Monday, February 24, 2020

Art Journaling Faces



Hi everyone, it's Kate here today and I have an art journal page to share with you. Lately, I have spent more time cultivating my sketching and painting techniques than mixed media so today's project was  good practice. 
  I love browsing thrift shops and recently I found 3 Smash books for less than $1 each at Goodwill. These books are great for practicing face painting especially when using this larger face map stencil. This past year I have spent far less time creating than I would like but it is nice to have a project that I can work on as I get the time. Painting faces is perfect for that because of the various layers of paint involved. I can add a layer of paint, walk away while it dries and then come back at a future date and do the same. While it may take longer to complete a painting, I am able to fit some creativity into my busy schedule instead of none. Thankfully, the busy seasons will not last forever. 





To start out, I layered gesso on my paper and then traced the Face Map Front Stencil. To be honest, I had no idea what I was going for when I started this page so I pulled up a vintage photograph I had previously downloaded and used that as my inspiration.







Using a pen, I sketched in the facial features. These face maps have guidelines on them which makes facial feature placement so much easier for those that struggle. I am one of those! 



And then comes the fun part...adding the paint. I used PaperArtsy Paints on this entire project because they layer well and some even allow for transparency.




The highlights were added first and then the shadows. 




After completing the face, I decided I wanted something more, such as a hair decoration. The Collage Textures and Patterns: Leaves were perfect for the headdress.



And to finish the background I used the Succulent stencilOverall, I am pleased with the way she turned out but I need to work on the highlights in her eyes. She looks a little crossed-eyed.




I love that this whole page was achieved using paint and stencils. I never thought that a stencil could help me on my quest to conquer faces but I have found these face map stencils by Pam Carriker to be so helpful and addicting! 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I used these stencils and that if you are afraid of faces you will give them a try.

Until Next Time,




Friday, February 21, 2020

StencilGirl® Stencils & Solvy

Cecilia Swatton here, asking questions!

Do you – like me – love the look and feel of embossed paper?  Have you – as I once did – felt it would be too hard to make your own?
Fear no more!

Readers with fiber arts experience probably know about Paper Solvy. Dry, it’s like paper.  But, with enough water, it dissolves.  In fiber arts, it’s a temporary stabilizer.  Once stitched, the fabric is washed and the stabilizer melts away. 

But I use PaperSolvy – and StencilGirl® stencils or masks! – to make “embossed paper.”
Look for this Paper Solvy, not Sulky Stabilizer.

For the most dramatic embossing results, I recommend stencils and masks with large openings.
Here, I’m using…

After spreading absorbent papers, I gather my watercolor bottles, Solvy and cake cooling racks. 

Note: I could use readymade sprays like Colorations – but I use DrPh Martins watercolors.  They come in bottles with “eyedropper” lids, so, to make custom color-blends, I drop Martins colors into clear plastic 2-ounce mister spray bottles, and shake to mix. 
Next, I place a stencil or mask on each rack.
Over the stencil or mask goes a sheet of Paper Solvy.
Now I start slowly spraying the Solvy with watercolors.
Gradually the Solvy dissolves to form sagging areas that will resemble embossing.

If the colors start to look too dark for me, I lighten them by alternating the color sprays with sprays of plain water.

Too much spray will create holes, so I stop spraying when the stencil or mask outlines become raised.
Each rack’s support bars will gradually take shape right along with the shapes of the stencil or masks.  I’ve tried this technique without the racks, but no other method has worked well for me.  So I accept the racks’ lines as part of the finished product.  Racks with square patterns, instead of lines, are an option for anyone who loves grids!

After the Solvy dries, I peel it carefully off the rack.  Then I gently peel the Solvy away from the stencil or mask.
After Solvy dries, it cuts like paper.  Dried embossed areas can be emphasized with dry-brush painting, Pan Pastels, metallic rub-ons, etc.
To see more embossed samples, please visit me here.
Try this!  Have fun!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Reverse Stenciling with Acrylics and Gesso with Caitlin Dundon

My name is Caitlin Dundon and I am a stencil addict! I’m here on StencilGirl® today to talk about a method of working with the negative areas of a stencil called reverse stenciling. It is one of my favorite techniques that I love to introduce students to because it creates very unique effects, it’s fast and super easy. It also fits in step perfectly with a popular trend in mixed media art – layering.

For this project I started with StencilGirl® Crossed Washers, a 6 inch by 6 inch stencil, then added some other 6 inch by 6 inch StencilGirl® stencils: Diamond Facets 3 Small, the Songbird of Hope, the 9 inch by 12 inch Mad for Plaid and the 4 inch Grove Street.
The terms reverse stenciling or reverse reveal and negative stenciling are often used interchangeably. Sometimes reverse stenciling just refers to using the stencil backwards. I have seen reverse stenciling refer to a method of using the stencil surface like a lino cut or wood block - inking it with a brayer pulling a reverse or negative print from the stencil by applying paper to the stencil.

