Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Dancing in the Dark



It's the middle of summer and we're sweltering in St. Louis.  I think many who read this are in the same boat.  The flowers are blooming and so far our grass is surviving.  I'm huddled in my studio listening to vintage Bruce Springsteen (hence the project name) trying to stay cool.  I often use July as a reset before the busier fall and the preparations for next year.  This year I decided to do a deeper dive into Nitram's products, specifically their Liquid Charcoal and Fusain Aquarelle. I've done several paintings with them, but really didn't know all the possibilities. Layering was at the center of my exploration.  I decided to reach into my tile stash and have a go.  Tile has long been a favorite on mine with alcohol inks, but what would this highly pigmented charcoal do on it and would it be layer-friendly?   

These paintings here show how pigmented Nitram's products are.



I decided that a video would be best to showcase what you can do, but here's some intel from choices that I made along my experimental way.  First, this process works best with a matte or satin coated tile as opposed to a glazed tile.  It's okay with a bit of sheen but a glazed white tile will not produce the best results.  I used the Liquid Charcoal as a grayish base and the Fusain Aquarelle for the second (and third layers).  You could use a brush as I did or scrunch some plastic wrap on and do an all over "smoosh". It would be a little quicker and would add to that grunge look.  Be sure to dry the layers thoroughly and  asI mention in the video that they can be air dried.  This advice applies to the sealing process (three coats of Kamar varnish and two coats of UV Archival (both by Krylon).  

I chose Jennifer Evans' Paperwhites to play with today.  I love all her abstract flowers but this one spoke to me for my vision of this project.  I chose only to use the floral portion but I love the vibe of the stencil. Other stencils would work.  Look for abstracted stencils.

My process video is below. Be gentle with me and my thoughts.  I was dealing with a refrigerator crisis the day I filmed.   I include a materials list after the project, but here's a photo of the media (without the ultra large white gesso bottle.)  I prefer Liquitex Professional.

I enjoyed this project a lot and think there's a lot more you can do with this layered technique.  I hope to have more time this fall to play with it.  Below is the original piece that I did as a test.  I also created it in portrait orientation but can be situated either way. I took this picture in my studio and the lighting shows the shadowy nature of the liquid charcoal better than the photo above of the video project.  That picture was taken in indirect light and the camera didn't pick up on that layer as well.  Both in person look much more like this one and I love that grayed out layer a lot.  Thank you so much for coming and viewing my project.  It's always a pleasure to be on the StencilGirl blog as a project designer and as a viewer.  For more of my exploits, you can find me on Instagram here, Facebook here, and on my website.  Until next time and the next song inspiration.  

Take care...



  1. Very intriguing project, Nancy. Thank you for sharing it. The floral abstract turned out beautifully.

  2. I found this project very interesting. When I hear the word CHARCOAL, I run for the hills. Never have I done a project using charcoal, without a huge mess. Thank you for exposing me to new (yet, expensive) products. I'll be enjoying looking at your fantastic pictures. But, for me, I'll pass.


If you are entering a GIVEAWAY, please add your email address in the event we need to contact you.

To avoid SPAM, please write it like this:

marybeth (at) stencilgirltalk (dot com)

Thank You!