Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gelli Arts® Combed Prints & Watercolor!

Playing with the NEW Gelli® Printing Tools is like taking a shortcut to finding your printmaking mojo! This video shows a painterly approach to a combed print — then takes it to the next level by adding watercolors! Take a look!

The mark-making potential of these great BIG Gelli® combs casts an addictive spell! Count on losing yourself in hours of play as you discover how compelling it is to create different and dynamic combed patterns. You know the feeling..."just one more" — right?!!"

You'll find ideas, tips and techniques for using these new combs on the blog post, "Awesome NEW Gelli® Printing Tools!!!" from August 20, 2015.

If you've ever dragged or swiped a comb across a painted gel plate, you know it's a wonderful subtractive process that removes paint to create your image.

This video demonstration is on an 8"x10" plate. But the Gelli® combs are great for designing patterns on ALL of the Gelli® plate sizeslarge, small and round. It's amazing how many effects you can create!

Here's something to try! Instead of applying paint directly to the plate and rolling with a brayer, use a paintbrush to cover the plate with quick, loose brushstrokes — blending colors as you go! It's so easy to create an artful painted layer — and perfect for swiping your combs through!

  •  When brushing paint onto the gel plate, a thin layer will show the beauty of your brushstrokes.
  • Avoid laying down thick areas of paint, as they'll squish and print as blobs.
  • Use analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel) to avoid making mud. A color wheel is great to have on hand — and helpful for making color selections.
  • Work quickly so you can comb smoothly through the wet paint.

The paint used in the video is DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics. This line of fluid acrylic paint is wonderful for creating combed patternsand like any acrylic paint, will act as a resist to watercolor, producing impressive results. That's the technique we're exploring here!

Creating beautiful delicate colors is easily achieved by adding Media Tinting Base to any of the Media paints. And it adds body to the fluid paints. Have fun mixing your own colors and printing with soft hues.

But we're not stopping there! After the Gelli® prints are drymake your prints sing by adding watercolors!

With this in mind, it's best to print on a paper that can handle that extra process. These prints are pulled on Fabriano Artistico Hot Press 140lb. watercolor paper. In case you're not familiar with the termhot press paper has a very smooth surface (cold press has texture).

Rather than using traditional watercolors (although they work beautifully)I'm experimenting with some incredible pigment powders from Lindy's Stamp Gang, called 'Magicals'. They're named so perfectlythese pigments contain mica, so they sparkle and shine! For watercolor effects, simply add water and mix the desired intensity of each color. The pale powders morph into rich, metallic colors when water is added. Magic! And perfect for adding pizzazz to a print!

Work wet-in-wetletting the pigments run together into spontaneous color reactions. As the colors mingle, it's like watching a mystical transformation fill the blank spaces on your print!

Acrylic paint will resist the watercolors. If neededto clean up watercolor from any printed areasit's easy to wipe it off the acrylic paint with a damp cotton swab. So your original printed image stands out.

Something to keep in mind:  For this technique, the comb should remove most of the paint off the plate where you swipe it. That's what creates the unpainted areas on your print for adding watercolors. So it helps to start with a clean Gelli® plate. If there is dried paint on your plate, you may want to clean it first.

You'll quickly discover when you start creating combed prints with the 7" Gelli® combs — it's hard to stop!! The process is fast and fun!

So make a bunch of combed prints and add watercolor! It's a quick and simple way to make each print extra-special!

Combed prints are so easy to embellish — the lines to guide you are already there!!!


And now for our FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY!!! 
A fabulous kit for creating your own combed and watercolor prints!

One lucky winner will receive our prize kit including:
      • 1 - 8"x10" Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
      • 1 - Set of Gelli® Printing Tools - 3 Round Edge Combs
      • 1 - Set of Gelli® Printing Tools - 3 Square Edge Combs
      • 1 - Lindy's Stamp Gang 'Magicals' Set- 5 colors (Tres Chic)
      • 6 - DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic Paint - 1 oz. bottles
      • 1 - DecoArt Media Tinting Base (White) - 4 oz. jar
      • 1 - Catalyst by Princeton - Polytip Bristle - Bright - Size 10
      • 1 - Princeton Brush Co. - Round Watercolor Brush 4050R Size 8
      • 1 - Pocket Color Wheel (The Color Wheel Company)
To enter the giveaway, click on the red "ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE" button below! (This will ensure that we can contact the winner and that entries are limited to one per person. One winner will be selected from all the entries via a random number generator to receive this very special giveaway!) Entries will be accepted until 12pm noon on Tuesday, September 29th EDT. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than 5pm on Tuesday September 29th! 


Winner is Margaux W.

Remember, we now have Gelli® partners all over the world, so it's easier than ever to find a Gelli® retailer near you!

Special thanks to Lindy's Stamp Gang for generously donating their amazing 'Magicals' paint pigment set.

Have Fun and Happy Printing!

Materials Used in Today's Blog:

Gelli® 8x10 Plate
Color Wheel
Gelli® Square Edge Tool Set
Gelli® Round Edge Tool Set

Catalyst Polytip Bristle Brush
-Bright Size 10
Fabriano Artistic Hot Press
 Watercolor Paper
Fluid Acrylics
DecoArt Media
Tinting Base

Lindy's Stamp
Round Watercolor
Brush 4050R Size 8

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gelli® Plates In The Classroom - Guest Post by Camille Gammon-Hittelman

As an elementary art teacher, I'm always on the hunt for cool looking art problems for my students to solve ----  and bonus points if they can be completed in one class period! I came across Gelli Arts® printing plates at the NAEA conference in Fort Worth a few years ago, and I was hooked. That night, in my hotel room, I ordered my first Gelli® plate so it would be delivered to my house when I got back from the conference. I played with it for a while, and realized that Gelli® printing was the perfect way to introduce layered mono-printing to elementary aged students. It's non-toxic, immediate, and (relatively) easy to clean up. Even the youngest artist can make something fantastic!

