Gelli Plate Meets Fine Art – Monoprinting Ideas for Art Lovers

Nostalgia, an acrylic painting using a Gelli Plate on the background. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her blog post for more Gelli printing ideas!

Old paintings are full of nuances and flow that we often don’t see when focusing on the subject only. This week, I am a rebel and use a Gelli plate for bringing up those elements. The Gelli Plate, like any mono-printing tool, is a bit clumsy for adding details.  But also full of potential because you can easily produce repeated motifs that are not exactly similar. It enables you to add diversity and uplifting rhythm to your art without extra efforts.

Gelli Plate Meets Fine Art – Watch the Video!

This video is a replay of a live broadcast where I am sharing my secrets about the process.

I also include the images and the summary here in this blog post so that you can more easily refer back to these instructions.

Project 1 – Expressive Portrait on White Background

Supplies: Gelli Plates (mine are 8 x 10 and 3 x 5 inches), watercolor paper, brayer, brushes, any blunt stick, acrylic paints, glazing liquid (or gel medium).

Gelli printing ideas by by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her blog post for how to create fine art with a Gelli plate!

This project started by intuitively adding layers with a Gelli plate on a white watercolor paper.

Gelli printing techniques by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

My only intention was to make a mess that has enough diversity so that I could see something appearing.

Gelli printing techniques by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See how she finished this project!

The big spot looked like woman’s face to me, so I made a stencil by quickly sketching one on paper.

Drawing a stencil for Gelli printing. See how she continued this project with a Gelli plate!

I added more elements and shadows, so that worked one area at the time.

Monoprinting ideas and techniques by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her blog for more ideas and the finished pieces!

When the big elements were in their places, I changed to a smaller plate and added more details.

Using a small Gelli plate as a stamp. See Paivi Eerola's blog post for more ideas and instructions!

Here’s the monoprint before I changed to painting with brushes.

A monoprint in progress. See how this project was finished!

Using Botticelli’s Madonna of the Book as a loose reference, I painted the face and some details with fine brushes and thin layers.

Painting on a Gelli print. See the blog post for more info! By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s the close-up of the face. I realized that the eyes look to a bit different direction, but I didn’t want to change that because this piece is called Nostalgia. I think it’s a mixed feeling because then we are admiring the past, but at the same time, being sad that there’s no way to travel back in time.

A detail of Nostalgia, an acrylic painting using a Gelli Plate on the background. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her blog post for more Gelli printing ideas!

Here’s the full painting again.

Nostalgia, an acrylic painting using a Gelli Plate on the background. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her blog post for more Gelli printing ideas!

Do you like this one? The original piece is for sale in my shop!

Project 2 – Floral Still-Life on Black Background

This piece started by adding a layer of black gesso on a watercolor paper. I had a clear goal from the very beginning – to create a floral still-life honoring Dutch Golden Age paintings from the 17th century. I also wanted to use Gelli plates only and see if it’s possible to create a detailed piece by mono-printing only.

Monoprinting tools, techniques and ideas. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The first layers were very subtle and translucent. The idea is to build depth by slowly increasing the brightness of the mono printed layers.

The beginning of a monoprint. See how this piece progressed! By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Like in the previous project, many layers only had few elements. I like how detailed they look when adding lines with the stick on the plate.

Flowers and leaves on a Gelli Plate. See the blog post for more monoprinting ideas and how this piece was finished. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I also made a paper stencil for this project. At this point, I changed to a smaller plate.

Using a hand-cut paper stencil with a small Gelli plate. See how this floral still-life came out! By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I used paler and darker tones of pink to make a flower. It’s also handy to stamp the same flower several times.

Monoprinting flowers with a small Gelli plate. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See how this piece was finished!

Dots and splashes of paint all add up. I also like to use cotton cloth for making a sharp edge to a free-form shape.

Gelli printing ideas and techniques by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

When using a little too much paint, it forms “skins” that look like intricate leaves. It was also fun to add a surface pattern to a vase.

Paivi Eerola's still life in progress. She made this with Gelli Plate only!

I used dark browns and black to tone down some elements, and white to highlight others.

Adding finishing touches to a Gelli print. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s one of my favorite details:

A detail of a painting made with Gelli Plate only! By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the process pictures!

Another one, showing how the vase glows.

A detail of a painting made with a Gelli Plate only. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See how she made this from start to finish!

Here’s the finished piece in full size:

Old Holland by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Made with Gelli Plate only!! See the blog post for process pictures!

What next?

Continue to create with Paivi: Subscribe to my weekly emails
Learn the basics of mono-printing and create your visual wonderland: Buy Collageland
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Subscribe to Paivi’s weekly emails – Get a free mini-course Loosen Up!

Coming Up: Fine Art Monoprinting!

I am running a free live broadcast Gelli Plate Meets Fine Art on Wednesday, May 23, 9 AM BST (London), 6 PM AEST (Sydney). This session is for you who loves old paintings from Renaissance to Impressionism but who also likes to play with Gelli plate or other mono-printing tools.

Inspiration from Historical Paintings

Details of monoprints made with Gelli Plate. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. She has a free live broadcast of making these on her art blog!

Old art is full of nuances and inspiration. I will show you how you can get more out of old masterpieces and apply the lessons to your art too. I will use two pieces as an example of how you can stretch Gelli plate’s limits. The first one has brushwork in addition to printed motifs. The second one is a still life that was made with a Gelli plate only. The pics of this post show some details of them.

Gelli Plate Meets Fine Art – Come Along!

