Everyone is a Moon

I thought it might be fun to let you peek into my process of layering and masking a Gelli plate painting.

It all started with an unfinished wood cradle board, which I sanded and gessoed in white.  I also had a Gelli plate full of a mornings-worth of dried on paint remnants – my favorite thing in the whole wide world because I adore pulling up those disparate layers, not knowing what will happen, but always pretty much thrilled with whatever I get!  I call this yumminess a “messy second” – a technique  inspired  by a student who commented, “wish I could pull up all that dried-on paint.”  I wished it too and, after some playing, figured out how!!  This is now one of my go-to techniques – in fact, I’m working on a short video tutorial on it, so stay tuned…


When I got that first layer done, I knew right away that I was going to let it guide the rest of the piece.  All those circles and curvy lines looked almost like a blue print to me!  I was a little dissappointed in those white spaces (shown above along the bottom and left-hand side), so my next layer aimed to cover a little of that.  This layer was a little more contrived – I intentionally layered on some orange, blue and paynes gray, letting each layer dry in between, then I pulled it “messy-seconds” style…


Next – I was thinking about a horizon line that would go across that big circle at the bottom, so I layered in a nice wide band of paynes gray (my favorite color since taking Dina Wakely’s class last summer).  This layer ended up requiring two takes.  One of the things I love about printing this way is that the layers sometimes end up being very transparent.  I loved that band of paynes so much I wanted it to be good and dark, so it got printed twice (layered paint – printed; layered paint – printed a second time)…


So far, so good – now for the circles!  I love, love, LOVE playing with transparency and, as I mentioned above, that’s one of the things that makes mono-printing so much fun.  Often, the layers are light enough that you can see what’s going on underneath and, oh my, that makes me happy!!  My only gripe on this next layer is that I put down my mask for the left-hand circle and forgot to cover the rest of the painting!  I really had to resist ditching it when that wide blue verticle line showed up (my inner critic was shouting, “RUINED”) – best thing I could do for myself at that point was take a nice long break…


The next morning, it felt a little better and I decided to add more circles in complimentary colors.  I also highlighted that big blue line by penciling in a simple cross – now it looks like I meant to add it!  Both of the final circle-layers ended up being multiple layers – remasking and reprinting until I got the color/texture I was looking for.  Which isn’t really what I got at all, if I’m truthful.  Which is usually the case when you let the piece show you the way!  :)…


I’ve been reading alot of sci-fi lately and the final piece just seemed like some sort of alien moonscape, so I did a quick search for quotes about the moon and landed on this one…

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
~Mark Twain

Since I’ve been back on the yoga mat lately, this was just a perfect reminder of what my teacher always said in place of the traditional “namaste” – “the dark and the light in me, honors the dark and the light in you.”  Aren’t we all made up of dark and light?  And, as another teacher always said, “without the dark, you cannot see the stars.”


4 Comments on “Everyone is a Moon

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