Monday, August 3, 2020

PALM FRONDS SILHOUETTE -- 3 Sizes for 3 Times the Fun

Now that Palm Fronds Silhouette comes in three sizes -- L791 is 9" x 12" and S238 is 6" x 6" and M050 is 4" x 4" -- I've been using them together as often as I can!

Below:  two close-ups of an artwork still in progress.  Before using my Palm Fronds Silhouette masks with modeling paste, I removed most of their borders with my Joyce Chen scissors.

I'm still using them separately as well.  My 6" x 6" S238 was what I grabbed for making the two prints below.  For the first one I used marbled paper as background.  After placing S238 atop that, I sprayed the surface with several layers of spatter paint.  I got the spattered look by applying the layers with a spray bottle containing a tiny bit of airbrush medium, a little acrylic paint and water.

The print below, also created with 6" x 6" S238, was made on a Gelli Plate that'd already been used with an assortment of media, including inkpads.

And when stencils or masks get stained in a way that catches my eye, I like to use them as collage elements.  Like this:

Above:  On a paint-spattered background of heavy watercolor paper, a paint-stained Kaleid mask (6" x 6") becomes the middle ground in a three-layer collage.  Atop that rests a paint-stained 4" x 4" M050.  

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Unique Washi Tape Created with Stencils and Masks

Lisa Dobry at StencilGirl StencilClub has created a popular, long-standing and fun tradition called Party Call.  Each month she announces a new theme, whereupon StencilClub members have the option of taking part in a project that usually calls for a members' exchange of stencil- and/or mask-printed art.  

The July 2020 Party Call theme was inspired by Wendy Baysa, who's developed a technique for developing homemade "washi tape."  These decorative paper strips ordinarily come in rolls, ready for use in embellishing art journals, etc.  

The advantages of making your own "tape" are:  (1)  It's fun!  (2)  Your finished tape will not look like any of the commercially available tapes -- instead, the project is opportunity to express your own unique creative approach to art-making.

Lisa's suggestion for this Party Call was to create one or more strips of paper roughly 24" long and 3" wide.  One source for this paper can be the brown wrapping paper that comes as cushioning in packages of fragile supplies delivered to your door.  Another potential source is the "Kraft" brown rolls of paper in the giftwrap section of a dollar store.      

There's no wrong way to do it!  If you don't like your first results, just keep going!  The original stencil- and/or mask-prints are quickly covered by the next layer -- partially covered, just enough to make someone ask,  "How did you do that?"  You'll see what I mean as your eye travels down thru the sequence of prints coming up.

I started with the idea of creating two washi tapes, so I cut a 24"-length of paper 6" wide; at the end of my printing session, I would cut it in half to get two 3"-wide tapes, for doing trades with two other StencilClub members.

My first series of prints , not shown here, were done with 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees using red and yellow heavy-body acrylic paints applied thru a sponge brayer.  After those paints dried, I created a new color by adding opaque white paint to the red used earlier.  Using my 6" x 6" stencil Marbles, I made a series of prints all along the 24-inch length of paper --

Next, with a switch to pale blue heavy-body acrylic paint, I repeated this step using my 6" x 6" mask Ski Lift Works:

Above:  You can click on this or any other of these photos to enlarge them and better see details.

Choosing my 6" x 6" mask Tiger Lily for the following step, I decided to start making the prints in an every-other 6-inch space, instead of continuing to make continuous prints all along the paper strip .  For example, below, Tiger Lily  has been used with purple paint to the left of the central image and to the right of it.  This was to establish an every-other-one pattern.

Below:  I continued the every-other-one pattern as I made prints with my 6" x 6" Swatton Links Stencil.

Above:  A close-up highlighting the gradual build-up of an intricate layered look.

My 6" x 6" mask Trivet A went to work helping create the next layer:

Sidestepping back to a cool color -- green this time -- I used two more 6" x 6" stencils of mine.  In the upper left of the photo below:  Bamboo Wall.  To the right of it, in the upper middle of the photo:  Swatton Grid Stencil.

Once the final, green paint layer had dried, I cut the 24-inch-long paper strip into halves, creating two strips of 3-inch widths each.  I added embellishments, then coated everything with a layer of gel gloss medium.  This gel intensifies colors as well as securing all the embellishments permanently in place, especially in the event that my two StencilClub trading partners may want to roll up the tape after receiving it.

Above:  Full-length view of 2 strips of washi tape.