Reserve your spot here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/gelli-plate

You can watch the replay via the link or here on my blog if you can’t make it.

Colored Pencil Collages – Playing with Color

Fall in love with colored pencils and make the most of your paper stash!  I also recommend these classes:
1) Collageland – save time and effort by creating textile-inspiration with pens and paper
2) Inspirational Drawing – for you who wants to say: “I can draw!”

The Fun Process of Colored Pencil Collages

"Poppy Love" - an art journal page by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her instructions for colored pencil collages!

Here’s is an art journal page that started as a sad one. First, it only had some carelessly drawn lines. Months went by before it got some paint to accompany the doodles. After another long wait, it got some depth with colored pencils. It still looked unhappy, so I glued a piece of hand-decorated paper to cheer it up. Today, I found it again and was surprised how finished it looked.

Making of colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

This is often the way I make art journal pages: little by little, random lines, using up extra paint on the palette, saving a piece of paper from my stash. It’s a very unintentional process but after those finishing touches are added, it’s all good.

Art journal spread by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See how she creates these from paper scraps and colored pencils!

My Hand-Decorated Paper Stash

I have been doing this for a long time: making my collage papers and also saving the tiniest pieces. No matter what my main art projects are, there seems to always have time some scrap paper fun even if it’s sometimes just picking a small piece and gluing it on an art journal without analyzing what and why.

Using hand-decorated paper scraps for collage art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Colored pencils are one of my favorite supplies and I also have papers decorated with them. When I go through my paper stash, I often add some colored pencils on painted ones just to make them more valuable in my eyes. Then I also have some true treasures – papers that only have colored pencils on them. They take more time to make, and to me, they are like silk and others are more like cotton, the basic stuff.

Using Imagination with Colored Pencil Collages

When I am playing, odd is good. Paper pieces sometimes have a mind of their own, and strange results may appear! Here’s an art journal page called “Three Sisters”. It started with paper scraps but really came to life when I added colors to the background with colored pencils. See how I used many colors for the background so that it completed the composition and made the piece more cheerful.

"Three Sisters" - an art journal page with colored pencils and paper scraps by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

This collage started with a quite traditional idea. I wanted to make a doll. But when the doll got more heads, I followed the imagination instead of trying to stick with the original thought.

Start with the Expressive Background!

Create Step by Step!

Try this process if you often ponder these questions:
a) what to put in the background?
b) how to express with color?

In this process, you will start with the background so that it creates a structure for the rest of the work. A grey paper enables you to use color for expression rather than trying to tone down a screaming scene when using only “beautiful” tones.

Supplies: Grey Paper, Colored Pencils, Paper Scraps

You will also need gel medium or paper glue for attaching the collage pieces, and a black drawing pen for finishing touches.

Creating colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions!

Step 1 – Coloring Freely

With white and dark grey (or black) colored pencils doodle random shapes. Fill some shapes by drawing, add shading, and have fun by playing with color values. Change the orientation once in a while so that your imagination keeps on going.

Creating colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions! Creating colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions!

Step 2 – Cut Tiny Collage Pieces

The pieces for this step can be really small ones, and you can cut them even smaller. Here’s one piece from my stash and I cut a smaller shape out of it!

Creating colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions!

Don’t worry about the composition yet, just cut so many small pieces that you have a collection to choose from.

Creating colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions!

Step 3 – Add Some Light and Shadows to Collage Pieces

With the white and dark grey (or black) pencils, add some shadowing around the edges and some highlights with white. All the pieces don’t necessarily need this but it makes solid-colored pieces look much more interesting.

Creating colored pencil collages by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions!

Step 4 – Glue the Collage Pieces

Use the background as a support structure and an inspiration source for your collage! If you have problems with composition, go through my free mini-course Loosen Up and follow the tips there!

Creating a scrap paper collage by Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions for using colored pencils and paper scraps!

Step 5 – Add More Color with Colored Pencils

This step integrates your collage pieces with the background.

Creating a scrap paper collage by Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions for using colored pencils and paper scraps!

Step 6 – Draw Final Details with a Drawing Pen

Add some loose lines and dark details with a black drawing pen.

Finishing a paper collage by Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions for using colored pencils and paper scraps!

Here’s my finished piece, a fantasy creature!

Phoenix by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See the step-by-step instructions for creating art with colored pencils and paper scraps.

Some Papers Last Longer than Others

I intended to cut some motifs out of this paper but maybe next time. Too precious for now! It’s inspired by Collageland.

Hand-decorated Paper by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her class Collageland for more inspiration from textiles and embroidery!

Create Handmade Collage Art to Build Your Visual Dreamland – Buy Collageland!

 

 

Discover Your Style by Building Your Visual Dreamland!

This week, I talk about how you can change your mindset so that you really feel like you are heading towards the style that fits you. I show examples of my work and share how I have built my visual dreamland. I also tell more about the new class Collageland. Watch the replay of Thursday’s live broadcast!

Visual Dreamland – Watch the Recording!

Collageland is a class for you who loves decorative textiles but wants to save time and effort by creating with pens and paper. Rather than trying to succeed and capture your style through a single project, start exploring your creativity as a process, designing your visual dreamland one stroke at a time! >> Buy Collageland!

Coming Up!

Next week, there will be a written blog post! If you haven’t yet, subscribe to my weekly emails so that you won’t miss the blog posts and there’s also a bonus – a free mini-course Loosen up!

Subscribe to my weekly emails – Get a free mini-course!