Gelli Arts Print- over printing black and white

August 10, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts

I finally had a little while to play today. I was trying out some ideas with the Gelli Arts Printing Plate and some of my new stencils, for a collaborative project that I will be part of this coming fall. At the end of the session I decided to play around with a wooden stamp I have and do a simple black and white Gelli Arts print. It had some cool texture and I planned on scanning it in…

Gelli Arts Print-Black White-1

Gelli Arts Print-Black White-1

I tried to do a second larger print, but I didn’t like the way it came out. So I went back to printing what I had been working on earlier. I reached for my white paper- gone!! So, I grabbed the white on black print that I didn’t like and over printed on that. I kind of liked the way it came out! So, as has happened before with the Gelli Arts plate- if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!!

Gelli Arts Print-Black & White Over Printed-2

Gelli Arts Print-Black & White Over Printed-2

Stay tuned for more information on the collaborative project!

Gelli Arts Hand-y work

May 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts

I know folks have used their Gelli Arts printing plate to print on a LOT of things, but after my last play session, I happened to glance down at my gloves. They were so cool looking! Here is what it looked like…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand start

Gelli Arts Printed Hand start

I decided to bring it into Photoshop and play around with it, until I arrived at something like this…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand

Gelli Arts Printed Hand

I liked it so much, I decided to add it in as design for a new set of Moo stickers that I use for the backs of my ATCs for a group I belong to…

Gelli Arts Printed Hand Sticker

Gelli Arts Printed Hand Sticker

I know, I know- it is bad enough that we won’t throw away scraps of paper, now we have to save gloves? Or you can just scan in your Hand-y work instead :).

Another Gelli Art Print with Photoshop

April 23, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts

Hello friends! I just designed a pile of stencils and stamps, and while I was waiting for the stencils to be made, I decided to cut a couple on my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine and test them out. I pulled out my trusty Gelli Arts Printing plate, and pulled some of the new Golden Inks that I had just ordered. I only had a few colors, and one of them was green which I usually am not a huge fan of. I didn’t even remember ordering that color, but it was only a small bottle so maybe I was trying to get myself to branch out?

Anyhow, I had a pretty successful session, and came away with quite a few prints. I really liked the Golden inks. They are VERY fluid!! The way I liked them best was mixed with some of the normal Golden paints. Maybe 1-2 colors of paint and 1-2 colors of the ink seemed to be about the right mix. The prints with all inks are very juicy as you will see in one of the examples below.

Here was one of the prints with mostly ink. You can see lines where the ink pooled around the stencil…

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print

Gelli Art Photoshop First Print


I then pulled a second print and liked the background a lot better, but the funky circles didn’t come out as detailed…

Gelli Art Photoshop Original

Gelli Art Photoshop Original


I liked the circles in the first but the background in the second. Not to worry- I could combine them in Photoshop, but the selection might be a bit difficult. I tried a trick and it worked to give me some help to isolate the circles for the mask. First of course, I lined the two prints up on different layers in Photoshop. Then I chose the blend mode of exclusion on one of the layers. This made the background more of a consistent color so I could use the quick selection tool to more easily grab the background. Here is what it looked like in Photoshop:

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion

Gelli Art Photoshop Exclusion


Once I made my selection, I changed the blend mode to multiply and hit the mask button on the bottom of the layers panel (it looks sort of like a camera- a rectangle with a circle in the middle). The mask was actually backwards from what I wanted, so I clicked on the mask in the layers panel and used Ctrl-I in order to invert the mask.

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final


I played around with opacity and arrived at the final print…

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

Gelli Art Print Spirals Final

The final print has the best of both original prints- the background I liked from the second with the more detailed circles from the first! Give it a shot yourself!

And now I really like that green color, so I am going to need to order a bigger bottle ;)

Marbled Leaves in Photoshop

November 1, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

I had planned on doing something for Halloween, but got sidetracked on a number of other things. One of these side projects was creating a pattern using the leaves from last weeks post. I got it done, decided it needed to become a stencil, and while working on the stencil, found images that I wanted to turn into stamps, and started down that path. Long story short, it was like the children’s book- “If you give a Moose a Muffin”- where I finally circled back to the original project of the leaves, but that left me with no time for a Halloween project. So, that will need to be put on hold until next year ;-)

In my leaves experiment, I was working with a Gelli Arts print in Photoshop to add some color to my leaves. I also had another print that I was using to try to give the illusion of water, so it would look like the leaves were floating on a pond. In my mind, I wanted to make the leaves look as if they were swirling around on the water. So I used a filter from the Filter Gallery (Distort-Wave). I was on the wrong layer and instead of rippling the water, it rippled the layer that I was using to color the leaves. I loved the way it turned out, although it wasn’t what I had planned originally. It looked like marbling.

