Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Not Another Re-Run!

Announcing my new 6"X6" Feathers stencil, available at --

The above image shows my 6"X6" Feathers stencil -- but waiting in the wings is my 9"X12" Feathers stencil, which will differ from its 6"X6" little sister.
The above image was created using my brand-new 6"X6" Feathers stencil.
I'll start this re-run of an earlier post by providing a link -- ,
-- which advertises a DVD that goes into depth on the topic of floating stencils atop marbling liquid, creating a combination stencil-and-marbled look on 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 online, 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 generating 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!
To continue reading this post, please click on Older Posts below and scroll down to October 8, 2013.  The Search feature in the sidebar might get your there, too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why So Many --

-- greeting card covers?

Because a small local -- yet very lively -- museum, Monmouth Museum --

-- is now carrying my STENCILGIRL(TM) stencils.   I'm making greeting cards to sell in their gift-shop, alongside the stencils, as a way of showing gift-shop browsers just a fraction of the ways in which stencils can be used in art-making.  Before wrapping these cards and sending them on their merry way, I'm scanning them so I can trot them out, here ...

 The above greeting card cover is a collage starring a cut-out from a Gelli Plate print that used my 6"X6" Seaweed stencil on a substrate of Asian  newsprint previously dry-brushed with acrylics.  This stencil is available here:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is It Just Me?

Okay, I've already admitted I'm a heavy-handed artist.  But does anyone else agree that the little foam "mittens" that come with the Pan Pastel applicator will wear out before you're finished with even the very first usage?  I switched almost immediately to using a blending stick, a.k.a., blending stump (carried by Jerry's Artarama, Dick Blick Art Supplies, and many others) as well as the type of cotton swab that has one or both ends pointed (such as the Fran Wilson Makeup Eye-Tees.)  It's true, too, that foam-topped plastic makeup applicators can be found in some dollar stores -- but those proved as flimsy, for this purpose, as the one that came with the Pan Pastels. 

The top image above shows two greeting card covers cut from marbeled printmaking papers (first shown in their entirety in my posts of October 20, when I listed the steps to take in marbling paper previously stenciled with white modeling paste.)

Second in place is a close-up of a heron-cover greeting card.  This shows the effect achieved using the tools I've listed above, with Pan Pastels.

Back when the heron first emerged from the marbling bath, it resembled the heron in the similar print below:

Both herons were created via spreading white modeling paste across my 6"X6" Heron stencil, letting it dry, and dipping the printmaking paper into marbling solution.  And in both cases, the marbled background held so little contrast with the white heron that the resulting image was too subtle for my liking.  This is the reason that I have now outlined the uppermost heron in pink, using a wide-tipped Sharpie, before going in with Pan Pastels -- I wanted to create contrast to make the heron "pop."  

In the top photo you can see the white oil pastel crayon that I used to highlight areas of the heron.  If you click the heron to enlarge the image, you can see where the ridges of the dried modeling paste have formed texture that "caught" the white of the oil pastel crayon.

The right-side greeting card, in the top photo above, was created with the same modeling paste, applied thru my 9"X12" Steampunk stencil onto printmaking paper; after the paste dried, the paper was marbled.  (For full details describing that process, scroll down to click on OLDER POSTS, then scroll to the multiple posts dated October 20.)

The 6"X6" Heron stencil is available here:

The 9"X12" Steampunk stencil is available here:


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Seaweed" Rides Again ... With a Sidekick from "Borders #1"

Still more greeting card covers --  the first one, made with my 6"X6" Seaweed stencil --

I made the above collaged greeting card with an irregular cut-out of stripe-patterned handmade paper purchased long ago; for this card, I switched to using the "back" of this novelty paper.  My Seaweed stencil was used with orange acrylic paint on a Gelli Plate, with a substrate of newsprint previously dry- rushed with pale aqua acrylic paint.

The above collaged greeting card takes us back to my 9"X12" Swatton Borders #1 Stencil, which I used with aqua acrylic paint on a brayer-applied orange background.  This was glued (Tombow Glue Stick) to a frame-background of that same striped paper, this time with the striped side facing outward.
This stencil, which contains 3 individual borders, is available at STENCILGIRLPRODUCTS(TM) --

More Greeting Card Covers

Above is an image that I showed in an earlier post, when I went into detail describing a way to use stencils as resists when marbling papers.  The two stencils used here are, L to R:
Trivet C Stencil -- awaiting release at
Below are two greeting card covers I've made using cut-outs from that marbled paper.

