Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fresh News from the Studio

This week I visited at "Casa de la Cultura" in Agüimes an Art Exhibition named "Espacios Divergentes" created by two women artists, Nadia Brito and Palmira García. Actually, especially I went to see Nadia's artworks. She is a facebook friend from Gran Canaria, and we follow each other's art for a while, but we haven't met in person yet. I really liked her minimal and graphical style. Her sensibility on nature is built on simplicity as she uses mostly black ink, very little color or just graphite on paper. Almost in each artwork there is a simple house drawing or a bird figure. These are typical symbols which represent need of independence. See more artworks from her at instagram as @nadia_brimel.

"Sin título" mixed media by Nadia Brito

"Sin título" mixed media by Nadia Brito


My latest multicolor linocut print is completed. This six color linocut print was created using a different method than the reduction method. I carved and separeted each color plate and individually inked and printed them. 
Carving the lino sheet

I am laying the first color

I printed the darker green lines over the first layer color

I added the pot image

I repeated two more "ink-print-repeat" session for the flower and the snail images. Now I am preparing a detailed PDF demo document of making this linocut print which will have more photos, links to video clips and tips... If you wish to get your free copy, simply send me a message saying "Add me to the list" for this tutorial. Have a great week!

"Snail on Succulent" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
Original Handmade Multicolor Linocut Print
Paper size 6,75" x 6,75" ( 16,5 x 16,5 cm.)
Image size 5" x 5" (12 x 12 cm.)
Available, click on SHOP

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Busy with A New Linocut Print

 Mosaic artworks from the studio

Last week, I completed the circular mosaic piece, "A view to Bentayga" (see pic above). This piece will be displayed along with the other mosaic artworks at the upcoming exhibition. Later on, framing is optional, perhaps a handwoven brim to cover the side would look good. Once the framing is finished, I will add a new menu button to the blog and publish the complete tutorial in this section.


Work in progress

This weekend I worked on a new linocut project which was an additional piece for the small cactus print series (see pic above). I designed a cactus image with a big flower and a butterfly on it. In this series, I am planning to create print designs with cactus and its complementing animal. All these animals are inspired by nature, as we see them in our daily lives...

"Butterfly on cactus" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
Original Handmade Linocut Print
Paper size 6.5" x 9" (17 x 22 cm.)
Image size 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm.)
Available, click on SHOP

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Mosaic Tutorial: Fixing the mosaic (Part 3)

I completed the first phase of fixing the mosaic. Now, I have to wait for a few days for the grout to be totally dried. In this tutorial, you will see how I fixed the mosaic tiles. (If you have missed the previous tutorials, see Part 1 and Part 2)

Mosaic fixing materials

Grouting materials for the first phase: 

1) A sand paper (thick grain) to make the surface rough, 2) wood carving tool to prepare the surface. 3) white or grey grout, 4) water to mix the grout and to clean the tools, 5) two empty 5 or 8 lt. plastic bottles for mixing the grout and keeping the dirty water and leftover grout, 6) a metal spoon to mix the grout, 7) plastic gloves to protect your hands, 8) a dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dry grout, 9) a metal comb spreader to place the grout, 

I pulled out the mosaic from the plastic and turned it upside down. This way those stacked small chips between the tiles fell. Also, there were a few wet tiles, so the glue dried in a short time. The glue must be totally dry before applying the grout (see pictures below).

Preparing the surface

The surface of my board was very smooth, so, I used sand paper to make it rough. Afterwards, I made small scars with the wood carving tool. The grout will get into these holes and hold the mosaic securely (see pictures above).

Fixing the mosaic

Before starting to mix the grout, I layed an old newspaper under the mosaic to protect the table and another one on the floor. I cut the empty plastic bottle about 20 cm. height to make my grout mixing bowl. I added 1 cup of the grout with a little bit water and mixed with the metal spoon until the mixture became like soft potato puree texture. I spreaded the mixture evenly with the metal comb on all around the surface, not much thicker than 3 mm. (the grout should not fill between tiles). I waited for 5 minutes and holding the mosaic from both sides, placed it on top of the mixture (see pic above). Gently, I pressed it all around the surface (see pic above).

