Variations using a Mask in Gel Prints

the stencil


Using my Brother Scan-N-Cut to cut a vinyl sheet, I created a “mask” of leaves to use in printmaking. The leaves were drawn from the Chinese Fire Dance Bush in my back yard, so it’s a unique hand-crafted design.

It’s amazing what different looks you can create with just one mask. (A mask is the positive of a stencil — since this is created on a cutter, I also have the “stencil” or negative mask to use as well.)

The secret, of course, is in the layers — the colors and background stencils chosen. For the the first layer I used various colors and some stencils or marking with a comb to create a print on my gelli plate. The stencils used were purchases from various sources, including (Sometimes there is an additional layer added to refine the design.)

This first layer is what creates the design and colors seen in the leaves in the final print.

For the second or final layer, I again rolled colors onto the gelli plate. I tried to choose colors that would work as a contrast or enhancement to the first layer. Note that I didn’t use any additional stencils in this final layer (except for string as an additional mask).

I placed the mask of leaves on top of the colors and pulled a print. That layer became the background framing around the leaves — the first layer was preserved because the mask blocked the final paint layer.

Below are the variations I obtained.


About sharongilesart

A former medical librarian and online researcher, I have always been interested in art. There's two major parts to my life: the artistic side and the techie side. ​ My artistic training includes basic courses in college and local classes with with prominent artists: Cecy Turner, Naomi Brotherton, Maureen Brouillette, etc, Plus numerous workshops with local and nationally-known artists. ​ My art interests include water media, collage, mixed media, marbling and printmaking (usually with a gelli plate.) I've also experimented with oils, encaustics, and pastels. I've taught classes and workshops in my major interests. ​ I've been awarded Signature Status from the Society of Watercolor Artists, Southwestern Watercolor Society, and the Texas & Neighbors Regional Art Exhibition. My artwork has also won numerous awards in local competitions. ​ My artwork has been on exhibit in such venues as the Trinity Arts Guild Gallery, Fort Worth Central Library, UNT Health Science Center Atrium Gallery, Jaycee Park Center for the Arts, the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Center Gallery, Irving Arts Center, the Eisemann Center Gallery, and many others. ​ As a librarian, I was fortunate to be immersed in information technology from the beginning of the digital age. I worked primarily as a database searcher for libraries in the University of Texas System: Southwestern Medical Center and UT Arlington. When the internet age dawned, I taught basic HTML to help people create web pages.Then over time, I replaced coding wth more sophisticated front ends for programming (like Wordpress). ​ I'm currently the webmaster (along with Nancy Friedel) for, a visual arts resource for the North Texas area. The website is devoted to news of art events hosted by nonprofit visual art groups in the North Texas area plus news about local artists. Find out about exhibits, meetings, art instruction, art festivals, and opportunities for artists. You can also subscribe to daily or weekly email newsletters for free. We also have a Facebook page, a Facebook group and a Twitter feed (@artnewsdfw). I am the longtime webmaster for the Irving Art Association. I have also provided web support for the Society of Watercolor Artists in Fort Worth, the Southwestern Watercolor Society in Dallas and Texas Visual Art Association (TVAA) in Dallas.
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