Gelli Arts® Landscape Painting with Bob Pennycook

Hi all, welcome to the Gelli Arts® blog. Bob Pennycook here! Since the majority of my work is landscapes, I thought I’d show you how I
create a contemporary landscape using my Gelli Arts® printing plate, sponges, torn paper, tape, and oil sticks
to produce an image of sun, water, earth, and growth. Check out the end of this blog for a GIVEAWAY!

This is my registration board. It holds an
8×10 Gelli Arts® gel plate. The base is melamine; wood lath strips
are screwed into the melamine and metal brackets are screwed into the lath. The
photo on the right shows the gel plate snuggled up to the edge of the wood
lath. The plate sits a little higher than the wood.

To start your print, cut a piece of
printmaking paper a little wider and longer than the registration board. This
size will allow for white borders around your print.

Mark an arrow in the upper left corner of the
BACK of your print paper. As you can see in the photo below, the corner
with the arrow fits into the corner of the angle bracket and the top and sides
of the paper fit against the straight metal brackets. This ensures true
registration for each layer of color.

Place painter’s tape on the wood before you
add color to the plate. This keeps the wood free of color. Remove the tape
before you print and you won’t get errant dabs of color on the white borders of
your print. Apply the tape every time you’re about to add a new color.

Randomly apply tape to the gel plate to
create a wonky rectangle. Using a large bristle brush, apply a thin layer of
paint spreading the paint whisper thin at the open end of the rectangle.

Remove tape and print the image making sure
the arrow in the corner of the paper fits into the metal angle bracket. The
image on the right shows the first pull of the print.

Re-tape the rectangle (and edges of board) and
brush on another layer of paint. Use a shop towel to wipe off some of the
color to create some visual texture. Pull the print.

A grouting sponge from a hardware store is
one of
my most used painting tools. If you cut the sponge into little cubes,
these little cubes are perfect paint applicators. The grouting sponge stays
soft and pliable so I prefer it to any kitchen sponge that requires softening
with water before use.

Tear off the corners of a small cube of
sponge so you create soft, printable edges, and you don’t print the sharp edges
of the sponge.

Tap the sponge into the paint you’re using.
Just a little paint will do. Tap the loaded sponge on some paper. The paint
layer on the sponge will then be even, thin, and covering the entire side of
the sponge.

Tap the sponge onto the gel plate creating a
circle for the foliage. A very gentle tap, very light pressure will create
soft, wispy color, particularly around the edges of the foliage. If you need
to, apply more paint to the foliage before you pull the print. The right photo
is the printed color with a couple of layers of paint applied before the pull.

These are the foliage colors I used to
create variety of color in the leaves.

Use the same dirty sponge and tap into a
light color first.

Tap the light color onto half the foliage
ball. Repeat, using the same dirty sponge, with a darker color tapped onto the
other half of the foliage ball.

Pull the print.

Rip a piece of painters’ tape in half
creating an irregular edge. Place the two pieces of tape on the gel plate,
irregular edges facing, and about a half inch apart.

Use a clean sponge and tap paint into the opening. Remove tape, print and let dry. Repeat to
create a second, thinner wavy line.

Draw and cut out a crescent-shaped tree trunk
on a piece of sticky-backed foam.

Remove the paper backing to expose the
adhesive on your tree trunk.

Place the tree trunk onto another piece of
foam, creating a support (and a stamp).

Sponge a dark color onto the trunk, stamp
onto the gel plate then pull the print.

Apply some direct painting to the print to
create the earth. In this case I used an oil stick. Wear latex or vinyl gloves
to keep your hands (and the paper) clean.

Apply a couple of different colors of
oil stick. On the sample piece, I felt I needed some of the “sun” color
elsewhere in the print so I mixed the two colors used in the wonky rectangle
and used a round brush just to dab the paint on. You’ll see this in the picture
of the completed piece. Also remember not to apply acrylic paint on top of the
oil stick. The oil will eventually repel the acrylic.

The Golden paint left a ghost image behind on each layer. I used that image as a guide to apply the next layer of paint. If you’re using color that doesn’t leave a ghost, draw your image on paper using a non-transferable medium and place the drawing underneath the gel plate as a guide. Remember, draw the image in reverse!


-Gelli Arts® 8×10″ gel printing plate

-Registration board

-Printmaking paper – I use BFK Rives. It’s an acid-free, 100% cotton, smooth paper.

-Golden Open Acrylics in Titan Green Pale, Nickel Azo Yellow, Sap Green, and Teal

-Oil sticks. I use oil sticks from Kama Pigments in Montreal. I simply used colors that worked with the paints in the print.

-Painter’s tape – 2 inch size works best

-Grouting sponge

-Sticky-backed foam

-Vinyl or latex gloves

Gelli Arts® Artist Bob Pennycook’s Blog Giveaway!

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC Philadelphia, PA

All rights reserved.

19 thoughts on “Gelli Arts® Landscape Painting with Bob Pennycook”

  1. This is such an interesting technique!!! Thanks SO very much for posting. Will share the link with my fiber art group next Monday!!!

  2. Farmer's Daughter

    Always looking for new texture tools. Grouting sponge for grass/leaves is on my list. Like your registration method. No room for slippage.

  3. Thanks for your comments, everyone. A registration board, some grouting sponges and a few brushes can help create interesting and exciting prints from your GelliArts plate. Bob

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