Friday, August 23, 2019

Mary Beth Shaw – The Painterly Mixed Media Journal in Denver

Hi, Everyone! Mary Beth Shaw here!
Inviting you to join me for The Painterly Mixed Media Journal Workshop in Denver!
In this workshop, students of all levels will learn how to venture into more painterly territory with their art journals. We will start by making unique painted pages using different types of papers and supplies, both opaque and transparent. Students will then learn several ways to start a page spread.
We will work back and forth between collage and paint, building dimension in layers.
There will be a focus on mark making and how to alter and personalize each element.
We will use both common and unfamiliar supplies, including paint, crayons and markers to add painterly elements and explore color combinations that work every time. We will use stencils in a variety of ways, to create a composition, add dimension and help integrate page spreads.

Ultimately, we will create layers that add loads of depth to our journal!
I'll be providing:
  • All paints, crayons, and inks
  • Papers including tissue and duralar
  • Mark making tools
  • Collage elements
  • Stencils
  • Tapes
I hope you'll join me for the fun and creativity!
More details and sign up are at!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Cat Kerr: Art Journaling with StencilGirl Stencils

If you're a creative slob like me, you are going to love this fun approach to stenciling!

Today I'm using some of my new GEOStencils and instead of using acrylic paint to create a nice crisp design, I decided to use Marabu Art Spray to create a messy background. Whoever said stenciling had to be neat anyway?! I'll admit, the first time I tried this I held my breath, as I lifted off the stencil, the design was more of a blob of color and the drips of extra art spray went all over the place but I quickly learned to love it and the freedom it provides because having zero control of the outcome can be liberating as well as serendipitous!

The only thing you have to keep in mind is that if you're using Complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel, like the red and green I used) make sure you don't over blend as they will turn into mud. You can always use an Analogous color scheme (colors next to each other on the color wheel, like reds, yellows, orange) and mix and blend until your heart's content!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Oh and Ah or Om over new stencils by Kristie Taylor and Gwen Lafleur

Kristie Taylor and Gwen Lafleur have new stencils!

If line and pattern intrigue your senses, then Kristie's hand-drawn pattern stencils will make you oh and ah.

If om is your words of the month, we listened and are delighted to release small and mini Buddha stencils by Gwen.

Hand-drawn Pattern Stencils

The Streamers and Dots Stencil, designed by Kristie Taylor, was inspired by her love of pattern. The flowing lines suggest a chalice or an opening flower, while the dots give this tribal-like motif grandeur.

The Rough Maze Pattern Stencil, designed by Kristie evokes a maze of woven steps. 

Paint a striking background pattern that unifies the art in your journal or create beautiful collage paper on your printing plate with the Rough Maze Stencil.

Buddha, Buddha, Buddha

By popular demand, Gwen Lafleur's Buddha stencil is now available in small 6"x6" and mini 4"x4" sizes!

Gwen's Chinese Garden Buddha Stencil was inspired by her travels throughout Asia and the image was taken directly from a soft pastel portrait in one of her art journals.

She has used the mini in a miniature book and art journaled with the small one in the works below.

The original large Buddha Stencil:

You can discover all the latest stencils right here, or go straight to designs by Gwen or Kristie.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Making Marks with Magic Stamps, a Knitting Needle, and my Stencils

Hello all! It's Jill McDowell from the StencilGirl® Creative Team here to take you on my mark making journey. It was inspired by a book that I'd picked up in the thrift shop about costume jewelry through the ages.  And I used my StencilGirl® Stencils, Magic Stamps, knitting needles, and a cool Wipe On, Wipe Off technique to develop four entirely different backgrounds before I was through.

At several points during this process I could have called her finished but I kept on going; listening to the demands she made of me, and making my own marks through each of the stages until she finally became who she was supposed to be. 

I started by making a pencil sketch on an 11"x 14" piece of Canson XL 98 pound mixed media paper.  (Had I known at the time where she would lead me, I would likely have chosen a heavier paper, but surprisingly it held up really well considering all of the abuse I gave it.)

Honestly, sketching is not a strong point for me, but I've been enjoying wonky art lately which pairs nicely with my greenhorn style.  So I stretched outside of my comfort zone and gave it a try.  And my sketch did turn out pretty wonky.  Yet something about her called out for me to bring her to life; square jaw and all.  

I made some initial marks in the background with a black Stabilo pencil and then painted over them with watered down gesso. 

Then I began playing with thin layers of FW Artist Inks as she led me onward.   I began to build up the background with random paint strokes and washes of inks, Golden® High Flow and Fluid Acrylics, all thinned down with water.  Interspersing the layers with more marks made with a white Sharpie® China Marker.

Lately, I've become just slightly obsessed with stripes. I added wonky ones on her blouse and then some random marks on her lapel.

I really could have stopped at this stage but She, (I'm pretty sure it was about now that I began to think about her as She) gave me some lip about it. 

Obviously, She wasn't ready to be finished. 

The Wipe On, Wipe Off Technique 
(Note: It's important that use this technique on a gesso'ed page.)

And so I continued on with one of my favorite background techniques, that I call "Wipe On, Wipe Off".  It uses both the positive and the negative of the stencil design to add interest to a background.  (But in this case, She opted for me to to do it out of order; Wipe Off before Wipe On.) 

