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Monoprinting Without The Press

27 Apr


I love Art Printing and I’m excited to share some of my techniques at a demonstration on monoprinting at the next CNY Art Guild meeting in May.  If you’re in the Syracuse, New York area, feel free to join me for this Free event on Thursday, May 10th.  I’ll be demonstrating how to create and use your own mask and stencils and even how to do a transfer like the ones you see above.

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Baldwinsville and the supply list is below.  Hope you can attend!

Grace Episcopal Church 110 Oswego Street, Baldwinsville, NY 13027 Please enter through the side (parking lot) door. Driving directions below:

From Rt. 48 (heading North), go through the light at the main intersection (4 Corners) in the Village of Baldwinsville. The next light is E. Oneida Street. Proceed through the intersection and down a slight hill (about 1/2 a mile). The driveway to the church is on the right.

From Rt. 31 (heading West), turn right at the light at the main intersection (4 Corners) in the Village of Baldwinsville. The next light is E. Oneida Street. Proceed through the intersection and down a slight hill (about 1/2 a mile). The driveway to the church is on the right. Our meeting place is handicapped accessible.



Supply List Flyer:

Join Katie Turner at the CNYAG meeting on Thursday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. for a demonstration in Monoprinting.  She will be showing us several techniques using stencils, masks and the Gelli plate.  She will show us a unique way of creating your own homemade stencil and mask and show you how to create beautiful background papers that can be used with collaging or in other techniques.

If you’d like to participate please bring the following:

  1. paper to print with (no heavier than 90-96 lbs)
  2. bottles of acrylic paint
  3. stencils (if you have them)
  4. Old magazine with images you prefer (ie. Fashion magazine, etc.)
  5. Packing Tape
  6. Scissors
  7. Gelli-plate (if you own one)
  8. Brayer/roller (if you own one)

NOTE:  If you don’t want to get your hands or clothing painted, please bring gloves and dress appropriately as this can get messy.

For those who don’t own these supplies, Katie will have a limited amount of her own supplies to share with you, if you’d like to try this technique.



Making Stencils and Masks

21 Mar
using a solder gun to cut out a stencil

Here I carved out a homemade stencil of buildings using a solder gun.

Did you know that some of the first stencil work was around 30,000BC-9,000BC?  That early stencil work was done with bamboo and banana leaves with images and patterns cut from the leaves.  Vegetable dyes were used to stencil onto clothing.

The stencils I’ve been using with my Gelli printing plate are thin and made from plastic.  There are some really terrific stencils available for sale commercially but I’ve wanted to cut my own.  I’ve already tried Tim Holtz Stencil Film with very limited success and in this picture you can see my 7th try at making my own.  The Grafix Matte Stencil Film is another thin plastic that can be die cut, punched or cut with an X-acto knife.  I used my solder gun in a well-ventilated area to try cutting this stencil.  It left a really rough edge, so I’m going to keep trying until I can get a smooth edge.  I am looking for other plastics that I can buy for stenciling that will take the solder gun well.

Stencils are great because you can use them over and over.  You really don’t have to use the plastic but it is very durable.  You can use paper or cardboard, such as a cereal box, and just add a thin layer of gel medium to make it more durable.   What ever you use to make your mark, have fun with it!  There are so many possibilities.

Creative Fitness

25 Feb
blue & white leaf pattern

Mono print – background

ochre background with black tree

Mono print tree mask

green and white pattern

Mono print – green background

Painting is only one of many ways to exercise your brain.  Stuart Pink, in his article “Brainlifting – A Crash Course in Creative Fitness” (Sept ’13 issue of ToastMaster) tells us that “it is possible to group creative exercises under three broad headings (which overlap to some extent).

  1. Making connections
  2. Considering different perspectives
  3. Using imagination

He makes the point that using the imagination is perhaps the hardest creative category to do exercises for, but is what makes us truly special or unique.  Doing brain exercises is well worth the effort – it improves our creativity.

Other resources mention painting and learning a new language as two activities that will develop multiple regions of the brain due to how the exercises require coordination between different areas within the brain.