The top greeting card cover is self-framed via this method:  I moistened its 4 edges with a paintbrush dipped into clean water, then ran a watercolor pencil all around the rim.  See below: 
A water-based marker would have worked, too.  The brushed-on water makes the edges willing to soak up pigment in a lovely haphazard way.

 My final step was to come in with a marker-pen and draw lines to trace some contours of the patterns created thru stenciling and marbling.

Cleaning Stencils & More New Images made using STENCILGIRL(TM) Stencils I've Designed

Now, I know some of you are way ahead of me on this, but I just learned something that makes me happy.  I had been soaking my just-used-with-acrylic-paint stencils in a basin of water, this being a temporary measure to keep the paint from sticking on, while I continued having fun with more paint applications.  Then, at the unfortunate end of play-time, I would bring out the stencils, one by one, and gently scrub them dry with paper towels.  I would do this while pressing each stencil to newsprint, and occasionally this cleaning of the stencil would transfer a nice ghost image onto the newsprint.  That was a surprise-bonus when it happened. 

But I had trouble with this cleaning method.  It consumed too much time (have I mentioned I'm an impatient artist?) and it led to damage of some details in my more intricate designs.

Having watched one of Mary Beth Shaw's two brand-new DVDs --

-- I learned that no water-soak was needed if I were to simply use a baby wipe right after using the stencil with acrylic paint.  This did indeed speed the process ...

... but unlike Mary Beth, I have a heavy hand.  So the problem remained: My brute-force cleansing could damage finely detailed areas of some stencils.

Then the light bulb went off -- my eureka moment!  I placed the stencil, still wet with just-used acrylic paint, onto the usual newsprint.  Next I dipped a plain sponge brayer into clean water, and rolled the brayer over the stencil.  Voila!  It worked beautifully without inflicting any damage!  In some cases I still wanted to gently pat the stencil with a paper towel, before setting it aside to dry thoroughly, but was a quick, easy step to take -- thus pleasing the side of my personality that is, um, impatient.

These inexpensive sponge brayers are probably already familiar to everyone; they are sold at stores that sell house paint, at Dick Blick, at some dollar stores, etc.  Many of them are designed to be throw-aways, but I get lots of use out of mine, before they bite the dust.

Above and below are two greeting card covers, created with collage, using cut-outs from prints made with my "Swatton Borders #1 Stencil."  The top greeting card uses some handmade striped paper that I bought long, long ago.  The bottom card's background is a monoprint that I made, folding a piece of glossy cardstock over a dollop of water-thinned aqua acrylic paint. 

This stencil is available here:

Thanks for stopping by...  And many thanks to each of you who have been leaving comments on earlier posts.  Your kindness warms my heart.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Re-Run Season Already?

Now that this STENCILGIRL(TM) stencil is available online, I'm re-running an older post ... with a little editing to update it:

One of my new 6"X6" stencils features a pair of soaring osprey (fish hawks) and bears the title Osprey Wings:

 This particular design happens to be one I developed a long time ago, after taking photos at Sandy Hook National Park, NJ, a long peninsula jutting up between a wide double-bay and the Atlantic, with the NYC skyline as background.

The above image, which features one of the two osprey silhouettes on this new stencil, was created long ago in Photoshop.  But I could have created the exact same results using this new stencil -- I simply would have placed the Osprey Wings stencil atop yellow-to-purple paper, traced the outline, cut out the silhouette, and adhered it to a piece of background paper.  Or I could have created the osprey via the alternate (and slower) method described in my recent post that showed the heron image on a Citrasolv-monoprinted background paper.

This background paper started life as a sheet of black glossy cardstock.  I then pressed it, glossy-side-down, to a sheet of Plexiglas* randomly spread with aqua and blue acrylic paints.  I twisted the sheet of cardstock a few times before lifting it off the Plexiglas and setting it aside to dry.  This method of monoprinting often yields results that remind me of seawater.  This particular piece of paper made me think of soaring over ocean waves, looking down ... so it was natural to add the osprey gliding along below the artist's hypothetical viewpoint, watching for a fish.

*Another option would have been to use a Gelli Plate, which would have worked equally well or better.

