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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9 Responses to Gelli Plate Meets Fine Art – Monoprinting Ideas for Art Lovers

  1. Cindy Richter says:

    This was incredible! Last year I bought a Gelli plate and have yet to use it. I seem to go off on tangents a lot. Having watched this video I will be getting out the supplies and going to town. Love the idea of combining the looseness of the plate with the old masters approach. Currently, I am trying to decide on what technique to use on painting on fabric, jeans and t-shirts especially. I wonder if I can try the plate with that? Thanks for all the inspiration!

  2. Susan says:

    Inspiring as always, dear Paivi! Thank you.
    I’ve used my gelli plate some, but I love how detailed your instruction is. I just happen to have all supplies here, so I’m going to do a series of something. Lots of fun!
    Again, thank you.

  3. June says:

    A very unique and creative use of the gelli plate!

  4. Karen Brooks says:

    Absolutely wonderful and so very generous of you to share your style and technique with the Gelli Plate! Thank you! I love to use all my Gelli Plates, but have never tried this way of printing – but I will now! 🙂

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