Mail Art Postcards
Hello artist friends! I hope you are all doing well. Since the mid-March shutdown here in Michigan, (which is just now lifting as I write this on June 4) we've been stuck inside with cold and rainy weather-spring has made a very slow arrival. What better time to send mail to family and friends? Indeed, the shutdown has renewed many people's interest in mail art-although, as those of us in Stencil Club know, (thanks especially to Stencil Club member, Lisa Dobry) mail art is alive and well! So today I am sharing a fun process to use an acrylic medium resist, gouache and stencils to make postcard mail art. So get out your address book, in addition to your supplies, and let's make some stenciled postcards!
- 9” x 12” sheet of watercolor paper
- Stencils used: Peruvian Grid Mask, Symbols of Peru, and Mail Art stencils
- Gouache (or watercolor) paints in colors you love. I used ultramarine, cerulean, carmine and white.
- Your favorite brush for paints.
- Gloss acrylic medium. I used Dick Blick brand.
- Rubber scraper tool, like Princeton's Catalyst. (Old plastic credit card works too).
- Gel pens, fountain pen. I used white and black, but silver and gold or other colors would be cool too.
- Plastic water filled bin for soaking used stencils.
1. I laid out my stencils on the 9” x 12” sheet of paper keeping in mind that I would cut it into quarters to create 4 postcards after completed.
2. Once happy with the design idea, begin applying gloss medium over the top of the stencil with the scraper or credit card. The gloss medium will act as a resist for the paint. It also adds some texture, as it remains slightly raised. Cover the watercolor paper with your stencil designs using the gloss medium and allow to dry completely, which takes only a few minutes.
NOTE: if your stencils are “dirty” some of the color on them can be activated by the acrylic medium when you are scraping it over the stencil-if this bothers you, clean your stencils first. I didn't mind, the gouache was forgiving over the resist and it pretty much blended into the work. That said, the idea of the acrylic medium picking up color from your stencil can be intentional-mix paint color directly into some of the gloss medium to create a colored glaze and then apply over a clean stencil to the paper-this will give you a colored resist.
3. Put your stencils in the bin with water to soak-you will want to clean off the acrylic medium, and soaking them makes that much easier.
4. Using clean water, brush over parts or all of the paper and begin adding color to it using either gouache or watercolor. Let dry.
5. Add more stenciled elements using the acrylic gloss medium, let dry.
6. Layer on more gouache or watercolor over the acrylic gloss medium stenciled elements to create areas of contrast in value, as well as definition of elements.
7. Embellish your work as desired using fountain pen, gel pens, etc.
8. Cut the finished sheet into quarters to create the four postcards.
9. On the flip side of your designs, use the Mail Art stencils to create the address area of the postcards. You can paint the entire side first with a light transparent layer and then stencil it, or just leave it white and stencil a border color. I painted the entire side and I also used more stencils to add to the border areas. Embellish as desired to match the other side.
10. Add notes or quotes, sign them, and they are ready for postage and addresses! In the USA it is 35 cents to send a postcard. Enjoy!