Thursday, August 29, 2019

Watercolors & StencilGirl® Stencils

For over 35 years I, David R. Becker have been painting in a traditional transparent watercolor medium style. I have always studied watercolor painting masters like Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent and followed the ways of the old masters. That was until about half a year ago when I met an artist at an expo in Texas named Trish McKinney. Trish was working in the booth next to the Legion Paper booth where I was working at and Trish was working with stencils. I brought over a piece of my work and Trish showed me how I could use that stencil on my watercolor work. I was sold and then Trish gifted me one of her stencils that she said came from a company named StencilGirl®. I was sold and loved using this one stencil I now owned. Later in that month Trish contacted StencilGirl® and told them about my experience with their stencil. I then ordered a bunch more stencils and started using them on my watercolors because I loved the look that it gave my watercolor paintings. 

Below is a step-by-step watercolor that I painted and added stencils to:

This is the reference photo I used for this painting.

I first draw out a pencil line onto a Stonehenge Aqua 300lb watercolor paper
to show me where I will be placing my paint.

I start the first wash with all the light colors hitting all the spots in the painting that will be light.

Next, are all the dark colors that make up the background leaving them plain so I can come back with StencilGirl® stencils to finish the background in the next stage.

I now look for a StencilGirl® stencil that I feel matches the look of the painting. At this stage, The stencil I use for this project is called a Thicket Stencil which you can HERE at StencilGirl®.
I wipe out the watercolor with a magic eraser sponge over the stencil that is placed on top of the watercolor.
The sponge shouldn't be really wet just slightly damp. You are wiping out the watercolor leaving the light of the paper shining through.

You can also brush in the watercolor over top of the StencilGirl® stencil onto the paper. Make sure you brush in the watercolor with as little water as possible, a drybrush effect works best and also dabbing the watercolor brush straight onto the paper also works well.

The finished piece will have a look like you spent hours creating the most beautiful background.

Shown are 8 more paintings where I used stencils to do parts of the background,
some I took the paint away and some I applied the paint to.

I store all my wonderful StencilGirl® stencils in a stamping-up photo binder I got at Goodwill.
These binders have 12" by 12" plastic sleeves that the stencils fit in perfectly.

Thanks so much for visiting today!
David R. Becker


  1. Stunning look..takes some artist skill and practice to get the right affect.

  2. I love your watercolor paintings..and perfect use of the stencil!

  3. You've certainly mastered the use of the stencil to enhance your backgrounds. Beautiful work!

  4. Incredible results! A crossover with papercraft arts with fine art results!

  5. Wow David! Love what you doing with the stencils!! Beautiful!

  6. I love your work! I will have to try it. I tried using some of my koi pan watercolors with a moist sponge and some of my stencils in July. I was having so much fun I could not stop! I got a great pop-art look. I do love the subtle look you avhieved. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Beautiful paintings. There is so much depth in your paintings!

  8. All the pieces are just gorgeous! I agree stencils make it look like we spend more time than we actually do. Shhhh, that´s our secret. 😊 thanks for sharing you process David! Take care and STAY POSITIVE!

  9. This is so wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your process!


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!