Thursday, July 19, 2018

In Honor of My Grandparents, a scrapbook page by Natalie May

Hey there, lovely creatives!

For this month's In Honor of theme,  I am honouring my Grandparents with this Scrapbook Layout.

This is my Nana and Pa's Wedding photo - it is my favorite photo of them and it just beautiful.

Both of them have now passed away but their memory is living on through our family.

To create this page, I used a stencil that is coming out soon designed by Pam Carriker!

Here are a few simple steps ...

I started by using Dress Pattern and book paper to collage a base. Once dry, I used Distress Inks and Oxides plus Lindys Stamp Gang Sprays to add colour.

On a separate panel of cardstock, I used dress pattern again and used the stencil with heavy gesso to create a strip of interest across the middle. I then used a couple of Lindys Stamp Gang sprays to add colour and dimension.

I love how the gesso creates a resist with the spray.

I applied gel medium through a sponge and then added gilding flakes before brushing them off when dry - leaving an awesome finish.

I love the final finish of this page ... the layers of stenciling with gesso, sprays, inks and gilding flakes work so well together and all create a look that matches the photo really well.

Here are a few close-ups:

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New Stencils! Journal Texture by Pam Carriker and Garden Montage by Cecilia Swatton

We are thrilled to offer you new stencils, a floral, and 5 abstracts, by two of our wonderful designers!

Wildflowers, Purple Shamrock blooms and buds with leaves, Maidenhair ferns as well as other leafy plants clustered in Cecilia Swatton's imagination to become Garden Montage. This 9” x 12” stencil celebrates the beauty and nearly endless variety of flowers.  

Mixed Media Painting

Acrylic over spray ink.

There are a few patterns Pam Carriker’s Journal Textures #12 and reverse #13 stencils might call to mind... rough yet organic holes, honeycomb, punched holes, waste from a sheet of cut sequins. Whatever these stencils depict in your mind, they will certainly make lovely organic patterns in your art! 

The tattered harlequin pattern of Pam Carriker's Journal Texture #9 and #10 stencils are sure to be pleasing to the eye in your art, as background or focal points.

Reminiscent of chain link fencing, tire tracks, and Xs, Pam's Journal Texture #11 stencil will get the job done in your art!

Will you choose flowers, textures, or both?

Discover the latest stencil designs HERE.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Honouring The Australian Soldier by Louise Nelson

Hello, Hello :)

Today I would like to share with you a project created for my interpretation of the In Honor of theme. 

For me, I had to created a project Honouring Australian Soldiers; past, present, and future and I chose to incorporate the red poppy. 

I was inspired by an iconic photo, depicted below, [photographer unknown] that is used to represent the significance of the red poppy on Remembrance Day, on November 11th every year. 

The red poppy has special significance for Australians and is worn on Remembrance Day each year. Australians wear them for 3 reasons; First, in memory of the sacred dead who rest in Flanders' Fields. Second, to keep alive the memories of the sacred cause for which they laid down their lives; and third, as a bond of esteem and affection between the soldiers of all Allied Nations and in respect for France the common battleground. 

The red poppies were among the first to flower in the devastated battlefields. In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.

This photo was a direct inspiration for the process of creating this project [image below]. I have used 2 different StencilGirl stencils to depict the poppy field of the photo above, over a printed photo of an unknown Australian Soldier. [From the Australian War memorial Collection].

Through various creative steps, I have tried to reproduce the field of poppies in an abstract way. 

I was also directly inspired by the color choice of the photo.

After I started creating this project it came to mind, that in a way I was 'artistically' coloring this photo of the 'Unknown Soldier', as photographers used to, when over-painting early photos that were originally printed in black and white or sepia. This was done to enhance the realism of the photo. I like to think that with my over-painting I am enhancing the realism of the 'Remembrance Day'. It kind of added to my personal satisfaction of creating this project. 

