Saturday, March 14, 2015

Learning to Do Gelatin Prints

After much ado involving research, acquiring random things like craft foam, stencils, cutters, and other doodads and making my own gelatin plate out of gelatin, glycerin and water, I finally set out to make my first gelli prints. I made 20 before my back gave out. Maybe my notes will help someone else, so I'll try to explain what I did as I went along. Savvy?
First three gelatin prints.

First Print
This was my first print. The only purpose was to get the feel of rolling the paint onto the plate. Of course I will save it for future uses, like a background page for an art journal. I only used 3 colors of craft paint for all of today's prints. I didn't want to be overwhelmed by too many color choices.

So now that I had the hang of it, it was time to have some fun. See the fine scratches? Those are caused by the edges of my small brayer digging in. That is not the ideal thing but I couldn't seem to prevent it. Next time I'll buy the larger brayer.

I like that the yarn I used left it's own print in the middle of the white edges. The first time I tried yarn it worked great and stayed where I put it. I could not duplicate this effect in future tries.

When the paint got too dry I misted it with water from a spray bottle.

The Accidental Heart
Once I put the prints on my computer and could do some editing I discovered a happy accident. This print had a theme of purple hearts.  Imagine my surprise when I realized during computer editing that there was a big accidental purple heart in the center. So this became my new favorite print (see above). The border of tiny hearts was made with a heart shaped hole punch on a piece of paper. The big faint heart in the upper right was a foam stamp I cut with scissors. The other hearts were made with a tiny heart shaped eraser used like a rubber stamp.

I always make at least two prints from each color combination.  Then I clean the plate with  an alcohol wipe.

This way looks like a tall roller coaster. Which way do you like better?

At first I named this 'Sloppy Heart' but the more I look at it the more it looks like a big strawberry.
The wave pattern was made with a plastic comb I picked up at a discount store.
I think this is the ghost print of the one above. Notice how different it looks.
The Elephant Series

Elephant in the Jungle by Fayme Harper
I wanted to make an elephant to pay homage to the elephant on the cover of my Gelli printing book because I'd never heard of
Gelli printing before I bought that book. I cut the elephant out of a piece of paper and used it as a mask on the clean plate.  Then I carefully rolled ink over it. Sadly I missed the tail on the first print (see above). The elephant's eye was made on the paper with a heart shaped hole punch. The odd circle above the elephant is a wee bit of gelatin that tore off the edge.
This was my favorite print today until I saw the one with the heart.
Elephant ghost print

The ANKH series:

I had cut the ankh out of textured foam. I tried to stamp it onto the wet paint but it didn't work well.

This time I cleaned a spot on the plate with a wipe, rolled ink on the ankh and used it as a stamp.

I used the ankh to stamp the image on paper.
Then I cut it out and used it as a mask.
This worked but I didn't roll enough paint around the upper left.
 The paper kept lifting and so I quit
while I was ahead.
I think I can save this with some white paint.
This happened when I forgot to peel off the mask before printing.
All in all I learned a lot today. Since this is ultimately for mixed media projects there will be at least one more layer of art over each one or maybe more.  I will keep two for framing just as they are I think: The Accidental Heart and the Elephant in the Jungle.  Always wise to keep samples of one's first efforts don't you think?

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