Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Not that this can compare ...

... Above is a link to a clip from one of Mary Beth Shaw's two brand-new DVDs.  What makes this particular DVD especially dear to my heart is that I've had the honor of her using my 6"X6" Mimosa stencil as the first stencil featured in this clip.  When she makes that one lift off the Gelli Plate to reveal what's underneath, I can almost hear the "Ah!" echoing thru cyberspace, coming from everyone else watching along with me.

Now I know this is not going to compare, but I happen to be working on a mixed-media collage that has gone a bit farther in its development from the last time I posted about it.  And both my Mimosa stencils have fit in with the overall direction this artwork is taking.

Below, I'll post what came after the background collage of tissue paper had thoroughly dried; and I do mean thoroughly -- because the tissue paper background will rip if masking tape is applied to it while it's still damp with the matte medium gel and the spritzed-on water from a mister (as described in my earlier post.)

Above, you can see my 9"X12" stencil Mimosa --
-- and the Squares and Circles 9"X12" stencil designed by Jessica Sporn --
-- and, in the lower right, the same 6"X6" stencil that's now been happily immortalized by Mary Beth Shaw in that new DVD of hers --

The above shot shows a previous use of this 6"X6" stencil -- in the lower left, you can see the first time I used it, taping it to the surface and spraying with a mix of water, white acrylic paint and Golden Airbrush Medium.  (That "recipe" is:  just a tiny tiny amount of the airbrush medium added to a mix of roughly 1/2 water and 1/2 liquid Titanium White acrylic paint.  The main function of the airbrush medium is to keep the mister bottle's spray-hole from getting clogged with dried paint.  'Cuz boy does it bug me when that happens!)

The above shot was taken right after I had added another application of white spray -- this time using my Pat Dews mouth atomizer (Cheap Joe's Art Supplies) and Titanium White Liquitex acrylic ink.  My goal was to get a stronger white than the first step had given me.

Above is a close-up of the next step I took:  With scrap paper and masking tape, I masked off areas to keep them clean, surrounding my two 6"X6" Mimosa stencils.  Then I sprayed the stencils with my mouth atomizer using Golden High Flow Acrylic in Naphthol Red Light, followed by another spray using a mix of Liquitex Titanium White Acrylic Ink and black Sumi ink.

Below is a shot of the whole canvas, with the stencils, masking tape and masking papers removed.  Still a long way to go, but my stencils and I are taking the journey together...  while my office manager naps on the job ...


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

StencilGirl: Mixed Media Techniques for Making and Using Stencils -- and Other Learning Opportunities

I had barely started to read Mary Beth Shaw's brand-new book --

StencilGirl: Mixed Media Techniques for Using Stencils

-- when I learned a wonderful new trick:

Here you see the first step in a new project:  I have brushed matte medium gel across an 18"X24" gallery-wrap canvas and applied two sheets of tissue paper which, if I remember correctly, were dollar store purchases. 
Now for anyone who has ever tried to handle large sheets of collage paper -- if it happens to be tissue paper to boot -- you are already wincing because you know how difficult this is.  Yes, I know the technique:  Press down in the center of the paper first, then spread outward from there; use a resist-material cover sheet of freezer paper with a wide brayer to remove wrinkles.  Okay, but that is NOT all there is to it -- am I right, fellow collage artists out there? 
Mary Beth Shaw's new book arrived just in the nick of time.  (But I wish I had ordered it from her, at the above link, instead of pre-ordering from Amazon.  Ordering from STENCILGIRL(TM) gets you a free stencil -- and it's a really good one that I wish I had!)  Anyway, page 24 informs me that this large-sheet collage process becomes much easier when the paper is first lightly misted, with a water-filled mister bottle, on both sides; this allows the paper to stretch before its touchdown onto the matte gel brushed across the canvas.  Oh what a difference! 
I did a happy dance which so impressed my office manager that she yawned and looked the other way...
After the collaged tissue papers had thoroughly dried (no longer feeling cool to the touch), I used masking tape to add three STENCILGIRL(TM) stencils.  More about this in my next post. 
Meanwhile, in doing this step, I learned another lesson.  I found another reason to be glad that I store my stencils in plastic protector-pockets in 3-ring looseleaf notebooks.  (My 6"X6" stencils are in a regular-size looseleaf notebook and my 9"X12" stencils are kept in a scrapbooker's jumbo-sized notebook.)  When I slid my 9"X12" stencils out of their plastic pages, static electricity clung to the stencils -- then the stencils clung to my collaged canvas.  Altho I went ahead with using the masking tape, as noted above, there was really no need; this was simply a precaution.
This is less important for artists who work on flat surfaces.  But I work on a vertical surface, an easel holding up whatever project is at hand.  Therefore I had been automatically using the masking tape to hold my stencils in place, safe from the tug of gravity.  I will still do so when I plan to use a stencil brush for applying paint thru the stencils.  But this time around, since my plan is to use a Pat Dews mouth atomizer  (Cheap Joe's Art Supplies) to apply ink through the stencils, the static electricity is all that is actually needed.  It works as well as temporary stencil adhesive -- but without the follow-up need for adhesive removal.

