Monday, April 6, 2020


I've been thinking lately about illuminated manuscripts, women in Braveheart, King Arthur's era, and lover's eyes because I just finished teaching a class on mythology. There is a charming essence to these times that makes me wonder if, perhaps, I might have been born in the wrong era. The roles of chivalry, coyness, and heroics are energizing, which is why I believe I am so drawn to these times. I remember visiting Trinity College in Dublin, being able to view the Book of Kells, and lingering as I walked through The Long Room in the Old Library. The colors, the textures, and the smells of old books, photos, and manuscripts are enticing for me. So I decided to try to incorporate some of these elements into this project. I love the finished version, and I hope that you will, too!

For the project, you will need these fabulous stencils:

You will also need these materials:
  • 1-6.5 x 6.5 inch photo frame with a 4 x 4 inch photo cutout. (1.5 inch depth)
  • 1-4 x 4 inch wood panel (1.25-1.50 inch depth)
  • Acrylic paint (I used Anita's in Black and Deep Celery, Golden's Fluid Acrylic in Quinacridone Violet and Raw Sienna, and Liquitex Basics in Raw Umber.
  • Ephemera (I used some old French script and a vintage photo of a woman.)
  • Lover's Eye Token Alterables and Eye Images
  • Jumbo Dauber
  • Paintbrush
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Clear Gorilla Glue
  • Baby Wipes
  • Vintaj Brass Jewelry Findings and Components (Optional)

Begin by painting the picture frame on the back side (the flat side) and the wood panel in Raw Sienna. Let it dry. Paint a thin layer of Quinacridone Violet on both pieces. Allow to set for about a minute then use a baby wipe to gently blot across the wood pieces. You should pick up enough so that the Raw Sienna shows through slightly and gives the piece a slightly marbled look. Let dry completely.

Stencil sections of the tree top from the Winter Trees Bark stencil at the top left and bottom right of the picture frame. You could also wait on this step until after you have glued your ephemera down. Let dry.

Using Mod Podge, glue the vintage photo and the French script on the picture frame. Hint: Be sure to place some Mod Podge directly on to the wood before placing your ephemera down. Using a paintbrush, add another layer of Mod Podge to seal the top of the ephemera. Allow to dry completely. Glue the wood panel to the picture frame using the clear Gorilla Glue. Allow to dry at least five hours so that it sets properly but still be careful when handling it.

Using the IZink Ice in Cold Gold, stencil the top of the wood panel with the Sunburst and Earth Song Symbols stencils. Next, stencil the top left and bottom right of both the picture frame and the wood panel in black with the circle stencil from the ATC Mixup #2 stencil. Let dry completely. 

Paint what is now considered the "back" side of the project in Raw Umber. Allow to dry. Turn the project over and create a glaze using the raw umber and paint the entire project. Wait about a minute and then gently wipe away some of the glaze with the baby wipes. Allow to dry.

Glue the back of the lover's eye token using clear Gorilla glue. Glue the eye image to the back using Aleene's Tacky Glue, then glue the outer ring on top of the eye image also using Aleene's Tacky glue. Let dry. Glue the completed eye token to the small wood panel.

At this point, you can finish the painted portions by dabbing a bit of black paint onto the jumbo dauber and rubbing off most of the paint then rubbing on the edges of the frame and the panel as well as the edges of the eye token. Where you might see some areas that are too bright, you can rub the dauber over them to darken edges and allow the eye image to stand out more. I did not paint the lover's eye token but you can certainly do so, if you wish. I would suggest using Raw Sienna.

You can, at this point, decide to display your piece in several ways:

1. Glue a square dowel on to the bottom back edge and let it function as a stand.
2. Place the finished piece on a decorative easel.
3. Add a sawtooth picture hanger to the back and hang on the wall.
4. Add screw eyes, chain, and brass elements to the piece and hang on the wall. 

And the finished piece:

Anne Marie

MSS Blog 
or email me at

Friday, April 3, 2020

Be Painterly or Artsy with new Spring Stencils: Bunnies and Ewes

The most wonderful thing about these stencils is no matter what painting skillset you possess they give you a foundation from which to launch.

