It is March of 2020 and the COVID virus is on the move and we are quarantined in the hopes of reducing the curve, stopping the spread, and keeping our fellow citizens protected. To ease the anxiety which is all around and channel my creativity I made some pages. Kellee Wynne, (click here to see her website) http://www.kellewynnestudios.com offered a free workshop, just what I needed at this time, and I hopped on board. As an instructor I am in creative mode constantly and right about now I wanted someone else to lead the way, get my creative juices flowing, and plan the steps. Basically I needed to be in a DO-the-process mode. Just DO IT as the Nike slogan goes. Here is how I proceeded. It is important that I give Kelle credit, because this step by step process was all hers. Of course with my own interpretation, which is how being an artist works.
Using the Gelli Plate is so much fun. If you don’t have one, you need one! There are recipes on how to make your own gelatin plate and they work very well. I purchased mine at my local hobby/craft store. Or you can order directly from the company here http://www.gelliarts.com This is a mighty nice website with tutorials on how to use the Gelli plate for printing and various supplies. Please take a look. This is the perfect time to hone skills and explore techniques.
Here are the prints I made with the Gelli plate. I used paper called deli wrap, yes it is the wrap used for sandwiches and is available at the big box stores. It is thin and works perfect for collage.
Copy paper works well on the Gelli plate too and here are those pages. To the left is my 400lb. watercolor paper. I had a large sheet on hand, folded it in half, tore it apart, then folded those sheets in half again and tore apart. For this process I vowed to only use what I had on hand, being creative with my supplies, making them work. My studio is full of paints, papers, and collections that I have amassed over the years. This year I am being diligent about using what is in my studio!
The first step was painting the watercolor paper. I used a brayer, white gesso, mixed colors, and painted both sides. For color, I went with analogous and complementary, also colors that are my favorites, hues that work for me. After the pages were dry, I added collage elements with a brush and matte medium, stencils with acrylic paint. Liquitex matte medium is my go to, and Liquitex white gesso. These two products work very well. If you have other brands which are your favorites, those will work also.
For my pages I added snippets of papers that I had on hand, matching color and pattern by creative intuition. I love vintage sheet music and it appears throughout my process. Fortunately, one day I was at my local library and a retired concert pianist came in with a large bundle of music to donate. He had arthritis and was unable to play the piano anymore. It was a serendipitous moment and the librarian gave me the music for a song when she discovered that I was an instructor at The Bemis Art School. www.fac.coloradocollege.edu/bemis
The layers of mixed media create interest. And there are no rules when it comes to this process. Sure, color theory will make a stronger statement. For example using analogous colors, or complementary colors, and pairing collage materials with those concepts in mind will be pleasing to the eye. But the bottom line is process, enjoying the process, being free with your materials, and applying what you like. When these pages are put together in an art journal, the result is a unique art piece. A “one-of-a-kind”, a “there-is-not-another-one-in-the-world”, an… ORIGINAL! Therein lies the beauty of this process.
Here is my workspace. Paints, distress ink pads, a brayer on a paper plate for a palate, snippets of paper, matte medium, gel pens, stabilo markers, stencils, even a cardboard toilet paper roll in case I want to stamp some circles on the paper. This is my studio, and how my world looks when I am working in mixed media…a jumble of this and that. And take a look at the brush I used with matte medium to collage, it tends to get gunky (is that a word?) after awhile.
I had some Golden matte medium on hand and was using it up for this project. After trial and error, as I said before Liquitex matte medium is my preference for applying collage. Since I was down to the last drops, my brush was filled with medium, but it cleaned up easily.Painted watercolor paper with collage.
This is a unique time in our lives, unprecedented in many ways. I am hoping this post will give you some ideas for how to spend time creating and using supplies on hand. It is accessible, a great way to learn how to make prints for collage and papers for a hand-bound art journal. Once I make the finishing touches, I will show you my journals, they are still in process. I absolutely love making layered pages and art journals. I have a spiral bound journal in my etsy shop with a packet of lovely collage papers in case you are interested, see the link below. By the way, I neglect my Etsy shop so there are not a ton of sales, but those that have made a purchase have been very happy. Take care fellow creatives and please leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you!