Part 4, Stage 1 Artist Research

Our course materials suggest three artists as examples of printmakers working with monoprinting or collatype printing techniques. The aim is to widen our knowledge of artists and designers who use mono and collatype printing I have chosen to concentrate on three modern practitioners mentioned in the course notes as I am not familiar with them at all:

  • Brenda Hartill
  • John Ross
  • Laurie Rudling

I have found countless other printmakers and artists whilst conducting this research and looking at other artists work in general, all of which I have found very exciting but will be concentrating on two that really struck a chord with me during this stage of the course towards the end of this post:

  • Kathleen Gallagher
  • Val MacCann

Brenda Hartill

Brenda Hartill is a printmaker from East Sussex in England, she is a fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. Her website describes her as:  Brenda Hartill R E is a British painter, collage artist and printmaker. Her work explores the texture, pattern and light of the landscape, and ranges from finely drawn figurative works to bold, heavily embossed abstract images. Far the past 10 years she has been most interested in drawing abstract imagery from the landscape, rugged mountain erosion, structure of the land and the dynamics of plant growth.  She loves the strong light and shadow of Southern Europe, and remote New Zealand, where she was brought up, as well as the gentler greyness of the light in London and Sussex.’

I must admit that I have completely fallen in love with her work. I love the colour palettes she uses and the textures she creates especially in her embossed pieces. They tie in so well with the way my work is developing at the moment.

Flotsam and Jetsam 1

Flotsam and Jetsam XI embossed drawing

I love this piece. The embossed detail is probably the most interesting part for me and caught my eye immediately. It is strikingly similar to th experiments I did using the embroidery pushed into clay and papier-mache during part 3. I really like the addition of the colour / design over the embossed areas and I can see it as a possible route for me to expand on the basic samples I gave made already and a way to develop my ideas further perhaps in the making of my own paper, embossing, drawing as in the piece above or printing and stitching.

HARTILL Cool Sunshine III, emb WC, 46x46cm

Cool Sunshine I, embossed watercolour, image 50x50cm, framed, 70x70cm

I really like the collaged look to this piece. The colours are engaging and remind me of dry arid landscapes in the sun. I have not really tried using watercolour in this way. It works really well especially with the embossed areas which again immediately caught my attention.


Primeval Land II, collagraph image 37 x58 paper 56x76cm

Probably my favourite amongst these pieces. I really like the colours in this piece and the textures created by the collagraph plate. They fit perfectly with the natural theme of leaves I have been exploring during the course and the textures I created by impressing the embroidery in clay.

Sources & further reading:

Collagraphs and Mixed Media Printmaking (Printmaking Handbook) – 1 May 2005 by Brenda Hartill, Richard Clarke – Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd

John Ross

John Ross is a well-known and prolific American printmaker and painter; married to Clare Romano Ross (equally well-known in printmaking) his work spans many decades. He has been the professor of visual arts at the Manhattanville College for the last 25 years and works regularly in collagraphy. He has produced many books with Clare Romano on the subject of printmaking. I managed to get hold of a copy of Complete Printmaker by John Ross, it was a very useful read, showing techniques in great detail  and will make a great reference book for me to dip in and out of in the future.

I really like the collaged look of John Ross’ work. Below are three prints made by John Ross, All show his use of collagraph printing techniques very clearly:


This piece named ‘conformation’ uses fabrics, card and other found textures to depict the various rock formations. Again this style fits in very well with the style of work I am particularly interested in at the moment; recording and using found textures and objects to make new designs, patterns and textures.


This piece appears to have used a more drawn approach in the collagraph perhaps using a medium such as glue or polyfilla on card, personally I am not so keen on this print although it is very striking and effective as I feel it lacks the textural qualities that I am so drawn to.


