Monday, March 31, 2014

Texture Anyone?

Above:  I've used masking tape to secure a stencil by Carolyn Dube onto a canvas previously marked off into sections (and previously painted with gesso, into which I had placed burlap scraps.)
After securing Carolyn's stencil Use Your Words, I spread modeling paste thru the sections of the stencil that I had masked off with tape.

Above:  a close-up of the modeling paste having been spread thru Carolyn Dube's 9"X12" stencil Use Your Words.
Previously, on another area of the same canvas, I had gone thru the same process with another 2 stencils -- Crazed Invert by Wendy Aikin --

-- and  Kaleid, one of my 6"X6" stencils --

 After the modeling paste had dried, I applied washes of water-thinned acrylic paints to bring color to selected areas across the canvas:

This piece is not yet finished but it's on its way.
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another Ghost Print ...

... following on the tail of the ghost print in my post of a new minutes earlier, here is another ghost print, this time using my 6"X6" Bamboo Wall stencil:

This print was made on a previously halfway stained sheet of watercolor paper.  I plan to add more stain later.

Asian Imagery via Stencils

In one of my two posts of earlier today, I wrote about having made a mix of Golden's Payne's Gray acrylic paint with matte medium, to use in stenciling, with Ink Sweeper as my applicator.  (Thank you, Mary C. Nasser, for having reminded me of Mary Beth Shaw recommending this applicator in her recently released book Stencil Girl -- Mixed Media Techniques for Making and Using Stencils!)

Below, you can see I used my 6"X6" Bamboo Wall stencil twice, facing in different directions and placed side-by-side to create one overall pattern.  My background was a Gelli Plate print -- but before making my stencil imprints with the Bamboo Wall stencil, I had created another layer of color on the Gelli Plat print, by making a pale blue crayon rubbing (with the help of another stencil of mine, placed under the paper.)  The reason I include this picture is to point out that, unlike oil pastel crayons, Art Bar crayons allow you to use acrylic paint over them. 

I used the same acrylic paint-matte medium mix in making the two fan imprints above.  Both fans were created with the use of my 9"X12" stencil Two Fans.  The top fan was made directly onto color-stained  Asian newsprint, applying the paint thru the stencil.  The lower fan is a ghost print, made with the same stencil; while the paint was still wet, I lifted it from the color-stained newsprint and placed it top-side-down onto another sheet of Asian newsprint; then I cut it out to increase the contrast between the ghost print and a white background. 

A Take-Off on one of the Techniques by Jane Davies

I plan to take two workshops with Jane Davies in October -- one in S. Orange, NJ, and one online.

On Jane's blog --

-- you can find fantastic You Tube videos and lots of photos showing her projects and artwork.  Totally inspiring!  (Her DVD is great, too!)

I've taken the liberty of lifting one of her ideas and tweaking it, for experimenting with my 6"X6" stencil Bamboo Wall...

  ... and here is how that project went:

I started with two previously painted background papers, one mauve and one Magnesium Blue by Golden Fluid Acrylics.  Over each background, I used heavy-body yellow paint with an Ink Sweeper to twice-stencil Bamboo Wall, using the stencil in opposing directions; the next three photos show this step-by-step on the mauve background --

After the paint dried, I placed Post-It notes in selected areas across the stenciled imprints on both the blue and mauve backgrounds:

Next, I used the Gelli Plate to add a layer of translucent magenta to both pieces of paper.

When I lifted these papers off the Gelli Plate, the Post-Its remained on the Gelli Plate -- but that didn't matter; the results had been achieved.

One of the papers was, at this point, finished -- it's the blue-background one at far-left in my final photo.

I took the mauve-background paper a step further.  I added more Post-Its in a different design --

-- then, I used a sponge with a mix of matte gel and Golden's Payne's Gray acrylic paint to add a final layer in areas not masked by the Post-Its.
After I removed this second set of Post-Its, the paper was (at least for now) finished.

The results from the two Post-It experiments --



STENCILS ... plus ...

... red cardstock; paintbrush and silver acrylic paint; Ink Sweeper and heavy-body Payne's Gray acrylic paint ...

equals --

Above:  my 6"X6" stencil Bonsai Tree was used.

Above:  the stencil used was my 6"X6" Heron.

Above:  I used my 6"X6" stencil Osprey Wings.

Bonsai Tree, the first of the three stencils used above, bears a 3-word Chinese message, so it is best used with the bonsai leaning to the right, as shown here.  But it's not limited to Asian-themed art -- it can also be used as a Christmas tree on a 6"X6" greeting card, with dots of bright glitter glue along its branches.

Heron, the 6"X6" stencil used in the middle image above, captures the grace of these majestic, bigger-than-life waterfowl.  It's been used to make greeting cards with the blurb "HERON earth did I forget your birthday?"

