Some inspirational collected objects turned into a nice subject for a still life doodle on home made paper.
Monoprinting is a form of printmaking, where the prints are one of a kind, hence the name "mono." I ran out of time at OSU before being able to take a printmaking class, so I was really excited to receive a care package from my Grammy with a monoprint set up. She is currently taking an art class and they learned how to use a "Gelli Plate" to do a simple monoprint, so she sent me one!
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A CREATIVE OUTLET, LOOK INTO THIS- IT'S SIMPLE AND EASY CLEAN UP!
A "Gelli Plate" is a way to do monoprints without a press. Two ladies came up with it and are probably making millions-they are sold at art stores across the world. The plate itself has a jelly like feel..it's kind of squishy.
Here's a little look into the process...
This first photo you can see the tutorial book on the left, the Gelli Plate is the clear plate that I've rested on a blank piece of computer paper to give myself a white surface. The roller is used to spread the ink or paint out evenly, and Grammy also sent me some special print making paper!
She's so sweet! I'm lucky to share a love of art with both of my grandmas. Ever since our trip to Aspen, my grammy has been painting like crazy and it's great to see her work progress!
There are many tecniques to monoprinting, this is probably the most simple of them. I'm a newbie, to this process, so starting at the beginning and I'll progress as I learn!
Step 1: Pick a color, and roll it out evenly on the plate.
Step 2: Draw into the paint with something: Q-tips work, brushes, your fingers, anything really. Here I'm using one of those flossing tooth picks.
Step 3: Place paper directly ontop of the plate. The paint needs to be wet still, so this is all a very quick process. Within minutes. Press on the paper with something, here I'm using a spoon.
Step 4: Slowly peel the piece of paper off of the plate. You will have a print of what you drew onto the plate! Then you can do more layers once it dries, or in this case I used watercolor "green gold" and colored the leaves in.
Encaustic painting involves painting with hot beeswax in which colored pigments are added. I first came across encaustic paintings while in Aspen with my Grammy, and ever since I have been researching them and collecting materials. Luckily I have such a super supportive family...Grammy bought me a book and DVD on encaustic, Kim and Dad got me beeswax (Kim keeps bees and is in a group, so she has lots of bee friends) and Mom bought me a BOATload of colored pigments...and I mean a boatload! And these aren't just any pigments, they are from EarthPigments.com. These pigments are all natural, which is what I'm looking for in all the materials I use from here on out, sculptural and 2D. There is only one Earth, and I have only one body, so I've decided natural art supplies are the way to go! All the greats use to use natural pigments in the past, all the famous artwork from years and years ago. Only recently in history have we started to add tons of chemicals to our paints, and it has me asking...why?! With the TONS of Earth Pigments Momma got me, I can make my own paints, whether acrylic, oil, watercolor or my new favorite...encaustic!
I'm beyond excited for what is to come! I really enjoy having to cook up some paint, it's almost like a chemistry.
Here is a look at my version of the encaustic process!!!
1. Obtain ingredients for paint: beeswax, Deemar resin (natural resin), and pigment (I've decided on natural here, because why not? All the rest is natural!) There are "encaustic painting sets" with everything you need and the paint already mixed, but I went the DIY way and gave a lot of thought to what I would use for my own paint mixing.
THANK YOU AGAIN TO MY MOTHER WHO BOUGHT ME ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL PIGMENTS!
AND TO KIM FOR GETTING ME SOME REALLY AWESOME RAW BEESWAX!
2. Obtain the hardware. With encaustic painting, you must use a hot pallet to melt your wax down, keeping it around 200 degrees while you are using it. Here I am using some weird buffet warming dish which works just as well as an expensive encaustic hot plate. Something else I LOVE about this process is that it involves FIRE! You need a torch to fuze each layer together.
Step 3: Prepare support- from my understanding it needs to be absorbent and rigid. Here I am using a wooden panel from the art store, but soon I will be building my own. Regular acrylic gesso (painting primer) will not work because it is water based and the beeswax doesn't grip onto it enough. So I've ordered stuff to make my own natural encaustic gesso (the stuff they sell is so expensive!) This new homemade gesso will be made of Calcium Carbonate and Rabbit Skin Glue. But for now, I just did it straight on the wooden panel because I just couldn't wait!
Here you can see my wax, resin, a few choice pigment colors and my wooden support
Step 4: Melt the resin
The resin takes longer to melt, so you melt this first. I didn't want to spend money on special containers, so I just got some throw away muffin tins.
Step 5: Melt wax in, then add pigments. Each muffin spot will be a different color. Keep one plain beeswax for the bottom priming layer. Feels like a recipe!
