Hello! I'm StencilGirl® team member, Nancy Curry, and I am here to "mix up" my own use of stencils and hopefully yours, too. I am all about having stencils that can be used in their entirety or in a subtler manner. This project may help you look at your stencils in a whole new way. I know it impacted me that way as the project left my head and hit the paper. I wanted a stencil that was busy and did choose one that was more representational rather than abstract, but you could use one of those, too. Mary Beth Shaw and Traci Bautista are masters at that type of stencil. I chose Margaret Peot's 9" x 12" floral heart stencil L846, which is a giant heart full of so many interesting twosomes. Even if you choose a stencil with a distinctive, recognizable object design, it will change when cut into a bunch of repeat shapes.
I began the project by grabbing my media and paper. I chose a piece of mixed media paper (watercolor paper is perfect, too) that would fit the stencil and a selection of watercolors. I am smitten with all kinds of artisan and artist quality paints. These happen to be by Jazper Stardust. I promise I am not trying to enable you. I lightly sprayed water through the stencil and wet the paints. If you tend to be heavy-handed with spray bottles, I would advise using watercolor paper rather than mixed media. Mixed media paper will only take so much water. I let both sit for a few minutes to settle in.
My goal is to add watercolor through the stencil in different ways. Sometimes I use a mid-sized brush and flick or splatter to make marks on the paper and then I loosely brush through the stencil with more paint on the brush. Varying the amount of water used will change the saturation and I like the look of that as well. I did not affix the stencil with Pixie Spray, but you could if you don't want any movement. I continued using a palette of two or three greens, and four other colors of choice until the pattern was painted to my satisfaction. Before pulling the stencil off, I let it sit a few minutes. Alternately, you could let it dry thoroughly before the reveal. I'm always a little impatient.
Once dry, I cut around the heart to allow closer proximity to the chosen punch. My daughter just chose her wedding gown yesterday so I decided to stay with the hearts theme and just happened to have an old punch that would work with some minor adjustments. I began punching out the design without a lot of thought. I love the randomness that just doing without thinking brings. I do like to use the punch backwards to make sure I get the whole piece of paper in and don't have a half heart. This punch had a lack of symmetry to the heart, but I used the first one I punched out as a stencil to even out the lobes of the hearts. It was an extra step but for this project, I wanted more symmetry.
I like to lay the pieces out and play with positioning. I had a lot of extra hearts for the mat size so I save them to use for single images on cards or tucked in with art orders from my shop. Hearts never go out of style. Once happy with the organization, I attached some of them with ScorTape to green cardstock and finished with and 8" x 8" mat. Size is definitely artist's choice. I've been on a tear with these types of compositions all summer. They are easily found in my Instagram feed under the hashtag #artinpieces. I've gone as large as 11" x 14" and as small as 8" x 8" mattted. These are all paint only but the concept is the same. Here's one of my dimensional favorites for inspiration, Tossed. Yes, I'm still on the wedding theme.
I hope you enjoyed this process and will look at your stencils with fresh eyes. I have plans to continue this series done both ways. I am always happy to be on the blog and this project was a joy to do. Happy creating until next time! As always, you can find me on all social media as Nancy Curry Art or on my comprehensive website/store.
I'll be back soon!!!