Monday, April 27, 2015

Cow Gelli prints

I have been wanting to make some "cow" art for a while.  Even before I moved to Nebraska, I was interested in them.

I've been really enjoying making my own stencils (see that post here), and thought I would make a cow stencil, and Gelli print with it.  I used a picture I took at the Nebraska State Fair last summer.

I decided that I needed two stencils, one a generic cow shape, and one a detailed outline stencil.  (Both of these pictures were taken after I printed with them)

I used the generic cow shape stencil to print backgrounds and the cows with colors and patterns. Most of these are three layers of printing, if not more.

When I print a second time on a previously printed one, I line the stencil up on the print, and tape the stencil to the paper with blue painter's tape. This worked pretty well to keep the prints overlapping correctly. You can see a few were off a little bit. Originally my plan was to keep these backgrounds simple, but the more layers I added, the more interesting they became.

After printing the base layers, I then printed the detail stencil, again aligning the stencil on the print, and taping the stencil to the paper.

I covered my gelli plate with black paint (Liquitex Basics), laid the stencil/paper on top, and used my fingers to press into the stencil cutout areas.

After pulling the stencil/paper off the gelli plate:
After I removed the stencil:

Since I had to leave "bridges" so my stencil would stay in one piece, there are spots I filled in with a paintbrush to give a bit more detail.

 Some of these prints are absolutely delicious. 

I love the way these turned out, but the detail stencil was difficult to work with. I think some of the details were just too small, and many times they did not get printed and I had to do paint touch-up. I purposely avoided cutting a mylar stencil, because it is easier to make a mistake than the cardstock/contact paper stencil, and I find mylar more difficult to cut.  Cutting this detail stencil took three episodes of CSI (now available on Hulu, yay!) and the tip of my index finger was numb for a week.  What I wouldn't do for a ScanNCut, or other stencil making machine. Maybe I will splurge on one in the future.

I do plan to mount six of these on one canvas, and may do three canvases like that, since I have enough prints.  The first print at the top of the page is my favorite, for my personal collection.  The background was just "brayer cleaning" paper from another project (I don't show the brayer-cleaning papers, but you can see the project they are from on my guest post on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog).  I always save my cleaning papers and not-so-good prints, because another layer or two can make them amazing.

I did order a Thermofax of the detail stencil, and it's a bit smaller as the Thermofax can't come this big. I am looking forward to playing with it as it is the first one I've owned. And my index finger is thanking me for the break from detail cutting.


  1. They are so great looking! I love all of them! But especially the two with the pink "sun stripes" in the back are my favorites :)

    1. Thanks Saraccino! I believe that is a Heidi Swapp stencil (sunburst). My original plan was for all of them to have this, in different colors, but then I got off track and followed my whims!

  2. I really love these !! Are you going to sell them?

    1. Yep! I plan to mount 6 of them on one canvas. I plan to do two canvases like that. I think they have a powerful feel to them when grouped together. The rest will be matted. I will be selling them at the Summer Art Market in Denver, June 13-14, and at Arts in the Park, in Kearney, NE, July 12th. If there is one you are interested in, you can email me at gingerwlsn (at)

    2. Also, I love your cacti ones. Will you be doing the same things with them? If so, would I be able to pick which ones to be put on a canvas?
      And there's no "o" in your email for Wilson, is that correct?

  3. Some of the Cacti are already individually mounted on 8x10 canvas, and the yellow and blue print with black circles at the bottom has been sold. I could do a similar arrangement of 6 together on one canvas with the cacti, if they aren't already mounted on the 8x10's. There is no "i" or "o" in wilson for my email, consonants only - wlsn.

  4. Love your cows. I think they would make great note cards. Love the colors. You probably would not agree. Kind of reminds me of Andy Warhol, but not much pink like he used with his people.

    1. They are Warholesque, and he actually did screenprinted cows.