Below:  close-ups of the first third, middle third and last third of the 2 washi tapes.

Left third.

Middle third.

Right third.

Below:  A macro-close-up of an embellishment made with a butterfly paper punch and a partial print (orange and blue, spattered with yellow)made with my 6" x 6" mask Sprigs.

Note:  These white flower-like embellishments are stickers that I bought here.

Because the close-up above features a sample of collage, I want to explain my adhesive process.  Adhesion was especially important in this project because the "tape" was going to be folded and sent thru the mail -- where things can so easily get run thru a mangle! -- and at reaching its final destination, it might be wrapped into circular shape, which again could stress the adhesion.

I'll start by bringing up a tip received from MaryBeth Shaw -- if you're going to adhere a largish paper to a background, it works best to first gently spray that paper with a water mister, before using the adhesive. This stretches the paper fibers in advance so that when they're adhered, they're less likely to wrinkle.

Now this will sound like a contradiction, but my rule of thumb is that the drier your adhesive, the fewer wrinkles you'll get.

I use different adhesives, depending on the project at hand.

For hard-to-hold, thick and/or textured papers -- as well as for projects like today's featured "tape," which will undergo some stress to the adhesion, I use heavy body matte medium -- not the regular strength matte medium because that's too wet for me. Heavy body dries faster, so it may be hard getting used to, but it has great hold. Heavy body gloss medium has the same strong hold, but the reason I use matte instead of gloss is that I usually don't want my final project to potentially have shiny (glossy) edges around the paper that's been added. I want my entire finished surface to have the same finish -- and for me that's usually a matte finish.

On greeting cards and similar projects, I use Pioneer Embellishment Gluestick; there are other brands that work too; however, for myself, I've found that "school-supply" gluesticks don't hold up very long -- and for some projects, that's perfectly okay. Again, it just depends on the needs of the moment.

No matter what adhesive I use, I have a go-to finishing step: I place a sheet of deli paper over the just-adhered paper, then roll over it with a rubber brayer, applying a lot of pressure. This is to improve adhesion and it's additional insurance against wrinkles forming. If you don't have a rubber brayer, you can use a rolling pin (if you still have one of those lying around!)

The reason I use a deli sheet between the artwork and the brayer is that the sheet will pick up any excess glue that may squeeze out around the edges -- and this can happen often, as the brayer pressure is applied.

Any kind paper with a two-sided non-stick surface will work; deli paper is my choice because it's always at hand.
Thank you sincerely for checking out my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.  To follow this blog by email, please use that option in the upper right sidebar.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Starburst Effect with both 6" x 6" s793 LOOKING UP THROUGH TREES SMALL and 9" x 12" LOOKING UP THROUGH TREES L793

Below is a print developed with my brand new 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small -- s793 and my previously released 9" x 12" L753 Looking Up Through Trees....

Above:  This acrylic paint print on watercolor paper has come thus far thru the use of both my 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small (mostly in the background) and my 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees (foreground.)

The more I worked with these two masks, the clearer it became that both designs are perfect for creating starburst effects; all that this takes is for the bottoms of the trunks to be left out.  The print above is one example; here's another --

-- and another:

Altho I came to love the starburst idea, I still at times revert to using the 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small to further explore abstract imagery of any kind ... just for the fun of the exploration, to see what surprises await me:

Below:  Another exploration; its first step was this multi-print made with Looking Up Through Trees Small ....

And its last step was my cutting out one of the above prints and gluing it to a background; that background, below, had started life as a page in an outdated picture calendar.  (I'd previously added a layer of dark coral acrylic paint that matched that color in the multi-print above.)

Above:  I call this Flight of Fancy Landscape, since my center-stage trees print is flanked by trees that had appeared in the original photo and are still visible, tho paint-veiled.

Many thanks for coming to look at my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Rundown on Spattering Art Made with 6" x 6" Mask LOOKING UP THROUGH TREES SMALL --s793

More flights of fancy with 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small -- s793....

Above:  This mysterious Japanese beauty came from an old hairstyling magazine and has been transformed with dramatic impact via acrylic paints and my new mask Looking Up Through Trees Small s793 -- its 6" x 6" outer frame having been cut off prior to use here.

All of the abstract prints below are destined to become origami papers.  I've never been good at origami, but I'm willing to attempt it once again!

Above:  Note the spattering and the way it adds interest to the art.  I have a lot to say about spattering at the end of this post! Just keep scrolling down!

