Printing – and overprinting

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For my second attempt I took some of the prints from my first session and added a second layer. I’m not so keen on the multi-coloured patchwork effect which seems to be the predominant way to use the Gelli plate as I find them very busy in general. Some people seem to carry this off with aplomb but I’m sure my efforts will look more like “a bomb” (has gone off) than “aplomb”.

This print has too much contrast for my liking so I decided to try overprinting it.

This print has too much contrast for my liking so I decided to try overprinting it.

I want to see if I can produce simple, well-composed images within the confines of the Gelli plate with only a few pulls (say up to 5) which then need minimal “tweaking” to finalise them. I’m envisioning a few well-placed stitches, collaged paper scraps or brush strokes to accentuate focal points will be all that is required to complete them.

I see the patchwork happening when I cut up the less satisfying prints to create collages.

I created a printing plate from printing foam by pushing the blunt end of a skewer into it to create an all over dots pattern. I used this in 2 ways – to put ink (acrylic paint) onto the Gelli Plate – and as an indirect printing plate by taking paint off of the Gelli Plate.

I used a bamboo skewer to push holes into some polystyrene foam. The foam was used to remove paint from the printing plate. This print is from the printing plate. The print from the foam isn't shown.

I used a bamboo skewer to push holes into some polystyrene foam. The foam was used to remove paint from the printing plate. This print is from the printing plate. The print from the foam isn’t shown.

The second photo has no white because the ink was applied to the Gelli plate first and then the foam printing plate was used to remove paint from the Gelli plate. Where there is contact some paint is removed (giving a lighter colour) and where there is no contact the paint is unchanged (and therefore darker). A paper print pulled from this has no white showing.

This is a previous print which had a lot of contrast (very white circles on a dark blue background) overprinted with the ghost (second pull without adding more ink) image of another print

This is a previous print which had a lot of contrast (very white circles on a dark blue background) overprinted with the ghost (second pull without adding more ink) image of another print.

The third photo shows a previous print which had a lot of contrast (very white circles on a dark blue background) overprinted with the ghost (second pull without adding more ink) image of the print in the second photo.

The layering of images and the density of the ink will take me some time to master I think – my vision of “simple, well-composed images within the confines of the Gelli plate with only a few pulls (say up to 5) which then need minimal “tweaking” to finalise them” could be a long time coming 🙂

Gelli® Plate Printing – First Attempt

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Designing Women were kind enough to allow me to attend a meeting where 2 of the members, Debbi and Linda, were giving a demonstration of printing using acrylic paints with a Gelli® Plate. I was keen to watch their demo because using a Gelli® Plate was next in my investigations into printing at home without a press. Both of them did a fantastic job and answered heaps of questions. Several of the members had a go after the demo as Debbi and Linda had brought lots of extra supplies. I waited until I got home to actually open the Gelli plate I bought recently. I used mostly 110gsm cartridge paper and some 80gsm bond copy paper this time (cheap for a first time effort) but towards the end I tried a couple of pieces of higher quality, thicker watercolour paper which gave lovely results.

This print has too much contrast for my liking so I decided to try overprinting it.

This print has too much contrast for my liking so I decided to try overprinting it.

Debbi and Linda demonstrated heaps of ways to use the Gelli® plate but these 2 photos show that I inked the plate (using acrylic paint), placed circle masks on top of the paint and then took a print. Where the masks were the paper remained white. Then I removed the masks, spritzed the plate with water and took a second print. I really like the way the masks themselves removed some paint so I got a lot of texture in the circles on the second print. Needless to say the masks were turned over and used to create yet another print 🙂 The first print was sort of disappointing, although I could see it had potential for other layers over the top. The layering is the bit I need to “get my head around” to actually produce some art but the second print from this same layout was much more exciting, and I felt that it could be used “as is” without another printing layer but with some embellishing using pencils/pens/paint and/or stitch.

Water was spritzed onto the plate after the first print was taken and then a second print was made.

Water was spritzed onto the plate after the first print was taken and then a second print was made.

