Behind my studio there’s a forest. And I use that forest as inspiration for so many of my prints and paintings.

This five colour, multi-layer print started as a photograph I took one morning as the sun raked across the trees. I wanted to show the complexity of the vertical lines each tree created but I also wanted to add a path, inviting you to walk through the forest to experience nature at its calmest.

For this print, I used five colours from the DecoArt Americana Premium Acrylics line along with a 6×6” GelliArts® gel plate. I always start with the largest shapes and work towards the smallest. So, in this print, the sky was pulled first followed by increasingly smaller shapes until I was left with only graphite and a gel pen to complete the image.

Come follow along as I show you all the steps and techniques I used to create this image.

Here’s the final image. Now, lets go step by step.

This was my inspiration. It’s a photo from behind my studio taken in early spring. I wanted to create a design that had some visual warmth and one that invited the viewer to take a relaxing stroll in any season.

This is my homemade registration board and my 6×6” GelliArts® gel plate. The board keeps the gel plate in registration throughout the many layers of added colour. Here’s a link to my youtube video on how I made the board: 3

Cut your paper large enough to extend from the metal brackets on the left side of the registration board to a couple of inches beyond the gel plate on the right side. Do the same for the length of the paper.

Mix a light blue from Translucent White and Cobalt Teal Hue. Using a dry bristle brush, apply a thin layer of colour to the entire gel plate. The more “bristle-y” the brush is, the more texture you’ll get in your sky. Pull the print.

Use the same dirty brush and mix a little Dioxazine Purple with the Cobalt teal and randomly brush the colour across the gel plate.  Pull the print. Add a little more purple to the mix and brush the colour onto the bottom area of  the first purple/teal application. Pull the print. This picture shows both colour applications.

To help you with your paint positioning on the gel plate, there should be a subtle ghost image left behind on the plate after each print pull. Don’t clean the plate between colour applications.

Mix a little Primary Yellow with Translucent White to create a soft yellow. Apply this colour to the path and add a little in the sky. Pull the print.

Use straight Dioxazine Purple brushed onto the bottom of the blue land shapes to help define both the path and the land. Pull the print.

Brush a little of the sky colour onto the path. Pull the print.

Using the edge of a palette knife, pull the tree trunks. See the video for process.  Pull the print.

Repeat, adding trees to fill the landscape. Make sure your trees have a variation in thickness. Pull the print after every few trees.

After the print dries, use an HB graphite pencil to randomly fill the spaces between the trees with vertical and diagonal lines representing tiny trunks and branches.

Use a white ink gel pen to add squiggle white lines to the right edges of each of the trees. And you’re done!


Here’s what you need: DecoArt Americana Acrylics in Dioxazine Purple; Cobalt Teal Hue; Translucent White; Primary Yellow and Burnt Umber…you’ll also need a GelliArts® 6×6″ gel plate, a variety of bristle brushes, a palette knife, graphite pencil, white gel pen, painter’s tape, a registration system (see my video mentioned above) and printmaking paper – I use Stonehenge white paper for my prints or BFK Rives.