Above:  Once again -- please note the spattering and the way it adds interest to the art.  I have a lot to say about spattering at the end of this post -- just keep scrolling down!

The original 6" x 6" mask comes with a border and looks like this --

Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6")

This mask also comes in a 9" x 12" size, similar but not identical --

9" x 12" mask Looking Up Through Trees L753

Here's my rundown on the spattering technique:

I use several methods for spraying. Usually I reach for my own customized sprays that I keep in little mister bottles that come from drug stores or art supply vendors. My customised sprays are roughly 2/3 Golden High Flow acrylics, roughly 1/3 water (distilled is best) and a tiny amount of Golden airbrush medium.

 (There are other media that would work just as well, like Liquitez Palate Wetting solution. You could probably even use that liquid product sold for reducing water spots in your dishwasher. This kind of liquid is called a surfactant* -- something that functions in reducing surface tension in a liquid into which it's added. Its purpose is to keep the mister hole from clogging up with dried paint or ink.)

In a totally different approach to spattering, another tool I use is a cute little round-brush tool for spattering from Jerry's Artarama; this tool reminds me of the old toothbrush spattering method, but I like it a lot more because it gives control that I never achieved when I rubbed a thumb across the bristles of an old toothbrush dipped in paint.

Next-to-last on my spatter-making list:  A tool called a "mouth mister."  The way to use this tool is to put one end of it to your mouth; stick the opposite end into a liquid like acrylic ink, liquified watercolors or Golden High Flows; and blow!  You can get different results by blowing gently, blowing with gusto, etc.

One of these misters is sold by the artist Jo Toye.  Another mister is the Pat Dews mister.

There's one last "tool" I use for spatter; the reason it's in final place is that it's the most risky.  When I use it, I have a wet-wipe of some kind ready at hand, in case I want to do do immediate damage control after making the spatter.  And I make sure to place the painting-in-progress on a generous spread of old newspapers or old packing papers.  Because this could get messy!

And at times -- for added insurance -- I create a barrier coat over the painting-in-progress, and make sure that layer has dried thoroughly, before I bring out this tool.  (A barrier coat can be brushed on using either matte medium liquid or glossy medium liquid -- or even a combination of the two, with a little water added to the mix.)

This risky spattering is done with a liquid acrylic paint, using its original container -- when that container has reached the point of being nearly empty.  For this, I use either liquid acrylic or Golden High Flow acrylics, or even a combination of the two, one after another, when I want more than one color of spatter. 

The way I do this spatter is to lift the nearly empty bottle above the painting and squeeze the bottle.  That's all!  (But it's a good idea to try a test squeeze first, using an old newspaper!)

Below are examples of the kind of spatter you can get when inverting a nearly empty bottle of acrylic paint over the substrate and giving the bottle a good squeeze:

Made with (left) R&E M268 and (right) M& Y M267 -- so named because each is an abstracted version of two letters of the alphabet.

R&E M268, again

R&E M268just once more

Below are two examples of paintings that were completed with my customized acrylic paints in spray bottles; you may want to click on the photos to enlarge them to better see the spatter--

Made with scissor-customized 6" x 6" masks Sassy Spray and Looking Up Through Trees Small s793

Made with scissor-customized 6" x 6" mask Sassy Spray

The reason I list all multiple approaches to spattering is that with each of them, there's a somewhat different effect. Even when using those little mister bottles of my custom sprays, I can get a variety of effects, depending on how near or far I hold the spray bottle from the substrate.

Note:  I usually put some kind of protective barrier behind the substrate to control the areas that will be hit by the spray.  And I always do a test-spray or two, on scrap paper, before going to the artwork-in-progress.

*Using a surfactant is not an original idea. I got it years ago in an art class.  We were painting fabrics -- something I never plan to do again; but even in a class like that, there are things to be learned.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

More Art Created with New 6" x 6" Mask LOOKING UP THROUGH TREES SMALL -- ms793

I've had the pleasure of seeing lots of gorgeous layered art prints created with the Gelli Plate -- all of them by other artists!  I'm just not as good at using the plate as others are.    

I feel that, for me, there's an advantage in the brayer-application approach.  When I'm working on a large piece of watercolor paper, for instance, the brayer method lets me target specific areas with each application.  It gives me enough control to gradually build a composition that I like.  One thing I've learned, in these happy years of working with my StencilGirl stencils and masks, is that there's one person I want to please with my final artworks.  Moi

All of my art samples for today were created with this sponge style of brayer, which, incidentally, can be found here as well as elsewhere. 