This print entitled ‘gorge’ is by far my favourite print from this selection. I love the minimalist colour palette that John Ross uses and the way fabrics have been used to create the landscape. It almost reminds me of patchwork. Maybe this is because I always seem to see landscapes as a patchwork of features rather than as a whole. I have a small pen and ink drawing of Boscastle harbour in my small Cornish sketchbook that I am particularly keep to try using this method and possibly some other rock formations that would work well and be interesting to attempt as well.

Sources & further reading

Complete Printmaker by John Ross, Publisher:Free Press; 2Rev Ed edition (31 July 2008)

The Sacred Land: Printmaking Works by John Ross and Clare Romano (1/2)

Laurie Rudling

Laurie Rudling is a british printmaker specialising in two plate aquatint etchings and collagraphs. He originally trained in painting and after teaching for many years became a full-time artist in 1987. He has been working in his native East Anglia since returning there from Devon in 2002. Understandably his work centralises on landscapes both natural and built and he frequently depicts the seaside and birds in his prints.

Yet again the rich textures of his collagraphs and the subjects shown in them instantly appeal to me. I am obviously going to have to take a much deeper interest in this form of printing going forward and explore it more fully as a more regular technique.



Sources and further reading

Kathleen Gallagher

Kathleen Gallagher is an American printmaker specialising in monotype printing. I really enjoyed discovering her monoprints particularly those wheer she uses leaves found in her local area. She grew up in rural upstate New York she was always fascinated with the natural surroundings and colours of the area:

‘I love the beauty of nature, the beauty of color and the beauty of shape and form. My art is my way to create an impression, a feeling, a reaction, a mood or an appreciation for color, nature, shape and form. It is an attempt to make people ask themselves what they are seeing and it is my expression of the creative gifts given to me’ – Kathleen Gallagher

Sources and further reading:

Val MacCann


Val MacCann is an Australian printmaker whose monotype and collagraph prints I admire. Often depicting birds and animals in beautiful detail they are something I could only aspire to with my basic drawing skills, yet the colours and textures she produces really excite me. They are somewhat darker than other prints I have looked at and are particularly atmospheric. Amongst her influences she lists Brenda Hartill and you can see this influence in her work: ‘I am influenced by many print makers from the past and present and I am especially inspired by printmaking colleagues, Rosemary Eagle, Vida Pearson and the eclectic group of printmakers in the Goldfields Printmakers group. English Collagraph printmaker, Brenda Hartill is a constant inspiration. I was fortunate to meet her and hear her talk in Bendigo and I viewed her beautiful prints up close in early 2013.’ – Val MacCann –

She explains her collagraph subjects on her website as: ‘My subject matter is varied depending on the types of surfaces I collect and create. I am forever experimenting and exploring this technique.’ I like this experimental very organic way of working being led by the materials and surfaces rather than having a preset aim.

I also like the way she reuses the same block (made from card and sculptural medium) in a variety of ways rather than sticking with one idea as can be seen below:

And again with this block :

Sources and further reading:

Conclusion to part 4 artist research

I have really enjoyed looking into these forms of printing and artists that use them. I am definitely drawn very strongly to collagraph prints using found objects such as leaves to create them which I would loke to investigate further. To be honest I have so many ideas in my head at the moment I will have to be careful not to get carried away as I have to bear time constraints in mind. I cannot wait to get started on the exercises in this part of the course and hope that they may lead towards something for part 5 combined with some of the other parts of the course.


About Julie Hooker

Having recently returned to my roots in Surrey, I am currently studying a BA Hons degree with the OCA. My work is often inspired by the local countryside in the beautiful Surrey Hills area and the wild rugged nature of the North Cornish coast. Steam engines and abandoned industrial history are also recent themes. A free machine embroiderer and felt maker; I like to explore the use of natural, found materials to create my art, whether that be as raw materials to stitch or weave with or as a material with which to produce dye or print with. Previously, I completed City and Guilds parts 1 & 2 Creative Embroidery at the East Berkshire College in Windsor in 2007. I was also awarded first place in the wearable art section of the National Quilt Championships 2008 and 2009 held annually at Sandown Park.
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