I would like to share a few photo collages on how I created this 'Colored Photo'. 

  • I began by sourcing the Unknown Soldier image from the internet, inserting it into a word document page, and printing it on to good quality paper; Canson 300gsm.
  • The products and tools I used were; a Gelpress plate, brayer, acrylic paints, spy ink, water mister, and black watercolor paint.
  • The stencils I used were both designed by the fabulous Suzi Dennis. The Garden Dreams L436 Stencil is depicted below, the bottom stencil [depicted above] was one included in a StencilGirl Club Kit [SC-09-2017].
  • With all of the overpainting/printing, I ensured that the soldier's eyes were left free of paint by using just a torn scrap of paper.
  • I applied 2 colors of acrylic paint [red and white] to the gel printing plate using brayers. This was a fairly thick application.
  • I then overlaid the stencils on the gel plate. I did a light print pass with the photo and then turned over the stencils and reprinted onto the photo to remove the paint from the stencils.
  • This double printing from both the plate and the stencils served to abstractly blur the printed patterns.
  • Whilst the acrylic paint was still wet I spritzed the red flower portion with water and allowed it to run down the photo.
  • When this happened I kind of had a 'happy accident' in that the water made the photo ink run as well and the unpainted portion [the eyes] yellowed, not unlike an old photo would look. This was dried with a heat tool.
  • I then added splats of black spray ink over the red flower portion and dried it off with a heat tool.
  • I then added a darker application of black watercolor paint splats around the soldier's face, under the red flower portion.
  • I then spritzed this with water to allow the black paint to run down the photo. this was then dried off using a heat tool.

Garden Dream Stencil

Below are close-up images of the photo so that you can see the effects of the creative process, and how I tried to reproduce the poppy field, flowers and stems.

Well, that is my creative fun for this month using the amazing StencilGirl Stencils. I do hope you have enjoyed it.

Cheers and Happy Creating!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Creating Texture with Stencils, Acrylic Mediums, and Embossing Powder

Hi all, this is Gwen and I'm excited to share my first column focusing on using stencils with Paint & Texture! It's no secret that I'm a sucker for a textured surface, so for today's project I've created a piece called "Sands of Time" - a piece of abstract mixed media artwork using stencils with a variety of acrylic mediums as well as embossing powder and a few other supplies to get lots of great dimension and texture.

Ready to see how to get these texture effects in your own work? I've put together a tutorial to show you step by step how I created this piece.

To start, I took a 6" x 12" x 1-1/2" cradled birch panel and coated it with a few shades of Matisse background paints (essentially colored gesso - you could also use white, black, tinted gesso, or craft paints.)

When the gesso was dry, I used the Swirl stencil by Seth Apter along with a light gray Archival Ink and stenciled the whole design, and then parts of it coming out from the top and bottom - I was envisioning kind of an undulating river of swirls down the length of the panel.

Of course, I couldn't have flat swirls; I was thinking lots of dimension. To get that, I took some Extra Heavy Gel / Molding Paste and mixed it with a few drops of Yellow Oxide fluid acrylic paint. (This type of gel is excellent for holding peaks - I wanted to make sure that the design wouldn't settle but would hold its shape after drying and this does the trick.)

I took my tinted gel / molding paste and put it into a plastic sandwich bag, then snipped off just a tiny piece of the corner. This is a little cake decorating cheat when you don't have a pastry bag and it works great for your dimensional mediums and pastes as well! I used that to pipe out the paste, roughly tracing over the stenciled lines, then I used a small silicon brush to smooth them out. I didn't worry about any stenciled lines still showing since I could cover those later.

I let the panel dry overnight, then pulled it back out and started in on some collage to create a different texture along the edges and spilling over onto the sides of the panel. I took a few types and weights of papers, tore them into pieces and crumpled them up, then just collaged them around the edges with matte medium, scrunching them a bit as I went to make sure I maintained some of the crumpled look.