Osprey Wingsthird of the three above-used stencils, evokes the splendor of these majestic seahawks that soar above sunlight-glittered waters. This stencil pairs beautifully with the Feathers stencils as well as other bird stencils here at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Newly Created Backgrounds and Collage Elements

Click on the above image to enlarge it.  The imprint of Mimosa 6 can be seen at the top.  At bottom left, the imprint of Kaleid is visible.
  Starting with the paper above, I'm posting results from a recent session of my "scraping-paint-across-paper-atop-stencils" technique. (This technique has appeared in earlier posts, described in detail, with step-by-step photos.) 
This time around, I taped two of my 6"X6" stencils to the table under the paper -- Mimosa 6 and Kaleid.  Over them I placed a sheet of cheap paper with a glossy shine.
The paper's glossy finish enabled me to use it as palette paper, while working on my current acrylic painting on canvas.*  As I  finished using each color or color-blend, rather than letting each dollop of paint go to waste by drying, I used a credit card to scrape the wet paint across the glossy paper.
Because I had taped this paper atop the stencils, each scrape of leftover paint picked up the pattern of the stencil underneath the paper.  In the image at the start of this post, the imprint of Mimosa 6 can be seen at the top.  At bottom left, the imprint of Kaleid is visible.
Elsewhere, under the same paper, I had used making tape to secure another stencil of mine, Trivet A 9, to the table-top.
 After scraped paint had dried over that area, I went over that part of the paper with an Art Bar crayon:
In the photo above, the blue Art Bar crayon has heightened the imprint from my 9"X12" stencil Trivet A 9.
In the photo below,  paint has been scraped across my 6"X6" stencil  Kaleid -- 
*IMPORTANT NOTE:  I used cheap glossy paper -- not real palette paper.  If I had used palette paper, the scraped-on paint would eventually peel off.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Today I learned I've been re-published by Stampington & Company in their new book-like publication Digital Inspiration (First Edition 2014.)  Both these digital images of mine were first published in a couple of issues of Somerset Digital Studio, by the same parent company.

Flipping thru the pages of my complimentary copy, I was reminded of the days when I was neck-deep in creating digital imagery.  A trek down Memory Lane....

And before that, it was art rubber stamps, many of which I still hang onto, altho most, if not all, of the companies that bought them for manufacture, now have faded from sight.

It's been an interesting journey.

Tomorrow brings a new stepping stone in that journey -- a day-long workshop with facilitator Sarah Bush at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ.  I will be bringing along some of my stencils along with other supplies, ready to learn.  There is always more to explore -- one of the main reasons I love art-making.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gingo Growing Out of a Thumb!

My 6"X6" Gingko stencil was used in a creative, clever way by the encaustic artist Linda Robertson and I love the color-combination she chose -- boy, does it pop off the page!  Click on Linda's name to see this artwork and notice that she also used another of my favorite stencils by STENCILGIRL(TM)Products -- Lizzie Mayne's 9"X12" version ofTribal Hand, which I've used in an earlier post and will certainly be using again.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Repeating Pattern Principle -- Double the Length of these Vines!

Above:  I used what I call the "repeating pattern principle" to double the length of these 2 orange vines.  This top photo is a close-up. 

It was easy to do!  I used part of my Boxed Vines stencil along with orange acrylic paint on a wedge-shaped cosmetic sponge.  After making the first print, I lifted off the stencil and let the paint dry.  Then I turned the stencil in the direction opposite my first placement, and lined up the cut-off "bottom" of the previous print with the cut-off "bottom" of the vine on the stencil itself.  After pouncing more paint thru the flipped-over stencil, I had the double-length vines shown above.

Click on the link to YouTube, below, to watch Carolyn Dube showing how to do this lining-up of the stencil with the earlier stencil-print, to perfectly extend the earlier stencil-printed image:

Altho Carolyn was working with one of her beautiful brand-new words stencils,  the principle is the same.

As you can see below, my 9"X12" Boxed Vines stencil contains four vines, each with a cut-off point at its "bottom."  This means you can choose any of the four for your first print, and any of them for the second print to be done with the stencil turned in the opposite direction.  The variety you can achieve is endless.  Nor are you limited to using just one color of paint as I did.  Your vine can be one color (or one combination of colors) at one end and totally different in color on the other end.
I use masking tape to secure the stencil to my substrate -- this is especially important when it's time to make that second print, since it needs to line up perfectly with the first print.

I use the same tape to mask off areas of the stencil that I want to avoid using in this selective approach to making prints.

The photo above shows the artwork in its entirety.  The aqua print at the upper right was created with the 9"X12" stencil Web by Mary Beth Shaw.

A Follow-Up Free Webinar ... is where you can catch up with Mary Beth Shaw this coming Thursday, to see and hear answers to questions that arose after her earlier and recent webinar.  I'm signed up!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Love that "Curvie Lattice" stencil!

I've used Mary Beth Shaw's 6"X6" Curvie Lattice stencil twice today; it's in one of my earlier-today posts, below; and it appears again here ...

Above:  I've used masking tape to secure a piece of cardstock to my working surface.  I've placed the stencil over that, and have used more tape to mask off its center area.  My next step will be to use a wedge-shaped cosmetic sponge to apply several acrylic paints -- green, yellow, white and red.

Above:  The finished greeting card -- and I love how these 6"X6" stencils are perfect fits for 6"X6" blank greeting cards.  The "Happy Anniversary" blurb was created on my PC and added with a glue stick.