Here was the print I started with for the leaf color:

Gelli Art Print Abstract

And here is the way the leaves turned out. On the right, image I added a light effect to look like there was sun shining on the center of the leaf pool.

Marbled Leaves

Try one of the distort filters and see what you can come up with!

Tracy Verdugo Inspired Intuitive Paint in Photoshop

October 25, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

I was lucky enough to be able to attend an Art Is You retreat this year in Stamford. I have never done anything like that before, never done art for 6 days straight, and never met such a great group of creative, fun, kind people all in one place. It was fabulous!!

I took different classes, and tried different types of art. I wanted to be inspired, and learn new things, assuming that I probably would not leave with a finished piece that I really liked. I was right ;-). Just kidding- I actually have a couple of things that I will do something with. However, one of the classes was an Intuitive Painting, taught by Tracy Verdugo. I have seen a couple of pieces by her, and have wanted to take a class from her from a while. She doesn’t teach online (yet, hint hint), so I was happy to be able to take a class from her during the retreat.

Her class had lots of differents steps in the process of creating a large (30″ by 30″) canvas, but it also had lots of room for creative freedom. That freedom was probably my downfall! Having never done any painting like that before I was at a slight disadvantage, so my painting came out, er, um less than stellar shall we say ;-). However, I definitely got a lot for the class, and I really want to try again. It has been two weeks since the retreat, and with work, family, and other obligations, I have not had a chance to paint since then.

However, one night I was waiting for something on the computer, I had Photoshop open, lots of scanned images from Gelli Arts printing sessions, and I thought “hmmmm , I wonder if I could do something similar to what we learned in Tracy’s class?” So, I layered a bunch of prints, along with digital images of my stamps and my own photographs, used a bunch of blending modes and paint brushes in Photoshop, and got something with a similar feel to some of the art I saw in Tracy’s class. It still isn’t as nice as the real thing, but it was a fun experiment!

Since I was in Photoshop, I got to add some extra things like the circle borders. I am trying to make those into a stencil, but that is a story for another day ;-).

Wild Leaves


Another thing I get to do in Photoshop is switch part of it to black and white. Oh yeah, and there is an eraser tool, and an un-do button! I really wish I had those options when I paint in real life ;-).

Leaves wild 3

Gelli Art Rejects

September 18, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

It is no secret that I adore my Gelli Art Printing Plate. I go through lots of paper, and sometimes I get prints that are not quite so stellar ;-). However, I very rarely throw them away, because often I use those Gelli Art Rejects. Also, when I teach classes with the Gelli Plate, I always tell the folks in class to look at the back of the print.  I use a brayer to roll paint onto the Gelli Art Plate, and after I place the paper on the plate to pull the print, I roll with my paint covered brayer to make sure the paper has full contact with the plate. Often I get a cool pattern on the backside of the print. I call these two-fers- two prints for the price of one. I will scan in the back side of the print, so I don’t have to waste it, if I am planning on using the front as well.

I had two Gelli Art Print “rejects” that I ended up using in my Photoshop play time this week, and I liked the results. I hope you do too!

Here is a background that was super busy, and difficult to use because it tended to distract…


Gelli Art Background in Photoshop
I haven’t used it yet, so I scanned it, opened it in Photoshop, and combined it with a drawing. Here is the end result:


Gelli Arts Print Girl


I like the texture it added to the drawing. It is almost a carved stone effect.

The next print was the back/wrong side of a Gelli Art print. I liked the markings left behind from the brayer, and so I saved that section of the back.  I had another drawing of mine printed on tissue paper (more on that in a future post), and I adhered that to the print. But, Yuck! I hated the way it looked…


Tissue over Gelli Arts Print

It was way too dark, no constrast etc. I decided to try to scan it and bring it into Photoshop to see if I could salvage it. By combining this print with a scan of the original drawing, some other drawings and photos, and a whole lot of tinkering with blend modes, I arrived at this picture:


Gelli Arts Print in Photoshop


So next time you are hesitant to throw away your “rejects” try to see what you can do to salvage them!

