Monday, February 28, 2011

more gel prints

i'm not sure if this worked better b/c the gelatine was warmer or b/c the ink was less watery- either way, much more fun & more successful.

for those of you not familiar with the process, in the pan on the left is plain, unflavored gelatine mixed 2 tbsp to 1 c of water, boiled & refrigerated for at least 12 hrs. 1/2 to 3/4 in deep. some directions tell you to remove from the pan. i'll try that next time.

on the plexi to the right is water based speedball printing ink.i guess that acrylice paint is also an option- probably fluid would be best. load the roller, ink up the gel.

design elements are placed on the ink- can be leaves, string, sticks, cut out pieces of paper, stencils- whatever. just try not to leave an indentation in the gel- unless that's what you want. then the paper is placed on the whole thing & rubbed to pick up the ink. see print below.

you can then remove the string, leaves, grass, etc & make a ghost print- the white prints below. should have used plastic for the circles, there probably would have been paint left under them.

layers of ink & different patterns create more interest. a real printmaker could figure out how to make these an end in themselves. i am happy to have interesting backgrounds for more purell transfers. i need 11 more. since the theme is leftovers this is a mixture of left over paper- some watercolor, some printmaking, some card stock.

here's a close up of a few pieces. these have 3 colors- turquoise, turq mixed with yellow, lastly yellow. i alternated a first print with a ghost print. supposedly as the gel breaks down over time the texture get more interesting.

paper is not my favorite thing to work on b/c i am not fond of  matting & framing, but i can see how this would be a fun way to make paper for mixed media- will try on rice paper & other light weight options.

mostly i'm tickled to feel like i will have something presentable for the leftovers print exchange!

busy few days- til friday actually- so have fun. if i get any decent photos i'll post 'em, otherwise be back on the weekend0 have a great week!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

patience, tolerance & trying again

another hanging day at the gallery, more drama. we had a horrible day as far as damage. we were doing things the way we normally do, were careful and not hurrying but the gremlins had entered the building. at least it stopped at 3 instead of 7. making that call that you have damaged someone's artwork (in my case irreparably) is not fun. i hope to be as understanding when my time comes, as it will. the phone call & apology do a long long way. sometimes stuff does just happen. also, if a piece of art is moved monthly for 6 months the frame is gonna get dings in it. especially if it's a cheap frame. that's what happens.

the other reminder was that just b/c i don't like an artist's work doesn't mean no one else does. it is important to have a mix of styles, subject matter, price ranges. where i get thrown is when i think the work just isn't very good. i think i can usually recognize a piece that i don't like, but is well done. but sometimes not. sometimes there are things i think are poorly done and kinda ugly that sell. probably some members think the same of mine. the one bonus is that it helps me remember it isn't all about price. sometimes the right person finds your art. every sale helps the gallery, so every piece deserves to be presented professionally.

home & my feet were killing me, so couch, ice packs & book. then on to the dreaded prints. i decided i better go with transfers, as the pure printmaking is clearly not my forte. bonnie lhotka's latest digital art book has quite a bit on purell transfers, thought i'd give that a shot.

and it worked! i have 4 decent prints now, and a clear path to make more. now all i need to do is find more left over paper, do gelatine backgrounds & then purell transfers on the front. sometime between now & the 15th. and i'll do a tutorial too. after that.

this is going to be a very busy week. stepson going away party tuesday, work peer in on wed-thurs-fri; business dinner wed, first thurs on, um thurs; helping hang the gypsy month long show on friday. it might be kinda quiet around here. have a good week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


 we did an exquisite corpse at miriam's today to make silent auction pieces for our benefit for the women's and children's alliance. basically, everyone brings a substrate & passes it around for everyone else to work on. it's a really fun exercise, great for learning and stretching.

we had miriam, who works in every media possible; pam- assemblage; me- mixed; julie- colored pencil or oil bar; luann- claims not to be an artist but is; cyndy- assemblage; zella- metal mixed media. we each brought something we had started & bravely sent it around the table to be worked on. (well, the wine helped)

after half an hour, things got passed along for the next person to work on

a few works in progress-

i made myself not bring anything except my started piece. i wanted to work with what was there- which was plenty, but not what i have in my studio. one of the fun & challenging things about this process is to get out of your comfort zone. for julie it was working fast, for cyndy it was painting rather than building, for me it was working with glitter.

