Gelli Plate Round

The round Gelli plate showed up a few days ago, and I happily started using it for prints. A friend wryly remarked that it looked like a breast implant after the mammogram. Yes, yes, it does.


The first print, round like the world, made me want to create biospheres and gardens in the round.

Gelli4This one, with the turquoise and gold,  looks like a design on ancient jewelry, or a vase.


And after a while, I thought how much fun it would be to do a series on the seven days of creation.


This piece, a work in progress, would make a great base for a collage with plants and animals. It has the making of a wild prairie.

Gelli2And OK, round isn’t the only shape. This one is a bird at dawn. The tree, on the right, still needs some work, probably with oil pastels to show up on the acrylics.

What I love about these Gelli plates is not that they can make journal page backgrounds, but that they can do monoprints, blending new techniques with old techniques of printing.

I’ll be teaching Gelli plate 101 on this coming Saturday, November 2, at Arizona Art Supply in Phoenix. You can read details and register, on my website.

–Quinn McDonald has turquoise paint under her fingernails. She hopes it wears off in time to teach Business Writing tomorrow.


Gelli Plate Collage

Note: I’ll be teaching Gelli Plates 101: Make A Book of Monoplates at Arizona Art Supply (Phoenix) on November 2. Details and registration.

Gelli plates are gelatin-like plastic that you coat with paint and use as a printing plate. You apply the paint with a brayer, but the printing press is your hand. Once the paper is down, you smooth it over with your hand and lift off the impression.

Here is a collage I made using Gelli prints


First, I tried to make the poppies an underlayer, but they came out too uniformly red, so then I printed a sheet of mixed reds and used it to create the poppies separately and collage them over the stems.

BranchesOn this one, I wanted to mix unusual colors, giving it a worn feel. Not sure I love the colors, but I got the effect I was looking for. I cut the masks myself, using old overhead projector plastic. It makes them reusable.


I love the teabag print. This is a journal page I will write on with a Sharpie.

And yes, I have two teaching locations where I’ll be teaching how to use these for journal pages. Minneapolis and yes, Madeline Island. Stay tune for details!

–Quinn McDonald has fallend paint over fingers for Gelli Arts plates.

Gelli Plate Love

Monoprints are so much fun, done on a Gelli plate. I’ve been having fun with masks and layers:

FlowerPrintThe first print was a flower on a fall-colored background. Co-Mo Sketch paper was the substrate, and it’s not really designed for the heavier work.

LeafPrintI stayed with the same color family do start this branch of leaves print. The batik-y look is appealing to me.

BranchesPrintThis layer of color for the branches covered with a lighter layer on top is the reverse of what is expected. The contrast is fun, a combination of fall and the winter to come.

HousesPrintThis group of houses on a windy hill with woods was fun to make. I”m working on adding some recognizable elements into abstract designs. It’s a wonderful challenge that allows for a lot of experimentation. And experimentation is what creativity is about.

Have a creative week!

Quinn McDonald should have been making samples for upcoming classes, but the Gelli plate sang to her and she digressed.

Monoprinting Experiments

imagesA few weeks ago, I was given two Gelli Arts Plates. My creative life hasn’t been the same since. Gelli Plates are gelatin-like consistency printing surface  that you can use to make gelatin prints without the hassle of making gelatin. I have a big weakness for monoprints. But the monoprints I learned to make are very exacting and precise, and we all know by now, I admire those characteristics–in others. Wabi-sabi and rustic echoes out of my soul.

Gelli plates are used most often in creating backgrounds for multi-media uses. And they are fun to use for that purpose. You put acrylic paint on them then roll out the paint with a brayer. To put designs in the paint, use stencils, homemade tools, or just your fingers. Then put a piece of paper on the paint, smooth the surface with your hands, then pull the print off the plate.

©Quinn McDonald, 2013

©Quinn McDonald, 2013

Quinadricone Azo Gold and Quin. Burnt Orange are desert colors that blend well with Payne’s Gray and metallic gold. I used a small tile to make the imprint.

© Quinn McDonald, 2013

© Quinn McDonald, 2013

You can layer the prints, which is super popular in the layer-on-layer art journaling pages. This was fun. But I wanted a little more experimentation. So I made a custom rubber stamp out of foam sheets. That’s a separate tutorial, but it is well worth the time. No carving. You cut out foam and put it on a piece of foam as big as the plate.


© Quinn McDonald, 2013

Here’s a foam stamp, showing both positive and negative use. This is fun. There will be more of this experimenting. But I wanted to make real monoprints. Not for backgrounds, for a print. So I started with a simple one.

© Quinn McDonanld 2013

© Quinn McDonanld 2013

Three squares, layered, but translucent colors. The middle one is stamped with a gold antique clock. The piece represents past, present and future, each affecting the next. Interesting, but not quite what I wanted–something more graphic and still abstract.

After the Fire, © Quinn McDonald, 2013. Acrylic monoprint.

After the Fire, © Quinn McDonald, 2013. Acrylic monoprint.

Much more of what I was trying to get. Landscape feel, contrasting color, and some interesting detail on the lower right corner. (Above) And then I figured out how to draw on the plate and use the accidental arc of Azo Gold. (Below)

Night Pines © Quinn McDonald 2013, acrylic monoprint

Night Pines © Quinn McDonald 2013, acrylic monoprint

I worked the dried monoprint with Pitt Pens to add more detail and to make it look a little more like a woodblock. Then I added Derwent Inktense details to create the final piece. This is what I’d like to do more of. My original intent was to write over it. Now I’m rethinking that, at least for this piece.

And now, it’s the week of Patti Digh’s Design Your Life camp, and I’ll be prepping for that as well as teaching my new Persuasive Writing course. But it was a creatively satisfying weekend.

Quinn McDonald loves experimenting with monoprints.