Gelli Arts Print Photoshop Composite Frame

June 27, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

Hi Everyone! Today I wanted to walk you through a long-ish session for manipulating a couple of prints made with the Gelli Arts Printing plate, and compositing them in Photoshop. I started with a print made from one of my stencils. I was just printing with earth colors in this session, so I ended up with a gray-toned print. I really liked this one, which was a second print- that is, I printed once, and then used another piece of paper to pull another print without refreshing the paint in between. I had enough paint to get a decent second print, so I was very happy with this result.

However, I wanted the frame to be a little more defined. And because I don’t have the larger Gelli Arts Printing Plate (yet ;-) ), I wanted to expand the print to fill a bit more of an 8.5×11 inch piece of paper for printing.

Here is the Original…

Grunge Circle Frame Original

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Original

Because this image is not super detailed, and because it was pretty close in size to begin with, I could scan the image in at a larger resolution than my printer. Then I could scale the image to 8.5×11 inches without losing much detail. So that was step number one.

The next thing I wanted to address was the fact that there was not a lot of background on the top of the frame. I wanted the frame to sit in a bit more. So I needed to basically add more of the background to the top.

As usual there are multiple ways to do such a thing in Photoshop, but I decided to use the patch tool. I could select the top of the image and then use the patch tool to pick an area from the bottom to fill that section. With the top selected, I created a new layer, then I switched to the patch tool on the left hand side. I made sure that Content Aware was set under the patch type up at the top tool properties bar. I also checked off the “Sample All Layers” checkbox.

Then I dragged the selection down to the bottom of the image. Because Content Aware was chosen,  the selection was filled in with what can be thought of as a merge of the surrounding areas. When using  Content Aware fill, Photoshop chooses the areas close to the selected area. But, the patch tool allows you to determine what the selected are should be filled with, based on where you drag the selected area. Then Content Aware tries to merge and blend the areas to look seamless. Sometimes it works, as in this case. Sometimes it doesn’t, but I always try it because it is a lot quicker and easier than cloning in (or out) big sections of an image.

Also, even though the layer I was on was empty, it took the patch from the entire image because of the  “Sample All Layers” checkbox. This lets you have an empty layer to clone and patch, which will not add as much to your file size as duplicating a layer and then  doing cloning and patching. Be aware though- if you change too much of the original layer, your clone/patch layer may not match any more.

Grunge Circle Frame Selection tool

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Frame Top Selected


After I patched the top to add a bit more, I decided I really wanted to get rid of the discolored area surrounding the frame. Again there are several ways to do this. This time I decided to use Content Aware Fill.

I selected the general area of the frame making sure to include most of the edge of the frame that I didn’t like. Because I wanted to use the frame and not just get rid of the entire thing,  I copied the frame from the layer (Edit->Copy or CTRL-C) and pasted it so it became a new layer. Then I turned off the visibility of that new layer with the frame on it (click on the eyeball to the left of the layer).

To reselect the frame, I used the Photoshop trick of holding down the CTRL key (command on a MAC) and clicked on the frame layer. That will select the non-transparent pixels on that layer, so I ended up with the same selection of the frame that I had made before. Note that I also could have saved the selection and re-loaded it if I wanted to make sure I could get the same selection, but this shortcut works fine in this particular case.

Then I clicked on the original layer and chose Edit->Fill as shown below…

Grunge Circle Frame Content Aware

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Content Aware Fill


I made sure the popup used Content Aware as the type of fill, and clicked OK. The selected area of the frame was now filled with other areas surrounding the background. It wasn’t a perfect fill, especially if I planned on using it as is, because of the repeating patterns. However, since I was going to cover most of it back up anyway, it was good enough. Sometimes if you do Content Aware Fill a couple of times (each time tends to be a bit different) you can get a better result. Here is what I ended up with…

Content Aware Fill Results

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Content Aware Fill Results


The next step was to turn the layer with the frame back on. I still needed to get rid of the darkish outline, so I used a combination of selection tools (mostly the quick selection tool) in order to select that border, as shown below…

Grunge Circle Frame

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Frame Outline Selected


I decided to use a mask to hide that edge. With the border of the frame selected, I clicked on the mask button at the bottom of the layers panel (it looks like a square with a hole in it). A mask is created  in the shape of the selection, and this mask will show that selected area, and hide everything else.

