This Year I’m Creating Prints, and I’m Part of a Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my  last blog post I mentioned I wanted to spend most of this year exploring printmaking. I haven’t worked with prints on an ongoing basis for a number of years.

I used to create monoprints on an etching press, but once I left school and a former art studio, I had no access to a press to create the prints. About four years ago I discovered the Gelli Arts® Plates, a gelatin-like substrate used for monoprinting. Add paint to the plate, create a little mark-making, and the image transfers to paper beautifully. I’d been playing with this printmaking technique for a few years, in between creating paintings. But for this year, I’ve decided to work mostly using the monoprinting technique.

To strengthen my commitment, a few weeks ago I was asked to be part of the Gelli Arts® design team, a chance to work, creative and publish my monoprinting ideas. The photo above shows all the design team members for 2018.  We’ll all be publishing concepts, projects over on the Gelli Arts® blog this year and will pop up in the company’s facebook and Instagram feeds as well. And over on the right side of this blog, there’s a “buy” button for the gel plate. If you find you have an urge to create monoprints inspired by your own ideas or any future posts on this blog, you can use this “buy” button and save 10 per cent on your purchase. Just to be clear, this is an affiliate link and I will receive some payment for any purchases made using this “buy” button. But it’s an easy way to get started monoprinting.

I’ve been working a bit on Yupo paper recently and the print below is one of those I just finished. The first image shows a lot of random layers of colour printed using the plate and the second image shows how I added and removed colour to create  a poppy garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Monotype How To

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late last year I felt I needed a change to my daily routine. I spend as many days in the studio each week as I can, painting. But I wanted to create a different approach to my art his year.

I’ve been creating monotypes/monoprints for several years now as a hobby, I guess. Whenever I’m not painting and I feel I need a break, I’ll produce a print or two.

But for this year, at least for the first half of the year, the emphasis will be on printmaking, particularly monoprinting. I want to see how far I can take it. I want to create mixed media art with prints, paint and pencils….just to see what happens.

The image above is a recent small print. It’s 6×6″. I did this print specifically for the video below simply to show process. It’s a quick, three-minute video Have a look. Hope you enjoy.

New Classes:

There are a couple of new spring studio classed listed under “Workshop/classes” page above.

New Prints:

I’ve also added some new prints to the “portfolio: prints” page above.

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30 days/30 paintings

Seriously, I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I signed up for Leslie Saeta’s 30 paintings in 30 days. I’ll get into the study early every morning during September and paint a small image to upload. And I’ll upload a week’s worth of images only once a week.

I’ve been working on a large series of landscapes for an upcoming solo exhibition and thought I’d use this daily challenge to create some smaller, micro landscapes and still lifes where only one object appears in the painting.

The emphasis will be on values, color contrast and texture. You can check out the paintings on the 30/30 page at the top of the website.

 

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Paint and Charcoal

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Played in the studio yesterday to create this acrylic and charcoal landscape painting. I used charcoal, matte medium, white and black paint.

Starting with a 12 x 12 canvas, I applied some gel medium with a palette knife to create texture. After the medium dried, I painted the canvas white. I used the matte medium to create tooth on the surface to hold the charcoal and I started working the charcoal into the surface while the matte medium was wet which caused the charcoal to soften and smear. Once the medium was dry, I applied more charcoal and then, with a small bristle brush loaded with matte medium I worked the charcoal to create the image. To clean the brush, I simply wiped it on the mid and foreground of the painting to create the soft grays you see in the photo.  The process required several layers of medium and charcoal and once I was satisfied, I used a small bristle brush to add some gray snow to the mid ground  using the black and white acrylic then used a shop towel to wipe some pure white over the foreground.

The painting is ready for any additional coats of paint or for a final varnishing without fear of smearing the charcoal and losing the tree pattern.

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Lovin’ The Paste

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I love Golden’s light molding paste. I wipe it on, spread it on with a palette knife or used credit card, brush it on…no matter, the goal is texture. And I want a fine, subtle texture that allows layers of chunky color to show through on the finished artwork.

