Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fun with Stencils and Molding Paste

A GREAT BIG WELCOME
to new Creative Team Member
Gwen Lafleur!!!!
Hi everyone! I'm Gwen Lafleur and I'm so excited to be sharing my first post here on the blog.

One of my favorite techniques is to use molding paste together with stencils. Usually I put the molding paste through the stencil, but today's project uses the stencils to create a layered foundation and then the molding paste goes on top.

Here's the final project - it's an 18"x18" mixed media canvas.

I love it because it's full of color, texture, and pattern, and it's also pretty easy to make!

So getting started, I gesso'd the canvas and then laid down several patches of paint using three colors. I made sure to leave a bit of white space so that it wouldn't be solid color on the finished product.


Next, I started pulling out my stencils. I used a stiff, dry paint brush to kind of stipple or pounce the paint through the openings. Just keep the paint light so that you don't get a lot spreading underneath.


I used the Tribal Leaves stencil by Kae Pea, the Pods stencil by Jane LaFazio, the Sea Urchin stencil by June Pfaff Daley, and the Optical Large stencil by Michelle Ward.

Next I picked a few more designs to give just a bit more contrast and to fill in a bit more of the open space. I wanted plenty of stuff going on for the second part of the project!

For this layer, I added the 6x6 stencil from the April 2013 Stencil Club set designed by Mary Beth Shaw, and then finished it with some black lettering using the Vintage Script stencil by Cecilia Swatton.

So with that, the stenciling was done and I wanted to add just a bit more to the background. I used my fine line applicators to draw circles with paint and to do some teal splatters - I wanted to introduce a bit of contrasting color and tie in with the color I knew I wanted to use on the top layer. I also added some random green circles using a Molotow paint pen.


And now you can see what the foundation looked like... there's a lot going on, but it's exactly what I was looking for.


With part one done, you'll want to prep for part 2 - getting ready to add the molding paste.


I used regular molding paste because I knew I was going to use a very thin coat and because I was working on canvas. I did a similar project in my art journal and used light molding paste for that. I also used some fluid acrylics to tint the paste, palette knives, and a cup with a lid to mix and store. What I have mixed above was exactly enough for my entire canvas (a few tbsp worth of molding paste and 10 drops of paint.)

Next, decide what design you want to do. Because my stenciling was all circle and oval-ish, I went with leaves to tie in with the foundation design shapes. I used a Stabilo All Marks pencil to trace out the first section of the design, and then I used my palette knife to start adding the tinted molding paste to the canvas, working my way around the design.

I found it was easier to work around the design than to try and put down a coat and scrape off later. It works fine for adjustments as you go, though... and using your palette knife to scrape off the molding paste is how you add in the stems - just drag the knife through it.

You can kind of see from the photos that I worked in sections - that's why I kept the molding paste in a container with a lid - it kept it fresh in between sections. I also used a pretty thin coat as I was working on the canvas - I wanted hints of the design to show through, but you could also do it a lot thicker depending on the look you want.

At this point you could call it done. I kind of tend toward the "more is more" philosophy, and I may have a slight addiction to Liquid Pearls, so I pulled some out to finish off my canvas.


You can see that I just outlined the leaves and stems and added a few dots - I used Platinum Pearl so that it would be subtle, but still add a bit of definition and dimension, as well as just a hint of shine.

And that's it! I painted the edges of my canvas and hung it on the wall!


I hope you enjoyed today's project! I had a lot of fun making it :)

Gwen Lafleur

34 comments:

  1. That's really cool! I love the black lettering. I love what you did with the molding paste! I would have second guess myself on that part! Did you add water to make it more translucent?

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    1. Thanks Caroline! No water added... I just made sure not to add too much paint when tinting the molding paste and I spread it on very thin... that gives it the translucent effect. If you want it more opaque, you can put on a heavier layer. It just depends on which look you're going for :)

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    2. Just elated over your work ! All my favorite colors. It just speaks to my heart.

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  2. Gwen it's absolutely stunning! I love your technique and the resulting canvas it gorgeous!

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  3. Wonderful! Thanks for the process.

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  4. I love this! Definitely going to try this technique! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Thank you, Gwen, for choosing my Vintage Script stencil as part of the background in this beautifully bright and cheerful artwork! The colors and artwork are real spirit-lifters!

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  6. Just beautiful!! love the step by step and I adore the results! well done! (oh, and nice choice of stencils. :-)

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  7. Welcome to the team, Gwen! Love your new approach to modelling paste....and the final piece is gorgeous.

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  8. I'm really loving this piece....great color combos!!!! Great to see you sharing your inspiration here.

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  9. Just stunning!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

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  10. Welcome! What a gorgeous piece! Thanks for sharing it and your process with us.

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  11. I really enjoyed your tutorial. The end piece is stunning! I'll have to try it out soon.

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  12. A BIG WOW with super,pop colors!

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  13. Welcome to Stencil Girl!! Love what you created here...Beautiful colors!

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  14. Amazingly beautiful. Love the colors and all the hidden layers!

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  15. Welcome! Love your project, what fun. I love learning new things. Great post

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  16. what a beautiful finished piece and your step out photos and explanations are just perfect. Awesome post!

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  17. Thank you for sharing this process with us. I really love the colors and textures of your background, and the finished piece is stunning. I'm trying to understand why you would create such beautiful texture and then cover most of it with another layer. In the end, the piece is remarkable. I'm still learning the process.

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    1. Hi Janet,
      Covering up is definitely something you have to get comfortable with! I knew I was going to do that when I started, so I made sure that I didn't get too attached to any area. That's also part of the reason why I made the molding paste layer so thin... you can still see a lot of the original pattern and texture showing through so you don't lose it entirely.

      This technique actually works really well when you're trying to do a really busy page or canvas and it gets areas that are really muddy or you end up not liking it... then covering up the parts you don't like and letting other areas show through is a great way to "save" your work or tone down something that got a bit busier than you'd intended.

      Of course, if you absolutely love your patterned layer, you can always just leave off the molding paste and stop there!

      I'm glad you liked it! And I'm still learning the process too :)

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    2. Hi Gwen, thank you for taking the time to respond to me. I'm going to give your technique a try this coming week. It will be fun to experiment.

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  18. Welcome Gwen! You're canvas is stunning!!

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  19. what a fabulous piece Gwen!! Love how you explained your process- just gorgeous!!!
    I liked the canvas before the paste also! just saying") Jackie

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  20. LOVE! Everything about your canvas is fantastic! I'll be trying this very soon! Thanks Gwen :)

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  21. Wow Gwen. Your tutorial is so awesome. As a newcomer to this process, I sometimes have had my inner self arguing about layering over something that I have become too attached to. But the way you layered it to let the previous paints/stencils to peek through was like a light bulb turning on. I think a much lighter layer is what I need to do. Please consider doing more tutorials...I learned so much from you today. Hugz!

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  22. I adore that you shared your beautiful creativity with us. Want to take a crack at it with animal shapes...all dog breeds.
    We own a pet business...love dogs!

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  23. Very inspiring! I can't wait to try it.

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  24. So grateful for your visual plus written step-by-step instructions! I can hardly wait to try these techniques. (btw, I, too, have a slight addiction to liquid pearls ;o)

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  25. Gorgeous and love the step by step.

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  26. WOW! Absolutely love that! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful directions and pictures!

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  27. Finally an artists that explains her process with patient step by step methods. This si a gem! I will share with my HS students and share results with you.

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