Office-Manager-Approved Link

The following link has been approved by my office manager ...

... aptly named Puma:

It made me laugh out loud. 

(Puma claims she is just as smart as Bob the Streetcat. With the extra bonus of being female, she adds.)


Monday, October 28, 2013

Congratulations, Christi Conley!

Many thanks to all of you who left comments that certainly warmed my heart!  I hope you all enjoyed the blog hop. 

Congratulations to Christi Conley, who is the winner of the three giveaway stencils designed by me and sold by STENCILGIRL(TM)!

Christi, please leave a comment on this post, including your mailing address, so that I can send you these three stencils.  I will not publish this comment, in respect of your privacy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Double-Dip Time for STENCILGIRL (TM) stencils!

Click on the above image to enlarge it.

Maria McGuire's beautiful 6"X6" Stitch a Doily stencil--
-- was used twice on this piece of marbled paper, along with another 6"X6" stencil, Lizzie Mayne's Fibonacci --
-- both available at STENCILGIRL (TM). 

In my October 8 post, I included the close-up photo below, showing printmaking paper after it had received its first treatment, wherein I used Maria's stencil the first time around.  In that post, I described the stencil-float-on-marbling-inks technique that I used to create this look:

After this printmaking paper had completely dried, I went to step two:  I placed both Maria's Stitch a Doily stencil and Lizzie's Fibonacci stencil atop the paper which had already been marbled once.  I used an artist's plastic spatula and Liquitex modeling paste to spread a thin layer of this paste thru both stencils.  I immediately lifted the stencils and placed them in a basin of water, letting them soak while awaiting a cleaning rinse.  My goal was to create a resist so that, after the next dip into marbling inks, a more complex image would result.  And it did -- it's shown in the photo that appears at the top of this post, where you can see two images created by Maria's doily stencil, one on the far right and one on the far left.  Before the second dip into marbling inks, I waited for the modeling paste to become fully dry.

Modeling Paste Resist & Marbling with STENCILGIRL (TM) Products' "Waterways" Stencil by Wendy Aikin

Ever so slowly, I am still in the process of posting results from my "marbling play date" at the home of my friend Mary Ann Russo.

Above is a paper that I will eventually use either as part of a large, multi-image mixed-media collage, or as a greeting card background.

I started with a sheet of glossy cardstock and did a monoprint with Golden Phalto liquid acrylic paint, slightly water-diluted and spread on a sheet of Plexiglas (TM).*  After brayering the paint-water mix across the Plexi, I placed the cardstock -- glossy side down -- atop the paint and used a rocking motion as I lifted the print off the Plexi.  This rocking motion created the horizontal ridged pattern that you can see if you click on the above image to enlarge it.

After the monoprint had dried, I created a central area of vertical ripples, using Wendy Aikin's stencil Waterways --

-- and white modeling paste.  This created a subtle resist on the cardstock.  (I placed the stencil in a basin of water immediately after using it, to keep the modeling paste from becoming part of the stencil forever!)

The modeling paste dried within an hour, becoming ready for the next step, marbling.  I used the blue Boku-Undo marbling ink (available at Dick Blick and perhaps at other venues) along with Yasutomo Black Sumi Ink, swirled together on my marbling base of plain tapwater in a shallow basin.  It was the black ink that created the dark gray areas in the image above.  The effects of the blue ink are more subtle.  I can see them when looking "in person" at the cardstock, altho they may not be easy to find in the above JPG.

*The same results would have come from using a Gelli Plate.  I created this background paper long ago, before buying my Gelli Plate.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Playing Around

Above is my stencil Heron, soon to be released by STENCILGIRL (TM) at

Above is a subtle image, created by using this stencil on pre-printed paper.  To create this look, I used modeling paste as a resist, and allowed it to dry, before dipping the paper into marbeling solution.  This process is detailed in the post below this post.


"Intersections" -- Just Playing Around

is where I got the beautiful stencil Intersections, designed by Wendy Aikin for STENCILGIRL (TM).  Just playing around, in follow-up to an earlier post, I recently marbled several papers that had been previously printed with a Gelli plate or previously marbled (as shown in that earlier post.)

Above is "Intersections" placed on a newsprint substrate and spread with modeling paste.  I used Liquitex modeling paste but Golden's molding paste works just as well.  I used an artist's plastic spatula for the spreading.
While the modeling paste was still fresh/wet, I used the texture tool on the right to scrape lines across the surface.  I then lifted the stencil and cleaned it immediately.

Above is the newsprint substrate, now dry.  It has also been marbled, but the marbling solution happened to be weak at the time this was paper dipped, hence no marbling effect is visible.  This paper is going to receive more marbling or some other treatment to develop it further, before it becomes part of a collage.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Examples of Stencils Used with Fine Arts Applications

Above is a link that should take you to an example of stencils used in fine arts applications, in a creation by artist Megan Duncason.  Here is another example --
"Land of Many Stencils" c 2013 Cecilia Swatton with all rights reserved
In my example, above, all the stencils (except for some scraps of Punchinella sequin waste ribbon) are made by STENCILGIRL (TM) and are available at  Clicking on this image to enlarge it, you have to look very carefully to find all the stencils I used.  Some stencil-made designs were (with regrets) semi-buried under coats of paint while I was "whittling down" to create a composition I liked.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Float Stencils on Marbling Inks! Spoiler Alert!

