Wednesday morning, up very early and off to the airport. A quick check-in and soon we were established in the Qantas Lounge. Breakfast. From our table I had a view of the Observation Deck. Is there enough time? Sketch anyway. So here we have a quick and dirty sketch of it. I even had time to put the colour on except for the sky. Now here is a surprise. During the flight I asked the Qantas steward for a plastic or paper cup of water (so that I could wet the paper and slosh on the sky with a big brush.) He said in forty years of being a steward, nobody had ever asked him for painting water before. So I had two stewards standing in the aisle, looking over my left shoulder.
A long trip; ten and a half hours. We had lay-flat beds, but it was daytime. For heavens sake we wanted to sit up, so that we would sleep in our Bangkok Hotel that night. Without exception, all the other passengers pulled down their blinds, lay flat and went to sleep. Darkness, all day. Unfortunately we were seated in the middle section and didn’t have a window to let some light in. We passed over Borneo and also Vietnam. Didn’t see a thing.
Late afternoon, arrival in Bangkok. Huge airport, lots of walking. However the shuttle bus to the hotel was easy to find. More about the hotel later.
These are the papers I use to collage my sketchbook pages. I buy them from Artwise the Amazing Paper Shop. You can click on any of these images to get a better look!
I lay them on the sketchbook (in this case, a Stillman & Birn Delta series……nice and robust for this sort of work….pages don’t curl) and work out which pieces I will use. I always tear the papers rather than cut them.
I use Matisse Gel Medium, though other mediums would also be fine. Then I glue them against the pages of one of our local papers, the Inner West Courier, which has glossy paper so the newsprint doesn’t come off. One by one, I paint the medium onto the kozo paper, out past the edges, so any loose fibres will stick down. Then I place them on the sketchbook page and press them down.
I could go right ahead and put watercolour paint on now, but unless I am pressed for time I put waxed paper between the pages and let it dry overnight. In the morning I slosh on some watercolour paint. Sometimes I just use what is on my palette but if I think I am going to be painting sandstone I use some yellow ochre or raw sienna.
This page was used for the Sydney University archway sketch, and the one on the left in the picture of the sketchbook was for the tower and roof.
Though I haven’t been sketching much lately, I have been making cards with my Gelli prints. Many of the ones I’ve made previously have been on top of recycled etchings or other types of fine art prints. I made quite a number framed by white and cream (the eco dyed ones for example) so I decided I needed more brights. As it happens, the ones I chose to photograph this time are Gelli printed only.
The first one has been printed with a capsicum (green pepper) and some sewing cotton. It has some glorious colours in there, and of course I don’t have a clue what colours I used. Perhaps some Matisse Primary Red which is quite a blue-red.
The second one is with a commercially available stencil and another layer with some sewing cotton. There is a layer of yellow, some red, then some blue. I’ve noticed that I often use the three primary colours for Gelli printing. This one has some yellow, a warmer red, and some blue. I often use Matisse Southern Ocean Blue. I love that colour.
The third card uses the same colours, but could it be more different? It’s a combination of fruit and vegetable bags from the greengrocer.
Number four with the purple border is just gorgeous ‘in the flesh’. There’s some orange there, some magenta, and a colour that could be Australian Yellow Green. (All these colours are Matisse Flow, used about 50/50 with Matisse Open Medium.) This one is capsicum again, with I think lemons in a pale colour underneath. There are some filmy capsicums in iridescent on top.
The final one is a yellow first layer with sewing cotton, then lemons with green, followed by a stamp with a capsicum in Southern Ocean Blue.
They all have colour coordinated envelopes in brights that contrast with the main colour of the card.
This is a little peg doll Christmas tree ornament that I made a long time ago. A friend and I made a lot of them to put in with Christmas presents. I had a stash of small pieces of the most luxurious fabrics given to me by a friend who made theatrical costumes for a living. I still have four or five of them and I wish I hadn’t chosen this one to draw. It was the gold netting over-skirt that gave me the trouble – and the gold wings. The rest is watercolour but I used gold acrylic, and some white highlight, because gold is quite transparent and it wasn’t showing up.