I cleaned the tools with water inside the bucket. It's very important that never throw this dirty water to your sink, it will clog your tubes and you will have a serious damage on your pipe system. I transferred the dirty water into the empty plastic bottle and wrapped the leftover grout with the newsletter, for later on to trash into the garbage. 

The grout dries in about 24-48 hours. Once it's ready, I will prepare a grey tone grout and I will apply it in between the tiles to finish the mosaic. If you wish to know about this last process, simply reply to this newsletter typing "YES, send it", or sign-up to my mailing list at 

Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mosaic Tutorial: Cutting tools (Part 2)

After a busy week, I finally finished the cutting and pasting process. Previously, I shared the mosaic project's set up, so if you have missed that newsletter, visit it here: Mosaic tutorial: "A view to Bentayga" (Part I).

Most of the tools and some of the tiles are kept in a box which I recycled from an old wine box. Inside this box I placed a plactic kitchen drawer tray to separate the tile colors. Some other tile chips are sorted in another tool box with plastic drawers. (See pic. below) Also, I keep the tiles in jars. For the used tiny chips I use kitchen roll sheets.

Mosaic tiles and tools

Tile cutting nippers have variareties. I recommend to have two types. From left to right on the picture below; 1) a wheeled nipper (see at which is good for creating round and irregular shapes , 2) a regular tile nipper ( see at 3) Also a flat nose plier (easy to find in your local hardware shop), for taking out unwanted dry glue from the tile. 4) A tweezer to hold the small chips to place in the hole. 5) A metal thin stick to arrange the tiles.

Tools to create mosaics

6) On top of the picture a water based strong white glue (I use Weldbond brand see at 7) A brush to clean and 8) a safety glasses while cutting the chips. It's very very important, do not be lazy to put them on, because your fun mosaic project might end up with a painful and tragic event. Even if you use regular glasses, use them together always while you cut the tiles, it will save your eyes from those dangerous tiny glass chips. (Also when people near the mosaic, do not cut tiles, they jump far)


I use mostly vitreous glass mosaic tiles (see pic above). I purchased the tiles online long time ago in the United States and brought them to the Canary Islands. It was a big set of colors in sheets. They also sell already cut tiles of the same or mixed colors. If you cannot find these kind of tiles, try colored glass sheets. You can cut them with a glass cutter or hammer them for irregular shapes. You can use broken plates, cups, and ceramic tiles as well. I shared a small clip about how to cut the vitreous tiles, click to see @birsenozbilge (goes to my instagram)

Work in progress

Ready for grouting

In tutorial 3 I will show grouting materials and the first phase of the grouting process. Please, reply me if you have any questions or post in the comment box. Have a great week!

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

A New Linocut Print for 7th Annual International "Print Day in May 2016" Event

Lagarto de Gran Canaria (Gallotia stehlini), Jardín Canario
Photo by Juan Emilio Juan Emilio Checa López

Today is 7th annual International "Print Day in May" event. Printmakers are making prints across the globe. So, I thought it will be better to take a break from the mosaic project, and share a linocut tutorial with you. First, I designed a small sketch and transferred it to the lino sheet (see pic below). This print will be an addition to "CactuSueños" painting series. Combining element to the cactus is a lizard. "Lagarto de Gran Canaria" (Gallotia stehlini), a characteristic animal of the island of Gran Canaria. It is the largest of the Canary Islands lizards, reaching up to 80 cm. in length, so it is also known as Gran Canaria Giant Lizard. (see pic above) This animal is a great help for the environment, because it is an omnivorous animal, which means it eats food of any kind, including hazardous animals and plants. 

Now, let me show you the process, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Have a great weekend! 