Scraping Paint Across Stencils ... Again

I've shown this paint-scraping technique in earlier posts.  But this time I'm going into more detail about the overall process.
As I've said before, it's a "wet" version of the crayon-rubbing technique that's been around forever.  Instead of dry crayon (or other soft media such as pastel sticks) what is used, here, is acrylic paint. 
This time around I used liquid acrylics ... because it's good to experiment.  My conclusion is that tube acrylics, being thicker, work better. 

It depends on what results you're looking for, but for this particular technique I choose stencils with large openings, over stencils with intricate, fine details.
Below are the six 6"X6" stencils -- all by STENCILGIRL(TM)Products -- that I've chosen for this go-around:
Top row, L to R -- Trivet B, Mimosa, Curvie Lattice (by Mary Beth Shaw)
Bottom row, L to R -- two copies of Kaleid  and Intersections (by Wendy Aikin) 

Below:  One sheet of Lineco tissue has been taped securely over the stencils.   (More about this paper will be added farther below.)

Below:  Wet acrylic paint sits atop each column of stencils, ready to be scraped downward over the paper.

Above:  Over the tissue, I've spread the tools I could have used for the scraping.  The shower-wall-cleaning "squeegie" did a better job than the Princeton Wedge (altho the Wedge is great for other projects.)  The paint-covered credit card and the white rigid-plastic wedge (from a home supply store) have been used in the past; both work fine. 

Above:  Paint has been scraped down across the stencils; then more paint was added and scraped down in the same way, using slight pressure as the scraping tool was pulled downward.

Important tip:  If using Lineco tissue paper, remove the paper from the stencils as soon as you have finished the paint-scraping.  If the paint is allowed to dry first, the paper will stick to the stencils and will be more difficult to remove. 

I used both Lineco tissue and dry-wax deli paper for this project and found that the Lineco tissue will expand and form wrinkles as it is being scraped by the paint-loaded tool.  This does not happen with the deli paper.  However, the deli paper is more resistant to the paint, and needs to be scraped more than once, in experimentation to see which direction will work the best.
After the above paint had dried, I turned the tissue over and repeated the same technique on the other side of the same tissue.  I used different colors of paint on the second side so that, when finished, the paper would be printed on both sides, with non-matching prints.
After the paint had dried on the second side, the tissue paper was ready to be cut for use in collages, greeting card covers, scrapbooking, art journaling, etc.
Important note:  Doing both sides of the tissue makes the finished product stronger.  When cutting up the finished paper, make sure to check both sides before making the final cuts.  Sometimes you will like the "top" side of one section and the "bottom" side of another section of the printed paper.

Below:  Two 6"X6" greeting card covers made with these "scraped" papers as backgrounds; these backgrounds can be better seen if you click on the image to enlarge it: 
(The foreground on the upper card is digital clipart that I created back when I was doing that kind of thing; the foreground on the lower card is a stamped image made with a rubber stamp that I carved; I did the print on another sheet of my digital clipart, to give the butterfly a yellowish tone.) 

Think in Layers

Using Photoshop has taught me to think in layers.  Now I'm applying the same approach to making greeting cards.

For this project I've used my 9"x12" STENCILGIRL(TM) stencil BoxedVines ... and a couple of the images will be repeats of images shown in earlier posts. 

The first step I suggest taking is to use this stencil as a guide in cutting out individual vines.

I took the option of cutting out my vines freehand, so they aren't identical with the stencil's vines. 

But for anyone who doesn't have a Matisse-ish bone in her body, I recommend using masking tape to secure the stencil onto colored paper; then, to trace lines along the edges of the vines you like.  You can use colored pencils that match the colors of these papers.

(Here is a link with a helpful example of using a stencil to trace its shapes:

Your Boxed Vines tracings will show the "bridges" used in stencil-design (needed to hold the stencils together) but these small gaps will disappear as you cut out the vines.  I recommend using cuticle or similar fine-detail scissors.

On the 2 greeting card covers below, the vine cut-outs are the textured purple vine in the top card, and in the lower card, the orange and navy vines.

The backgrounds on these two greeting cards were created as Gelli Plate prints using the Boxed Vines stencil.

Yet another kind of collage for a greeting card cover:

 In the above image, 3 irregular-shaped background-papers have been stacked; over them, I've added a collection of vines in assorted colors. 

Again, I've cut these vines freehand -- but for those who prefer, the technique works equally well if vines are traced onto colored papers using my Boxed Vines stencil as a guide. 

When using my stencil as a guide, you can achieve more variety for your hand-cut individual vines if you flip the stencil over:  Your next tracings will be horizontally flipped versions of your first set of tracings. 

Remember to use cuticle or other fine-detail scissors to cut out the vines.  If you accidentally lop off a leaf, re-attach it as you're gluing down the final collage; nobody will know.  Promise!

2 tips: 

Cardstock is the best paper I've found for cutting out these individual vines.  I've tried "softer" texture-embossed papers but they don't work as well.

TowBow glue sticks work especially well in creating these collages.  I will soon be auditioning a Zig glue pen for the individually cut-out vines.  It may work even better.

My 9"X12" stencil Boxed Vines is available here: