I made these solar plates some time ago, but I didn’t initially have a place to print them. Unfortunately the venue where I used to do my print-making disappeared, and I haven’t found another one. I printed these on a friend’s press, but she doesn’t have the space for viscosity printing as you need a lot of room to lay out all the inks. I am interested in colour in print-making, and if I can’t use a lot of colour, I quickly lose interest. I will try them again with a colour roll.
This plate was made using a sketch I did in Sicily. This cafe always had a tray of oranges outside, so it was only yesterday I had the time to colour the oranges (with watercolour) on the print.
The second print was more an experiment. I did the original sketch (the second one in this post) with a twig. Some other Urban Sketchers use a twig, and mostly they sharpen them to a point. I have been doing this since I was at art school, and mine is not sharpened. It is just the end of the twig, how it comes off the tree.
I photocopied the sketch and altered it to a size that would fit my A5 plate. Then I drew into it to extend it a little. After that I traced it onto drafting film using black acrylic ink and a twig. The twig lays down a lot of ink, and unlike the original surface, the drafting film doesn’t absorb the ink. It just lays on top. When I expose the solar plate to the sun, the inky side of the drafting film is next to the plate. In the time under the hot sun, the ink melted and stuck to the plate. I wasn’t totally surprised. In the processing, I used some muslin to try to correct the areas, so that they would hold the ink.
Sometimes it can take a couple of prints from a fresh solar plate until it gets into all the crevices. This one certainly improved from the first one. But it needs colour! I might have a play with watercolour until I get a chance to print it again. It is the greengrocer’s shop in Castiglion Fiorentino.
Currently I am working on sketchbooks and notebooks for my trip to Sicily and Italy. I always like to take a notebook with me. It helps when I don’t remember what I did the day before yesterday, and I have still to write in my sketchbook. It holds the addresses and phone numbers of hotels, and the times of trains.
I found this piece of Gelli print for the cover. You can see a video of my demonstration of Gelli printing here, and maybe I even made this print while I was demonstrating that day. More also on the Gelli Arts blog. It is full of great ideas.
This notebook is A6 size. It has six signatures sewn into a concertina, then it has bands glued under the endpapers to hold it together. The Gelli cover is two layers, a lemon, and a mesh of onion bag. Colours are Matisse Emerald and Australian Red Violet. Both with Open Medium. The endpapers are Credit Card Papers. There’s another demo video of that (and paste papers).
Now I can start writing in it. I’m looking forward to filling it up on my travels.
Oh, Sunday was the last day for this year of my opportunity for printmaking. I enjoyed it sooooo much. I only go three days a year, and I missed one because of travelling. I needed to make some new plates, but what with the rain…it wasn’t easy.
One drawing had been transferred to drafting film for a week or so, but the other (the Bali one) was only finished on Friday. Saturday was, to put it mildly, changeable. I waited till after ten oçlock for enough strength in the sun to expose the plates, but then the clouds came over. I did the one of the Balinese carving from the gate at Kalibukbuk first. While I was exposing the plate to the sun, raindrops starting falling on the glass, and I would quickly wipe them off with my apron. (I wear an apron so that I can put my timer in the pocket).
After some rain, finally it stopped and I exposed the Barberini door drawing anyway, though there wasn’t much sun. As you see, it is fine. While you are exposing the plate, you just have to make sure you are not holding it anywhere where shadows might fall. Once the plate has been put through various processes inside the house, it is time to post-expose it in the sun. Hmmm, yes, the sun came out but the whole courtyard had trees dripping on it. Water ruins solar plates. so I had to wait till the late afternoon when the sun comes to the front of the house, put the plates outside and sit just inside the front door, guarding them.
Luckily, it was all worth it, both plates were fine. I am really pleased with both of them. Of course I can’t take credit for the beautiful Balinese carving, but my interest was in rendering the way the light fell on it.
Last week I went printmaking again after a very long break. I have missed it. I only had this one totally new solar plate, made from my sketch of the western door at Palazzo Borghese. I hope to do a small series of the big doors of the palazzi of Rome. This one is from a sketch I did while I was in Rome and I plan to make another solar plate from my Palazzo Barberini sketch for when I go printmaking at the end of November. And I have lots of photos of doors from various places in Italy.
You have probably seen a print of this gymea lily before. I sketched it in the Botanic Gardens some time ago. But you will have only seen it in this colour before, and I far prefer this version. It is amazing how different they look in different colours.
The other one is from a sketch of the Trocadero building in Newtown. It was printed quite some time ago, but only in one colour which I watercoloured. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to print it in glorious technicolour.
If you look on the glossary page, you can see a little bit about how I make my sketches into solar plates for printing.
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.
I’ve been slow to post this week but now I have a few things to show you. I’ve been a printmaker for about 10 years now, as well as all the other things that I do. I’ve accumulated a lot of prints over that time. About six months ago I had a big sort-out. I put into a plastic bag all the proofs and other prints that just didn’t quite make it. Prints that I hadn’t liked the colours, or that had got some sort of mark on them. I thought “What CAN I do with these prints?”.
I found a use for them. I Gelli printed layers over the top. I didn’t cut around the print, but just divided the paper into a size that was manageable on the Gelli plate, so in many cases there will be an embossing mark through the finished print. Then I set to making greetings cards from them. I also plan to make matching gift tags. I already had some greetings cards, so I got out the circle cutter and inserted small prints inside the card. It needed more, so I glued another piece of the same print onto the front. A loose insert of plain paper inside and I’m finished. This first one is from a proof of this print of a machine at the Heritage Shipyard.
The red card is done over an animal print lino of a series I did at COFA in a rush and liked none of. Far prefer it this way. The blue one was a proof of a solar print from a tyre and other marine stuff at the Heritage Shipyard. The original photocopy that the plate was made from was not good and it is long thrown away.
I had some larger pieces I liked so I had a hunt on the website of Artwise the Amazing Paper Shop. I found some cards in white and cream that are designed for photographs, and they look great with the prints in them, teamed with really bright envelopes that tone with the prints.
I really like this one made from a proof of my pomegranates print. This one illustrates how the embossing mark created by the edge of the plate is 2/3 way across the print, yet it works fine.
The second one in this format is from a proof also. Again, the photocopy the solar plate was made from was poor. This was in the early days when we were still finding our way around solar plate etching. The layering on top of the original print has come up with some beautiful subtle colours. I’ve made a LOT of these cards & still going, but this is just a small selection for you to look at.
Only a very few posts to go now until the giveaway. Maybe there might be something else to give away as you’ve all been so patient.
showing you how. I’ve never made one myself as I have the Gelli plate.
Well, this is something different from me. You get to look at me and listen. This video was made a couple of months ago and has now been edited. I made it for Matisse Derivan using their Flow acrylics and Open Medium. Eliza made the gelatine plates for me. It seems easy enough though, and Eliza made a video
We had fun making this video and it was easy for me. Not long before Annie and I had done Gelli plate printing at the Easter Show. We had workshopped all day with children of all ages, so having done that in the not too distant past, it just rolled off the tongue. That said, I dislike looking at myself on screen and dislike listening to myself even more.
Nevertheless, gelatine plate printing is something I’d meant to so for years. When I read about the Gelli plates, I bought one immediately, as otherwise I might never have got round to it. If you want to give this technique a try, look at the Gelli Arts Blog which I think is the best arts supplier blog in the business. They have so many wonderful ideas and techniques there. Another excellent resource is Linda Germain’s blog.
As for the countdown to the giveaway…. we are getting close to single figures. To be honest I’ve lost count, but WordPress reminds me every time I post.