Saturday, March 28, 2015

To Cut or Not to Cut -- That is the Question!

Artist Lissa Goldsmith commented on an earlier post of mine, and, having read it, I decided to do a post about the subject of altering your stencils.  

The first time I cut into a stencil, it felt almost like cutting my arm ... but, I got over it!  Stencils are made to be used as tools.  You can customize your tools -- personalize them and make them uniquely yours.

And, when I first went into heavy use of stencils -- this was, not by coincidence, when I joined the talented group of designers at -- I tried to keep my stencils clean.  I can remember posting, long ago, about different ways to clean them:  alcohol on paper towels or Wet Wipes; Windex; sponge brayer in a shallow basin of soak-water.  

I got over that, too!

My original Marbles 9 (9"X12") stencil looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

These aren't all the pieces -- only what would fit on my scanner at one time; but enough for you to get the picture.
Of course, in many cases, you can simply mask off the areas of the stencil that you don't want to print, as I've done here:

Above:  Modeling paste has been spread thru Carolyn Dube's 9"X12" stencil Use Your Words.

But at other times, depending on the individual project, cutting to customize is the way to go.
As for cleaning acrylic paint off my stencils -- when the stencil is covered with paint, it makes great sun-prints!  The three posts below give all the details:

Apr 29, 2014

May 08, 2014
Often, too, stencils will become really pretty, due to multiple paint applications -- and at those times, I cut them up to use as collage elements. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Last day of StencilGirlProducts Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Today is the last day of the this week's blog hop at

Two of my stencils are used in today's post on the blog of artist Nancy Wethington.

My 6"X6" stencil Pressed Leaves ...

and my 9"X12" stencil Branching Blossoms Silhouette ...

 ... are among the tools Nancy used to create her latest artwork.  Her blog is here:  Enjoy!  And leave comments on all this week's blogs to be eligible to win in the giveaway!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Visit today's edition of StencilGirlTalk to join this week's StencilGirlProducts blog hop and giveaway!

In today's hop, the post by Sherry Cheever, a 9"X12" stencil of mine, Vintage Script, is used  --

 This stencil is available here:

Another stencil of mine, 6"X6" Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet, is also used in Sherry Cheever's blog hop post, today --

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Second Day of Giveaway StencilGirl Blog Hop!

Yesterday's post introduced this week's StencilGirlProducts blog hop and giveaway -- and today's post brings me happily back to it again.  Today another stencil of mine is featured in the hop --

And you can join the hop here:

So have fun!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Don't Wait!

My 6"X6" stencil Pressed Leaves --

 -- was used in today's StencilGirl's blog hop by artist Ken Oliver:

Check out the blog hop either via Ken's blog, or here:

Prizes to win!  So don't wait ... 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

HERON Earth Did I Forget Your Birthday?

That's the blurb I used on the cover of a greeting card, shown below.

Using a pink and blue monoprint as my background, I made a heron print with a Sofft Sponge, Payne's Gray acrylic paint and my 6"X6" stencil Heron.


While the stencil was still wet with acrylic paint all around the edges of the heron shape, I turned the stencil over, placed it on a sheet of foreign newsprint, and rubbed it with the heel of my hand.  That made the ghost print below...


Above is the 6"X 6" stencil itself; to see my full line of stencils, please visit here.

Thank you for stopping by this blog today.  If you'd like to follow blog posts by email, just sign on in the upper right sidebar.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Since today we're having yet another snowfall (4-5 inches predicted), I am determined to THINK SPRING!

I started today's project with a dark background on a sheet of 140-lb. watercolor paper slightly larger than my 9"X12" stencil Facets.  The background below is not identical to the one I used, but it's very similar.

Next, I altered the background paper with Titanium White acrylic paint.  I applied the paint using a cosmetic sponge (lower left corner, below) thru the Facets stencil, which I'd secured with green masking tape.

Below is the background paper with the stencil lifted off.

Below is the same paper, after I added an overcoat of translucent pale green acrylic paint.

Below is a close-up of a section of this paper, where I've followed the original lines to mark off several rectangles and one circle.

My next step was to cut along those outlined shapes.  Then I assembled them to form a flower. 

I auditioned several new background papers to see which I liked best as the base of the flower collage.

My favorite is the middle one.  Yours?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

9"X12" TWINSHIP Stencil

This mixed-media collage on canvas isn't quite finished, but I want to show (circled in green) the area where I've used part of my 9"X12" stencil Twinship.

This is the stencil in its entirety --

Its unusual title comes from the fact that I developed this design from a photo I took several years ago in a historic little town near near Atlantic City, NJ.  The original photo showed a round wire basket hanging on a white wooden fence.  The sun shone brightly that day, casting a shadow from the basket that resembled an elongated "twin"-- and I doubled this image to create the stencil design.

I love this stencil because it reminds me of that warm day, spent with friends.