(Warning!  Saying the name of this technique out loud could put you at risk of having a sudden urge to watch this Karate Kid Training Montage or hearing the Clapper commercial play endlessly in your head for the rest of the day.  So sorry about that...)

I thinned heavy body paint down with matte medium and then used it to brush over the bottom 2/3 of the background. (If your cringing right now don't worry.  It's going to be fine... really... It's really going to be fine.... I swear.  Really....)

While the paint was still wet, I positioned the large stencil from MaryBeth Shaw's exclusive March 2015 Stencil Club collection horizontally over it.  (I've recently fallen in love with this stencil.  There is just something about those lines and circles when they run horizontally on the page.) Then I wiped off the paint with a slightly damp baby wipe, leaving the reverse of the stencil design on the page.
Wipe Off complete.

And now for the Wipe On (think of it as dry brushing with a baby wipe).  I lightened up the heavy body paint/matte medium mixture with a little titanium white.  Then I positioned the same stencil on the top 1/3 of the background slightly overlapping the Wipe Off marks.  I  swiped the baby wipe through the paint mixture and then patted it off on another sheet of paper to remove the wetness and most of the paint.  And then I used it to wipe color through the stencil openings onto the page revealing the positive side of the stencil.

The transition from the positive to the negative stencil design added a really interesting component to the background.

I put her away for a few days to contemplate whether I should stop or make another move.  I decided to keep playing and added a freehand tree that I later regretted. 

A few days later I added a flower to her headpiece and made more random marks in the background.  

But She still wanted to be more.

I used a  corner section of Cecelia Swatton's Blooming Where Planted Stencil to create lace on her lapel.

found myself at another cross road. Should I stop here or keep going?  While I really loved the background, She told me that She wanted to live in softer, more modern times with a little abstract thrown in for good measure. She just wasn't sure that the astrophysical background suited her.

We argued about it until She reminded me that if I didn't like the next layer, I could always paint over it or if need be I could even cut her off of the page and move her to another. And so I gave in to her demands, still unsure of the direction She was taking me.

Despite all of my efforts, She still yearned for pattern.

So I searched my studio looking for a more mark making tools.  Finally I stumbled upon a package of Magic Stamps hiding on a shelf in the back of a cabinet.  Although I'd never used them before I wanted to give them a try and so I decided to experiment.

Getting a stencil impression into the stamp was quick and easy to do.
  1. I heated up the Magic Stamp with my heat gun.
  2. Then I laid the foam on top of my Bamboo Stalk Crest and used an acrylic block to press down on it firmly for approximately 15 seconds, (any flat surface would have worked to press with).  
  3. I flipped the Magic Stamp over and removed the Crest to reveal the impression.
  4. Then I tested out the stamp with my RubberMoon® Moonlight Duo Ink Pad and loved the results.  
  5. I kept a small bowl of water next to me to toss the foam into after I was finished stamping.  Later I  just wiped the stamp off and patted it dry.
  6. You can reheat them as many times as you want to "erase" them and return them back to their original form.  This means that can make as many impressions as you want. 
  7. Using Magic Stamps turned out to be a fun way to quickly add marks to my piece.      

I used painter's tape to protect her as I randomly filled in the background with my new Bamboo Crest Magic Stamp.

The next thing on my to do list was to fix her hairpiece with a little paint and my knitting needles.

A little known fact about knitting needles is that they are excellent mark making tools.  I always keep a handful on my desk for just such an occasion.  You can use either end to scratch through layers of paint, the side to roll paint onto the surface, or the tip to drag through globs of paint to create delicately textured lines, (or in my case all of the above.)  And as an added bonus they really come in handy for unclogging the dried paint that forms on the top of your paint bottles.

I added some heavy lines in the background for structure and then stenciled over them with my Jill's Nana's Lamp Crest.  I just had to laugh when I realized that She'd transitioned along the way from a dark brunette into a ginger girl with moxie without me really noticing. Such a clever girl!

Yet again, I thought that She was done, but She had other ideas... It just took me a few more days to figure out what they were.   At first I thought it was just a matter of adding more color.

I got my knitting needles back out and used the rounded circular end to squish and drag little globs of yellow paint; creating more colorful flowers in her hair piece. 

But She still kept nagging at me.

Until finally I knew for sure what She wanted.

And with that knowledge, I was happy to give her more wonky hand drawn stripes in the background with lots of marks on them!

And then She was happy.... And I finally had some peace.

But I have a funny feeling that She might become lonely and need a friend. Who knows, maybe she'll goad me into creating one for her....  (She's gotten pretty good at that goading thing you know.😉)

The only thing left for me to do now is to name her.  But I need some help.  Do you have any ideas?  Let me know in the comments.  I 'd also love to hear if you would have kept going.... Or where you would have stopped.

Thanks for hanging out with me today. I hope I've inspired you to stretch outside the confines of your box, to sort through your StencilGirl® stencils and use them to help you make your own marks come to life.

Hugs, Jill

StencilGirl® stencils used in this project:

Large stencil from the March 2015 Stencil Club Collection
Blooming Where Planted L449 designed by Cecilia Swatton
Crests Stencil L718 designed by me, Jill McDowell