Printmaking samples…

Here are a few of the prints that I created during last weeks nature-based art class.  These were all printed using a gelatin (yes, like Jello) plate for the printing surface and acrylic paint as “ink”.   The paint is either rolled or brushed on the gelatin plate, the print paper is laid on top of the paint and then you use your hands to rub & smooth the back of the paper.  The gelatin releases the paint onto the paper and when you peel the paper off of the plate you have a print.  To intergrate the leaves & shapes into the print you lay them on top of the inked plate before putting the paper in place.  When you remove the paper from the plate you get the blank silouette/outline of whatever item you laid on the plate.  If you remove the leaf/item from the plate it will leave a detailed image on the plate which you can print either as an additional layer on the original print or on a second piece of paper.  Often there is enough ink/paint left on the plate to make subsequent “shadow” prints.  These shadow prints make a nice “base” to print a different composition on top of or can stand alone.

multiple drop monoprint
Image 1 – multiple drop monoprint

Image #1 – This image was printed first with red ink/paint, then later a different arrangment of leaves, etc. were printed on top of the red print using black ink/paint. 

Image #2 – monoprint
Image #2 – This image was made by applying two colors of paint onto the gelatin plate & blending them together.  After the ink/paint was applied I used a textured plate to imprint a background pattern and then placed pine needles on top of the paint.  I decided to use black print paper for a sharp contrast between the paint & the background.
multiple drop monoprint
Image #3 - multiple drop monoprint
Image #3 – This print was made on green paper.  The rectangular base color was a “shadow” print from a previous composition.  The next layer was made using a round gelatin plate, it is also a shadow print of a leaf.  The following layer was made with white ink covered with lace, followed by a shadow prints from the same ink.
mulitple drop monoprint
Image #4 - mulitple drop monoprint
Image #4 – This image was made in a similar fashion to the second image above, the base print was made by applying muliple colors of paint onto the gelatin plate & blending them together. After the ink/paint was applied I used a textured plate to imprint a background pattern. I then inked the plate with black paint, for a sharp contrast between the paint & the background, then I placed various leaves on top of the paint and printed the second layer.
With their permission I hope to show some of my student’s work soon too! 


Creating a digital collage

I am in the middle of 6-week classes giving instruction on creating nature-based artwork.  I thought it might be fun to put some of the info online that I’ll be sharing with my classes when we meet again.  During our first two weeks of class we took photos at different locations, capturing small & large details outdoors during the onset of fall.  The focus was to look for both interesting patterns (not only in nature but man-made as well) and to find specific individual elements that interested us as well.  The next two weeks we went indoors to play with, and create, interesting textures, patterns and elements using various printmaking projects.  Those projects, or details of them, were then photographed for later use.  The last two weeks of the course we will be pulling all these elements together, both using photo/digital tools and also as mixed media pieces on canvas.  As I was sorting through my images this evening I selected a few and made a digital collage to demonstrate one way to create art from your images.  This was created using the Photoshop Elements program.  

The base image that I started with is a print that I used as a basic demonstration during class. 

acrylic monoprint
acrylic monoprint

The next layer was a photograph of a leaf laying on a brick walk that was taken outdoors during one of our photo shoots, I enlarged it slightly so part of the original image (below) was not used in the final image:

photo, leaf on bricks
photo, leaf on bricks

 I then added two more layers of photo images, a backlit leaf laying in the grass and a single weed shot with a dark background:

photo, backlit leaf in grass
photo, backlit leaf in grass
photo, sunlit weed with dark background
photo, sunlit weed with dark background

 All the additional layers were adjusted to blend well and make the basic composition then I went to the next step, which was to select a photo of a single leaf to repeat throughout the image.  During our printmaking sessions we used leaves and other “nature” items in some of our prints.  After being used several times many of the leaves were art themselves, covered with an array of paint.  I photographed several of these during the printmaking session and ended up selecting one to use in this piece.

photo - paint stained leaf
photo, paint stained leaf

 After isolating the leaf and eliminating all of the background I copied the image, moved & rotated its position, then repeated the process until I had a total of six leaves scatter through the image.  I then adjusted the opacity so that they blended into the background somewhat instead of just “sitting” on top.  After a few other minor tweeks I was pleased with the composition. 

As mentioned in a previous post, I struggle with creative names for my images!  I have done several images this year that combined printmaking and nature-based photos, thus this one became “Art & Nature #9”. 

Art & Nature #9
"Art & Nature #9"

Thanks for reading my blog!  I am making an effort to make more frequent updates and to add more pictures as well.  Look for sample images from the printmaking sessions coming soon!