Thursday, April 30, 2020

Announcing the Arrival of PALM FRONDS SILHOUETTE 9X12 L791

Have you been wishing the Palm Fronds Silhouette series came in 3 sizes instead of only the 6" x 6" and the 4" x 4"?  

Karen P. Johnson of StencilGirl StencilClub made that wish, and now, like her fairy godmother, I'm waving a wand to grant her wish!  (Thank you, Karen -- it was a brilliant idea!)  A new 9" x 12" version is here!

Click on the image above to better see detail -- 9" x 12" L791 Palm Fronds Silhouette

Palm Fronds Silhouette Small -- 6" x 6" 

Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini -- 4" x 4" 

Now, I ask:

What to do when you hit a roadblock in your art-making?

I started off in neutral gear.  My first step was to spread light modeling paste thru my new stencil.  My substrate was a 9" x 12" stretched canvas:

I lifted off the stencil as soon as I'd finished this step and -- since I couldn't clean it right away -- I placed it in a basin of water to keep the modeling paste from hardening (if 3-dimensional media harden on a stencil, small openings can become permanently clogged.)

After the paste had dried overnight, I introduced color across the canvas.

But that first color application disappointed me.  It was a blah dark-blue, with way too little variation in value.  

Reaching a roadblock, an artist can choose.  Frustration?  Or liberation?

I feel it's liberating to say,  "This can't get any worse -- so I'm free to do whatever I want."  

What was a downer segues into opportunity. Experience has taught me that nothing's ever wasted -- because the art-making process takes us for a wild ride; and that ride always teaches something that will somehow have future value.  

For me, art-making is all about process -- not product.  I think that anyone who starts out rigidly expecting a "perfect" finished piece is setting the stage for failure/frustration.  

Oh, it's nice to hear others say they like, or want to buy, our finished artworks, but for me that will never be my ultimate goal. There's a lot of truth in that old book title Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

 When you're doing something you love, you'll keep at it, and it will get better and better.  At some point this joy that went into the art-making  process will be communicated to some others who see your art.  Not everyone will catch your message of joy, but that doesn't matter.  

The real reward is in the art-making itself.

So when I saw that blah dark-blue background, I decided it was my new "blank" canvas.  

Out came my iridescent beadsbits of multicolor faux foilstring gel mediumgloss liquid mediumBrusho dry pigment powdersPearl Ex metallic powders, gold "metallic" acrylic paint and Golden High Flow acrylics.  

(Notes:  Inks can be used instead of, or in combination with, Golden High Flow acrylics.  Other brands of dry pigment powder are out there; it's simply that I have Brusho on hand.  Likewise, Pearl Ex is not the only maker of metallic powders.  "String gel" is made by Liquitex; Golden Paints makes a comparable product and labels it "clear tar gel."  Both Liquitex and Golden, as well as other companies, make gloss liquid medium.) 

With these supplies, my plan was to create an ultra-wet, 3-D surface that would contain color, flow when tipped, and accept small inclusions.

I could have used pouring medium instead of liquid gloss medium, but for me, liquid gloss medium works just as well, when sprayed with a little water.

I poured liquid gloss medium across the canvas, spritzed the surface with water, and added all of the above products, a little at a time.

Directly below is a shot of the whole canvas after all the inclusions had been added, and after I'd tilted the canvas a little to encourage some flowing.

Below is a series of close-ups of the canvas at this stage:

I set the piece aside for a couple of days to let the multi-product layer dry and cure all the way thru.  (The top dries first because of its direct contact with air, but everything under the top takes more time.)

My next step was to squiggle string gel randomly over about half of the surface.

After the gel dried, I went over it with gold "metallic" acrylic paint.  Directly below is a shot of the entire finished canvas. 

Above:  My brand-new stencil's imprint is most visible in the bottom half of this artwork.

Above:  A close-up of part of the canvas.  Notice where the string gel has picked up some of the dry Brusho pigments, green in particular. 