someone actually said to me that once i used glitter glue i would never use anything else. not someone who knows me very well.

it was a great afternoon- fun, camaraderie, wine, food, learning. i am lucky know such a talented group of women who are so giving. i do think that next time i do this it will be without a need to have saleable pieces. more room to play.

then home to get ready for the hanging tomorrow. not nearly as dreaful as it sounds, but i do love making it sound dreadful! mostly that involved drinking wine & talking with pam & putting wire on stuff.

julie built me a beautiful frame from the video that judy sent me, and tho this is not a good photo i hope you can tell what a difference it makes to the piece-

that's it for now- hanging day tomorrow & hopefully i can finish some prints in a way i can live with. ugh.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the other stuff

here's the other stuff i've been working on- most of it more satisfying than the gel prints-

the other plaster piece, which, although still not fabulous is getting better-

i added a layer of gloss gel to even things out, then dropped some fluid micaceous blah blah (brain death is a scary thing) on this & rubbed in/washed off. the map is receding/not competing with the central image and i like it better. i think it's headed the right direction, maybe a few more layers of glaze.

and 2 more 6x6, which i think are done

it's interesting to try new things and better understand how my mind works. i am sure that with more practice i would be better able to see how prints are going to end up and therefore be better at printmaking. i don't like things that have to be very precise, tho- that just isn't me. i like some leeway- if it isn't perfect i can always photoshop or paint over it.

experimenting seems to be the best way to give myself permission to play and not to have to work to a "finished" and "saleable" piece. with permission to play comes freedom to try new things. it's been a long time coming for me that every piece of art i make doesn't have to end up ready to sell. and this was long before i was in art source and actually had to produce.

this is what my friend zella calls being a working artist. it's not about whether art pays the bills, it's about being driven to create and learn and grow. not churning out the same thing b/c it sells, but following the muse and trusting. in some cases that means becoming intimately acquainted with a medium or a subject- we all do it differently, but in the end it's about learning.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

adventures in printmaking

round two of gelatine printing tonight. the gelatine set better- no plastic wrap underneath this time-

here's the plate inked up with a pattern set up.

paper to be printed

the result

and the plate ready for the ghost print

i didn't feel especially successful with this tonight either. seemed like the ink was too watery, the gel too cold- maybe i need to get it out of the tray, but when i tried that it didn't work so well. even with that, the mechanics worked better, but i just don't see how to build things like a print maker. sort of like painting with watercolor- things just need to be more planned out and that isn't my natural inclination. i can make some good mixed media background papers, though.

for the print exchange, reverted to the monoprint from plexi- worked a little better.

margie brought a dog bed over for murph, so we drank some wine & i worked on some other things, which i'm sure you'll see later. hasta-

Monday, February 21, 2011

this n that

art geek girl was so excited to find the jumbo 32 packet size of gelatine that she could hardly contain herself! if i double the failed experiment to 8 packs this give me 4 trays- woo hoo! i should be able to get at least one of those right..... plan to mix some up tomorrow for wednesday evening's art fun.

picked up a few more colors of ink, too.....

here's where the plaster pieces are now- top one finished,

still struggling with this one.... tho i do like it better looking at it from here. it still needs some variation or contrast or something, tho.

i like these, but i would like to keep more of the character of the plaster in future trials- these have so much paint & medium on them to keep them from crumbling that it's hard to tell they started as plaster. will keep trying.

lastly- killing my fingers rubbing the paper off the back of the laser print. like the look of the transfers on glass bead gel, not so crazy about getting them cleaned up. must look for magic eraser sponge next trip to the grocery store. who knew the grocery could be almost as much fun as the hardware store?

anyway- i need to decide if i want to glaze over the map or leave it as is. leaning toward glazing. maybe some micaceous iron & alizaron blended together? hmmmm. maybe i can extend the photo with glazes.

plenty to keep me busy wednesday, anyhow. and time in between to think about it- no time for art tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

gelatin prints

i opted in to a print exchange from wingtip press even tho i'm not a printmaker. i have done some monoprints & was assured that transfers would be ok too. need to make 14 prints to send in.
i thought that gel prints might be fun, especially after i read this:
"The plate may be stored in the refrigerator and reused for up to 2 weeks (or until it falls apart or you notice green fuzz, whichever comes first)." sounds like the perfect art form for me:)
i googled & found that 1 pack of gel= 1tbsp, which helped since every recipe talked abt how much water to tbsp of gel. (2 tbsp to 1 c). the one thing not so me about this is having to plan ahead. i started yesterday.
i am quite plastic wrap inept. so i tried to line the pan with saran as directed, but it folded in on itself & rolled down. hoping that didn't matter so much b/c it would solidify levelly anyway.