In all I think I produced about 29 prints on the first day (and I photographed every single one in my enthusiasm!) so I won’t bore you with all of those. Suffice to say that Gelli® printing is every bit as addictive as it’s reputed to be 🙂

Permission has been granted for me to use the Gelli® trademark.

Standing Station – Perfect Version

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I put in a request to the resident handyman (Edgar – my Father in Law) to build me a more substantial and useful version of a standing station for my art room.

This is the standing station that my FIL Edgar built for me based on the measurements I took from the temporary version. It doubles as a drying rack. Brilliant! :)

This is the standing station that my FIL Edgar built for me based on the measurements I took from the temporary version. It doubles as a drying rack. Brilliant! 🙂

You can see the temporary version featured in my previous post here. I already had 2 tables at which I could sit and paint/draw but I figured I could only sit at one at a time – so why not make the second table into a standing station?

This is the permanent version – and it’s brilliant! I usually paint A4 or A3 size papers, but by allowing for an A2-sheet-plus-a-bit I ended up with shelves which can take twice the number of papers that used to fit on the available floor space – and I don’t have to keep dodging around them worrying about leaving painted footprints all round the house. The shelves are completely removable so I can use them to carry the wet artwork around easily too.

It’s very sturdy and just perfect for my needs. The tables have not been altered at all so if I ever need to use both tables together I can easily move the standing station elsewhere temporarily. This is one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever had 🙂

Standing Station – Temporary Version

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I used this set up as a standing station for months. I used the stack of plastic box, upside down ironing board and drawing board to get exactly the right height for working whilst standing up. For me that is 38cm above the desk top.

I used this set up as a standing station for months. I used the stack of plastic box, upside down ironing board and drawing board to get exactly the right height for working whilst standing up. For me that is 38cm above the desk top.

I’ve known for a long time that alternating between sitting and standing to work has lots of health benefits over sitting for all work. So I rigged up a temporary standing station and have been using it for months – changing the items in the stack until I found the perfect height. The height of this plastic box/ironing board, drawing board stack has worked perfectly although the board on the top is a bit wobbly – especially if I lean on it too far towards the back or the front edges.

I measured the total height from the top of the table to the top of the drawing board (for me, and knowing it would always go on the same table, this turned out to be 38cm). Then I analysed what else I needed this standing station to do. I needed lots of removable shelves about an inch or so apart that could take an A2 (420 x 594 mm) sheet of paper (for when I’m painting papers so they’re not sitting all over the floor while they dry). The worktop and shelves needed to be moisture resistant. I knew it would be reasonably heavy (a good thing – it won’t move as I work on it) so I wanted a “lip” at the front and back so it could be lifted easily. It needed a back so that papers wouldn’t get pushed through, and the back also served as extra support for the shelves. I wanted the front to be open so that air could circulate and help the papers to dry faster. I wanted a bit of extra width on the worktop to allow me to have an A2 paper plus a small paint dish beside it. Once I had decided all these things I put in a request to Edgar the resident handyman (Father in Law). It took a few weeks but I now have the perfect standing station – to be revealed in the next post 🙂

Finished collages!

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Close up of collage, linocut print and mixed media on acid free 600gsm cardboard. April 2015

Close up of collage, linocut print and mixed media on acid free 600gsm cardboard. April 2015

This is a detail shot of my latest completed collage (the 7th I think). I used some of the papers I have been painting over the last few weeks (3 out of 100’s – grin). I had carved a couple of lino-cuts just before Christmas and used one of them for this piece. I printed the lino cut with Derivan Block Ink and later worked into the piece with Derwent coloured pencil, Pitt Indian Ink Artist pen and Rembrandt soft pastel. I will give it a few coats of fixative because of the pastel and pencil before storing it. This series of collages are all 20cm W by 30cm H.

On the downward slope…

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Chinese paper placed on slight slope, dilute blue paint dribbled along top edge. Whilst still wet the paper was turned 180 degrees and dilute red paint dribbled from the opposite edge. This is the front view (allowed to dry on plastic).

Chinese paper placed on slight slope, dilute blue paint dribbled along top edge. Whilst still wet the paper was turned 180 degrees and dilute red paint dribbled from the opposite edge. This is the front view (allowed to dry on plastic).