Below is a photo of the iridescent beads that I found at AmazonSmile.  These beads are translucent so that paint colors show thru them, but at the same time, they add a multicolor element that shifts from color to color as you view them from different angles.   

Thanks for coming to visit here today!  To scroll thru the pages of all my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.  To subscribe to my blog by email, please use that option in the upper right sidebar.

Sunday, April 26, 2020


You don't have to be a math whiz to do this kind of subtraction -- more specifically, the subtractive technique.  (Some artists call it the reductive technique.)  I do several variations of this method, but today I've chosen the variation that starts with acrylic paint and acrylic ink.

Taking an idea from Mary C. Nasser, I first covered an old nautical map with a layer of translucent, pale orange-yellow acrylic paint --

My next step -- after that first coat of paint had dried -- was to add a second layer, choosing bright magenta.  Instead of acrylic paint for the second layer, I used Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Ink.  The photo below shows the altered map while this layer is being brushed on. 

Once this ink was dry, I fastened stencils to the surface with masking tape, and got out several masks and stencils -- 6"X 6" Silhouette of a Wildflower BouquetPalm Fronds Silhouette Small (6"X 6), Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini (4"X 4") and 9"X 12" Facets.

After taping the stencils to the altered map, I used a water-dampened paper towel to rub away the magenta ink that showed thru the openings on the stencils and masks.  A soft terrycloth rag would work, too. 

When the rubbing was done to my satisfaction, I lifted off the stencils and masks.  Below are the results after lifting off Facets (top) and Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini  4"X 4" (bottom.)

On the left are two 6"X 6" masks -- Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (top) and Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet (bottom) after the rubbing has been finished, but before the stencils have been lifted.

When finished using all my new stencils and masks with the subtractive technique, I had several results that I liked so much, I scanned them into Photoshop on my PC.  There, I altered the colors to create several versions of each; the results are below.  The first three were made with Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet (6"X 6").  The next three were made with my 6"X 6" mask Palm Fronds Silhouette Small.

A hearty thanks for coming to see my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here

Thursday, April 23, 2020

What Would that New Stencil or Mask Look Like?

Below:  This new background for an art journal page background started with a solid, dark-blue print made on a Gelli Plate.

After the first paint layer had dried on the paper, I used a brayer to spread Titanium White acrylic paint over the Gelli plate.  

Next, I pressed the masks Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6 X 6") and Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini (4 x 4") atop the plate, then lifted them off; this left5 their imprints in the white top layer of paint on the plate.  

My next-to-last step in creating this background page was to pull a print using the dark blue paper.  And the very last was to glue it into my art journal, ready for further development.

On a different day, after using the Gelli Plate to make new prints with these two masks, I came away with some papers that I decided to cut up and use on a collage.  Below, the central image (lower right) was printed with Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6 X 6"); and Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini (4 x 4") was used in making the subtle prints on blue paper that appear in the upper right and lower left:

It was right around this time that I started to wonder, "Since I get so much fun out of pairing up Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6 X 6") and Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini (4 x 4"), why don't I try designing a 9" x 12" version?

What would that look like?

To scroll thru my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.

Please know I appreciate your coming to visit my blog today!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Building Collages with Stencil Prints

Today's first collage features (upper middle) a digital image based on a photo I took of my daughter when she was young.  Her image is surrounded by cut-outs from prints made with stencils and masks.  These include:  Mimosa Stencil (9" x 12"), Garden Montage mask (9" x 12") and my 6" x 6" mask Trivet A.

Below:  an ornate greeting card cover with an orange Solvy background embossed with my 6" x 6" mask Trivet A:

Above:  another greeting card cover, this one using a tag printed with ATC-sized Diagonal Mania, one of the stencils and masks that make up ATC Mixup Swatton #1.

Below, a simple yet multi-paper collage sporting a bright orange-and-purple  embellishment which had been printed with Garden Montage mask (9" x 12") --

Above:  Another simple theme, this one starring a wooden heart over which I've glued a print made with Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6" x 6".)