in the fridge waiting for sunday.

the plastic wrap was a problem, it dried unevenly, some of the gel leaking below the wrap.

decided to play with it anyway- you can see here that the ink didn't cover evenly-

grass from the garden to make a pattern

here's what i ended up with. had the gelatin been level the grass would have left thin lines. it didn't, but these will work fine as backgrounds.

i played with some other techniques- mostly inking some plexi, laying the print down then drawing an image on the back. have to be careful not to put pressure down unless you want to pick up ink. i like the tree, the rest not so much. but i have a bit of time left.

i'm going to buy several boxes of gel, double the recipe & leave out the plastic wrap and give it another shot. i can make layers over the base. fun experiment for the day.

pam came over for part of the afternoon, and echo kept me company the rest of the day. he's such a good studio bou.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


i can see that this will be difficult to get a proper photo of. the color is somewhere between the two. i thought i was finished the other day with the first photo, but when i started painting the edges, i pulled some of the color (cadmium first, them sienna) into the piece.

in doing so, i was able to call attention to the figures by hitting the edges with color and, i also think, tie the whole thing together better. i like it.

i need to figure out how to do some floating frames w/o breaking the bank. i think for this one & the plaster pieces that's the way to go to finish them. off to the hardware store to look for molding this weekend, i guess. nowhere i have to go, nothing i have to do- looking forward to it! one more day.....


i was supposed to attend a pot luck with the other gypsies last night, but as my work day seemed unending when i finally got out from behind the desk at 3 pm to walk the dogs i decided that i didn't need to stress myself or anyone else by trying to fit that in. felt better immediately upon making that decision, even though i had that "i am the gypsy queen, i should go" thing going through my head.

i ended up working until about 6:45. husband made a nice dinner, we had a glass of wine and then, since he was doing taxes, i snuck into the studio. bliss! just me, music and art projects. breathe!

the plaster pieces are moving along. i seem to have gotten the plaster to a nice plastic-y texture by adding watered down soft gel medium & letting it soak in. i hate the color of this one. it is too dark, and when i wipe off the dark using alcohol i get yellow, which i am not fond of. spent most of the evening adding color & wiping it back off. since these are all about color & texture i want to get to something i can stand!

this one i like better. started off thinking that the glossy spot (self leveling gel) looked sort of like a heart and that i'd add some more gloss- in the form of tar gel- for contrast. then i saw the shape like a gingko leaf in the lower right & things changed.

both pieces with a coat of watered down soft gel. this serves to keep big chunks from falling off, but i still need a plan to protect the smaller edges from being knocked off. it may be as simple as a good think coat of medium to sit on top rather than soak in.

here's the 5x7 piece this morning- pretty happy with it. i think a floating frame may be the thing for these- off to the hardware store this weekend to see what i can come up with. 

i added a few touches to the pertoglyph- will post that one tonight. and yes barb, it is headed to the gallery. have a great day all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

studio time!

just pam & me tonight as nancy is off gallivanting somewhere warm and sunny.

pam came in with a box of things that she had been given and was passing along. which included lots of cool paper- old letters, pieces from books, books & pamphlets & maps. quite exciting as the paper will all take paint differently & will be a great addition to mixed media pieces.

here's the first  piece to take the plunge- in the lower left corner of this background. fun stuff!

i played with the black mica gel that came in the mail yesterday- it's the fleur in the lower left corner. looks like modeling paste with micaceous iron oxide mixed in. we'll see if there's any benefit to having this rather than doing that. the raven didn't transfer cleanly- too much texture underneath- but i can work around that. we'll see where it goes.

i also added layers & washes of color to the plaster pieces. the good news is that the soft gel washes seem to have added pliability and the plaster isn't flaky. the bad news is that i am not enamored of the colors i have right now. spent lots of time wiping with alcohol then adding color back on. more on those later.

i also think the petroglyph may be done, but couldn't get a photo w/o glare, so that will be for later.

 gypsy gallery pot luck & meeting tomorrow night. will sneak in a few minutes with another glaze on the plaster and looking forward to more studio time this weekend.