There are several different websites that sell their services to improve the brain, but why not grab a pencil, brush or paper to create a piece of art the low cost way?  Painting benefits us on several different levels, including increasing our creative abilities.

How does painting specifically help the brain?  Well, when you start a painting, you need to visualize to see the final painting in your mind (this is the right side of the brain working).  Then you will develop the painting, choose various elements and colors and where you will place the shadows, highlights ,etc (this is the right brain working again).  But at the same time, you need to look critically at what is developing (the left brain –analytical part) and use that information to help you place the elements, colors, etc.  Sometimes deliberately trying a different strategy than what you normally use to paint will create surprisingly different results for your painting.  So our right and left side of the brain work together as a team when it comes to creativity.

To learn more about creating and the brain, try reading the old classic: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, 1980.

15 Signs You’re an Artist

10 Feb
green & yellow print with teal figure walking

Textured monoprint

wet monoprint - blue with figure

Pulling a print off the plate.

bright red and green leaves printLeaves & petals monoprint

 This blog piece  by Courtney Jordan for ( Feb 3, 2014) was so funny, that I had to share.  


What makes an artist an artist? Certainly, we are unique individuals with our own creative impulses and drives, but we do have so much in common. So step away from the canvas, put the paintbrush down, and see how many of these “signs” apply to you! It’s a fun list sent to me from, and I chuckled out loud over a few of them, so I thought I’d share them with you.

15 Signs You’re an Artist

1. Your sense of time is marked by how long it will take something to dry.

2. You describe the sunset using words like vermillion, amber, and ochre.

3. Your neighbor is excited about her new furniture, and you’re ecstatic about your new easel.

4. You organize your closet, books, and pantry by color.

5. You haven’t worn shoes in a week. And your socks have paint all over them.

6. You accidentally dip your paintbrush in your coffee cup, and drink it anyway.

7. You spread peanut butter on your toast with your fingers just to experience the texture.

8. You keep everything – EVERYTHING. Because one day you might use it for an art project or painting.

9. You find a blank canvas exhilarating and terrifying all at once.

10. You can’t find anything to wear out for a special occasion because all your clothes are splattered with paint.

11. You always judge books by their covers. And magazines. And posters. And menus.

12. You visit the home improvement store to pick out paint swatches and get angry when the perfect Tiffany blue you’re looking for isn’t there.

13 You carry pencils instead of pens.

14. You named your children Frida and Pablo. And your Dog’s name is Leonardo.

15. You can’t be bothered with framing, so you slap the same gold Plein Air moulding on every piece.


More Monoprints

28 Jan
green & brown leaf print

This is a monoprint created with a couple of stencils and acrylic paint.


girl, green background

This monoprint was created using a handcut mask (girl) and a store bought stencil pattern.


bright blue and soft pink background paper with blue leaves standing tall

This monoprint was created using several layers of acrylic paints and a leaf stencil and several plant stencils.

These are photos of a few more of my monoprints that I recently made with the new Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate.

Monoprinting without a press

21 Jan
picture of models, red background

This is a monoprint created with several handcut stencils and acrylic paints.

paynes gray background, white tree

This is a monoprint using acrylic paint and a store bought mask.


Several layers of acrylic paint are used to create this background monoprint paper.

Since the holidays I’ve been experimenting with a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate.  This is a medium size sheet of rubber (feels like firm jello) used for printing by a company named Gelli Arts in Philadelphia, PA.  I’ve been using stencils I purchased from several different vendors online and having a lot of fun playing.  I do use stencils in some of my watercolor paintings but many of these new ones, I haven’t tried yet.   I gave a lot of the new stencils a run on the Gelli printing plate.   I have yet to try a “make your own stencil” kit which was purchased for me as a gift over the holidays.  I was making all my own stencils using those plastic sheets that comes in packaging, such as bacon.  The thick plastic makes wonderful stencils.  I also like to collect different packaging products that make unique impressions when I stamp with them.  So trying the “make your own kit” should be interesting.