Printing Backgrounds with Acrylic Ink

I have finished working at the school and am now working with the hospital team again. No rest for the wicked.  I thought I might have a few days off for half-term, but no.  I did have a lean few months before Christmas, so the life of a temp is to work when you can and is why I can take a few weeks off in the summer in the off-season.  I managed to find time over the weekend to make a few pretty things, even though I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Here is something I may actually put in an art journal.

I got out my 6×6 inch gel plate and the stamp platform.  I received a new stencil in the post, hearts.  This isn’t usually my thing, but it was cheap and I thought I might find a use for it.  I have a lot of Acrylic Artist’s Ink and thought I would try it on the gel plate to see what would happen.  I started with yellow.  The ink beads up on the plate and you get a lot of white spots.  I tried the cyan and the same thing happened.  However, because the ink is translucent, there was optical blending on the print and I still managed to get white spots.  See above left.  The effect is like putting salt on damp watercolor.  Registering the print with the stamp platform is so easy now and I don’t have to worry about the pulls not lining up.  As the ink is translucent an wet, there is virtually no paint left on the plate to worry about and wipe off.  I added process magenta onto the plate and placed the heart stencil on and pulled the print on the left.  The stencil is smaller than the gel plate which gave me a nice border.  I pulled the stencil off the plate and managed to pull a ghost print on the right.  The ink does funny things on the gel plate, but I like it.

I pulled some more prints onto drawing paper using yellow, blue, and a green.  I really like this watery effect and thought I would use these as backgrounds to collagraphs.  I have something fishy in mind.  I also found some cartridge paper I had pre-cut and made some more as I was in a zone and wanted a better quality of paper for the collagraphs.

It is amazing how each one came out differently.  I decided I had enough of using green, blue and yellow and wanted to use the primary colors to see how that would work.

The prints turned out differently depending on what color I put down first.  As these colors are translucent, they should optically blend on the paper.  If you were to mix these colors together, you would get brown.  However, that didn’t happen here and I got some lovely clean mixes.

I had a couple of prints that didn’t turn out so great.  One was a pick up print.  I got my trusty seagull stencil and placed it on my print and used indigo blue on the gel plate.  I may still get out some colored pencils or paint to tidy them up a bit, but I learned a while ago that if a print doesn’t come out well or if it is too busy, then only keep part of it with a stencil.  I like these better now.

Not only do I have some nice backgrounds to print on, I also have a library of backgrounds that I can print off in the future for any collage work I may want to do.  Win-win.  Thanks for stopping by!





‘Unsuccessful’ Teapots Monotypes

When I make prints on the gel plate, I don’t always know what I am going to do.  One day I may do circles and ribbon, another some birds, and one day I did teapots.  The teapot came from a photo I took of my Yellow Teapot painting.

IMG_7827I cut out the teapot and used contact paper to water/paint-proof the stencil.  Then I made many prints.  What I considered to be ‘unsuccessful’ went into a pile while I considered what to do with them.

On Boxing Day I ordered the Tonic Stamping platform so that I could easily register my prints.  One of the hardest things to do when printing off of a raised surface is to get it to register properly.  This stamping platform makes it a lot easier as you can line everything up before you add paint to the gel press.  I used a limited palette of acrylic paint with some gold metallic and embellished some with colored pencils.  When printing on the teapot, I had to make a mask for the background.  It was in some ways a complicated procedure as when I used a stencil on the teapot, I put the stencil on first and then the mask.  Sometimes it worked well.  Doing the background was a lot easier as I only had to place the teapot template onto the print to mask it off.


Although not perfect, they look much better and I am quite happy with them.  Now when I look at what I considered to be my ‘successful’ prints, I am no longer sure they are.  I am thinking that I may need to  re-visit them and do some more work.  At least I have something to keep me busy for a while!

Until next time, Happy Creating!

‘Unsuccessful’ Seagulls on Groins

I started a new contract this week at a Jr. School.  Gosh, its exhausting!  And that is just the parents!  After not having any work for a few weeks it has been tough getting back into the swing of things and then not having much time to do anything creative until the weekend.

In any event, I finished off my ‘unsuccessful’ prints and made them into something more successful.  I am not sure what I am going to do with them.  Some might end up in my journal that I have yet to start.  A couple I may frame, the rest – we will see.  Anything can make a print unsuccessful.  The stencil could be crooked or there are lines on your print you don’t want there, or you didn’t get enough paint on your print…. As I am still getting to grips with this printing lark, it is more of a journey for me rather than trying to create something that I might be able to sell.  I have been learning about what happens when you leave dried paint on the gel plate.  You can get some amazing textures and a grungy distressed look.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was trying out a new toy to see if I could do something interesting with some prints I wasn’t happy with.  With most of them, I was able to get the gel press to line up perfectly.  Some didn’t, but that is ok as I can still use the print in some way.  The nice thing about working with the gel press is that the acrylic paint dries quickly and this makes it possible to add many layers is a short amount of time.  When making collagraphs or other prints where printing ink is used, it can take almost a week for the ink to dry before you can do something else with your print.

Here is what I ended up with:

I worked with a limited palette as I didn’t want to get muddy colors and I also wanted them to compliment the original colors of the prints.  The first two from the top are the last two prints I made on mixed media paper, 140 lbs and are suitable for framing.  I used some bronze metallic paint on a few prints, but it doesn’t always scan well.  Some of them are also embellished with colored pencils.  There is a fair amount of texture on these little prints now.

So, why seagulls on groins?  Because I see them all of the time when I walk along the seafront!