Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

I am happy to be back on the blog today with another installment of music themed artwork.  I know it's the day after Valentine's Day, but I couldn't help myself so we'll extend the celebration.  It all started when I was wandering the aisles of Target earlier this month and happened upon a pack of six heart shaped canvasses.  On a whim, I bought them, thinking they were destined to be in my pile of "almost" used substrates. I had some other commitments to work on through much of the month, but this week I'd cleared my schedule to create something special for this blog.  I have to admit I was low on ideas until I walked into my studio with my newly opened StencilGirl® January Club stencils to put them away and the lightbulb went off. One of January's stencils is a grid of four different patterns.  You'll see that stencil in the first process photo, but I linked it here so you could see both of the current ones available.  Mary Beth is the queen of the grid, but I don't often work that way so these pieces are a bit of a departure for me, yet I use some familiar design techniques.  I always love the strong,  graphic nature that working with one dark color can emote and I do love to play with asymmetry so I decided to play with those ideas on all five hearts.  Let's breakdown the materials and then get to my process.  

MATERIALS:  hearts of any kind, gesso, a dark color of acrylic paint (I used Payne's Gray that reads as black on the computer monitor and in low light), stencils (duh), painter's tape (I used blue Scotch in a wider format and narrow ), Golden gel matte, scrap paper to mask, embellishments, Hero Arts playful flowers set (using your own writing would make these uniquely yours). I linked you to the particular media I chose, but any descent quality will do.


                     1                                 2                                3                             4                                 5



OFF CAMERA: I prepped the canvases with another layer of gesso as soon as I got them home from the store.  Mine happened to be white, but clear would also work well.  

STENCILING PROCESS:  I varied the widths and placement of the stencils on all five.  The stenciling process is the same for all of them.  I will show you snippet pictures of each choice I made. 



Heart #4

I am using a cosmetic sponge, paper towel and Payne's Gray acrylic on a paper plate.  For good coverage without seepage, be sure to tap the sponge off on the paper towel before pouncing through the stencil.  If you are concerned about stencil movement during the pouncing use Pixie spray.



Heart #2

I use a wide painter's tape to grid the space on the heart. I used only one stencil on this one, but used different areas to create interest. Be sure to get the tape down solidly.  You can always use a clean brayer to ensure good adhesion. 

Heart #3 below

(a)  I used scrap paper to mask areas that already had stencil motifs and then added two parallel tape strips (1/8") to create the vertical stripe.

(b)   I wanted smaller solid areas to offset the treble area and the embellishment that's in my head to use.

(c)   I broke up the vast white space in the treble grid portion with different sized dots.                                                       

     a                                                    b                                                  c
 Heart #5 below
(a) I used wide painter's tape to create a clean edge to separate the larger stenciled area from the smaller area that I would eventually make solid Payne's Gray.  
(b) I moved the tape for another clean line to fill in the solid area.

                        a                                                   b
Heart #1: Once again, I used a combination of wide and narrow tape.  Initially I used the wide to create the clear edge to separate the top and bottom of the heart.  Not pictured (artist omission-oops) was a second step where I used two 1/8"  tapes to create a narrow stripe before I added the smaller solid area. 

EMBELLISHMENT  CHOICE & AFFIXING:  I had quite a few buttons and brads leftover from my cardmaking days so I chose from those. As I was auditioning embellishments, I realized I was really loving the florals, pearls, and filigree type pieces with the graphic grids. I committed to what was laid out and used metal snips to cut the shanks off and brads.  Once all were laid out, I grabbed my matte gel and applied it to each element with a wipeable wood skewer.  I pressed all of them firmly to get good adhesion and set them away to dry.  

(a)  I always knew I wanted to have lettering on these pieces.  As the pieces progressed, song titles flitted in and out of my mind.  I made a list of the possibles and narrowed them down based on what spaces I had in the target areas.  Then I quickly lettered scraps so I could check for size.  
(b)  Sometimes I hand letter or use my line of rubber stamps, but this time I had my eyes set on a Hero Arts lower case alphabet that I love. I tried all caps, too, but something didn't sit right with that idea. 

(c)  I used black permanent ink to start the lettering process.  It really helps placement if you can leave the scrap title in place. 
                     a                                b                                    c
I used the same process with all five hearts.  TA DA ........ Here are your finished beauty shots and their credited songs.  Click on them for more detail. 

        The One I Love (REM)                        Crazy Little Thing Called Love              Love is Blue (Paul Mauriat)                                                                                          (Queen)
                                                       Addicted to Love                             All You Need is Love
                                                        (Robert Palmer)                                     (The Beatles)

I enjoyed playing with a fresh viewpoint in this pieces and hope you enjoyed this modern take on traditional Valentine's.  I plan to revisit this concept in non-holiday art soon.  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.  As always, it's a pleasure being on this blog with you all.  For more of my art, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at Nancy Curry Art. To shop for prints or originals, you'll find my collections here. See you soon!

                                                                                Nancy Curry





  1. Very striking pieces, Nancy. Thanks for sharing your technique.

    1. Thank you so much, Terry! I love the boldness and the crispness of the grids.


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