Monday, May 13, 2019

Frottage, Gel Printing & Oil Transfer with StencilGirl® Stencils

Hi there! It’s Marsha Valk here today, back again to share a new column with you.

This month’s StencilGirl® Creative Team Inspiration theme is 'Abstract'.

When you say abstract art, I immediately think of cubism (Picasso, who else!) and of geometric art (Mondrian, who was born in the city I live in), but there are so many cultural movements and offshoots involved that it makes my head spin. This subject is huge!

It wasn’t until I attended a drawing workshop at a local museum that I remembered that some of my favourite abstract artists had particular methods to make prints.

The drawing workshop was fascinating to me in many ways. The artist-teacher took the group outside for a walk in the vicinity of the museum, and one of the assignments he gave us was to make frottages.

Frottage is the word artist Max Ernst used for his signature rubbing technique. I loved walking around the museum making rubbings from all kinds of signs, stones and utility hole covers.

However, you don’t have to go outside to give it a try. All you need is something with an uneven surface, a piece of paper and a pencil or a crayon. In other words: stencils are perfect for frottage!

As said, the workshop prompted me to think about other printing techniques that famous artists used that do not involve a press.

Paul Klee, for instance, developed a so-called oil-tracing drawing method or oil-transfer technique.

He made a type of carbon paper by covering one side of a sheet of paper with printer’s ink or oil paint. He then sandwiched this paper between the desired substrate and the drawing he wanted to trace. Klee traced it with a needle.

Many artists used the pochoir technique to reproduce their work. The pochoir technique involves a series of stencils through which areas of colour were applied by hand to the substrate. One of my very favourite artists that used this method is Sonia Delaunay.

I found an image of an untitled Delaunay aquatint etching while looking for images of her prints online and although it has nothing to do with her pochoir technique, I decided to use it as the jumping off point for my abstract gel print.

I also bought a tube of (water-mixable) oil paint because I couldn’t wait to try Klee’s oil-transfer technique on top of my gel print. I used a pencil instead of a needle, and I substituted the drawing with a stencil design.

Watch the video to see how I got on:

Until next time!

Marsha Valk

Stencils used:
Art Deco Peacock Feathers by Gwen Lafleur
Basket by Daniella Woolf
Shape Shifter by Mary Beth Shaw
Brick Factory by Daniella Woolf
Central Ave by Nathalie Kalbach
Angelic Angel Fish Stencil by Jane Dunnewold
Gridded by Rae Missigman
Stockinette Large Pattern stencil by Pam Carriker
Manhattan by Nathalie Kalbach
Wolf by Roxanne Coble
Garden Montage by Cecilia Swatton
What's the Point? by Nathalie Kalbach 
Ornamental Wallpaper by Nathalie Kalbach 
Hamburg by Nathalie Kalbach 
Elephant March by Nathalie Kalbach
Crackle by Nathalie Kalbach
Pomegranate Seeds Grape Apple Flower Mask by Valerie Sjodin
Slices 6 Stencil by Terri Stegmiller


  1. SO Clever! I love the result! :)

  2. Marsha, fabulous techniques!! Beautiful results!! Thanks so much for sharing with us!!
    Carole from Chicago

  3. So glad the master artists that blazed a trail of mark making rise up again in your work to take that inspiration to the next level. Even I think I could make a, well okay I could do something that looks good in my art journal!

  4. What is the source of your background cool.

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