Had a great time last night working on more gelatin monoprinting, this time with a slightly different technique. I’ve been reading this book:
It’s brilliant. And, alas, out of print and very much in demand. Commanding big figures in online used book sites. Today I finally had to return it to the library after renewing it the maximum number of times allowed. And still I turned it in late.I owe the library 60 cents, but it was worth it.
Anyone have a copy they want to sell? Cheap?
Anyway, the author has a different approach to making her gelatin blocks than the one I used before. She uses a much (much much much) higher ratio of gelatin to water, and cooks it on the stove. I ended up with three nice gelatin slabs, one 9 x 12, one about 4 x 6, and one a sort of odd trapezoidal shape–I made that one by pouring the gelatin left over from the first two into a gallon sized ziplock bag (because you should never, never pour the leftover gelatin down the drain–I love my plumber, but not enough–sorry, Tom–to hear him laughing over how I stopped up the sink) and leaving it flat on the kitchen table overnight.
She also counsels against the use of acrylics, favoring watercolor, gouache, tempera, and water-based printers’ inks. As you’ll see, I think I actually did better with the acrylics in the big batches of monoprints I made last month. Even the tube watercolors I used last night tended to bead up a bit on the plates.
Still, it was fun working with this new stuff. The highly concentrated gelatin plates were much, much more durable, almost like slabs of clear rubber. There’s a nice bounce to them. You can actually pick them up, handle them, turn them over, sponge them clean of paint, stretch a ruffly edge to make it straighter. And, as long as it’s cool (which it is here now), they’ll last a few days without refrigeration.
I don’t think the pieces I made last night are as “good” as the ones I made before. Mostly I was just playing with the materials and figuring out what it (and I) could do. Boy, it was fun, though–I started at about 4 in the afternoon and kept going until midnight.
Enough talk–time for show and tell:
Fun, fun, fun!
Cheap tip of the day? If you need sheets of sturdy glass for art activities (as here, when I poured the liquid gelatin–into a corral bounded by a plasticine clay fence–onto a thick piece of glass), go to your local Goodwill or other thrift store and buy old picture frames. The older ones often have nice thick glass, and you can get them for 50 cents or a dollar instead of the multiple bucks your local glass shop will want.