Thursday, January 26, 2023

Check Out These New Designs from Tiffany Goff Smith!

Wild Dreams was inspired by the vivid dreams she has, as a little girl she would wake up and tell her mom of all the adventures that she had been on during her slumber. She still has dreams almost nightly and she can recall a good many of them. She often wakes up and sketches things that she has seen, shapes, images, and people. These organic shapes were inspired by a few of those sketches.

Our hands hold history from all of those before us. Tiffany comes from a long line of makers and she often thinks of how their work has infused her own, even though there are many she never met.  This stencil represents the power of what we create within our hands as well as the layers of history, hours of work all crafted into our own styles. It is also symbolic of the inked expressions, the love, and the path where our hands will take us. We can see this stencil being used in so many different and personal ways for a variety of makers. 

Tiffany's latest stencils are available now at

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

3D Collages with Kathy Cornwell

The Idea and the Prep Work

Hi, everyone! Kathy Cornwell here! For several months now, I’d been toying with the idea of doing three-dimensional collage on wood blocks. I like the idea that this two-dimensional medium can become a 3D, interactive work of art!

First, I enlisted the help of my sweet husband. He bought some wooden planks at the hardware store and used his saw to cut a few shapes. Once I saw the shapes and started playing with them in different arrangements, I started getting very excited.

The wood pieces needed to be prepped. Over the course of a weekend, I applied two layers of Golden GAC 100 and then two layers of gesso (drying between all four of these layers). Here’s what they looked like at that point:

Then I painted the sides of the shapes with two layers of neutral grey acrylic paint. I didn’t want to collage on the edges, so I thought that the neutral grey would be less jarring than white or black. Finally the shapes were ready to accept collage.

The Fun Part: Playing with Stencils!

For this project, I used the following StencilGirl® stencils:
Arches Stencil with 20 Masks, designed by Carolyn Dube
Soulful Scribbles, designed by Traci Bautista
Sidewalks of Puerto Rico 2 Reverse, designed by Mary Beth Shaw
Mid Century Modern Rocks and Leaves, designed by Jennifer Evans
Garden Flowers Tile Mask Small  designed by Valerie Sjoden

I chose these particular stencils and masks because they represented a wide variety of imagery and would push me to use techniques that I often shy away from (I’m kind of an all-masks-all-the-time kind of artist, but as well all know, variety is so important).

I grabbed my gel plate and my favorite paints and got printing!

Golden OPEN Paints Lead to Fun Results

I love using Golden brand’s OPEN paints. They have a very slow drying time, which allows me to take my time while gel printing. The slow drying time can also allow the stencils to transfer paint from print to print!

For example, in the photo below, you can see how the stencil transferred quite a bit of pink paint as I printed a layer of grey paint. The OPEN paint transfers from the stencils or masks have a unique, mottled texture that I really like.

Did I Discover a New Stencil Technique??? 

In recent months, I’ve been having fun making marks with a chenille stem, otherwise known as a pipe cleaner. Using Golden High-Flow paint, you can use this tool to paint delicate, thin lines. I just had to try combining this technique with stencils!

As you can see in the video below, I placed the stencil down on top of a dried print that I’d made using that stencil already. I was careful to place the stencil exactly on top of the print of the shape. This way, the plastic stencil was serving as a barrier. I painted swirling lines with the chenille stem. When I removed the stencil, I was very happy to see the results!


Carolyn Dube Would Be Proud

I’m a big fan of Carolyn Dube. Not only does she help us see that mistakes are opportunities, but she designs some really cool StencilGirl® stencils. I was super excited to try her “Arches” stencil and masks.

First, I used the masks in the way that I had envisioned, and that I had seen in other artists’ projects:

But then one time, the masks all stuck together with paint as I went to place the arches onto my gel plate. They fell in a jumbled mass! At first, I thought this was a problem. But once I saw the cool shapes created by this “random pile of arches” and the negative space that it creates, I was hooked! Carolyn Dube would be proud of how this OOPS became an intentional study that I found verry rewarding:

Mixing Things Up

I worked with the intention of creating some variety. For example, I used some papers that already had some marks on it, I used music sheets as a base paper, and I alternated opaque paints with transparent paints.


Putting it All Together

In the end, I had pages and pages of fun collage fodder. I set out to create collages for the front and back of each wood shape. Again, I made sure to have a variety of colors, stencils, and techniques so that the collages will each be unique—and yet still be cohesive.

I had a ball creating these collages, and I’m happy with the results! Which one is your favorite? I’d love it if you let me know in the comments!

Now I’m having fun arranging and rearranging my collage blocks. I’ll enjoy watching my studio visitors play with this interactive work of art.

 I hope you’ve found this post interesting and inspiring.
I’m a printmaker and mixed media artist based in Virginia, USA.
Come say hi on Instagram or visit me  at

Tuesday, January 24, 2023



S        P        O        N        G        E        D

It's Nancy Curry back on the blog with my first projects for 2023.  Even when I've worked with a medium for a long time, I love to find new (to me) ways to apply that lend themselves to different outcomes.  This week's exploration was applying watercolor with a household sponge.  Using a sponge through a stencil helps to control the amount of water leading to less seepage and adds an interesting texture as well.  The three pieces in the top photo were all done with the same palette of colors.  All are done on craft paper that had an application of gesso, but you can also do this with watercolor paper or even a good mixed media paper. 

