Gel Print and Stencil Topiary

Close up image showing the completed topiary, columns, and pot over the gel printed and stenciled background. The work is completed in muted tones of blues, greens, and reds, with black gesso work. The red flowers have white pearl seed bead centers.
Close up image of the completed topiary work showing the layers of stenciling, gel printing, fussy cutting, and seed beads.

Hello! In the month of May, I participated in a gel printing challenge with an online teacher. Every day had a different prompt and we were challenged to make a gel print using the prompt word as inspiration. I love challenges like this because they leave it wide open to interpretation. The challenge was a month long, and at the end of it, I ended up with about 120 gel prints (I know, it’s a lot!). But if you’ve ever tried gel plate printing you’ll know how addictive and easy it is! I really loved one of the prints that I did with oak leaves found on a walk with my dog. I decided to use this gel print as the background for this work, inspiration, and to inform the color palette.

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I found a branch with three smaller oak leaves on it while walking my dog, Maggie. I brought home the leaves and played on my gelli plate with them. First I traced the leaves and cut them out to use as a mask on my gel plate. I used the inside of a security printed envelope, just to see if it would give me any effects through the acrylic paint. It sure did, and I like it. What do you think of it?

Close up image showing a traced, cut out, gel printed oak leaf shape on the inside of a security envelope.
Close up image of the traced, cut out, gel printed oak leaf on security envelope paper.

I like to think of the first gel print in terms of a first pancake. It’s really fun to make, but the results may not be something you actually want to use, ha ha. Using three cut out oak leaves, I gel printed the background over a previous gel print that was a bit of a fail, but I really loved the color patterns and didn’t want to throw it out. This is a great way to use up any projects that don’t turn out the way you wanted to, just gel print right over them and re-use them!

Close up image showing a delicious gel print with a color palette of blues, yellows, and greens under white acrylic paint with three oak leaf shapes revealing the colors, below.
I mean seriously, look at those pretty colors in the leaves! I just had to use them.

Next, I used some additional gel printed papers as backgrounds to stencil the elements for this topiary scene. I used TCW9002 black gesso with a cosmetic sponge, dabbing it lightly through stencil TCW788 Lemontree to create the topiary tree, pot, and two tall columns to flank either side of the topiary. When these elements were dry, I used my scissors to fussy cut them out.

Close up image showing the background page with the stenciled, fussy cut scene elements and TCW788 Lemontree stencil.
TCW9002 black gesso was used on a cosmetic sponge to stencil TCW788 Lemontree.

Once all of the pieces had been fussy cut out, I used TCW9011 matte gel medium to adhere the individual scene elements to the background.

Close up image showing the topiary scene elements (topiary tree, pot, and two columns on either side) glued down to the gel printed background page using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.
TCW9011 matte gel medium was used to stick the elements to the background.

I decided I wanted to add some flowers to the topiary tree to match the red color of the pot. Using the same gel printed paper, I used a paper hand punch to punch out some flowers. Using TCW9011 matte gel medium, I attached the flowers and three white pearl seed beads as the center of each flower.

Close up image of the topiary tree showing the adhered hand punched red flowers with their white pearl seed bead centers.
TCW9011 matte gel medium was used to adhere the flowers and their seed bead centers to the topiary tree.

I sponged more TCW9002 black gesso through stencil TCW874 Poppy Grid to add additional depth and interest to the background gel print.

Close up image showing stencil TCW874 Poppy Grid sponged over the background with TCW9002 black gesso, to add depth and interest to the background gel print.
TCW 9002 Black Gesso was sponged through stencil TCW874 Poppy Grid over the background.

I stenciled the floor pattern using TCW9002 black gesso sponged through stencil TCW565 Organic Matter Mask.

Close up image show TCW9002 black gesso that has been sponged through stencil TCW565 Organic Matter Mask to create a marbled effect for the stone floor.
TCW9002 black gesso was sponged through stencil TCW565 Organic Matter Mask to create the floor pattern.

A few final details of shadows and highlights were added by hand using a black stabilo all pencil and a white uni-ball signo acrylic paint gel pen. Here is the completed work with hand torn deckled edges and black stayz-on ink pad applied around the torn edges.

Here is an image of the completed work showing the full scene containing the two columns flanking the topiary tree in terracotta urn pot on a marbled floor against a stenciled and gel printed background.
The completed topiary scene.

If you’d like to watch a super quick fly-by video (50 seconds) of this process, please hop on over to my YouTube Channel @TealHareCreations.

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

PSSST! I’m really trying to grow my following. Will you please help me by hopping on over and following me on my blog and social media accounts? Thank you so much!
My Website and occasional blog posts: Teal Hare Creations
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