Playing With New Toys

Happy New Year everyone!  As is usual for me, I tried something new on New Year’s Day!  On Boxing Day while scouring the sales (I didn’t find anything on sale!)  I ordered  a Tonic Studios Stamp Platform by Tim Holtz from Amazon (it was the cheapest) and it arrived a few days ago.  There was a video from Art by Marlene on Facebook where she used the platform with the 6×6 inch gel plate.  I thought that would be a great thing with regard to registering multiple passes on your print as the plate and paper will stay in the same place.  The problem with registering correctly with the gel plate has a lot to do with the fact that the plate is about 1/4 inch thick.  To match the paper up correctly can be a challenge and I was hoping that this stamp holder would help with that.

This is what the stamp platform looks like.

IMG_0666The gel plate stays in place on its own and paper is placed on the right and is held in place with two strong magnets.

I’m not really ready to get stuck into a big project at the moment especially as the weather has been bad and so has the light, which is always a problem for me this time of year as I don’t see too well in dim light and it makes me tired.  I went through a load of what I considered ‘unsuccessful’ prints and decided to have a play with them.  I thought I might actually make an attempt at putting them in a journal.


Here is my set up.  It is a little bit messy and I do tend to spread myself around a bit, but it is organised.


This is part 1 of my experiment.  I decided to focus on the backgrounds.  I had issues with the paper sticking to the gel plate (It does that), so the magnets really didn’t help much, but it also didn’t hurt the printing process

.  I found my seagull and teapot templates and placed them on top of the prints and then rolled out paint onto the gel plate, placed a stencil over or stamped with bubble wrap before placing the gel plate onto the paper.  I also aligned the plate up prior to stamping which was easy to do as the platform is clear.  Most of the time it aligned perfectly, except for one time I forgot to do it.


In part 2 of this project, I will need to cut another template out of card and then I will be able to cover the background so I can print more on the teapot and seagull.  I may also just get a stencil and hand stencil those parts.  I have options.  Who knows, what were initially ‘unsuccessful’ prints may turn out to be successful after all.


Crows and a Happy New Year!

Things were fairly quiet at home during the run up to Christmas.  Once I cleared my dining room of all my painting and printing materials, I decided to enjoy the beauty of the room all tidy and ready for entertaining.  However, once Boxing Day came and went, I needed to do something creative, other than cooking.  I wasn’t in the mood for making more collagraphs as I wanted some instant gratification.  So I pulled out my gel-plate and got out some stencils.  I had some monotypes I made before Christmas, of leaves.  I hand printed them with etching ink on glass.  Some came out really well, and some were meh.  I thought I might be able to do something with them.

mono246Crow Gelatine Monotype on Acid Free Mixed Media Paper 140lbs – 8×11.5 inches and embellished with Prismacolor pencils and artist’s acrylic paint.  You can see the leaf motifs at the top.

I cut out some crow stencils from cardboard and saved the positive and negative.  There was no real plan as to what I was going to do and that is what I love about making gel prints.  I put a lot of thought and hard work into making collagraphs and I wanted to free up my mind and time by making something rather quickly.  It didn’t take long to print off a couple of photographs of crows and then cut out a stencil.

Here are the rest and the last bits of art for 2017.

These were made on the 8×10 inch gel plate with Winsor & Newton Artist’s Acrylic Paint and printed on W&N Galeria Acrylic Paper, 140lb, 7×10 inches.  They were then embellished with more acrylic paint and Prismacolor pencils.  I ordered the pencils from Ebay on Boxing Day and they arrived in the post yesterday!  I have heard so many good things about these colored pencils and they don’t disappoint!  I ordered the 72 color box which is most likely more than I need, but compared to ordering a smaller amount, they were good value considering they are imported from the USA.

About the paper:  The Acrylic Pad is textured to look like canvas.  I have a few pads left from when I was trying out paper when I first started painting.  I don’t consider this paper something I would use to make an acrylic painting, however, it seems to be great for gel printing as the textured paper makes the print more interesting.  Also, it leaves behind interesting texture on the gel plate.  Once dry, I can add a thin layer of paint over this on the gel plate and get a nice pick up print with some of the texture underneath without having to wipe it off.  One side of the paper has a very pronounced texture and the back side is less so.  I tried both sides and like how you get a smoother print by using the back of the paper.

While playing around embellishing my prints, a friend stopped by for a cuppa and asked me what the crows meant.  I hate it when people ask me what my art means.  Most of the time, it means nothing.  I have no hidden meanings.  Usually I am asked this when the person can’t work out what the thing is as surely it must mean something.  If it isn’t representational, such as a still life or a portrait, then it must have some meaning other than what one sees.  Well, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t and is why I really find Artist Statements a load of bollocks.

My art is influenced by nature, mostly.  There is a lot of nature where I live.  As for birds, the most common that I see are seagulls and crows.  Both are distinguishable from one another, even in silhouette.  Both are intelligent birds and quite beautiful in their own way.  Crows are black and naturally make a great silhouette.  I can watch crows and seagulls for hours on end.  They are more like people than you would think.  They are opportunists.  I just thought I would print some crows.

I just googled ‘what do crows mean in art’.  “In Celtic legends, crows represent the Celtic Goddess of Beauty and Love, Branwen.”  There are other meanings as well, but I like this one best.  Please don’t ask me what the Pyramids mean.  I just saw some triangles and went with it!  And for some reason I like to have a moon shape with my crows.  I just do!  If you feel inclined to tell me what you think these prints mean, then I would be happy to hear your opinion.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a very Happy and Creative 2018!  See you next year!

The Magic Tree

COL235-001The Magic Tree is the last of the collagraphs I have printed for the year.  The plate was made with real lichen and tree bark.  The plate was quite fragile and is why I have only made 3 prints in the series plus one Test Print.  This edition is now available for sale in my Etsy shop here.


The image is 5×5 inches on A4 size, Acid Free, Mixed Media paper (bright white).  A couple of options for framing are shown above.

Thank you for visiting and reading about my art journey this year.  I am looking forward to seeing what I end up doing next year!  Until then, happy creating!