Twinship is available here:

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 9, 2015

9"X12" stencil TANGLED PODS

 I often fall back on old favorite stenciling techniques, including the use of a Sofft Sponge to apply heavy-body acrylic paint thru the openings.  I usually do this as a second step, having first created a background.  Over the background already established on the canvas below, I've used my 9"X12" stencil  Tangled Pods to apply acrylic paint thru it, with this sponge. 

After using the stencil a first time , I often add spray paint.  The spray reinforces the layered look that's already begun -- and it's useful for hiding areas where paint may have bled under the stencil.  I often use Adirondack color wash spray from AmazonSmile.  Other times, I use my own acrylic paint in a mister bottle, thinned with water and a few drops of airbrush medium.

On the current painting, I decided to add some opaque paint to part of the canvas, creating a base for the spray technique.  This is not always necessary but it was what I wanted to do this time.  See below:

Below is a close-up of the stencil taped to the canvas, ready for me to apply the spray paint.  (Notice I have cut the outside border off the stencil, which is stained from having been used earlier with burgundy paint.) 

Detail close-up

After spraying paint thru the stencil, I lifted the stencil, leaving what you see in the close-up below. 

Detail close-up
Another old favorite technique that I often fall back on is to use the reductive (also called subtractive) approach:  First, I paint a layer of new color in a limited area.

While this layer is still wet, I place a stencil over it.  Holding the stencil in place with one hand, I use the other with a paper towel or soft cloth to rub off still-wet paint in the areas that are exposed in the openings of the stencil.  The results are shown below -- where I have used the reductive technique on both the left (purple) and right (aqua) lower sections.

Below is a close-up of the left lower corner where the reductive method was used:

 Next, I painted the upper right area of this painting, again applying acrylic paint thru the stencil.  See below.

Below is a close-up of this upper right area:

After the burgundy paint had dried on the upper right area, I secured the stencil to the canvas with green masking tape, shown below.  Notice again that I've cut off the stencil's outer border.

Once more, I used water-thinned green acrylic paint in a mister to spray thru the stencil.  After I lifted off the stencil, the central right area appeared as shown below.

Below is a full view of this painting, further developed -- what I've done:  (1) I painted out the left-middle section with opaque green paint; (2) over the green layer, I applied full-strength pink paint thru the Tangled Pods stencil; (3) I weakened the lower part of this imprint by lightly covering that area with green spray paint.  At this point, this painting is nearly finished.

Below is the painting, finished.  The final touch was to add part of the cut-up stencil (now painted purple) along the left side.  This meant cutting the stencil almost completely apart and reassembling it as I collaged it onto the canvas.  This artwork is entitled The Beans because my friend Vicky Culver gave that joking title to the dangling pods that inspired me to create this stencil.  At our local art guild, Vicky parks her car near these pods, which hang from a tree that goes by three names --  take your choice -- Sophora japonica; Japanese Pagoda Tree; Chinese Scholar Tree.  The pods resemble strands of pearls.

 These are only a few ways I've found to use my 9"X12" stencil Tangled Pods. 

Below is another painting on canvas, in which I've used the same combination of techniques with the same stencil:

In the lower left corner, I've added a strip of burgundy paint and collaged over it the remaining stencil, stained green and burgundy -- with its outer border removed.

Friday, March 6, 2015

"Boxed Vines" -- a 9"X12" Stencil in Action

Altho there are countless ways to use stencils, as shown in all my older posts, I often fall back on old favorite stenciling methods, including the use of a Sofft Sponge to apply heavy-body acrylic paint thru the openings.  I usually do this as a second step, after having created a background. 

Below are two artworks, each with a background already established.  Over the these backgrounds, I've used the same stencil -- Boxed Vines (9"X12") -- and applied acrylic paint thru it, using the sponge.  

The first photo below is a close-up detail of an old collage on canvas that I've decorated with a new element with the stencil and acrylic paint.

This second photo, below, shows the stencil in full-size, secured with masking tape to an old green painting on paper that will now serve as background.  Here, orange paint has been applied to the buds in the top section of the stencil.  

After that paint dried, I added a pale green paint, still using the sponge.  Below, the whole painting is shown, after the stencil has been lifted.

These two artworks are waiting to be completed.  On my other blog --

-- I will be showing another two artworks, started in the same way, using a different stencil.  But on those artworks, I've used other techniques to bring both works to completion.

Monday, March 2, 2015


We had another dose of freezing rain overnight, and tomorrow's forecast promises more of the same, so it's time to think positive!  Think spring!

Here are two 6"X6" greeting cards that I think express this sentiment --

Both were made by spreading light molding paste thru my 6"X6" stencil Budding Branches.

But with the top card, I allowed the paste to dry, then spread the whole surface with Pan Pastel.

Making the lower card, I used the stencil as a mask -- right after spreading the paste, while it was still moist, I sprayed green paint across the surface, before lifting off the stencil.  This way, the green spray didn't hit the white cardstock; it just colored the paste.  After the green spray dried, I used acrylic to paint the buds pink.

If you try this technique, be sure to soak your stencil in water as soon as it's lifted from the paste -- then blot it with a paper towel, to keep the paste from drying on the stencil.

Budding Branches is available at