Hi All! It's Gwen back here today with my quarterly post on Paint & Texture. This month I thought I'd take things in a bit of a different direction from what you typically see from me while I introduce my latest passion in the world of paint; watercolor.
In the past I've always shied away from watercolor because it seemed hard and unpredictable, but recently I was inspired to take another look and approach the medium differently - trying things in my own way and based out of my own skill set and experience, rather than trying to stress about doing it "right." There's no right or wrong in art in any case, right?
So I thought I'd take some of the things I've been experimenting with and share three mixed media projects showing three different ways that you can use watercolors with stencils.
I think for those of us who are mixed media artists, sometimes it's easy to forget that the technical definition of "mixed media" is just that... you're mixing multiple media together in one project. And while no one is ever going to pry my matte medium, collage papers, and dimensional objects away from me (see the last two projects,) sometimes it's nice to create a mixed media project without getting glue all over my hands. lol. (And yes, I did actually just admit that.)
So first up, I thought I'd start with a relatively simple form of mixed media - layering different wet media (pens, paint, and ink) and using a pretty unintimidating watercolor technique... painting blocks as a background for stenciling.
Once the watercolor was dry (and it's important to let it dry, but it doesn't take long,) I took my Suzani stencils from this month's StencilClub collection and stenciled onto the painted rectangles with different colors of pigment ink. As you can see in the photo, I use a blender brush with ink pads - I've found that they make it so easy and give you such a clean and smooth image! I also used pieces of scrap paper to mask off each area I was stenciling so that I didn't get ink outside of the painted blocks.
Below you can see how I just took bits and pieces of the designs to stencil the background. I also left a few of the rectangles empty so that I could add journaling or other elements.
To complete the spread I stamped in the yellow rectangles with a bunch of different designs from my stash and then used pens to add marks in the white spaces, sketch some borders around the rectangles, and add some scribbly journaling around the borders of all of the purple rectangles. I inked the edges of the pages with brown and black Archival Ink, and that's it! A few simple techniques, fairly limited supplies, but a rich and layered art journal spread.
If it helps, you can also sketch the outlines in pencil first and then fill them in so that you feel more confident about making sure you end up with actual leaves. (Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything... lol.)
As you can see below, I laid the stencil over the painted leaves and then stenciled with pigment ink and a blender brush. This time I didn't worry about whether the stenciling overlapped the painted edges, I just made sure not to stencil over top of one of the other designs and that was good enough.
After adding the pen work I cut each of them out - instant embellishments! You can stop at this point if you don't have a specific project in mind... sometimes it's fun to make a little pile of these types of pieces so that you have them handy when you're working. I love to use embellishments that I've made myself - it's such a fun way to get more of my own hand into my work.
Time to incorporate these into a project... I started pulling different papers out of my stash and layering them on a piece of Khadi paper which I was using as my substrate.
Because I've always been a member of the "more is more" camp, I added more layers of watercolor and then used some colored pencil and pen on top. Watercolor is a great base layer for a lot of media - you could also use acrylic paints, water soluble crayons or oil pastels, watercolor pencils, etc... or just leave it as plain watercolor with no other layers - it's all up to you and what you like.
Voilà - it's finished!
I hope you're feeling inspired to try incorporating a bit of watercolor into your stenciling and mixed media projects. There are so many things that you can do with this medium - it's fun and versatile and I just love the look you can get from it.
Have fun experimenting and until next time, happy stenciling!