Below, another greeting card, this one sporting a background printed with my 6" x 6" Small Tangled Pods mask (part of my Pods series of stencils and masks.)  The foreground embellishment was made with heavy gloss gel medium, glass beads, spray wartercolor and one of the stencils from my Ivy series, Ivy Frame 9 stencil.

Today's last art sample collage is a giftbag decorated with an easy two-paper collage:  

Its orange and yellow section was printed with m267 M and Y alongside m268 R and E.  Atop that, I used blue acrylic paint in making the image with my 9" x 12" stencil Heron.

Many thanks for taking time to come here strolling thru here today!  To scroll thru all my stencils and masks at StencilGirl, please start here.

Friday, April 17, 2020


"Collection of the artist" is a phrase that describes artwork an artist has hung onto, not ready yet (or ever) to part with.

Among my collection are pieces made with 6" x 6" Palm Fronds Silhouette Small and 4" x 4" Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini.  (These masks are favorites of StencilGirl StencilClub member Karen P. Johnson, who says "They cover a multitude of sins!")

I especially like my mixed-media collages that incorporate these masks themselves, after earlier projects have left them stained with acrylic paints.  Because StencilGirl stencils and masks are made from sturdy Mylar, it takes a strong adhesive to coax them to become permanent additions to artworks.  I use extra heavy matte gel medium.

Above:  Part of the mask Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6" x 6"), now stained brownish-black, was adhered to the canvas in the middle of the top of this mixed-media collage.  Other stencils or masks were also used, the dominant one being 9" x 12" Prayer Flags.

Above:  Part of the mask Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6" x 6"), now stained green and white, was adhered to the canvas at upper left.  Another part of the mask was placed right below it, in the middle left of the artwork. Other stamps and stencils used include 6" x 6" Mimosa 6 and Kaleid, also 6" x 6".

Above:  Part of the mask Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6" x 6"), now stained red and green, was placed at the bottom of the V in the mixed-media collage.  A number of other paint-stained stencils and masks were also used, including 6" x 6" Kaleid6" x 6" Pavilion Shadows, 6" x 6" Trivet Band part of the 9" x 12" mask that came with the May 2019 StencilClub Stencil-of-the-Month SetThe Script Collection.

Above:  Parts of the mask Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6" x 6"), now stained orange and yellow, have been placed at the far left, far right and top of this mixed-media collage, forming a frame for the central area, occupied by part of the 9" x 12" mask Blooming Where Planted, now stained lavender, green and pink.

Above:  Parts of the mask Palm Fronds Silhouette Small (6" x 6"), now stained green and brown, are collaged atop a print made with 9" x 12" mask Twinship.

Thank you for taking time to scroll thru my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Jennifer Gallagher and One of my Four Pods stencils and masks

Jennifer Gallagher has used one of my Pods series of stencils and masks to develop a fantastic work of art -- you can see her step-by-step photos, with a step-by-step write-up, here.

The one chosen by Jennifer is Dangled Pods, measuring 9" x 12".  It looks like this--

 Similar to, but not identical with, the 9" x 12" stencil is its 6" x 6" version, Small Dangled Pods:

Both of the above designs are also available as masks -- 9" x 12" Tangled Pods ....

.... and its similar, but not identical, 6" x 6" version, Small Tangled Podswhich looks like this:

Below is a 12" x 12" stretched canvas that I developed using all four of the stencils and masks in my Pods series:

To see more of Jennifer Gallagher's art, you can visit her blog or Instagram feed.

To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.  Thank you for checking out my blog today!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Surprising Way to Use a Stencil

Today's first image (believe it or not) is a greeting card cover ...

And the second image is the stencil I used ...

KALEID (6" x 6")

My process was simple:  I held the stencil up next to a window, positioning it so that sunlight cast a pattern thru the stencil and onto a sheet of green paper that I'd had secured nearby. 

This stretched the stencil's design into an angle that interested me.

I snapped a photo, printed it, and used it as a greeting card cover -- embellishing it with a curl of glitter in the upper left corner.

Thanks for coming to see my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.