandt and Sydney Lee

abstract work of the Vorticists and Grosvenor school and considers design principles of balance and composition. See also: Approaches to Design and Composition and Landscape Composition

influenced by Maggi Hambling’s abstract watercolours, Degas monoprints and impressionist paintings of Monet and Cezanne

is based on Japanese landscape of Hiroshige and Hokusai and considers further design principles of balance and composition in Japanese art. See Japanese Woodblock Prints

drawing on work of Abstract Expressionists are often evocative of landscapes

Sources:

Alexander, J., (2013) Landscape: Photography 2, Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Barringer, T., Devaney, E., Drabble, M., Gayford, M., Livingstone, M. & Salomon, X. F., (2013) David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, London: Royal Academy of Arts.

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

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

Hambling, M., (2015) War, Requiem and Aftermath, London: Unicorn Press Ltd.

Hauptman, J., (2016) Degas: A Strange New Beauty, New York: MoMA.

Heugten, S. V., (2005) Van Gogh draughtsman: the masterpieces, Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum.

Hockney, D., (2004) Hockney’s Pictures, London: Thames & Hudson.

Hoerschelmann, A., (2016) Anselm Kiefer: The Woodcuts, Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Kossoff, L., (2014) London Landscapes, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles: Annely Juda Fine Art, Galerie Lelong, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, L.a.Louvre.

Langmuir, E., (2018) A Closer Look at Landscape, London: National Gallery.

Leopold, R., (2004) Egon Schiele Landscapes, Munich, Berlin, London, New York: Prestel.

Logan, A.-M., (1988) Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolours, New York: Hudson Hills Press.

Meyrick, R., (2013) Sydney Lee Prints: A Catalogue Raisonnee, London: Royal Academy of the Arts.

Porzio, D. (ed.) (1982) Lithography: 200 years of art, history & technique, London: Bracken Books.

Stechow, W., (1966) Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century, New York: Phaidon Publishers.

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

Wildenstein, D., (2017) Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism, Koln: Taschen.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Alde Valley Spring Festival

I, Claudius Spring Exhibition (April 21 to May 20 2018)

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Rembrandt Etchings permanent collection

Dutch landscape permanent collection

British Museum

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave  (25 May – 13 August 2017)

Places of the mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850–1950 (23 February – 28 August 2017)

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

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Maggi Hambling: The Wave (27 April – 8 August 2010) monoprints and ethcings

National Gallery

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Monet & Architecture (9 April 2018 to 29 July 2018)

Inventing Impressionism (4 March – 31 May 2015)Monet: The Water Garden at Giverny ( 16 September 2014 – 31 December 2015)

Royal Academy

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (21 January — 9 April 2012)

Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Regular sales and exhibitions of prints and landscapes from Suffolk.

Websites

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/l/landscape

Further You Tube videos

Van Ruysdale

Van Goyen

 

 

Categories
1: Landscape Media

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.