Seawhite Residency

4 September

I’m getting excited about my upcoming 5 day residency at Emily Ball at Seawhites, in Partridge Green. I am planning to revisit places on Star Road Industrial Estate, looking for shapes and spaces to focus on. I’ve packed my small Gelli plate, as I will inevitably be making some Gelli prints as part of my preparation for some painted studies. I want to look for possibilities rather than focus on getting finished paintings. Pattern and colour will feature, as always. I can’t wait!

12 September

The residency was no disappointment and was a worthwhile way to develop my wok further. I shared the space not only with Emily Ball but with Karen Stamper, Geoff Parham, Jax Arnold, JoJo Perkins and Alison Carlier. Having the dedicated space and dedicated time leaves no hiding place – you have to get on with the work with no distraction.

Gelli printing workstation

I started my week with a walk to the village of Partridge Green, where I used to live and made sketches of shapes that interested me. These were mostly architectural and in the event – narrowed down to rooflines and windows.

Shapes drawn in the village

A notan study was my first move back at the studio and this was a powerful reference during the week and is on my wall in my studio back at home.

Notan study based on architectural features

Cutting stencils to work from is time consuming and for me, difficult as I find that the blade slips on the acetate sheet.

Early prints – not many layers

I decided to restrict the number of papers that I worked with to see what multiple layers would achieve. This worked well for me mostly.

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I started the week saying that I was not looking for any finished work and that gelli prints would be for collage purposes, I listened to the other artists (and the prints themselves) and realised that the printed papers had their own qualities and that a series of motifs were enough to work with.

Why does the Gelli plate look better than the print?!
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The residency was also an opportunity to experiment and learn more about Gelli printing. I tried writing with Posca pens onto the plate and transferring written and drawn images onto the plate using oil pastels. I also learned a lot about temperature and keeping the ink on the plate active – or how to exploit inks that had dried onto the plate. The biggest learning point for me was to keep the roller(s) and stencils clean. I tend to do this in my own studio – using a bowl of water to put the used stencils in. However, I didn’t do this and ultimately I found that dried on paint on the rollers would absorb the fresh paint I was trying to put onto the plate. I soaked the rollers when I got home and was able to peel off the paint like cylindrical overcoats, leaving a clean roller underneath.

Dropping the rollers into water after each use is keeping them clean and workable, but is a pain to get them dry after each use – lots of wet towels needed to achieve it. Ditto the stencils especially if I am creating a series of repeated patterns.