And hey, if you can't take advantage of springtime out of doors, the paints in your indoor art space are calling :)

Two sheep and four large rabbits were part of Lanie Frick's childhood menagerie. 

Lambs & Ewes


The sheep liked to follow Lanie around the farm. Sometimes they would jump and twist and take off in a bouncing run. When she would let the rabbits out of their cages into their grass pen they could act so wildly silly and put on a funny show.  

Bunnies Jump and Bunny Face

Lanie says, "I guess that’s why at times my work is realistic and then there are moments when I get a wild hair and create something humorous. The realistic designs bring peace and sincerity to a creative piece. The whimsical designs express the exuberant moments any of us can have. The large open body shapes are for you to have creative fun. Enjoy!"

Spring Ewe

Tip: Stencils with lots of empty space are perfect for layering another stencil with a pattern underneath!

Whimsey Ewes

Are you ready to jump? These bunnies have not forgotten to exercise!

Bunnies in Motion

Four Bunnies in Motion
Get painterly with your stencils!

Lanie's stencil designs include horses and goats! Be painterly or artsy. Check them all out here and build your own farm :)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Art Journaling with StencilGirl® Stencils

I find the act of art journaling calming.  One of my favorite ways to art journal is to add unique features that allow me to add interest to my pages. In this project I was so inspired by the StencilGirl® Klimt Trees stencil designed by Cathy Taylor. I immediately knew I wanted to create a forest scene incorporating Klimt’s colorways. I also knew I wanted to add a flip out feature to my page centered around the trees of the stencil.

I selected 2 pages in my art journal and sprayed them with Dina Wakley Acrylic sprays (Ranger Ink) in Turquoise, Olive, and Cheddar. I allowed the sprays to dry completely.

I sketched a figure inspired by Klimt’s paintings on to some sketch paper. I then cut out and glued my image to one side of my journal spread with Dina Wakley Gel Medium.

I then sprayed the StencilGirl® Klimt Trees stencil with Acrylic Spray in a dark color, here I used black.

With my sprayed stencil facing down, I placed it on top of a sheet of tissue paper.

On a separate sheet of cardstock sprayed with the same acrylic sprays, I repeated step 4 (placing the sprayed stencil onto the cardstock face down).

I applied my “stamped” tissue onto my journal page (opposite your figure) with gel or matte medium and allowed it to dry. Once my page was dry, I began to fill in and doodle on my page. I painted my figure “into” my page.  

I added detail to my figure’s dress with the StencilGirl® Soulful Scribbles Dots Dash stencil by Traci Bautista. It complimented the Klimt theme perfectly!

Lastly, I cut out some trees on a small portion of my printed and sprayed cardstock to create a flip out on my page. I attached it to my page with coordinating washi tape, and added some text on the inside of the flap. This was such a fun spread to do, as I am such a big Klimt fan (aren’t we all?) and I hope I have given you some inspiration for your art journaling!

Hello! My name is Megan Whisner Quinlan. I have been art journaling and book binding for about 20 years. However, I took a 10 year break from paper arts when I had my first 2 children. About 5 years ago, I came back into journaling after some big life changes, including 2 more children. Journaling had always been a part of my life, especially to work things out in life on paper. When I first started out, I really only focused on making books by hand and some basic collage and stamping. I was intimidated by the amazing art journalers out there who had elaborate, mixed media spreads in their journals.  When I came back to journaling after such a long break, I decided that I was going to really push myself to learn all the techniques I had been too afraid to try.  Painting and drawing have really allowed me to find so much joy in my creative process, and I now almost exclusively create mixed media every day. I feel excited to have joined the art journaling community and you can find me on Instagram @Megan_Whisner_Quinlan

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

StencilClub Reveal for April 2020: Mark Making by Cat Kerr

StencilGirl® is delighted to reveal Cat Kerr's first-ever StencilClub set! She designed it based on some of her favorite marks for use in her art journal and mixed media art.

The large 9"x12" stencil includes 6 motifs long lines with zig-zags and dots that overflow into their own area, brackets, random Xs marking spots upon spots, lines with straight tracks, and a section of lines with half-drops.

The receding pattern of the mini 4"x4" stencil draws the eye inward while the somewhat bird-footed tracks of the small 6"x6" stencil are headed right to left or up and down.

