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...


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Carol Ponsford - August StencilClub Paisley Play

Hi everyone, Carol here and thanks for joining me as I play on my gel plate with the StencilGirl® August StencilClub set designed by Jennifer Evans. I love the beautiful positive and negatives you can achieve with these stencils. These papers would be great collage paper, greeting cards, or if cut out, collage fodder. They can become very intricate if you add doodling with Posca markers.

To start I took PaperArtsy paint and rolled a stripe pattern on the plate using the colors Bora Bora, Wisteria, Bubble Gum and Butternut, laid the stencil on top and made my first pull on white printer paper.

I removed the stencil and let what was left on the plate dry. I then rolled the same colors with a little white in the opposite order and rolled these out in a thin layer and pulled a print on deli paper. Feeling like parts were getting lost, I decided to add another layer so I rolled a solid layer of PaperArtsy Cherry Blossom on the plate then laid the stencil back on the plate paying attention to which side I needed down to be sure to align with my previous print. I then turned the gel plate over and placed the plate onto the deli print trying to align as best as possible (I didn't mind if the registration was off a little bit). I removed the deli print and the stencil and let the remainder of the paint dry. Once it was completely dry, I rolled a thin layer of gel medium over the plate, turned the plate over and printed it onto the first (white paper) print I had done. The gel plate makes it so easy to get positive and negative prints. I hope you will give this a try!

Below is one more fun project of collage fodder I did with these wonderful stencils. I rolled a layer of FolkArt Color Shift paint in Aqua Flash and Red Flash on my gel plate, printed it on black Cardstock then cleaned any residue off of the plate. I then laid the stencil on the plate, rolled black paint on top of the stencil, removed the stencil and cleaned the excess paint from the stencil by pressing it onto a scrap piece of paper I had waiting on the side. While the black paint was still wet on the plate, I pulled a print onto the color shift coated Cardstock. Once dry, I traced each area with a gold Uniball pen and then doodled on the black areas of the print with my colored Posca markers until I was happy with them and then cut them into fodder pieces.

I will be back next month to share new projects with the StencilClub September set. Until then... I hope you have as much fun playing and exploring the possibilities with these wonderful stencils as I did! 

Join StencilClub by August 15 to receive these exclusive stencils and accompanying video tutorial with PDF (both downloadable!), and 20% OFF STENCILS EVERY DAY!!

Happy Creating!

To see more of my work please visit my Instagram page.

Friday, August 5, 2022

StencilGirl® Art Journaling

Inspired by the quotation I used and a beautiful Face stencil as well as the fact that it is now full summer and flowers abound, I came up with this page.

Here is the tutorial:

1.     On a sheet of 9 x 16.5” watercolour paper brayer on a selection of paints (I used the Art by Marlene Calm paint set). Mix the paints with white gesso.

2.     With a pencil draw 4 horizontal lines across the page and then divide each area into segments. These will just be rough guidelines and you can change the divisions as you go along.

3.     Using some of the same paints as in step 1, brush on paint to some of the areas outlined in step 2 and remove the paint with a baby wipe through the small stencil of the March 2016 StencilClub set.

4.     Glue on circular themed tissue paper and vintage paper.

5.     Add more circles using one of the paints from step 1, a cosmetic wedge and the circle pattern on the large stencil from the August 2013 StencilClub set.

6.     Using a variety of colours add Distress Crayons to the page I some of the marked areas and then remove with a baby wipe through the same stencil as in step 5.

7.     Spray on a selection of acrylic inks and spread them about with a water spray.

8.     Using a 8 x 10” gelli plate, brayer on white acrylic paint and put stencil L301 Circles Circles on top. Take prints on spare bits of paper and deli paper (keep these sheets till later) till the white paints has completely gone from the negative shapes.

Then lift the stencil from the gelli plate and take a print on one half of your sheet. Repeat for the other side.

9.     Using the spare sheets from step 8 and the gelli plate with stencil L806 Selene Large and black acrylic paint repeat step 8.

10.  Cut out both the positive and the negative faces and glue onto your sheet, using matte medium.

11.   Using the A stencil of the May 2022 StencilClub set add leaves around the faces, using white and black paint for the shadow face and green, peach and yellow for the light face.

12.  Spray 2 paper sheets with inks (I used Izink dye spray). Spray one sheet randomly and one through stencil L607 Soulful Scribble Let Go.

13.  Using the medium stencil from the September 2021 StencilClub set, mark out flower shapes in different sizes on the back of the sheets made in step 12. Do the same on a sheet of black paper.

14.  Cut out the flowers and glue them onto the page, the black ones on the shadow side and the coloured ones on the light side.