Step 6: Paint with plain beeswax to prime the support. Usually there is also encaustic gesso underneath so the support is white, but I don't mind painting straight onto the wood. Also usually beeswax is bleached for this process, just so it is more translucent and clear, and so the pigments are their true color. However, I really like this raw beeswax. Adds to the naturalness of the painting, and the yellow tint doesn't bother me since I'm using a lot of browns, yellows and reds. It works with my color pallet and helps keep it to natural tones.
Usually you would want a smooth bottom layer, but I was feeling saucy and got my pallet knife out to carve away at some and get this nice texture as my base layer.
Step 6: START PAINTING!! The medium is nice and cooked down at this point, ready to be used! Natural bristle brushes are important, because synthetic ones melt in the wax. I just ordered up some fresh ones, but for now I had a few laying around that did the trick!
Between each layer, you use a torch to just barely heat the surface, fuzing the layers together. It's super neat looking and you can even use the torch as a tool to reactivate an area, making marks float or break apart within the wax.
Step 7: Keep painting! Realize the layers begin to come off the support, so you build the painting up background first, foreground and details last. Always fuze layers with the torch! I really was enjoying scraping away some of the wax. Adding and subtracting. When I'd scrape away, I'd just remelt what I scraped and use it again. It's a very forgiving process with many possibilities.
Step 8: Keep on truckin'... and get a wood burning tool!
Here I plugged in my wood burning tool and began to draw in the wax, creating lines and texture. Nice to have a drawing tool within the medium.
Step 9: Keep working!! This is unfinished, but you can see where I'm going with it... final photos to come! Thanks for reading up on this new process! I'm so lucky to have such supportive friends and family. :)
The New Year has inspired me to do an "Art A Day" exercise and I am posting them all on Instagram (jessikamessika) and Facebook. I have a separate artist Facebook page... www.facebook.com/jessamessart so please go "like" it, I'll be doing art give aways every once in a while.
My Uncle bought me a book about getting your artwork out there and I'm realizing how important Instagram and hashtags can be. The name of my Etsy shop is "TheheARTofthewoods" which is also my Tumblr user name, so I've started using #theheARTofthewoods on my postings. Just a little update for any of you tech savy people.
Here are just a few random things from my "art a day" adventures so far. Some are small sketches, some are the starts to paintings. Just as long as I'm making something every day, I'm a happy camper :)
We arrived back to the woods yesterday, so today was the first FULL day without water. It really isn't so bad, we have been without hot water since Thanksgiving, so we're use to heating water on the stove for bathing, cooking and cleaning. We rolled in one of our very frozen 55 gallon drums of water which is now thawing by the wood stove. It will probably take a week to de-ice. We have a giant "HOT POT" with a spicket, so we've decided to melt snow in that and just always have a stash of water in there for convenience. (photos below) We are going to used melted snow water for extra water, but have a separate stock for drinking water.
The inaugural poos happened yesterday in the outhouse, we added a space heater for obvious reasons and have a nice string of lights that illuminate the way. Thank goodness Grandmaw gave me my Papaw's old "honey pot," which I used several times in the middle of the night. We usually each get up once or twice to rebuild the fire, and the Honey Pot will save me from having to go out in the middle of the night.
It was about 20 degrees in the cottage when we got here yesterday, and took about an hour to get the place heated up. Today it was 34 degrees, snowed like crazy and we got about 5 inches overall. We went out to collect wood for about an hour with the chainsaw. We found a giant dead tree, and chopped it down for wood-the biggest one yet! We didn't realize a mouse was living in there until the tree was down, but he survived and inspired me to do some research & draw up a mouse skull.
I've decided to do a little sketch every day, an "art a day" sort of challenge for myself. My Uncle Bill sent me a book on "Showing Your Artwork," and it's very relevant to art in todays world and social media, so I'm working on documenting my process more and learning more about showing my work on the internet.
Christmas break was great...I think I'll always consider Christmas time as a "break" even though I'm not in school anymore. It was nice seeing family & friends, having hot showers, eating all my favorite foods from home and celebrating the holidays. I'm really glad I got a nice 2+ week visit in, giving me tons of time to see everyone, especially my family.
And now it is nice being back amongst the trees and all my art supplies. Feeling more focused and inspired than ever! Ready to MAKE STUFF LIKE CRAZY! Here's to 2015!!!
Papaw's "Honey Pot"
I guess you could say is a family heirloom?
Jessica R. Willis
Artist of many mediums inspired by nature and philanthropy