Above:  An example of a sponge brayer being loaded with heavy-body acrylic paint.

Above:  An example of the way I use the loaded brayer to direct paint thru the stencil or mask openings.  Here, I've used masking tape to hold the mask in place, but usually I don't bother with that.

The print directly below, done with acrylic paints on watercolor paper, is just the first step in what will become a multi-layered piece. 

Above:  A first-layer print, created with acrylic heavy-body paints and with my 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small

Below is a series of prints, numbered in progression, all made with my 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small.  Since acrylic paints dry rapidly, these layers were quick to build up:

Above:  First layer of prints using my 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small.

Above:  Second layer with my 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small 

The photo below shows the third layer; in this layer, I started to include the use of my 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees:

Studying the above 3-part progression in hindsight, I came to the unhappy conclusion that the second layer is where I could have stopped!  

But because I didn't stop back at that second layer, I now faced a challenge -- I needed to continue adding layers, hoping to see a final version that would satisfy me....

Many layers later, having repeatedly used both my 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees and my brand-new 6" x 6" mask Looking Up Through Trees Small, I came to another stopping point:

And at this point, I'm calling it done!

Below:  Another first-layer print:  Since it's in black and white, will more layers -- in color -- be added?

Above:  Made with my 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees 

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StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.  To follow this blog via email, please use that option in the upper right sidebar.  

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Working in a Series with Brand-New Mask LOOKING UP THROUGH TREES SMALL (6" x 6") -- s793

Doubling back to my own post of July 9, the day my newest StencilGirl mask was released, I must once more give credit where it's due.

Some time ago, StencilGirl's Carol Baxter put the bug in my ear to create a 9" x 12" mask, Looking Up Through Trees Large.

 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees Large

More recently, Carol put a bug in my other ear -- the idea of developing a 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small to go it alone, or to be used with the original.

6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small 

I didn't grasp the genius of Carol's second suggestion till I entered the playground of my imagination with both Trees in hand.

Then two-together ideas started coming so fast that the only way I could keep up would be to put stretch each day into more than 24 hours -- whew!   Or maybe the real issue is that I'm slowing down in my old age?

Note:  Most often, I'm using both Trees with their outer borders cut off -- not an approach that appeals to everyone, I admit.  But I thrive on whacking away at stencils to customize them.  Edgar Allan Poe kept re-writing his stories for years, even after they'd been published.  So maybe I'm the EAP of the stencil-and-mask world...?  I keep "designing" my stencils and masks even after I've designed them!

Any type of sharp, short-bladed scissors works for customizing.  My favorite is Joyce Chen scissors -- but they have risen so much price-wise that Fiskars might be a better choice.

Working in a series is a fun way to build up a cache of background papers; but the fun doesn't stop there.  Besides blooming into color-coordinated backgrounds for upcoming art projects, a series of similar prints volunteers just as eagerly to become giftwrap, or begs to be cut up for collage or embellishments for party favors or ... pretty much anything else!

Below are four papers printed with 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small (foreground) and Looking Up Through Trees Large (9" x 12") in the (nearly obscured) background:

... and this brand-new mask itself looks like this:

6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small

That series of four printed papers went to work in several ways.

Above left:  one print has been cut into strips.  Above right:  Some of the strips are cut down even further and are being auditioned as collage pieces, as embellishments atop other papers printed with other stencils and masks.


Above:  The audition continues as more pieces are added.  Below:  In this close-up, the other prints become recognizable.  The three-quarters orange and blue paper, as well as the two pieces of red and brown paper along the top, were all printed with the companion mask, 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees Large.  And the vertical purple paper along the right border was printed with 9" x 12" Clustered Leaves.

Another close-up:

The masks used:

9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees Large

9" x 12" Clustered Leaves

Yet another piece of paper from this series ....

.... was used to create two parts of the greeting card cover above.  The 6" x 6" piece became a background in a size corresponding to the blank greeting card.  A purple painted tag was added with a gluestick.  My last step was to use a hole punch to cut out a butterfly and add it as the final touch with the gluestick.   I use the Pioneer Embellishment Gluestick, which I like for its permanency as well as its ability, as a dry adhesive, to avoid wrinkling papers.

Once I had my first taste of using my butterfly hole punch on these Looking Up Through Trees Small multi-printed papers , I wanted to do more:

What would you do with a series of stencil- or mask-printed papers?

Thank you for taking time to visit here today.  A peek ahead: 

To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.