I usually reserve printing with Gelli® plates for my oldest group ---- my 4th graders. I save the lesson for them because as the most senior of my students, they know to care for the Art Studio as their own space. They know that the space is a shared one, and that it's fine to make a mess in the name of art ----  as long as you clean it up and get the space ready for the next artist. 

I cover the tables with newspaper, and tape it down, so the entire surface becomes a usable workspace. We ink on it, we lay our stencils, we clean our brayers on it. It almost becomes a second canvas for the kids to work on! Clean up afterwards is a breeze. 

Special Note from Gelli Arts®: Make sure you leave the plastic mylar sheet on the base of the plate ----  that way the newspaper ink won't transfer onto your Gelli® plate. If newspaper ink gets on the Gelli® plate, use baby oil to remove and then wash with dish soap and hot water.

You could also use butcher block paper ----  and then really keep the working surface as a frameable piece! After covering the tables, I lay out a Gelli® plate (on the mylar sheet that it ships with) and a brayer for every student. In the beginning, as I was building up my supply of Gelli® plates, I had the students share plates. That way they could work collaboratively and talk through their art-making process together. 

Gelli Arts® have come out with a new plate that is PERFECT for the classroom ----  a 5x5" square. This size lets you halve 8.5x11" sized paper, rather than using a full sheet per print. I like to cut my paper into squares to mimic the plate. 

(Available from Gelli Arts®, Blick Art Materials, Hobby Lobby & AC Moore)

I put out a few different colors of paint (which we call "ink", since we're working on being authentic printmakers) at each table, and let the kids trade colors back and forth. This way it's ok if each table doesn't have all the colors (and that cuts back on how much paint you need on hand), and it gives you the opportunity to buy a variety of colors, rather than just a few.

As the kids come in to class, I explain that today will be an experimenting day. They will work for the full class time (60 minutes), with the exception of 10-15 minutes to clean up. This is KEY in making the art concept work. Some students believe they are "finished" when they've made one or two prints. By setting the expectation that they will work for the entire class and experiment with the process, this gives them the freedom to do just that. 

I run through a quick demo (3 minutes tops) where I show how much "ink" to lay on the plate (a toothpaste glob), and how to use the brayer. I introduce stencils, bubble wrap, and string into the process. When it comes time to make the second print on top of the first, I have them talk me through the process. And that's it. Really. Then I release them to the wilds, and let them go to it. 

In the beginning, they start out cautiously. They use one color, then stencil, and then another. And then they start experiment. That's when it gets exciting. That's when it gets loud, and messy, and fantastic. They realize that they can put more than one color on the plate! They can write words into the ink! They can ink one section of the plate, and leave another section empty!

This is the best part of the lesson. The kids get more and more excited, and start discussing what they've done.

"How'd you get that?!" "What did you do there?!"

At a few points throughout the work time, we'll all take a break from printing and circle around one student's work to talk about what they've created. This is when I explain that they're probably going to make some really ugly prints ----  and then they laugh. I tell them that artists make a whole lot of bad (unsuccessful, ugly, blech) art and then get one or two fantastic pieces. This lets them have the freedom to make mistakes, and learn from them.

And then, suddenly, it's time to clean up. Ink gets closed up and returned to the front supply table, along with stencils. Brayers soak in the sink, and are then washed and set out to dry on newspaper. Gelli® plates (and hands) get wiped down with baby wipes, and then are placed back into their clam-shell containers. Newspaper is peeled off the tables, rolled up, and placed in the recycling bin. Once the studio looks better than it did when the students entered, they are allowed to wash their hands. The kids are in charge of all of this. I stand off to the side and prod them along as needed. The prints dry on the drying rack, and are ready to go home the next day (yay for quick drying acrylic paint!). My students LOVE this lesson, and are excited to share the concept with their friends. I know it's made an impact when I get emails from parents asking where to get Gelli® plates to work with at home! 

Special Note from Gelli Arts®: the new 5x5 Gelli® plates do not ship in individual clam shells. So after clean up — storage means the plates get stacked with a sheet of mylar between them, as they are originally shipped.

-- Written by Art Educator Camille Gammon-Hittelman

All of us at Gelli would like to extend a HUGE thanks to Camille for guest-blogging here today! She's shown all of us how easy it is to introduce gel printing into the classroom and generate excitement and a passion for printing in young students!

You can get plenty of ideas for developing lesson plans right here — from our blog posts and videos. Each post features a fun technique for printing with Gelli® plates — so take a look!

Have Fun and Happy Printing!!

It is easier than ever to find a Gelli Arts® retailer near you! Check the domestic or international listings on our website or just click the button below!

Materials Used:
    • Gelli® Plates
    • Pencils (for writing names on backs of papers)
    • Printing Paper - I cut the paper down to a square that's one inch larger than the plate
    • Acrylic Paint
    • Stencils
    • Bubble Wrap
    • String
    • Feathers
    • Doilies
    • Rubber Drawing Tools
    • Brayers
    • Newspaper
    • Masking Tape - to keep the newspaper or butcher paper attached to the table
    • Baby Wipes
    • Smocks

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