Hi everyone! I’m Kate Word, and I’m thrilled to be asked to be a guest designer for StencilGirl® Products today. I use StencilGirl® stencils exclusively and have been a club member for about a year.
I used many StencilGirl® stencils in my artwork for my solo show in January 2022. The exhibition was part of my Best of Show Membership Award at my local art center in 2021.
I am an abstract, non-objective painter, and I also create a lot of mixed media collage using my own hand painted/printed papers with my gel plate and stencils, of course. I paint mostly geometric shapes, their intersections, grids, lots of rich surface texture, and pattern. I love circles and have a new fondness for triangles! I describe myself as a woman of contrasts, a country girl living in the city, a mountain lover living by the coast. I find inspiration for balancing contrasts in modern architecture, nature, and textiles, and I intentionally juxtapose organic shapes with geometric lines and grids. Though some methods are calculated, I welcome intuition, spontaneity, and many accidental discoveries along the way.
I had a year to produce this body of work for my exhibition. As I created these 54 pieces, my theme was “Portals, Exploring Circles,” and it was easy to incorporate my love of circles, emphasizing them with pattern or my favorite calligraphy stencils: StencilClub May 2019, Script Collection by Cecilia Swatton, Abstract Calligraphic Alphabet. Most of my artworks were 12”x 12” flat panels and framed with floater frames, but some were 8”x 8”, 20”x 20” and 24”x 24”. The largest gallery wrapped canvas was 48”x 60”.
I never considered myself an abstract landscape painter, but inspiration for 12 paintings came from watching the Netflix series, “Moving Art” by Louie Schwartzberg, a world-renowned cinematographer. Three seasons feature episodes with mountains, waterfalls, crevices, plateaus, desert, and patterns in nature. One night while watching, I used a sketchbook to draw my impressions in very graphic ways.
These images below show favorites from three series, “Summit I-VI” “Brink I-III,” and “Fathom I-III.”
For continuity, I used the same two stencils in all 12 landscape pieces, contrasting Cecilia’s script stencil with a simple grid stencil, Mary Beth’s Grid set 9. Here’s a YouTube video about my show if you’d like to see.
So, how was it to produce an exhibition, to work on a theme for a full year? It was a learning experience. It took discipline, consistency in my daily studio practice, activating my imagination to see my exhibit finished, a continuity with my color palette, and foremost, having fun with my process. With that fun, came boldness in my decisions, and then, of course, a confidence as I completed each painting and delivered my paintings on January 2.
A favorite mantra, “Less is more” was important after seeing a previous show in the same gallery that seemed heavy and overwhelming. I couldn’t get out of the gallery fast enough, and I certainly didn’t want my viewers and collectors to feel the same overwhelm! This show after all, was new work for me and I did want my former collectors to love my new direction as much as I do. And they did, 13 RED DOTS!
What am I working on now after completing the show in January? Of course, I still use StencilGirl® products. I have a passion for layers in my work, paint, collage, stencils, paint, collage, stencils, repeat. Since I have a penchant for circles and triangles, I look for those shapes and patterns in combination with striations and now, botanical elements. Here are larger mixed media paintings I’ve just completed using Longwood Floral Stencil by Cecilia Swatton, Rock Wall by Mary Beth Shaw, Tire Tracks by Terri Stegmiller, Half Ring Squared Small by Andrew Borloz and Circular Patterns for Play by Carolyn Dube:
As you can see, I am still exploring circles and triangles, especially their geometric intersections, but in new and different ways. I think that’s the beauty of stencils. Soooo many possibilities and so little time to explore! Happy painting!
About Kate Word:
Since childhood, Kate Word found art to be a great friend. A native Texan and a product of the 60’s, Kate grew up on a family cotton farm and was influenced by Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and the Psychedelic Movement. This “flower child” loved color and ALL things beautiful. Grit and faith melded the family history with her future making Kate a woman of many contrasts.
Kate studied fine arts at Texas Woman’s University, and a backpacking trip to Europe in the 90’s with an art history professor fueled interests in cathedrals, cobblestone patterns, wrought iron gates, and botanical gardens, grand or small. Raising two children, living briefly in North Dakota, painting murals in CA, and operating a weaving studio in Taos, NM have all contributed to her artistic expressions. Kate traveled widely and explored the mountains and high deserts of New Mexico every year until she returned to Texas with her husband, William, who is sight impaired. She intentionally creates large paintings with bold and saturated colors so that he can enjoy her artwork.