Here's Cat to tell you all about her designs exclusively for StencilClub members.

Are you ready for StencilClub?! In addition to the stencils on April 15th, you'll receive a StencilClub Newsletter with the project video and PDF Cat made especially for members, as well as access to our art community on Facebook, a monthly loyalty coupon, and other perks. 

You can find out more and join.

BONUS! Cat has made an extra video extra you can enjoy right now that showcases the versatility of these stencils used alone and in combination as a background.

These stencils ship out April 15th!

You can join StencilClub HERE.

Click here for stencils in the public collection designed by Cat Kerr.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Stenciled Poetry Art Journal - The Raven - by Jennifer Gallagher


It's Jennifer Gallagher here with you again, this time with a thematic art journal page for this month's theme 'Stenciled Poetry'. I found this theme quite intriguing and rather difficult. I don't usually create pages in my journal that are based upon anything other than my imagination. Even though it was out of my comfort zone, I was up for the challenge. 

One of my favorite poets is Edgar Allen Poe. After glancing through my ever-growing stencil collection, I knew I had just the right ones to create an homage to 'The Raven'. I did work a little differently than usual, as I found myself going back and forth adding layers in a rather haphazard fashion. I think this was because I was working with a theme, visually speaking. So I'll break it down for you in a way you can follow. Let's get started.

First, I prepared two pages in my journal with a thick coat of clear gesso to prepare it for many layers. After the gesso completely dried, I sprayed both pages with Marabu Art Spray in Reseda and Mint. I smeared it around a little with a wet paintbrush.

Moving quickly before the sprays could dry, I laid down the Dangled Pod Stencil and removed color with a wet baby wipe. I repeated this on both sides. Be advised! You need to move quickly.

I cut out some curved shapes to mimic hillside out of cheap kraft cardstock. I laid it down and with some green paint I mixed from olive and black, I painted some hills onto the left side page.

With Liquitex Basics Acrylics in Bright Aqua Green and Light Blue Violet, I darkened the dangled pods stenciled area to bring it to the foreground. I chose this stencil because it is an organic shape that will create movement across the page.

Next, I laid down the Windswept Tree Mask and the four-inch stencil from the November 2018 club set, I applied vintage photo distress ink all across the left page. 

I had leftover paint from the olive and black mixture that I used earlier. I added more black to it and then placed the tree mask back down and applied the darker paint around the borders of the page.

This six-inch stencil from StencilClub February 2019 set had the perfect section for a winding walkway. I applied Liquitex Basics Quinacridone Magenta through the stencil. I used this color because so far the page is very dark and green. I wanted to add some color that would allow it to pop off the page and be slightly translucent to allow background design to shine through.

On the right-hand page, at the bottom, I added a stone wall with the olive green mixed paint and the September 2018 StencilClub release Caves and Ladders. Next, I added a Window (Window Ledger Stencil) and another stone path in magenta. You'll also notice that at this point I went back over the two pages with the dangled pods stencil and additional layers of Liquitex Basics Light Blue Violet.

I added a raven at the bottom right-hand page with the Three Crows Stencil and black acrylic paint. I then added a touch of black to darken the window design too. I added a layer of vintage photo distress ink to the right page, being sure not to get any on the window as I'll be adding yellow highlights there later.

To add another little background detail, I spritzed a fine mist over the pages. I let it sit for a few seconds and dabbed it carefully with a paper towel. It leaves behind this speckled appearance.

On both pages, I added half a medallion from the StencilClub July 2018 set: Ceramic Tiles in white acrylic paint. I went over the medallions and window with Marabu Art Crayons in sunshine yellow and chili. Next, using white and black gelli roll pens, I added outlines and doodles around most of the images and shapes.

Then on the computer, I printed out a stanza from the poem and fixed it to my pages with matte medium. Then to age it a bit, I rubbed some vintage photo distress ink over them.

That is it for this month. I hope that you find this walk-through inspirational. I know a lot of us tend to stick to what feels safe and comfortable. I do it, too! I would like to encourage you, however, to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe play along with us on this theme and use stencils to create something inspired by poetry. Until next time!

If you would like to see more of my work you can visit my blog or Instagram feed.

Happy Creating,

Jennifer Gallagher