Friday, November 15, 2013

One More Artwork from my Brand-New 6"X6" stencil "Osprey Wings"

The above is a Gelli Plate print, using my Osprey Wings stencil and a twig of pressed and dried evergreen.  (It was supposed to come out looking like a bird flying toward a distant tree.  Not sure that worked the way I had hoped!)  If you click on the above image you can see that the background paper (Asian newsprint) was first printed with a dollar-store plastic lace placemat used as a stamp.  This stencil is available here:

Still More Artwork using my Brand-New STENCILGIRL(TM) Stencils ...

Above is an example of a monoprint on glossy cardstock, first allowed to dry, then used as a background to be imprinted with a design from a stencil -- here, my brand-new 6"X6" stencil Osprey Wings.
Above is another final-result example of the same stencil being having been used, this time as a resist during the process of marbling with Boku-Undo inks.  This process was detailed in an older post.  Note:  Yellow shades, on white background, yield a subtle-looking final product, since there is little contrast between white and yellow.
Above is another subtle piece, created with the use of my brand-new 6"X6" Heron stencil, molding paste, monoprinting and ink marbling.  This process was described at length in an older post.

Here again is the link for purchase of these two stencils:


More about My 4 Brand-New Stencils Now Available at

Above, repeating my last post, is the brand-new 9"X12" Swatton Borders #1 Stencil.

Above is a sideways view of the brand-new 9"X12" Swatton Borders #2 Stencil -- shown horizontally to perhaps better display the middle border of keys.  The bottom border -- or far-right border, when this stencil is seen vertically -- is a Steampunk-ish design.

Above is the brand-new 6"X6" stencil Osprey Wings.
Above is the brand-new 6"X6" stencil Heron.
These brand-new stencils are available via the individual links above, or the link below can be used to reach all 4 on one webpage:

And now for some artwork examples:

Above is a sheet of glossy cardstock that I monoprinted with pastel acrylic paints; then, after dry-time, I imprinted it with orange acrylic paint, using part of the third border in the 9"X12" Swatton Borders #1 Stencil .  I chose to mask off the boxed part of this border, using Frogtape, a temporary-hold painter's tape.  Sometimes I mistakenly call it Green Frog because it's green and because at times my brain seems no bigger than a frog's!  My apologies to the tape's manufacturer, ShurTech!  (I don't receive compensation for this plug, but I feel guilty for having mis-labeled their product, probably multiple times!)

The above close-up of an abstract artwork of mine shows my use of 2 of the 3 borders included in the brand-new 9"X12" Swatton Borders #2 Stencil.  Note that the Steampunk-ish border is used multiple times on the left side of this image.  Dry-time was allowed between applications of acrylic paint in assorted colors.
Above is another monoprint -- this one, achieved using Citrasolv on a page from a National Geographic magazine -- later imprinted with my brand-new 6"X6" stencil Heron.  Note that I manually filled in the area of the design where the heron's legs meet its body.  For me, the easiest way to do this is to use a small pointed paintbrush and the same shade of acrylic paint that was used thru the stencil to imprint the heron.  This manual addition was tricky since I had opted to blend the heron's color from orange to muted purple.  That color-merge was done by using two different sponge brayers, one loaded with orange paint and the other loaded with muted purple.  Orange was applied first. Then I came in with the muted purple and rolled the brayer lightly over the area where the orange merges into the purple.

Cheap Joe's Art Supplies 2014 Reference Catalog

I've received good news -- one of my abstract artworks on canvas will be included in the Cheap Joe's Art Supplies 2014 catalog.  If I remember correctly, these catalogs come out during December of each preceding year.  I was stunned when I saw the other artworks selected for this catalog, because they are outstanding!  My hat is off to those other artists!

This is the artwork of mine that was chosen:

Working with acrylic paints, I used stamps, brushes and a brand-new stencil of my design that's now available here --

Entitled Swatton Borders #1 Stencil, this 9"X12" stencil includes 3 borders:

I enjoy designing all of my stencils for STENCILGIRL(TM), yet this one was especially fun.   I love swirls, curls and swoops!

In a much older post, part of this stencil's far-right border was featured in another piece of my art.  In that example, I used the inner swirls of this design, leaving off the outer half-box.  It's easy to mask off part of a stencil design, using painters' temporary-hold tape, so as to use only the part you want in each particular application.  I like Frog tape, but there is a blue masking tape that works well, too.  Mary Beth Shaw uses it in one (or both) of her new DVDs, mentioned in recent posts.