Once the collage was done, I used some Titan Green Pale heavy body acrylic paint and a stiff bristled round brush and integrated the collage into the background. Mostly I just want to cover up the seams and dry-brush a bit over the peaks of the paper to start to make it all cohesive.

Of course, I still need more layers of texture, (more is more!) so I took that same yellow oxide paint and tinted a little light molding paste. I used this with my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil and randomly added bits of dimensional pattern around the panel. As I worked, I made sure to stencil across the collaged image and onto the plain background to further integrate the collaged sections into the piece.

I set that aside to dry for a few hours... I was going to start painting next, so all of the pastes needed to be dry before I started working on top of them. Once it was ready, I used some Mars Yellow and Titan Mars Pale heavy body acrylic paints and started dry-brushing with a stiff-bristled round brush. I worked around the dimensional swirls and then brought it out to the collaged texture as well.

Next, I wanted to start bringing in contrast with all of the light colors I had in the background, so I got out my dirty glaze and coated all the dimensional areas. (Dirty glaze is basically any glaze mixed with Micaceous Iron Oxide fluid acrylic paint. My preferred blend is gloss or glazing medium with Van Dyke Brown, Micaceous Iron Oxide, and just a few drops of Interference Gold.)

I let the glaze start to dry, then wiped back with a baby wipe so that it stayed in the recessed areas but the tops of all the textured sections were still the original color.

To further enhance that contrast, I used Transparent Shading Gray High Flow acrylic paint in a Fineline bottle and traced along one side of all the dimensional areas.

I let that dry for a minute or two, then started to dab that back with a baby wipe, repeating the process until I was happy with how it looked. You can already see what a huge difference it makes when you add some glazing and shading - mega contrast!

I let the paint dry again, then got out some clear embossing ink and a sponge applicator and coated the entire panel, making sure to try and get it into all of the textured areas as best I could.

I put the panel over a piece of scrap paper, then sprinkled Vintage Beeswax Baked Texture Embossing Powder over the entire piece, tapping off the excess and returning it to the jar.

I heated that, melting the entire first coat, then repeated the process so that I had two complete coats of embossing powder. This particular blend has just a bit of a tint, making what's underneath look slightly aged while giving it a nice, thick and glossy coating of enamel.

On the second coat, I started to bring in even more texture using Prills from USArtQuest. I sprinkled them into the hot embossing powder (I melted it, turned the heat gun away and quickly added the Prills, then brought the gun back to re-heat the area and ensure they were nicely embedded.)

Once all of the embossing was done, I coated the entire thing with matte medium. (This is a great tip from Seth Apter who designed the Baked Texture powders - it makes the Vintage Beeswax look exactly like beeswax on an encaustic piece!)

When the matte medium was dry, I took some Treasure Gold wax from PaperArtsy and just used my finger to brush it on the tops of the textured areas - this helps to heighten the contrast even more, both in color as well as with the bright metallic vs. the grungy glazing and shading.

At this point I decided on what my focal point was going to be, and since it included a little hint of green, I decided to add a patina effect to the rest of the piece in order to integrate the colors of the elements I was going to add. I took some Vintaj Patina paints (from Ranger) and rubbed them onto the piece in a few places using a dry cloth. After that, I went back through with the gold wax and touched up any places where the patina was too strong.

Finally, I assembled my focal point elements: a large, sequined sari patch from India, a large vintage Kuchi button from Pakistan, and a brass elephant charm that I tinted with alcohol inks. With that in place, the piece was almost finished! I just added a few swipes of brown and black StazOn ink along the edges of the panel to frame it and I was done.

Here are a few close-ups so you can better sense of the different varieties of texture that I was able to achieve with the stenciling and all of the other elements and mediums I combined on this piece:

I really had a lot of fun experimenting with texture on this piece, and I hope you enjoyed it! I can't wait to see how you interpret these techniques in your own work!

Until next time, happy stenciling!