Gel prints with acrylics

Gelli plate print

So I finally found an acrylic art class to go to this spring. I have been wanting to take something ever since I started back with acrylics last year.  So much has changed, material wise, in 40 years and I needed to update myself on current paints, additives, and methodologies. Who would have thought that now there are acrylics as thin as watercolors.

Anyway, on the first day, I made a gel print.  It used to be that gel plates for monoprinting were hand-made with real gelatin powder and used for a day or two before discarding.  Now, you can buy a plastic substrate that performs like a real gel plate but doesn’t degrade. I never tried this before so it was an interesting experience.  I was able to borrow a small plate to experiment with that first day but I didn’t get to do much more than a single print before I moved on to something else.

I went ahead and bought 8×10 and 5×7  “gelli plates” for my own use at home. Fortunately, they have arrived in time for the last two classes so I will be trying some more complicated things out with a little supervision before I dive in on my own.  I also found a few books to help guide me along and I will have to check out youtube.

This class has been mostly abstract in nature, quite different from my normal work I know, but I am mostly interested in learning about new materials and technologies rather than subject matter.  So far, I’ve been very happy with the experience.  Pour painting is next.

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The Central Fire Station in Boise

Central Fire Station

After several sessions, the final watercolor for the Central Fire Station in Boise, Idaho, has been finished and it has listed in my etsy store.  The distinctive corbelled brick makes quite the statement for this corner building, don’t you think?.  The tower is pretty spectacular, too.  I believe the original signal bell is still hanging up there, although I can’t say how and when it might still be used.

The facade of the building is mostly the same since when it was opened in 1902. All of the upper story windows (sans the awnings of course) were there and the main entrance was on the right side even then.   The three fire bays had arched openings across the lower left.  If you google the station you can see wonderful old photos which have the fire crews and horse drawn fire trucks out in front.  With the signal bell clanging away, it must have been quite the spectacle to see them all charge out of the doors to head off to put out a fire.

Boise’s Central Fire Station

Pencil up

Completed inking

The Boise Central Fire Station was finished and occupied in 1903.  It was the first fire station in Boise to house full time paid fireman in the city.

This brick structure has been described as Romanesque due to the tower, the semi-circular windows, and the symetrical patterning.  The corbelling on the tower and above the second floor add a lot of visual interest.  I don’t normally like awnings, but they do dress up the windows here.  Watercolors will be a lovely orange/red color for the brick and the awnings a darker accent.

Plant acrylic

Underlayment and pencil-up

Mostly painted

Since I couldn’t get to the watercolor board for my next piece (it was in my flat file cabinet and blocked by the panels of a dry sauna my husband bought but not yet assembled), I had to use what I already had out and available in the studio.  Between the cold weather and unseasonable snows, I am tired of waiting for spring.  I decided to make some of my own green with the acrylics.  It’s only a little painting at 10×8, so it didn’t take long and I’m pretty happy with it.

And an April Fool’s Day joke from Mother Nature  –  1-3 inches of snow predicted for this evening.  Fortunately it has been warm enough that it will mostly stick on the grass and melt off of the roads.  Next up on the table is a pen/watercolor of the Central Fire Station in Boise Idaho.  (I did finally get into the flat files for the board.  My husband will soon be in sauna heaven.)