EdiM is going through a stressful patch because there is just so much on. We’ve had the opening of our exhibition, and tomorrow I have to mind the exhibition. Today I hoped to stay home, catch up on EDiM and prepare for my workshop at Balmain Library next week. Then my mobile phone died so I’ll have to go into the city to take it for repairs.
This weekend is the Writers Festival, so that will take up all of Saturday. Art Along the Boardwalk and the Pyrmont Art Prize are both on the same day this weekend. I normally take part in both of these, or at very least attend. The Sydney Sketch Club is going to the Powerhouse Museum. I’d planned to go to that till I found out the date. On top of that one of my cats got very sick, – many trips to the vet and about $1k so far. A friend turned up from out of town…and then the phone. Still hoping to catch up a little today.
This week I tried printing on actual gelatine rather than my Gelli plate. Someone else made the gelatine plate, I should point out. It is something I’ve been meaning to do for years and never got around to. You can see some photos of our day here
If you want to make a gelatine plate, you can find instructions on Linda Germain’s blog. When fresh, a well made gelatine plate feels pretty much the same as a Gelli plate, though it may not have nice smooth edges. It seemed to need a bit more Open Medium in the paint than the Gelli plate.
Some unexpected effects happened such as the bubbles on this one which was done with a purchased stencil. I think it is quite beautiful and with experience on the gelatine you could get it to work for you for some amazing prints.
I printed on the gelatine on Tuesday and Wednesday and it was still acting similar to the Gelli plate. On Saturday I tried again. It is still usable, but has shrunk by about one-sixth. That meant I couldn’t add layers to prints I’d done earlier in the week. It was also curling up at the corners and had areas around the edge where the paint wouldn’t roll on. I could still print with it, but the paint was drying fast. I could print and also do a ghost print, but then the plate needed wiping down (not so with the Gelli plate, – you can just roll on more colour). Perhaps more Open Medium would have worked.
So my conclusions are that I’ll stick to my Gelli plate, because it is just so convenient and easy. Price? It costs about $3.50 to make a gelatine plate. For us in Australia, postage is the killer, with postage from the USA drastically increasing the prices of the Gelli plates. For me, I still think it is waaaaay worth it. I never got round to making a gelatine plate, whereas now I get out the Gelli plate and I’m ready to roll. So the difference is that you actually do it – not just think about doing it.
These little tags were made part with gelatine and part with Gelli. They are a combination of ghost prints from mesh (onion bag etc) and a lemon. I found that when I’m using a lemon to print, as I use it to remove paint from the Gelli plate, I can stamp it onto another piece of paper (or tag). The first set are my ‘tweed’ set, the second ‘citrus’.
On Easter Saturday I decided to have a hunt around for more mark making tools for my Gelli plate. In the bottom of the linen cupboard I had a bag of scraps of elaborate fabrics that had been used for making theatrical costumes. There were many types of lace and netting. I have got myself a little stash especially for Gelli, and I started to make prints.This first one was made using scraps of gold and silver metallic net. It immediately suggested to me the work of Bridget Riley. You can probably see why if you look at these images.
I went on to make some more with different types of net (including finally the good old onion bag). You might have to enlarge the last print to see the fine mesh of the netting on that one, but it reminds me an eclipse (or several). With that one I also invented a ‘new technique’. I’d put a little too much paint on my plate and I got the dreaded candlewicking efffect. Unwilling to let that spoil what otherwise might have been a good print, I wiped the candlewicked edges of the shapes with a Chux cloth. Much to my surprise I didn’t lose the shapes – it just softened the edges.
Autumn seems to be there now (some days). Today there’s a chilly wind. I’m finding myself singing ‘Gelli gelli is the evening time’. Do you know what the song is?