Now Available at StencilGirlProducts(TM) -- 4 Brand-New Designs!

Announcing the arrival of --

Swatton Borders #1 Stencil --

-- and Swatton Borders #2 Stencil --

-- and Heron Stencil --

-- and Osprey Wings Stencil --

-- and I will soon post more examples of artwork using these brand-new stencils.  In older posts, I have already shown examples of art featuring Heron and Osprey Wings.  Another artwork using Osprey Wings is coming up ...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Back to Christmas & the Now-Available Borders Stencil #1...

Click on the above image to enlarge it.
Back to talking about my now-released 9"X12" stencil
Swatton Borders #1 Stencil --
-- I hadn't planned this, when creating this stencil design, but I've discovered that each of its 3 borders is just the right width for making candles for my handmade Christmas cards.  It's a quick and easy process to roll a paint-loaded sponge brayer across red background paper, with the stencil sandwiched in the middle.  The resulting stencil-print automatically creates its own useful cutting-line -- important to me, since I no longer trust my paper-cutter whose blade had gone cockeyed.  (And to tell a further truth, the paper-cutter is buried under a basketful of art supplies.)  The two edges of the border-design are easy to cut along and end up with a fairly straight line.
The "flame" is cut from some novelty paper that's white with gold thread stitched into it, in a squiggle pattern.  It's a beautiful pattern, altho you can't tell from this small cut-out.  I would tell you the source of that novelty paper, but it was a gift years ago, from someone who bought it at Costco.  It's probably no longer carried there.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In Homage to a Beautiful Spirit...


You can tell I didn't use my T-square to create this greeting card cover, but even if there are a couple of images with unwelcome tilt, I prize it for its sentimental value.  Coming soon at -- --

is my 6"X6" stencil of cats in 5 poses; this pose is only one of those 5 choices ... so masking of the stencil is needed, if you want to isolate any one of its 5 image options, rather than use all 5 at once.

Four of those five cat silhouettes were digitally derived from photos I had taken, years ago, of my late and dear companion, Kitty.  It's been several years now since she made that crossing over that "Rainbow Bridge."  I still get teary when I see images of her.  But I see this pang of sorrow as a tribute to the love we shared.  It was deep and lasting.

Borders Stencil -- Giving You Designs just the Right Size for Coaster-Craft

After my two coasters had dried from their second spray of red acrylic paint, I placed them on newspaper and set one of my stencils over them.  The beauty of STENCILGIRL(TM) stencils is that their translucency allows exact placement of the stencil, which becomes really important when working on an object that is coaster-size.  Having achieved the right placement, I used masking tape to secure the stencil to the coaster, and to the newspaper underneath.

Click on the above image to see a close-up.
My next step was to use a sponge-tip applicator to add green paint across the face of the coaster.

What I've learned:  For best results, use a heavy-bodied paint and start with less paint on the applicator than you think you may need.  You can always add more paint if need be.  But if you start with too much paint -- as I tend to do -- you risk it leaking under the edges of the stencil's openings, creating areas of blurred paint.  Less is more.  Do as I say, not at I do!  :-)
After removing the piece of tape opposite the stencil, I then had a hinged stencil that I could simply fold back, away from the still-wet coaster.
Below is another example, using a different area of the stencil and using the other coaster:

While the stencil was still wet with green paint, I did what Mary Beth Shaw calls reverse-stenciling.  I call it stamping with a stencil -- but I like her term better. 

I lifted the still-wet stencil carefully away from the still-wet coaster, placed the stencil face down on the newspaper, and went over it with a hard rubber brayer.  This transferred the reverse pattern onto the newsprint. 

Later, I cut out part of that print and used it on the cover of a handmade Christmas card:
Click the above image to enlarge it.
During one of my live demos, I was asked why I use foreign newspapers -- Chinese, Korean, French and Spanish -- for projects like this.  My questioner hazarded the guess that perhaps the newspaper quality is higher when it comes from elsewhere.  Um, no.  Generally it's lower.  But the thing is, I like the look of foreign text when it appears, obscured but still visible, as a background in my finished project.

Meanwhile,  with gold metallic paint and the same type of sponge-tip applicator, I gave the two coasters one last touch: 

Click the above image to get a closer look.