Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rothko sunRISE with Gelli Arts® by Johanna Lawson

Happy LOVE day to all! Take this opportunity to #loveyourself and do something just for you. Open your heart and let art take you on a journey.

On this day of love, I decided to focus on something beautiful that inspires me – the Florida sunrise. It has been a glorious “winter” here and I want to just revel in the joy and warmth the sunshine brings. This is an abstract piece that also incorporates one of my favorite monoprinting techniques, magazine image transfers. This one has a little twist and starts as a Rothko replica.

For this project, I was inspired by the work of American artist, Mark Rothko, and his love of color. His “multiforms” are composed of bright, vibrant colors that express a sort of energy and create a mixture of overlapping colors and shapes. That sounds like my kind of painting. Rothko goes big. I mean BIG. I wasn’t able to go too big, but I did get the opportunity to use some of my larger gel plates and work on a 16 x 20” canvas.

Rothko looked at it like this:
“I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however, is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command!”

You are in it. One of the things I love most about monoprinting is the unpredictability. As you create, remember to be purposeful, but let the magic happen. Today, make art just for you. Use this tutorial as a guide and then make it your own! Get creative! For a list of all products used in this project, please see the materials section at the end of the post.

Rothko replica – a Florida sunRISE

Step One – Create Multiform #1
Find inspiration and then think abstract, just colors. When I picture the Florida sunrise, there is pink, yellow, and orange. These are the colors that stand out, these are the colors I will use. Multiform #1 will be pink.

Use more paint than you normally would when monoprinting. Rothko worked directly on uncoated, untreated canvases, so I went with it. However, the paint soaks into the canvas. There will also be enough paint for multiple prints as the canvas is moved around to cover.

Tip: Do not roll extra paint off the brayer, just set it on it’s handle. This excess paint will be used between prints.

Step Two – Create Multiform #2
Multiform #2 will be a mixture of yellow and orange to create an ombre effect on the canvas.

Step Three – Paint a Horizon
Using black paint and brush, paint a horizon line. This will anchor the image transfer monoprint that will go on top.

Step Four – Monoprint Magic
Magazine image transfers can be a little tricky. Use high quality paint and make sure the coating and quality of the magazine pages will allow for the transfer. I found this goddess in a fashion magazine and knew she would be perfect.

To match the Rothko sunrise, she got the ombre treatment as well.

Step Five – Cut it up?
YES! Cut your monoprints into half-inch strips and create something really special.

Step Six – The Final Touch
Using matte medium (or your favorite paper glue), adhere the strips to the center of the canvas, aligning the colors. Mark the center of the canvas lightly with a pencil and start with the center strip working out to the edges of the canvas.

Rothko was a beautiful soul that believed art should be an experience that exceeded the boundaries of pure aesthetics. It should go deeper. This is a special holiday that celebrates the incredible human conditions of love and kindness, but like most holidays, it can also stir up darker emotions. Rothko committed suicide on February 25, 1970. Love is complicated. It can be shared and shown in so many ways. The final touch to this piece is select lines from the poem, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, written along the strips of monoprint. Her poetry deals with trauma, heartbreak, healing, and hope. This poem speaks to me on so many levels and adds another dimension to the idea of a sunRISE. A new day. “But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

This Valentine’s Day, #loveyourself, educate yourself and you could #BeThe1To save a life. Truly see the people around you and help them know their worth. Please visit to learn more about this movement and suicide prevention.

This Rothko replica is my love letter to the world. A Florida sunRISE to brighten your day and bring hope.

Head on over to my Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook pages - @smallbatchcards - to see more of my tutorials and art. Order cards, prints, stationery, and other paper art gifts at

-Gelli Arts® Premium Acrylic Paint - Snowbound, Sunbeam, Tiger Lily, and Chili Pepper
-Gelli Arts® 4” Roller
-9”x 12” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
-8”x 10” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
-8.5” x 11” Cardstock
-High Contrast Magazine Pages - black and white work best
-Matte Medium
-Scissors/Cutting Tool
-16 x 20” Canvas
-Paint Brush
-Washi Tape

© 2019 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pattern Printing With The New Diamond Gelli Arts® Mini Printing Plate

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today. Have you seen the NEW Gelli Arts® Mini Printing Plate Set? The printing plate set includes three different shapes, including an octagon, a quatrefoil, and a diamond!

I love to print all kinds of patterns, and this trio is perfect for creating lots of new and fun ones!

Because the possibilities are endless, I’m going to share with you a few of the options for creating continuous patterns with just the diamond mini printing plate.

I like to mount my mini printing plates onto acrylic stamping blocks. In the video, I’m printing on A4 sized drawing paper and using a variety of different pigment inks.

While some of the pigment inks are fast drying, most take a lot longer to dry. The upside to this is that you can take advantage of the longer open time and heat emboss part of the designs you print.

The downside is that the ink can smudge when it’s not completely dry. You can speed up the drying process with a heat tool. For the best results, also make sure your ink pads are juicy, so re-ink if needed.

All of the inks and colors I used to print with seemed to have a translucent result. So be mindful of that translucent quality when you are working in layers. The colors and textures that are already on the print will shine through any additional layers.

In between prints you can clean the pigment inks off your mini printing plate with a damp cloth or a baby wipe.

Stamping inks may stain your printing plates, however, that will not affect the performance of the plate.

I suggest you clean the plate with a drop of baby oil once your printing session is over. I found that it got rid of all the discolorations the pigment ink left on my diamond shaped plate.

Don’t forget to use all of your favorite texture tools while printing patterns. You can work tone-on-tone, with layers of slightly different tones of color, or you can go for bold contrasts.

I can’t wait to see what continuous patterns you can come up with! Please share your artwork with us on Instagram using #GelliArts

Happy pattern printing!


-NEW Gelli Arts® Mini Gel Printing Plates – Octagon, Quatrefoil, and Diamond
-Paper – A4 8.3”x11.7”
-Pigment Ink
-Acrylic Stamping Block
-Lace Trim
-Rubber Stamps – Art by Marlene for Studio Light: Background nr. 10, Flower nr. 5

© 2019 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

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