For this method of reverse stenciling, I use a surface that has dry paint or gesso on it, apply wet paint, drop a stencil on top of it and then remove the paint from inside the cutouts of the stencil. You can work on loose paper, in a journal or on actual canvas or wood panels. For this first example, I primed simple Strathmore Bristol Board primed with white gesso. Let it fully dry or dry it with a heat tool. Have your stencils at the ready, as well as fluid or heavy body acrylic paint, a one inch or three quarter inch brush, some loose paper towel sheets and baby wipes.

Quickly paint a layer of acrylic over an area of your surface that you have already applied white gesso and allowed it to dry.
Set down a stencil and hold it carefully in place while you quickly use the dry paper towel to wipe out the negative space of the stencil.
A stencil with wider holes or islands as they are called, or more open design will be easier to work with than smaller detailed stencils. if you find that your paint is already too dry, use a baby wipe.
Be careful when lifting up stencil since it might slide a little and change your imprint.
You can clean your stencils using a baby wipe over scrap paper or blank journal pages. You can also run your stencils under water and scrub them with a brush, but be prepared for some paint color to stain them, but as StencilGirl® says, “Dirty stencils are happy stencils.”

If you work slower, or want to use larger stencils, you might want to use a baby wipe. You could also use fluid paints, open paints or paint with slow drying medium. If you apply paint or gesso in a thicker layer you will get more paint pulling – where the paint is literally being pulled by the stencil as you remove it. I think the unique patterns created by this paint pulling are very organic looking and interesting.
For a nice two-tone effect or more of a reveal - work with a base color that is a nice bright color. Let it dry, then apply your second coat of paint in an opposite tone.
If you use heavy body paint and wait too long to lift the stencil off the paper it might be so dry and tacky that it might pull some paper up with it.
This might be looked at as a mistake, but I love it when things like this happen! Once your paint has dried, those white paper areas will take some color wash nicely and have a slightly more archaic look.
Try working with more layers or multi-colored layers underneath and white gesso as your second coat. Gesso also holds a little more texture than heavy body paint so the texture from pulling off the stencil will be more interesting depending on how thick you apply the gesso. Once the gesso dries I like to add color washes to the white gesso areas and you will see how my artwork begins to take shape with many layers, some more revealing than others.
If you try using black gesso as your negative stencil paint, remember that it dries faster than white gesso. Black is also much more indelible so you cannot remove as much of it, creating darker more mysterious patterns with more subtle texture.
I like to work on more than one project at a time, with the same theme and colors, that way I can try some darker layers with black gesso on one piece and white gesso and paint washes on another project.
I also work directly with painted areas in heavy body paint. In this case a lovely turquoise phthalo with the negative stenciling using StencilGirl® Diamond Facets 3.
Now that you’ve mastered this fun technique, you can mix it with acrylics or gesso applied through the cutouts in the stencil – the regular way - with a makeup wedge or stencil dauber or pouncer. Here I used a 4 inch StencilGirl® Grove Street designed by Nathalie Kalbach and applied white gesso with a makeup wedge. 
I like to create patterns with stencils with reverse stenciling and positive stenciling sometimes with white gesso or black gesso and sometimes with acrylic paint. Whenever I work with white gesso, I know that I can always layer some color wash over the top to create a softer look. Revealing the final two projects, you can see how many layers I ended up with – more than a dozen layers of stencils and washes of color too. I hope you enjoy the possibilities using stencils in reverse and combing them with other stencil techniques you learn from StencilGirl® Products!




Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Four New Stencils including Crocodile & Snakeskin Repeating Patterns from Jennifer Evans

Hello! I hope you are ready to go fashionista with Jennifer Evans today because she has created a video tutorial for a stenciled scarf with her Snakeskin and Crocodile Repeating Pattern Stencils.

And that's not all! She has two new floral stencils, the small Floral Dots & Marks, and the mini Floral Dots, as well as her Interesting Dots Pattern Stencil that pair quite nicely with the other four stencils.

Keep on scrolling for the DIYs, or if you can't wait to get these new stencils head over to StencilGirl and shop.



Okay, slithery snakes might not be your thing, but a Snakeskin Repeating Pattern Stencil, now that is something you'll want to be nestled in your studio tools! 


Smile! It's a Crocodile Repeating Pattern Stencil! Backgrounds? Faux leather? Gorgeous textiles? Either the croc or snakeskin patterns fit the bill!

Jennifer Evans is not a fan of reptiles but she was inspired by a crocodile embossed handbag and then, while visiting a botanical garden with rescue animals, two alligators in a pond showed off lovely-to-look-at-from-a-distance skin patterns. The snakeskin pattern developed as a cousin. 

Jennifer is looking forward to using the patterns with spring palettes in unusual ways.


Jennifer created her hand-drawn Interesting Dots Stencil S679 with organic marks as a wonderful 6" x 6" stencil for pattern integration in your art! Jennifer's inspiration comes from her love of working with spheres.



In the stenciled (cotton) scarf video below, she uses Interesting Dots to do just that with the Crocodile and Snakeskin Patterns Stencils and Jacquard Textile Color Inks.


Jennifer's cute floral stencils, the small Floral Dots & Marks Repeating and the mini Floral Dots stencils are great for bouquets and ushering in springtime in your art!

She made you a DIY for each stencil. Have fun with watercolors, Inktense Pencils, and NeoColors water-soluble crayons!