 I am transferring the mirrored design onto the lino sheet
( I posted the work-in-progress clip on instagram @birsenozbilge )

 I carved the outline first

 I am carving the details

I cut the top background part and finished carving  

 I placed the lino piece on template paper and put the ink on marble stone 

I mixed well the ink with the brayer, and inked the lino on the marble top and brought back to the template paper

I placed the paper and transferred the ink to the paper and pushed firmly all around the lino with the wooden spoon 

 Here is the proof print (test print). After seeing the proof, I carved a few more places 

"Cactus with lizard" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
Original Handmade Linocut Print
Paper size 6.5" x 9" ( 17 x 22 cm.)
Image size 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm.)
Available, click on SHOP

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#AkuaPD2016 , #SpeedballPD2016 or #ArnhemPD2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mosaic tutorial: "A view to Bentayga" (Part I)

Roque Bentayga, Gran Canaria, Spain

These days I have been working on a new mosaic project. It's going to be a round-shaped indoor/ outdoor mosaic panel. I chose to draw a cactus with buds as the focal point of the composition, and behind, the view of the emblematic natural spot "Roque Bentayga", which is one of the most unique rock formations in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain). It's located in the heart of the island and it stands 1,404 meters above sea level. Near the top, there are the ancient aboriginal settlements; Cuevas del Rey and Roque Camel, consisting of a hundred caves with rooms, interments, silos, etc. We have visited this wonderful place once, I remember there was a museum near this place, and car road access close to the some aboriginal areas. This place is really great for nature lovers!

Let me show you with pictures and notes how I create this project.

At the very beginning, I was just playing around with vitreous glass chips for the possible color combinations

Later on, I drew a small sketch and transferred it and modified to the exact size of the round wood support.

I cut the sketch paper and fixed it on the wood using small gum balls (double-sided tape works too). Afterwards, considering the availability of my mosaic chips, I chose the colors and layed them with color pencils.

, I covered the design with stretch film and taped to the wood.

I cut a plastic mesh with the same size of the panel

I fixed the mesh to the panel with clear tape

I cut and pasted white mosaic tiles for the sky area.

Detail of how I put the glue on the mosaic chip

Detail of placing the mosaic chip

This is the first part of the tutorial. I will post the following steps soon. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A visit to Casa-Museo Antonio Padrón and a New Cactus Linocut Print

The other day, I was in Galdar, a small town at the northern part of Gran Canaria island. Right in the middle of the historic part of the town, there is a wonderful place called "Casa-Museo (House-Museum) Antonio Padrón". A famous Canarian artist, Antonio Padrón used to live and work in this beautiful Canarian style house (see pic below). Three years after his death in 1971, they converted the house into a museum and later on with the addition of a small extension building, this place turned into a house-museum. 

The artist Antonio Padrón was a painter, a ceramic maker, a sculpture artist and a compositor as well. He had a deep connection with his island, with its culture, folklore and traditions. His paintings considered as ethnic expressionistic style. He has done linocut print artworks, too. This place is a real gem! I really enjoyed visiting this talented painter's studio. When I saw his unfinished paintings, displayed on easels with his paint brushes and painting tubes, I felt like he is still working there... (see pic below)

Casa-Museo Antonio Padrón

Painter's studio

My favorite painting from the Antonio Padrón Collection

Also loved this still-life with pomegranates (by Antonio Padrón)


Last week, I worked on a new linocut print. I thought it would be nice to add a few more cactus related linocut prints to my "CactuSueños" painting series. After drawing the sketch, I started to carve out and made an additional bird figure. 

I sketched the design

After I transferred the mirrored image, started to carve outlines

This time I decided to cut out half  of the background.

I printed the proof and carved a few more parts. (See the finished print below)

Little birdy on cactus, by Birsen Ozbilge, 
Original handmade Linocut Print
Paper size 6.5" x 9" ( 17 x 22 cm.)
Image size 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm.)
Available, click on SHOP

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