This is Chinese paper which is sold by Jacksons Art Supplies. The only bit I can read on the label says “Xue Shan” which I presume to be the company which makes it. The paper is very absorbent, has a shiny side and a dull side and has a vague stripe running through it (guidelines for their calligraphy?). I placed a piece on plastic on a slight slope. I dampened the paper and put very dilute blue paint along the top edge and watched it slowly make it’s way down the slope. Once this was dry I turned the bottom edge to the top and did the same with red. I really like the blending and the following of creases, I also like the way the paint went around air bubbles. The top photo shows the front (the side I painted) and

Chinese paper placed on slight slope, dilute blue paint dribbled along top edge. Whilst still wet the paper was turned 180 degrees and dilute red paint dribbled from the opposite edge. This is the back (allowed to dry on plastic).

Chinese paper placed on slight slope, dilute blue paint dribbled along top edge. Whilst still wet the paper was turned 180 degrees and dilute red paint dribbled from the opposite edge. This is the back (allowed to dry on plastic).

the lower photo shows the back. I think I actually like the back better.

 

Op Shop Bounty

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Shell necklaces found in an op shop. I envisage these being taken apart and used to decorate textiles or baskets.

Shell necklaces found in an op shop. I envisage these being taken apart and used to decorate textiles or baskets.

There are a couple of op shops on my route home from meetings at Alexander Park Craft House and I often call in to one or the other to have a bit of a rummage around. This was my bounty from last week. The beads are made from shell – two of the necklaces are made from smoothed sort-of-rectangular beads and the other has perfectly round disks.

The sequin top has many more sequins on it than I could buy new for the same money. It needs about 3 stitches to secure a line of sequins which are starting to unravel but other than that this top could be worn – if I was half the size I am now! 🙂

This sequin top is WAAAY too small for me but I can use the sequins.

This sequin top is WAAAY too small for me but I can use the sequins.

I envisage all of these beads and sequins being useful embellishments on bags, baskets, vessels, or clothing that I make in the future.

 

Painted Papers – Overpainting

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Recently I picked out some of the less interesting previously painted papers and added more paint as well as creating some new papers. This photo shows all the papers painted that day.

Some papers were overpainted and some new papers were created.

Some papers were overpainted and some new papers were created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo shows 4 uninteresting papers chosen for overpainting.

These 4 papers were chosen for overpainting with Turners Yellow. The papers at the top and on the right also had an orangey-red added.

These 4 papers were chosen for overpainting with Turners Yellow. The papers at the top and on the right also had an orangey-red added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the result of overpainting the uninteresting papers. They are starting to become  a lot more interesting now.

These are the same papers overpainted with Turners Yellow. The papers at the top and on the right also had an orangey-red added. Now they are starting to become interesting.

These are the same papers overpainted with Turners Yellow. The papers at the top and on the right also had an orangey-red added. Now they are starting to become interesting.

Painted Papers – Earthy, Brown, Rust, Terracotta

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Various papers scrunched to make them more absorbent and create texture, and then painted with diluted acrylic paints.

Various papers scrunched to make them more absorbent and create texture, and then painted with diluted acrylic paints.

There is a tube of Burnt Umber that needs using too so after using it as is, I had a go at some other earthy colours by adding orange to the Burnt Umber. I need to create some more blues and purples to go with these too.

 

Painted Papers – Pthalo Blue

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Various acid free papers painted with Pthalo Blue. Sometimes I wet the paper first. Sometimes I scrunched the paper to get texture. The green was produced by painting over a paper which had previously been painted with Turner Yellow – all the other papers were white to start with.

Various acid free papers painted with Pthalo Blue. Sometimes I wet the paper first. Sometimes I scrunched the paper to get texture. The green was produced by painting over a paper which had previously been painted with Turner Yellow – all the other papers were white to start with.

I’m starting to love the process of creating painted papers! – if I’m not careful I will fill the house as I have lots of paper and lots of paint! I am learning a lot about the qualities of the various papers. How absorbent they are, how strong they are when wet, what they are like to “scrunch”, how the paint spreads or pools. It is definitely a fun activity.