Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I asked myself this question as I used my just-now-released Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet (6"X6"), Branching Blossoms Silhouette (9"X12"), Quilted Flower Garden (6"X6"), Palm Fronds Silhouette Small 6"X6", Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini 4"X4" and Fern Fronds Silhouette 4"X4".

Now available at, the brand-new collection above extends my line of botanical stencils already released -- Bamboo Wall , Bonsai Tree , Boxed Vines , Queen Anne's Lace , Ivy Frame9 Mimosa , Ivy 9 , Gingko 6 , Flowers Version 1Flowers Version 2 , Ivy Frame 6 , Ferns 6 , Ivy 6 , and Mimosa 6 .

The minute I received my blue prototype stencils for this new botanical collection, I launched into one of my favorite techniques, which I call "stencil-and-stain." 
My first step was to use masking tape to secure stencils to my substrate -- in this case, my substrate was 140-lb. hot-press watercolor paper, because it has the smooth surface that enables this technique work at its best.
Above, top row L - R: my brand-new Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet, Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini 4X4", and my less-recently-released 9"X12" Facets.

The watercolor paper was taped to a portable work surface -- just a flat, sturdy cardboard box, covered with freezer paper, shiny side up.  A sheet of Plexiglas would work well, too.  (I don't recommend using foam-board; it would eventually warp if often used with the high saturation of water needed in this technique.)
Second in sequence:  I generously sprayed the water across the watercolor paper.
I then started to add color; many types of liquid color would have worked here; this time, I chose Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor, which comes with built-in eyedroppers -- very handy for this kind of project.  Next time, I may choose my Golden Rapid Flow acrylics, which have squirt-tops that would work just as well for adding color one drop at a time.
My chosen watercolor, like the Acrylic High Flows, carries a high concentration of pigment.  A wet surface dilutes these strong colors and helps spread the colors.

At this point, I sprayed more water onto the surface, right after adding paint, because for this particular project, my goal was to create a pale finished product.
I also needed to tip and tilt the watercolor paper to further encourage the spread of color.
I continued to add paint and water, blotting with paper towels between each application.

Above:  The more water and liquid watercolor I applied, the more the watercolor paper warped -- making it necessary to add small weights to keep each part of all 3 stencils in contact with the watercolor paper below.  It's the settling of the pigments around the stencil's contours which creates the finished look that's my goal.  I used circular weights to encourage pigment to settle into circular patterns, in addition to the patterns of the stencil. 
After the water-and-watercolor mixture had dried, I felt I had been too heavy-handed in adding color, so with the stencils and paperweights still in place, I sprayed on a water-diluted off-white paint across areas I wanted to lighten -- as shown below.

Below is a greeting card cover made from the stencil-and-stain print created with Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini 4X4".  That print forms the background in this small collage.

I'm doing a "NEW NEW NEW" cluster of posts to demonstrate several techniques and highlight my other now-released stencils -- Branching Blossoms Silhouette (9"X12"), Quilted Flower Garden (6"X6"), Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini (4"X4") and Palm Fronds Silhouette Small  6"X6".  For the stencil-and-stain technique shown in this post, I used the new designs as stencils.  In another post in this "NEW NEW NEW" cluster, I use my just-released botanical collection as masks.  Please check out all my posts in the NEW NEW NEW cluster -- they will appear every 2-3 days.

NOTE:   Stencils used here are blue prototypes sent to designers at STENCILGIRL(TM)Products.  When you order any StencilGirl stencil, yours will be white.  Please check out all 6 of my brand-new stencils at   

No comments:

Post a Comment