Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Worthy of a Re-Run

I want to re-run an older post of mine -- a special favorite.  For this "stencil-and-stain" technique demo, I used my stencils 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").

Available at www.StencilGirlProducts.com, this collection extends my line of botanical stencils -- 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 .

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.  At other times, I've used Yupo, which works just as well.
Above, top row L - R: my stencils Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet, Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini 4X4", and 9"X12" Facets.
Second in sequence:  I sprayed water (in a mister bottle) across the watercolor paper.  (When using Yupo, skip this first application of water.)

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 plan to use high-flow acrylics.  I believe that all brands of high-flow acrylics have squirt-tops that would work just as well for adding color one drop at a time. 
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.  If you want brighter, darker colors in your finished piece, use less water.
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 stencils'  openings that creates the finished look I want.  I used circular weights to encourage pigment to settle into circular patterns, adding further detail and variety. 
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.  You can click on the image to enlarge it.

I lifted off the stencils while the paint was still moist -- not yet completely dry.  I didn't want to run the risk of having the stencils permanently stuck to the watercolor paper! 

Above is a greeting card cover made from the stencil-and-stain print created with Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini 4X4".  (That print forms the background.)

NOTE:   Stencils used here are blue prototypes sent to designers at STENCILGIRL(TM)Products.  When you order any StencilGirl stencil, yours will be white.   www.StencilGirlProducts.com   

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