Monday, December 21, 2015

Gwen's Gems - Make Those Stencils Your Own!

Hi everyone, it's Gwen back for the December installment of Gwen's Gems! This month I wanted to do two things... answer a few questions I've had about my new Ornamental Peacock Stencil (mask) and also show you a few ways you can make your own.

First up, let me show you today's project, and then I'll share a quick little tutorial.

Now I'll show you a little of how I made this page. I started with a sheet of Strathmore 11x14" vellum finish mixed media paper - it's quite heavy weight with a nice, smooth finish. I laid down some paint on the background and then stenciled Andrea Matus deMeng's Eve, A Modern Woman stencil on top.

I decided I wanted to use a few tips I picked up taking classes from Andrea at Art is You and gussy my stenciled lady up a bit to make something fun. I decided that this was the perfect time to use my Ornamental Peacock stencil, but not the way you'd expect! One of the questions I've gotten since this was released was, how do you use it? There are several ways (gelli printing, stencil around the edges and then color it in, etc...,) but here's one that's not quite so obvious.

The stencil comes in two pieces - the peacock itself (which is a mask - it "masks" the shape and the paint or ink goes around it instead of through) and then there's the piece that you cut it from when you get it. Don't throw that away! That's actually a stencil! I used that to stencil parts of the peacock feathers onto her head as the beginning of a headdress.

Next, I took the mask and lined each feather up with the shape that was already on the page and then stenciled through it to get some detail. I also did a bit of light dry brushing around the edges of the mask so that it would show a bit around the outside of each feather.

I got the idea above from the way Andrea's stencils are designed to work together... I used the details for the wing of my peacock to add some fancy eye makeup to my portrait.

Then, I went back to the negative stencil part of it and put the little feathers on the top of the peacock's head at the corner of her eye.

Next, I used just a few pieces of Maria McGuire's Tiny Medallion stencil to continue building out the headdress. In the background, you can also see where I added a few of the butterflies from Cathy Nichols' Tree of Change stencil.

You can already see how just using bits and pieces of stencils - and not necessarily the way they were designed, can really allow you to customize your project and get a lot more use out of your stencils - even the ones that don't seem to be all that versatile at first glance!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, really,) I didn't take pictures of the next several steps. It was a major ugly phase for a while. But I took my Ornamental Embroidery stencil and randomly used that in the background with some Cobalt blue ink. That came out fairly dark, so I used some glazes on top to knock that back, but that somehow made my lady look like a green-faced Medusa! However, a little work with some paint and some drawn, collaged, and painted additions to her headdress and hair, and we were back in business!

On her forehead, I stenciled "in disguise" from Seth Apter's Unfinished stencil with gold, then finished it off by adding "TRUTH" and a bit of texture from the November 2015 StencilClub stencils. 

There you go! I hope you enjoyed today's project, and that you're feeling inspired to look at your stencils in a new light and find some new and unique ways to use them in your work.

Have you ever used your stencils in unusual ways in your work? We'd love to hear about it!

Until next time, happy stenciling!


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