Turning Ugly into Pretty

Sometimes it just happens. Actually, often it happens, that I pull the first layer of a print and either need to discard it or rethink it.

I’m currently working on a series of 6×6” monoprints, creating a monochromatic textured background with a dark colour then adding layers of transparent color to the print, by hand, after the first layer dries.

I work with landscapes so that first print pull needs to have some semblance of a landscape before I start adding transparent colours.

In this blog post, I’ll show you how I salvaged a print that couldn’t be considered anywhere close to a landscape.

Building the Print

Here’s an explanation of what you’ll see in the video below.

I start by covering the entire gel plate with a thin layer of Burnt Umber plus Transparent Red Iron Oxide.

Then I take a dry shop towel and start removing paint in areas to create an imaginary landscape. I’ve also used an old bristle brush and a Catalyst scrapper to create texture.

I pulled the print and ended up with what I thought was a pretty ugly image with no appeal as a complete landscape. However, I could see potential for a group of trees in the middle of the print.

So, since I hadn’t moved my gel plate and it was still in alignment to allow for more layers of colour, I decided to continue adding to the image, just to see what would happen.

I brushed Ultramarine Light Blue into the sky creating the tree foliage with some negative painting then added Sap Green plus Ultramarine Light Blue plus Titanium White to the grass area. I textured the foliage with a shop towel then pulled the print.

To brighten the foliage I added more Green Gold then, in the next pull darkened the bottom of the tree with some Burnt Umber.

I highlighted the foliage with some Green Gold and Titanium White then taped off the image itself and slightly darkened the area under the trees once more.

Then, as I almost always do on one of my prints, I filled in the corners to create a square print and called it finished.

Paints used – Golden Open Acrylics

Substrate – GelliArts® gel plate

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