We are slowly nearing the end of Ben Okri’s poem that I have been illustrating here, and have reached the words: “The dream is real, and the real is a dream”. Too true! This entire period of our lives has seemed extremely surreal and it is hard to imagine what our “normal” lives before the end of 2019 looked liked. I somehow think that that sort of normality will probably never fully return but hopefully our real world will slowly become a nicer dream. I also liked the words as they gave me the opportunity to use one of my most favourite stencils, one of those I keep aside on a separate pile, for special occasions. It is stencil Lyrical Leaves. It’s based on the principle of Nōtan: Nōtan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark elements as they are placed next to the other in the composition of art and imagery. This stencil does this beautifully and also seemed to resonate with the difference between dreams and reality, so the scene was set to make this spread. Here is the tutorial:
1. Use a large gelli plate, a brayer and 5 or 6 different colours of acrylic paint and take a print. Do this for two facing 8 x 11.5” pages.
2. Using some of the same paint colours on your gelli plate, add Mark Making on top of the plate and take random partial prints on both pages.
3. Add white paint to the gelli plate and put the large stencil from the April 2020 StencilClub on top, and take more random partial prints on the pages.
4. Using stencil Lyrical Leaves, put it on the pages and lightly mark the corners of the centre square on the pages with a pencil
5. Add vintage collage pieces within these marks using a glue stick.
6. Spray both pages randomly with bronze spray paint (I used Brusho Shimmer spray colour Bronze)
7. For the next step I was going to make a separate page but as sometimes serendipitously happens I found that I already had the perfect gelli plate print to use. It was a misprint as I wanted to add text and forgot to reverse the stencil (as you do, very frequently in my case!). The colours were like the ones I had used on my pages but with enough of a contrast to still stand out. The stencil I used to make this misprint was Now is the Time.
8. Take Lyrical Leaves again and put it on the misprint from step 7, and mark out the pattern with a permanent black marker, and then cut it out with either scissors, a craft knife or a cutting machine if you have one. I won’t deny this is pretty fiddly (unless you have a machine) but it will be worth it!
9. Put the result of one sheet of pieces cut out on one of your pages and the remainder of the sheet with the pieces cut out from it on the other. Use the stencil as a guide line for this last step. Glue down with Soft Matte Gel.
10. Outline the shapes on both pages with a permanent black marker.
11. Provide further contrast by stenciling on shapes, with blue paint, through the large stencil from the March 2021 StencilClub.
12. Add little and large golden circles randomly to the pages using the large stencil from the August 2013 Club for the large circles and the large stencil from the December 2017 Club for the small ones. I used a palette knife and gold embossing paste for this.
13. Add the text as shown, printed out from your computer and edged with a Distress Ink pad colour Walnut Stain.
14. Edge the pages with the same ink pad.