For this painting, called “Walk With Me” (18” x 18”), I started by spreading the molding paste in the lower half of the canvas. The image was inspired by the farm across the road so I knew I only wanted texture in the lower half. I let the paste dry overnight then started adding color mixed with matte medium over the entire canvas.

This time, I used a very limited palette of Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Light, Cerulean Blue, Ivory Black and Titanium White.  I mixed a pale red/orange and covered the sky; I mixed a darker red/orange and scrubbed the color into the molding paste on the bottom half of the painting. That was it for the first day. I applied some gloss gel medium to the sky area to protect the orange and to create a textured surface for the next color. And I let this dry overnight.

Next day, I painted the sky using a shop towel and mixtures of white and blue with a little black. Then I wiped back the color to let mostly red/orange show through. Using the palette knife and a shop towel, I spread green and orange over the bottom half. The greens were mixes of black and yellow and white with a little blue here and there and the orange was yellow and red and black and sometimes white. By applying the green color over the molding paste with a palette knife, the green hit the high points of the molding paste letting some of the red/orange basecoat show through. And where I didn’t want too much texture, I simply wipe the paint with a shop towel.

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Greens and Greens and Blues

shadows

“Shadows”; acrylic; 20 x 20″

Once again my backyard acted as model. But it wasn’t the landscape that captured my attention. Instead, it was the shadow in the lower right; a shadow cast by my studio. The shadow seemed to be leading the viewer in a specific direction and that direction was back into the woods, into the forest with its strong mix of shadows punctuated by brights spots of light.

Rather than being faithful to nature, I used my own color scheme – an analogous scheme which, to me, seems to create a quiet, peaceful mood. And I moved a couple of trees around to suit the composition!

Color palette for this painting was Nickel Azo Yellow, Raw Sienna, Napthol Red Medium; Transparent Red Oxide, Phthalo Blue (green shade), and Titanium White.  And the paint was applied with a brush, painting knife, credit card and shop towel. The challenge was to make a simple color scheme work by using a range of values and temperature shifts with the warmer colors in the background to draw attention to that area. The shadows seem to be on the outside of the forest; the woods appear more inviting.

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It’s All About the Scale

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Some days you can be bang on; other days you miss the mark completely.

This is a 20″ x 16″ oil.

Below is how I started. I painted a background then started applying poppy shapes with no indication of scale or even composition.

I wasn’t happy. So I stopped.

I switched to the canvas size above and focused on painting the poppy sizes in relation, in scale, to the size of the canvas and concentrated on a cruciform composition.

I’m happy now.blognewpic1

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Painting in the Driveway

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My studio is small. Chemical smells can fill the air quickly. I can ventilate for acrylic fumes, but scents from oils and their related thinners take control of my studio environment.

So when I paint with oils, I paint outdoors, or almost outdoors. On pleasant days, you can find me with my pochade box in the middle of the driveway. On less pleasant days, I’ll be in the garage but with both garage doors wide open so it feels like I’m outdoors.  And I sometimes take my pochade box on the road, but I’ve discovered I’m much more comfortable painting near home.

My studio is filled with shelves and drawers of painting supplies. And for years, I believed I would feel insecure not being around all those supplies as I painted. But spending the warm months painting in oils outside my studio has forced me to think and paint compactly. Minimal supplies can be creatively freeing!

The painting above is a small 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas that I completed while standing in the driveway. I took some liberties with my neighbor’s acreage – I left out the barn and I left out the cows but I added some water in the foreground that wasn’t there that day, but often is.  Completed with a few paints, three brushes, a palette knife and shop towels.

My oil supplies are few. All contained in a portable box attached to a camera tripod. I reduced to an eight-color palette which tends to remain the same but sometimes I’ll switch colors. I use only four or five brushes (with sawed off handles so they fit into the pochade box) and a small container to hold turps or thinner. A roll of shop towels is by my side and I always wear nitrile gloves to keep paint (and thus, paint thinner for clean-up) from my skin.

Click here to see a one minute video of my outdoor setup. And yes, it was shot in my driveway.

 

 

 

 

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