Many thanks to everyone who came to visit us at Newton Dee during North East Open Studios in September. It was lovely to meet all who visited and I really enjoyed the company of my fellow artists. One of these artists was Lucy Brydon, who was showing visitors the delights of gelli printing. Last year I had a go at this and recently I acquired some gelli printing equipment (basically just a small gelli plate and a roller for rolling out paint or ink onto it. I already had acrylic paint in the studio). Over recent days I've been having a go at printing some designs for this year's Christmas cards. It has been an interesting experience; I am learning as I go along. I am finding it harder than I expected to figure out what order to do the different steps in. Doing things in reverse does not seem to come naturally to me. It's fun, though, laying down layers of different colours, using stencils and found objects (leaves, ferns, fabric, wool, paper doilies) to make patterns. the whole process will be easier once I have another roller or two for inking up the gelli plate! (they have been ordered, hope they come soon!). I am realising it would almost certainly be better and easier to using printing inks for this method, as the acrylic paint I am using dries very quickly. This can also be seen as an advantage, not having to wait for prints to dry before adding another layer. Using up materials I already have, however, is what needs to be done for now, so I will persevere with the acrylic paint.
The next step is to take photographs of the prints, maybe tweak the colours a little, or crop the images, and decide which ones to use for my cards this year! Onwards and upwards.
I have been collecting autumn leaves. Quite a few different kinds. Lime, sycamore, chestnut, beech, oak and gean (wild cherry). The colours at the moment are beautiful - gold, bronze, red, yellow, orange and mixtures of all these together, often all in one leaf. I was supposed to be at a printing workshop last weekend - it was postponed, but I still wanted to experiment with some printing ideas of my own. So I tried some different ways of printing, using the leaves I had collected. Watercolour paint proved to be a bit thin (at least the pan type, which I normally use for painting). Instead I tried gouache, which I have used very little for painting. The consistency proved to be much better for making impressions. I experimented with paper textures - smooth paper worked better than rough. The upper side of the leaves seemed to work better than the underside. Fresh leaves worked better than dried ones. It is all subjective, I suppose. It depends what kind of end result you are aiming for. It was fascinating to see the range of effects that could be achieved using such a simple method. Multiple layers of colours gave particularly interesting results. To be continued.