Monday, June 29, 2020

Birds Stencils

Our backyard bird feeder seems busier than ever this summer!  

All my life, I've loved birds of every kind.  I'm fascinated by that (admittedly idealistic) idea of soaring upward into blue freedom ...

So today, inspired by my backyard beauties, I'm posting some art made with my bird stencils.  But first, a quick backstory: 

During painting projects, when I've finished using a brush, I wipe it free of excess acrylic paint before dunking it into water; that's to minimize the amount of paint that ends up going down the drain, which ultimately harms the environment.

The result of this practice is a build-up of papers smeared with oddly assorted colors, layered and blended.  I call them my "catch-all" papers.

 Below are two of my catch-all papers:

What to do with these papers?  Why not grab some stencils? -- with an eye to picking designs with openings large enough to make for easy tracing along the edges that define each image.

Starting with my 6" x 6" Heron stencil, I place it over some paint-smeared paper.  To make the next step easier, I use masking tape to secure both the stencil and the paper --

6" x 6" stencil Heron 

To trace around the design, I use watercolor pencil, since that can quickly be removed after it's no longer needed. With Heron I use a white watercolor pencil to do the tracing --

Above:  The heron has been cut out with fine-detail scissors and placed on the cover of a white blank greeting card (these blank greeting cards come from

I enjoy making greeting cards, but these cut-outs can be used in all the paper arts -- from art journals to scrapbooks to book arts.  Below is the finished greeting card cover....

Above:  Made using 6" x 6" stencil Heron 

I used the same idea in creating the giftbags below; but instead of catch-all, paint-smeared paper as my base, I used an assortment of stencil-printed papers that I had preciously cut up and glued randomly to a lightweight cardboard backing.

Sidestepping to another short backstory:

Because I have a nearly endless supply of stencil- and mask-printed papers, I send some of them to the chop-shop, as shown below --

Then I use a gluestick to randomly add them to cardstock; after gluing down each scrap, I go over it with a soft rubber brayer, just to make sure it's going to adhere evenly....

Below:  an example of one scrap-combo sheet after its cardstock support is full --

Above:  I'm auditioning a variety of my silhouette-style stencils, altho for this project, my focus is on birds alone.

After doing a watercolor pencil tracing inside the Heron stencil, I've cut it out, using an X-ACTO
 knife and a self-healing cutting mat.  This 
Heron cut-out is one of several that I'm making.

Next, I tie ribbon around the heron's neck and, with the same gluestick and soft rubber brayer, I secure it to the side of a giftbag:

Full-view of the giftbag.

Below:  a close-up of this giftbag; blank giftbags are available from several vendors, including this one.  This batch of giftbags has previously been sprayed with a barely-visible sheen of metallic gold watercolor --

Above:  Made using 6" x 6" stencil Heron.

More bird cut-out-decorated giftbags....

Made with one of the two osprey from my 6" x 6" stencil Osprey Wings. This bird silhouette is also available in Artist Trading Card size here; on that same 9" x 12" Mylar sheet, more of my bird friends appear-- a swan and a penguin.

Above: Close-up of one of the two osprey from my 6" x 6" stencil Osprey Wings on a gold-sprayed giftbag.

Below is a full-view as well as a close-up of another giftbag, this one decorated with one of the two bird silhouettes included in my 6" x 6" stencil Pair O' Parrots....

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

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Fun of Collaboration Art-Making with STENCILGIRL Stencils and Masks

Since one picture is worth a thousand words, then the word-count shoots way over the top for this issue of StencilGirl Talk.  Lisa Dobry's write-up says it better than I ever could!

Just two highlights are shown below -- but make sure you check out the entire write-up with photos, here:


Clustered Leaves layer by Lisa Dobry and Heron layer by Elise Bky

Clustered Leaves layer by Lisa Dobry and Heron layer by Elise Bky

Click on the above image to enlarge it and enjoy the eyelashes on the heron!

