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Experimental Prints


Gelli Print Collage
Gelli Print Collage

I had a session playing around with the gelli plate, with no set intentions to create anything other than interesting experimental prints I could use for collage.


You might recognise some of these as pieces as I used some of them in my 'Dusty Summer' Sketch. I used wet strength tissue, cartridge paper and copy paper, in no particular order!


It's the first time I've used wet strength tissue paper for gelli printing and I loved the results. This paper really picks up all the fine details and the nuances, and is also great for collage later on.


This was really just about seeing what happened randomly, working spontaneously, without judgement about the results, just employing mark making and a limited palette of colours.


I approached the mark making in a painterly way, using brushes and spatulas to put paint on the plate and reserving the roller for adding the top layer of thin paint prior to pulling the prints. I used Atelier tube paints for this session, which are much more viscose, with less body than the same coloured paint you get in the 250ml pots.


I've been keen to try and find ways of transposing or printing some of the line drawings I did on site in the early days of working on my 'Portal' series, so I had a go with Sharpie markers and paint pens, some of which produced interesting results - the Posca pens seemed to seep into the wet paint; whereas once dry, the Liquitex paint pens stayed true. I also tried a wax resist technique, using a wax crayon to go over the lines in the drawing and then pressing this onto the paint on the plate; where the crayon comes into contact with the paint it resists the take up of paint, where as the non waxy areas take up the paint. I think I need to practice this technique more! All interesting little discoveries though.


I noticed, watching this back, how often I have several pieces of paper at once on the plate, so that the entirely of the plate isn't printed on the same sheet of paper. This creates lots of 'structural' overlapping lines and blocks of colour and texture. This was the take-home for me in making these papers and is something I'll pay more attention to next time I have a printing session, as the layers just build quite naturally and existing visual structure is something I love to work with.





I went on to make a series of mini collages (A5 size) using some of the off cuts from the 'Dusty Summer' sketch and some leftover pieces of collagraph and a few other bits and pieces, which I've added to the 'roadmap' on my studio wall.


These little pieces have given me an opportunity to notice what I'm enjoying and what feels good visually to me and what I'm not sure about. There are a few little signposts here for me - contrast, structure and most of all, simplicity.



Gelli Print Collages - A5 size
Gelli Print Collages - A5 size


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