Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Florilegium 20 by Roberta Warshaw
Florilegium 20, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I am beginning to have more success in the layering process of gelatin print making. It is a real learning curve for me. So much so that I still never know what I am going to get. But I am more relentless now with the ones that don't work.

I put them in a pile and rather than let them sit or cut them up, I use them as bases for more printing. Often I can get them to really shine. That is the goal anyway.

I hear people talk about mud a lot. "Don't get mud.." they say. I really like mud. I am all about those deep muddy neutrals. If you use them in conjunction with purer colors they can really make things pop.

I always work with three primaries. Plus white. I rarely use black as I come from a watercolor background where I just never used it. I will use black if it is the only thing. Something that is just black, like a lino print or something. Other than that, just three primaries. More than that and I confuse myself as well as the work.

Sometimes they are:

cobalt blue
napthol red
indian yellow


phalo blue
napthol red
hansa yellow


cerulean blue
napthol red
indian yellow


Melva said...

Hi Roberta, thanks for this post. I have such a pile of prints on my work surface at the moment. Now the weather has cooled down here I am going to get back to work on them.......... I will try your advice to use the three primaries from now on. Well, perhaps with a little deviation? knowing me!!!!!!!

Cathy Farrell said...

Thanks for posting what you use in your primary mixes. I really like what you are doing with the gel prints!

Anonymous said...

this layering is wonderful. I too have a stack of less-than-successful prints that I should trying layering over...

Unknown said...

The print you share here is a beauty! I, too, am a primary color fan, really loving manganese blue, quinacradon gold and magenta on the plate last time I was printing.

Karen Isaacson said...

the layering concept is just so challenging! this is a gorgeous print, and quite inspiring. I know in my head that the only way to figure this out is to make a million "bad" prints and just keep trying. I can accept, and even quite like, the unpredictability of it, but I'd like to get to the point where I have at least an inkling of how it will look :)

Roberta Warshaw said...

Yeah, you really have to let go of the idea of knowing what it will look like. What I am learning is that it is OK to keep layering over layering. If the print is bad, keep going. It might surprise you and get better!

Diane AZ said...

Elegant print and I enjoy hearing about your process! I can see the importance of "muddy" neutrals that are quiet and allow the brighter colors to sing.

Anonymous said...

That's lovely!