Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Following the Muse - Experiments with Gelatin Printing

gelatin monotype on mulberry paper

So,  I have been playing. And it's been contagious, because I have others playing now too. Truth be told, I caught this bug after doing some serious research on varied methods for experimental watermedia and it has been the most fun that I've had doing anything in a long time. (except for spending time with my sweeet sweet 5 month old golden retriever, Lily) I am refering to Gelatin Printing. There is something about this process that has just intrigued me. Maybe it's the unpredictable nature of the printmaking process, maybe it's the organic feel to the gelatin plate, but I am hooked, mesmerized and totally in love with the process. And me, a watercolor painter and a pretty representational one at that. Go figure. But art is not restrictive...shouldn't be. And so, the playing, the exploration of other methods and other mediums. Following the muse. 

gelatin monotype on mulberry paper
Now, I haven't done any printmaking since my college days, which was quite a few years ago, but I loved it then. I remember a whole year of walking around with black ink inbedded in every groove and wrinkle in my hands. Oil based ink in those days...hard to get out completely, so you just wore what wouldn't come off. It was ok. Was the badge of being a printmaker. Being more of an illustrator, I gravitated to lithography and intaglio back then. Black and white mostly, occasionally color. But, like I said, I loved it. I enjoyed the process of printmaking. Making gelatin prints is the same, but different. It's just as messy, but since you are using waterbased inks and paints, the clean up is better. Gelatin printing, in my opinion, is a much more organic process and the results are more exciting due to it's unpredictable nature. (as you get used to the process, you can manipulate the outcome a good bit, but the end result is still in large part a big surprise) There are numerous websites and YouTube video's out there on the wild wild web, but the one I found most useful is Linda Germain's website and accompanying blog. She gives full directions for making the gelatin plates (there are many recipes, but hers are the most sturdy, in my opinion). She also has a nice little video showing you the basics of how to go about inking up your plate and pulling your prints.

So. Ready to explore? Go for it. Experiment. Let your hair down and have some fun.


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