This is actually the opposite of what I wanted. If you remember one of my other posts where we talked about masks, then hopefully your remember that white will allow you to see those portions of the layer, as if it were vellum or even better-acetate. Black on a mask will hide those parts of the layer, as if it is a black piece of paper. So, I really needed to have the white of the mask be on the rest of the image, and I needed black  on the frame border so I could hide it.

There are 2 ways to accomplish this. Back when I made my initial selection, when I knew that I wanted to hide that selected area, I could have chosen Select->Inverse and then clicked on the mask button. Or if I forgot, and created the mask, and then I realized that I have the opposite portion of my image masked, I could click on the mask (the thumbnail to the right of the image thumbnail for that layer), and then click CTRL-I (Command-I on a MAC) to invert. In this case the mask the mask will be inverted. So the white parts become black and the black parts become white. Voila!

Note that if you have never played with Invert (CTRL-I) you should. You can use Invert (CTRL-I) on layer images, masks, after you apply blend modes, etc to get lots of different looks to your images.

Now, because I had filled in the background in the previous step, the fact that I am hiding the border in this step works, so that I don’t have a hole in my overall image where the border used to be.  Here is what the image looked like with the mask applied…

Photoshop Mask

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Frame Outline Mask

At this point, you could choose to merge this layer back down to the layer below, so it becomes a single layer again (and saves a little bit in terms of size of the Photoshop file), which is what I did.

I still had some areas that I wanted to clean up around the frame. For this step I used the Clone Stamp tool.

I created a new, empty layer above and clicked on the Clone Stamp tool. If you remember from a previous post, I click on the “Sample All Layers” checkbox at the top and now I can paint with the Clone Stamp brush on the empty layer using  portions of the entire image.

To get the selection to paint with, hold down the Alt key and click on an area that you would like to choose to paint with. The larger the brush size the more of that area you clicked on will be used. You can also play with the brush opacity and edge softness to blur the effects of the cloning, and make it blend in a bit better.

The images below show the edges where I used the Clone Stamp tool to do a bit of clean up. I worked my way around the image doing spot cleaning hear and there.


Clone Tool In Photoshop Before

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Before Content Aware Clone


Clone Tool In Photoshop After

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- After Content Aware Clone


As the final step I wanted to punch up the image just a touch. I loved the background, but the frame was a little obliterated during the print. So I also pulled in the image of the stencil and used a blend mode of  difference to pull out a smidge of color, and sharpen up the line. I use this trick a lot to sharpen up details lost when using stencils with my prints. I also scan in the used, stencils ( not cleaned) after the paint dries, to have that image to play with in Photohop, with all its fun multicolored paint remnants.

I also used the effect Bevel and Emboss on the stencil image to give it a bit more “pop”. I discuss a lot of these tips in other posts- just use the search tool on the blog and search for “Photoshop” to see more posts where I discuss different tools in more detail.

My final step was to rotate the whole image counter clockwise. Here is the final (for now) image…


Grunge Circle Gelli Arts Print Final

Gelli Arts Circle Frame Print- Finished
I plan on tweaking this a bit more, so stay tuned ;-).

Gelli Arts Print on Black

June 20, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

Have you tried pulling a Gelli Arts print on black paper yet? I played around with it a bit, and really liked the effects I got. In this case, I used gesso (because I was too lazy to go find my white paint), and a squirt of Adirondack Dye re-inker, along with some smidges of Golden colors- Paynes Gray, Titan Buff, Burnt Umber and a tad of metallic copper.  I found that adding a bit of Matte Medium to make the paint flow a bit, worked great!

Here is one of the prints I made. I laid the stencil on the Gelli Arts plate and, using a brayer, rolled the paint over the top trying to make sure to get paint into the small areas left open by the stencil. Then I lifted the stencil and placed plain black cardstock onto the plate in order to pull the print:

Gelli Arts print on black paper


I took the stencil that was now covered in paint, and flipped it onto another sheet of plain black cardstock. I grabbed the brayer that was used to roll the paint onto the Gelli Arts plate, and used that to brayer over the back of the stencil. The leftover paint on the brayer was rolled onto the cardstock around the stencil.

The medium kept the paint a bit wetter, so this print came out great!

Gelli Arts print on black paper

Unfortunately, this is so much fun, now my stash of black paper is dwindling as fast as my white cardstock!