Thursday, June 15, 2017

Guest Designer: Lisa Thorpe

“Breathe” mixed media piece created with StencilGirl stencils, artist made stencils and stamps using acrylic and spray paints over paper collage on wood panel
Lisa Thorpe
Hi, all! I’m so happy to be a guest blogger for StencilGirl this month! I had my first contact with StencilGirl in 2013 when Quilting Arts Magazine, StencilGirl and I collaborated to create a stencil as a fundraiser for National Breast Cancer Foundation (see Quilting Arts Magazine issue 65 Oct/Nov 2013). Since then I have been trolling the StencilGirl catalog every so often to add new pattern and interest to my mixed media art.

In my latest body of work I am enthralled with depth and layering. I want the viewer to look and then realize there is more just below the surface and look again. To get the effect I want I work with golden liquid acrylics mixed with a glaze and Design Master transparent and flat spray paints used with StencilGirl Stencils and stencils I cut myself with a heat pen on Grafix Clearlay transparent film. I also create more pattern with self made rubber stamps carved on a soft block material. I always start with a theme, this piece started with the word breathe. My world has been in a bit of disequilibrium for nearly a year. Last year I quit teaching art in the public schools to focus more on my art, soon after my dad got sick and died last fall, then my family and I had an opportunity to move to a bigger, quieter house so we moved on Memorial weekend and in then I’m moving my studio too! So you get the idea why a reminder to breathe is an important thing for me right now.

So once I have a focus, I often create a figurative silhouette stencil to express the idea visually, and I like to echo that image with a word stencil – in this case a much needed reminder to breathe.
on the left I have laid out my self cut stencils and stamps as well as the StencilGirl stencils I plan to use – right are my paints at the ready
Before I start painting I like to cover my canvas or wood panels with a collage. I use pages from dictionaries , phone book, sheet music, old letters, journal entries, and any text in any language that I can get my hands on. Often in the final work only small snippets of the papers show through but in those spots the depth and mystery is wonderful.
When I paint I like to prepare lots of canvases at once so I can experiment with layers, color and composition. On the left a row of collaged canvas panels on the right those same panels with a light color wash of brown and blue.
Let the layering begin!
Using both flat and transparent spray paint, I build layers of pattern and interest using stencils from StencilGirl.
Once I have an intriguing background laid in then I work with the stencils I made to bring to focus in to the theme. For this work I created the large lotus, the standing figure in mountain pose, and the cursive word breathe.
I used both the positive and negative space around the stencils to draw the eye in and reveal the layers beneath.
To finish the piece I come back with some StencilGirl's stencils add a final layer on top.
Here I’ve used three of my favorite StencilGirl stencils: Peacock Feather, Rembrandt's Words, and Bloom True.

I’m am an artist and educator in northern California, I have been the resident artist at The Bishop’s Ranch retreat and conference center outside of Healdsburg for over 20 years. In my art I am always exploring and experimenting and I love to share what I have discovered. I have had technique articles published Cloth Paper Scissors, Quilting Arts and Quilting Arts Studio magazines. I lead workshops at The Bishop’s Ranch and at other creative mecca’s such as Mendocino Art Center, Art and Soul in Portland and now I’m excited to be working with Pokey Bolton in 2018 at Crafting a Life in Napa, California. I work in an array of mixed mediums from print, paint, collage, and encaustic – to cloth, stitch and book making. Check out what I’m up to by following the links below.  To see and buy the pieces I made in the breathe series I made for this StencilGirl blog go to my Esty shop.


  1. So pretty!! I love the colors and the techniques!!

  2. Exceptional work. Truly beautiful and original. Thanks for sharing your techniques.

  3. Wonderful work, and you created an entire series at once!


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