Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Kiss" Abstract Paintings with Heidi Smith

Hi there!

This is Heidi Smith for the StencilGirl Products® Design Team sharing some little abstract works that I am lovingly calling Abstract "Kisses". 💕😘

I recently wanted to make some wee abstract paintings to decorate a blank wall that I have in my house and created a few with something that I like to call the "kiss" technique. 💋

You can watch my video below:

This technique uses deli paper in an even-more-non-conventional-way than we're used to. Normally, we think of deli paper as a substrate (using it with our gelli plates to print on, or to paint directly on, with an end result of likely tearing it up for collage fodder)... but there’s more you can do with it!!! 💋💋💋 Get this... You can use your deli paper as… A STAMP!!

YES! And I'll show you how! 

I started doing this years ago with regular paper... pressing one painted paper onto another wet or dry paper to get a mottled and grungy effect. But I discovered a way to also do this through my stencils... and deli paper was the perfect partner! Deli paper has the right amount of durability, withstanding both pressure and moisture while still being thin and delicate enough to transfer the details of stencils! The look you can achieve is similar to what you’d get by using a gelli plate. You get irregularities, brush marks, and intermingling flecks of color that we associate with and love about gelli printing ...but by just using deli paper!

To start my paintings, I chose some handmade paper squares. (Regular watercolor paper would work well too). You’ll want to coat your paper with a layer of paint or gesso first, because (with most papers) it will weaken as it gets wet with paints. The moisture would cause tears and fibers to stick to the paint when we’re “kissing” them together… which we don’t typically want. But if you like a very distressed look and don’t mind tears and pulls… definitely play around with different papers! They all react differently to this technique and some are stronger than others.

Here are my squares to start, coated with a layer of random leftover acrylic and left to dry thoroughly:

Next I pull out some deli sheets that I’ve cut to a manageable size. I spread a thin layer of acrylic paint onto my deli paper with a flat brush. Brush strokes are cool ...but glops are not. I like to use my Dina Wakley Media flat brush because it creates nice brushstrokes in the paint and the texture transfers quite well.

Here is what my thin layer looks like:

I start with just a few solid areas of “kisses” around my paintings. To do this, you’ll simply flip your deli paper over (paint side down) and press firmly but gently to transfer paint. You can control how much paint contacts the paper by how much pressure you give and where. Once you get the hang of it, we’re ready to break out our stencils!!

Here’s what a deli paper “kiss” looks like:

For stencils, my suggestion is to use ones that don’t have a lot of really tiny holes or really detailed designs, because we’re going for *grunge* and super-super-fine details won’t transfer well. I have chosen the following stencils:

To “kiss” through a stencil, first position your stencil where you want it to go on your painting. Then apply a light layer of paint (just as before) to your deli paper but this time you’ll flip it over onto the stencil. You’ll want to press firmly around the design of the stencil... getting into the nooks and crannies. You can feel and see if you’ve made good contact. If your paint dries up too quickly and doesn’t transfer well, keep trying! You’ll get into a rhythm.

Pressing into the nooks and crannies:

And this is what a “kiss” through a stencil looks like:

...and with the stencil removed:

To create an abstract work, we keep painting, playing, and giving our work “kisses”. 😘 At some point, you’ll feel you’re done! Be sure to evaluate your overall composition. If you need to cover or glaze over areas to create balance or “calm” areas, you can use a plain “kiss” (without a stencil) or even just brush over with opaque or transparent paint. I like to fiddle with my work until it feels done. (Note to self: don’t underestimate the value of a simple design!!)

This is what a few of my pieces look like:

...and a few detail shots:

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you go “kiss” that box of deli paper! Be sure to tell us all about it! *muah!*


Heidi Smith is a mixed media artist and painter and a member of the 2019-2020 StencilGirl Products® Design Team. You can find her work on Instagram and her newly-launched YouTube Channel.


  1. This is fantastic! I have a box of deli paper that needs love! And I love abstract! WooHoo!-Beth Broadway

  2. Fun techniques, great results - thanks, Heidi!

  3. Love your little abstract beauties 😊 Thanks for sharing!

  4. What beautiful artwork and a cool new technique to try!

  5. “Kiss” doesn’t sound “cheesy,” to me. (The band is definitely cheesy, though.) You could call it “touch” if kiss (the technique ;o)) bothers you or “touch transfer.” Nice prints! Thanks.


If you are entering a GIVEAWAY, please add your email address in the event we need to contact you.

To avoid SPAM, please write it like this:

marybeth (at) stencilgirltalk (dot com)

Thank You!