15.  Outline the flowers using a white marker, and colour in the centres with that marker too as well as a gold pen.

16.  Colour in some areas of the white face with colouring pencils

17.  Glue on the quotation using words cut from magazines and outline with a black marker

18.  Edge the page with a permanent black inkpad.

© Frieda Oxenham 2022. To see more of Frieda's work, please visit her BLOG.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Kirsten Varga - August 2022 StencilClub Stencils

The whimsical shapes of this month's exclusive StencilClub stencil are delightful! 

I had a blast using the stencils with various mediums to create luscious textures on paper which I then used to create a Buttonhole Stitch Book.

Each of the mediums (Light Light Molding Paste, Gesso, and Gloss Gel Medium) react differently when watercolor is painted on top of the stencil designs.

Check out my video tutorial below for all the details!

Join StencilClub by August 15 to receive these exclusive stencils and accompanying video tutorial with PDF (both downloadable!), and 20% OFF STENCILS EVERY DAY!!

Happy Creating!

Find me on Instagram: @kirstenvarga

Stencils used:

Enduring Paisley by Jennifer Evans

Other Supplies:

Watercolor paper Old dictionary pages
Text weight paper Light Molding Paste
Heavy Body Gloss Gel Medium
Palette knife
Gold paint
Liquid watercolors Paper trimmer Ruler Bone folder Scissors Extra strength glue stick

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Mirrored Blackbirds

One of my goals for 2022 is to finally finish the Dina Wakley Media Journal I received as a student in one of her classes way back in 2017. 

You are now probably thinking, “Wow, Nicole, that’s a long time to fill a journal!” And, you are right! However, this journal is a little different as it’s the one that I’ve used for most of my design team work (unless it was a canvas or other substrate) or different YouTube hops, classes or assignments/projects. Honestly, I never planned it that way, it just kind of happened, and I’m glad it did. It’s really fun to have all those art pieces together in one place. 

When paging through to find a place for this month’s StencilGirl® project, I came across a spread where a canvas page and a burlap page met. I had already created on the other sides of these pages and had no clue how to even begin to create in such an odd spread. 

Then, it dawned on me. I could create outside of the journal and glue the pages in. 

To begin, I grabbed two loose sheets of Dina Wakley watercolor papers, trimmed them down to fit on the pages and then added a couple layers of gesso.

Next, I added book pages and ledger pages with matte medium and topped them off with some watered-down gesso. 

I decided I wanted to use the Black Birds in Trees Stencil and flip it like I did in my 100 Day Project ledger pictured below to make mirrored images.  

On one of the pages I added all warm colors of acrylic paint, allowing them to mix and mingle. I watered down the paint a bit, used a hair dryer as needed to set and dry some of the layers and then added more color.

I set the warm page aside and copied the same process with cool colors. My idea was that these would be sort of night and day type pages. At this point I wasn’t sure if I’d add anything besides the stencil or not. It’s always fun, and nerve-wrecking, to trust your creative process!

Once the pages were completely dry, it was time to be very brave with the spray paint. 

There’s no going back once it’s sprayed down! I used black paint through the stencil onto the blue pages for night and then flipped the stencil over to stamp the wet stencil onto the warm pages.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well as my ledger pages above. So, I sprayed the stencil again to re-stamp it a couple times and also sprayed some paint on paper to paint a bit with my brush. 

Honestly? I was a tad disappointed with the results, but I stuck them on the journal pages anyway with regular gel medium.

As I was sticking the pages down, I could hear Sarah McLachlan singing the Beatles “Blackbird” in my head and knew I needed to add those lyrics to my pages.

I grabbed my typewriter and some vintage notebook paper to type out the words, then I cut them out and stuck them down with matte medium. Before this point, the pages were feeling a bit disjointed. Adding the song lyrics across the center helped to unite the pages.

The pages still felt like they needed something else, and I just happened to find a bird feather in my yard earlier in the day. I added some words to it, wrapped the end with gold thread and stuck it to the page. Once it was down, I also splattered some black India ink on it and my pages.

And, just as I was about to photograph the spread for my post, I decided I needed to add a feather to the other page as well! I found one more feather from my yard, wrapped it, stuck it down and splattered on it as well.

While the pages didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned them, adding the lyrics, feathers, and splatters helped them come together (and disguise some of the mistakes, too!).  

You can watch the entire process in the video below.

Art journals are the perfect place to play, experiment, learn, and grow. They also help with problem solving allowing me to become more confident in creating. I hope you are encouraged to play in your journal today!


Find me on Instagram @nicolewatsonart
Over at YouTube
And, my website


  • Dina Wakley Media Journal
  • Dina Wakley Media Acrylic (warm and cool colors)
  • Dina Wakley Media Watercolor Paper
  • Gesso
  • Matte Medium
  • Ephemera (dictionary pages, ledger pages)
  • Regular Gel Medium 
  • Feathers
  • Gold Thread
  • Word Stickers
  • Typewriter
  • Vintage Paper
  • Bombay India Ink (black)
  • Liquitex Spray Paint (carbon black)