I was experimenting with color combinations ... these are not my favorites, but I love how the stencil created its design. , which I learned about from my friend Mary Ann Russo, goes into depth on the topic of floating stencils on the surface of marbling liquid to create a combination stencil-and-marbled look on pieces of fabric. 

I'm not into fabric arts, but I tried this idea on printing papers -- the type of paper recommended in this short online video --   Please do watch this short video, for complete directions.  I haven't included every detailed step in the photo captions below, but it all comes together once you see the video.

That recommended paper, copperplate paper, is a type of printmaking paper which can be found here, but is also available elsewhere:

And the marbling inks, Boku-Undo, can be found here:

The reason I went with this particular process and these particular materials was that I knew they would work well with my stencils, without creating a need to clean the stencils afterward.  (Yes, I'm lazy!)  There are many methods for marbling paper and fabric, with a
corresponding wide variety of liquids required for each marbling method.

This particular method uses plain water as the liquid upon which the marbling inks float.  That makes for quick preparation and quick clean-up -- leaving more time for having fun!

Spoiler alert:  Except for Maria McGuire's beautiful 6"X6" Stitch a Doily stencil--

Maria's doily stencil created this design.

-- and my 6"X6" stencil Kaleid --
-- all of the other designs shown in this post are COMING SOON at -- they can't be purchased yet, but they are on their way.  In one photo below, you will see the blue prototype for a new 6"X6" stencil of mine, Feathers -- but when the stencils come available, the real-deal stencil will be the usual translucent white.  (Feathers will have a "big brother" measuring 9"X12" featuring a different feather collection and design.)

Step 1 -- in the background you see the palate and brushes; in the foreground, the feather-designed prototype-stencil and basin of water.  The stains on the bottom of the basin are from acrylic paints used in a previous, different project.  The floating inks are not very visible in the above shot. 
Here in this close-up of a fresh water batch, the floating inks are more evident.  These trails of ink have been added by brush tips dipped in the inks, both pictured in the Step 1 photo.  The Blick video cited above shows how to add the inks to the water.  For me, this adding of the inks to the water is Step 2.
 Step 3, shown below, is to GENTLY float a stencil on the surface of the water, after the inks have been added.

Step 3 --This shot, taken at another time, shows Maria McGuire's doily stencil floating on the water in the basin.

Step 4:  Place the paper gently across the surface of the water, sandwiching the stencil between the paper ad the water's surface.  In the above shot, you see the paper from its bottom while its "face" is downward, resting on the floating stencil and the water under the stencil.  If you look closely in the upper left corner, you will see the imprint of the stencil.  This will show up clearly on the other side of the paper, when it is lifted from the water.  It will look like the photo at the start of this post, since here the 6"X6" Feathers stencil is being used.
Above is a close-up detail of a marbling print from my coming-soon 9"X12" stencil Two Fans.

Above is a marbled print using my 6"X6" stencil Kaleid.

Above is a marbled print using my coming-soon 6"x6" stencil Osprey Wings.
Above is a close-up of one of the osprey wings.  Click on any of the above images to enlarge them.
3 CAUTIONS:  (1) This particular method works best if you choose stencils designed with large openings, as opposed to stencils with finely detailed designs.  (2) It works best to use fresh, dry stencils for each and every dip.  Wet stencils don't float as well on the surface of the water.  So have a lot of stencils at hand! (3) As soon as the paper gets saturated -- a matter of seconds -- immediately lift it from the surface of the water.  Long soaks are not needed, and they tend to disrupt the stencil design.

Coming soon:  Another idea -- also from my friend Mary Ann Russo -- using marbling inks with stencils.  It's going to create a completely different-looking finished piece of art.  And it will be fun!


Monday, October 7, 2013

I took the Plunge ...

... I've used two cut-up stencils in mixed-media collages!

Cutting up stencils may not sound like a walk on the wild side to some artists, but I come from Germanic stock who are currently spinning in their graves over my having "destroyed" a pair of perfectly good tools.

Oh yes, at first whack of the blades, I felt as if I were cutting into my own flesh ... but I got over that.  "The diligent make use of everything they find," reads Proverbs 12:27.  And what I "found" was delightful color and patterns on two of my StencilGirlProducts stencils --  (Rafters, designed by Mary Beth Shaw) (Calligraphy, designed by Daniella Woolf)

-- as result of my having used them several times for my stencil-and-stain technique (described in my Sept. 5 blog post.)  These altered stencil-bits enhance the artworks in such a way that I just know it was meant to be, all along.  I haven't yet used the gel medium to seal down the stencil-bits, so I can't post the photos yet.  (The collages don't look quite as good while still wearing those temporary pieces of masking tape!) 

This means adding to my "order-next" list, at StencilGirlProducts, since I can't live without replacement stencils.  Besides, I just noticed a whole lot of new exciting stencils on the newly redesigned StencilGirlProducts website.  It's just about time to place that next order!