M A T E R I A L S     L I S T:

  • artist grade watercolors 
  • gesso
  • household sponges cut into parts 
  • plate 
  • watercolor paper or paper treated with gesso 
  • black gouache, acrylic paint or permanent black ink
  • scissors and glue stick
  • cardstock or other substrate
S T E N C I L     L I S T:
I like to use a large stoneware plate that I found at Wal-Mart for my palette.  It is non staining and the flat surface is good for a number of different applications.  I bought a few and let the watercolor dry on them so I have palettes ready.  I transfer the watercolor with an old brush a few minutes before I am starting to paint.  Its surface area can hold a nice array for colors.  You'll see me use it often in my Instagram videos.  I also prepped some craft paper with gesso. I generally apply it in a thick and thin manner and leave some areas bare for a distressed look.  Complete coverage is also fine.

I spritzed the dry watercolors with a light fine mist of water and pressed my sponge into it.  I then used a light-medium pressure to pounce through the Paperwhites stencil.  If there are areas that you want to use different palette colors, place a piece of printer paper in those areas.  In this case, I did the leaf areas first and later returned to do the flowers in purple.  I decided the flowers needed centers and added them with a brush. 

To finish, I mounted it on dimensionally striped cardstock.

I had paint left over so I continued playing.  For the second piece, I chose a rectangular format and parts of Capture the Journey. I began by using washi tape to mark off a place for a word and then sponged on the background florals and leaves.  Originally,  I was going to add a word in the masked area directly onto the background, but changed course and did it on a separate piece of paper.  I finished it off by sponging black gouache with Emotions & Feelings #3 and attached to the background with a glue stick.  


 I mounted the background on coordinating green cardstock
My final piece was a stencil I'd been dying to use, Twisted Forest.  I cut paper into a 3.75" square and sponged into the stencil.  Once finished, I attached it to tumbled stone coaster, cut out letters from a National Geographic, and used a glue stick to affix.  


I had a great time playing with kitchen sponges.  They clean up well, are reusable and easy to find. Be sure to use highly pigmented watercolors for the best color.  Acrylic ink will also do well if you're looking for something else to try.  Just don't leave it on your sponge overnight!  As always, it's a pleasure to share my projects with you. For more of my work, head here, or my main website where my store is.  

I wish you a happy, healthy and creative 2023.

Monday, January 23, 2023

THIS OR THAT StencilGirl® Collaboration

Hello! Tina Walker here today with my latest Collaboration Column Post.  This collaboration is a little bit different than my past collaboration or challenges in that YOU, StencilGirl® followers and friends provided the challenge to me.

For seven (7) weeks, I shared a 'THIS or THAT' question.  These questions, and your votes, were used to create and develop an art journal spread.  Each layer (or question) built upon the previous votes (layers) to complete a finished spread.  I did not wait until each question was posed to complete my art journal page, instead creating each week and playing along.  I must admit, several of your votes really threw me, but I buckled in and gave it go.  In the end, I really enjoyed the process and it stretched my thought process and removed any doubt or hesitation on what to do next.  You made that decision for me.

I was also surprised by how both pages came together as a unified piece in the end, even though the prompts were opposites.  I'll walk you through each THIS OR THAT question, voting popularity, and a peek at the page in process.


The votes were close (only 2 votes separated the two), with ACRYLIC PAINT the most popular.  Here's my first layer with the results. I opted to start with similar color palettes, but we'll see where it goes.




CIRCLES WON, almost 2 to 1. I was actually a little surprised by the results. Personally, I am drawn to squares, the hard edges, and abrupt corners. Hmm, what does that say about me?





BOOK TEXT WON, but here wasn't a strong preference for either. I personally love using my vintage book papers as collage. I love the colors and the small print.  




FLORALS WON, which really surprised me. I really thought as popular as faces are, and the number of artists who create whimsical faces in their art. It was overwhelmingly all about florals. Maybe my personal fave was influenced by this again.😉

My art journal spread is starting to take shape. It's really interesting how both sides 'go together, yet are entirely different'




It was an extremely close vote with contrasting winning by only 2 votes. The spread really took a major change this week, and to be honest, I'm was not feeling it. There are 2 prompts left, so i will try to work some magic with those 2 prompts to bring it back to a place that makes me happy. It's all love ❤️when it comes to making stuff. 




SONG LYRICS was a huge winner, almost 2 to 1. I was a bit surprised by how many more people voted for song lyrics over quotes. I thought the vote would be that much closer. I use both in my journal pages, so either would be a winner for me. I've even been known to make an entire journal out of lyrics from one album (geez, I'm aging myself here). A few years ago I made an entire album based on Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album. It is one of my fave journals I"ve ever made. It was even published in Art Journaling magazine.

LEFT SIDE: SONG LYRICS (Lyrics from Landslide, by Fleetwood Mac)



 Another (almost) unanimous vote.  Expose won, with only 2 votes for cover-up.  Again, it was surprised as I was hoping for cover-up to be the most popular.  Often, I am covering up parts of an art journal page during my creative process, which is fairly normal for me.  Your votes really made me think about how to expose on the left side of the page.  I gave it a quick thought and viola - here is the finished page.  I didn't do much else to the page (which was very unusual for me), and was quite happy with the results.  So, THANK YOU for your votes and the push!



For my exposure, I cut into the left side of the page, revealing the page underneath.  I also add a tip out tag to 'reveal' even more cutouts.

For my coverup, I covered one of the faces on the right side as well as my journaling on the right side of the page.  

Since I knew I wanted to cut into the left side of my page, to 'expose' the page underneath, I had to do something to that page.  (it was not a finished art journal page).  I collage a full stencil sheet onto the blank page, then added more watercolors and stenciled images to the right side to finish the 2nd spread.  I used the same colors and stencils since they were already on my desk.  I love the simplistic nature of the spread and that I finished two pages for this collaboration.

StencilGirl® stencils used:

Romance Face 

Boho Patterns

Color Gradient Swatch Wheel 

StencilClub March 2018

Wow - that was fun, exciting, and a bit scary at times!  But I am so thrilled with the results!

Maybe I should offer a THIS OR THAT Challenge more often?  Who is in?

Until next time!