A week ago, I was in Camas, WA for a three-day visit with my son and his daughters. Their house is in the county, nestled in trees and blackberry bushes with deer wandering through the property and baby bunnies trying to avoid their cats.
I took a few art supplies so I could play with my granddaughters, Bailey 18, Alex 15, and Molly, who will be 13 tomorrow.
We set up a table in the driveway on Friday to paint prayer flags. At home, I had cut forty-inch wide silk fabric into twelve-inch panels and sewn bias tape across one long edge, with extra tape at each end for hanging.
I covered the table with plastic because some of the paint goes through the fine fabric. I have previously painted silk flags with Dyanflow fabric paint, but we used Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic paint because I had an unopened set that was easy to pack in my suitcase.
It was a perfect sunny day to do this activity outside. After the panels were dry the girls made vertical cuts in two or three places from the bottom edge up to the bias tape (but not through it) so the flags can flow in the wind when they are hung up.
Saturday was overcast and cooler so we moved the table into the garage. I’ve had a 5 7-inch Gelli Plate, used to make mono-prints, for months with no time to play with it. I brought a set of small tube acrylic paint I want to use up while it is still good.
I’d cut large sheets of sturdy drawing paper into 6 x 9-inch pieces with my paper cutter at home. The paper is White Sulfite Drawing Paper 18 x 24-inch from Blick. I am delighted with how well this paper worked to make these prints. It did not buckle or bleed through. I could print on both sides, after the first side dried, to make a card by adding hand writing around the edges and folding it in half.
With the prayer flags, there were decisions of what shapes or images to paint. With Gelli prints it was mostly what colors to use and adding marks with different tools. The fun is not knowing exactly what you will get in the prints.
A small amount of paint, one or more colors, is applied to the plate with a brayer. Marks are made in the paint with various tools, combs, rubber stamps, stencils or even metal or plastic odds and ends from Dad’s garage.
Paper is laid on the painted Gelli plate, smoothed out with your hand, and peeled off to reveal a colorful abstract. A second print can be made which will have lighter amounts of paint and look somewhat different.
The Gelli plate doesn’t need to be cleaned before adding more paint. Subsequent prints may show patches of color from previous prints. If you don’t like what you get, you can print over it until you like the results.
Warning: This is a highly addictive activity.