Clustered Leaves, a 9" x 12" stencil, looks like this:

Heron, a 6" x 6" stencil, looks like this:

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

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

PALM FRONDS SILHOUETTE -- 3 Sizes Means 3 Times the Fun

Now that Palm Fronds Silhouette comes in three sizes -- L791 is 9" x 12" and S238 is 6" x 6" and M050 is 4" x 4" -- I've been using them together as often as I can!

Below:  two close-ups of an artwork still in progress.  Before using my Palm Fronds Silhouette masks with modeling paste, I removed most of their borders with my Joyce Chen scissors.

I'm still using them separately as well.  My 6" x 6" S238 was what I grabbed for making the two prints below.  For the first one I used marbled paper as background.  After placing S238 atop that, I sprayed the surface with several layers of spatter paint.  I got the spattered look by applying the layers with a spray bottle containing a tiny bit of airbrush medium, a little acrylic paint and water.

The print below, also created with 6" x 6" S238, was made on a Gelli Plate that'd already been used with an assortment of media, including inkpads.

And when stencils or masks get stained in a way that catches my eye, I like to use them as collage elements.  Like this:

Above:  On a paint-spattered background of heavy watercolor paper, a paint-stained Kaleid mask (6" x 6") becomes the middle ground in a three-layer collage.  Atop that rests a paint-stained 4" x 4" M050.  

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

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Wonderful Eye Candy Art by Rae Missigman

If you're ready for a wonderful visual treat, visit Rae Missigman's post below:

Going thru this post of Rae's, I was delighted by those glorious colors playing so beautifully together and happy to see that she included my 9" x 12" mask Longwood Gardens Florals Mask among the stencils and masks she chose for these outstanding projects.  Here is art at its best!

The blog-hop mentioned in this post of Rae's has ended, but you can catch the next one just by following this link.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Taking Stencil and Mask Designs from Nature

It's a huge -- some might say impossible -- challenge to create artwork as beautiful as nature itself, even art inspired by nature. 

My 9" x 12" mask Looking Up Through Trees--

-- took its original inspiration from nature, but in my hands, it quickly evolved into a tool for abstract art-making.  The latest example is the black-and-white painting below:

For other nature-themed projects, I've reached back into my stash of earlier stencils and masks.  Maybe some of them will spark ideas for new artworks by others ....

You can click on the image above to enlarge it and better see details.  Both pieces are Gelli Plate prints.  Before making that trip to the Gelli Plate, each paper was removed from an old encyclopedia page; the left one was tinted with thinned yellow-green acrylic paint and the right was tinted with a layer of translucent zinc white acrylic paint.  

The paper on the left was printed with my 9" x 12" stencil Ivy Frame 9 --

-- and, for the one on the right, I used Ivy 9 Stencil, also 9" x 12" --

All four of my ivy-themed stencils were based on the English Ivy that we bought years ago at Longwood Gardens (Kennet Square, PA) and that has been thriving in areas of our yard ever since.

Middle left above:  two more papers printed with Ivy 9 Stencil and Ivy Frame 9.  Far upper right:  a green print on yellow and tan canvas background, made with Ivy 9 Stencil.  Top left and central bottom:  two papers embossed using 6" x 6" Ginkgo stencil.

Below:  a close-up of the Ivy 9 Stencil print at far middle right:

Below:  6" x 6" stencil Ginkgo--

The greet6ing card cover below is a collage that stars a print on Chinese Joss paper made with the Artist Trading Card-sized mask Fern Fronds Silhouette, which is included in my 9-stencil 9" x 12" ATC Mixup Swatton # 2 ....

9" x 12" ATC Mixup Swatton # 2 

Today's final two art prints represent another inspiration from nature -- this time, mimosa trees.  

Above:  a Gelli Plate print made with my 9" x 12" stencil Mimosa.

Below:  an acrylic paint print on an old map; the stencil I used was Mimosa 6.

Thanks for taking this walk thru nature with me today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

More Artists using Masks and Stencils to make Art

Coming back to my parade of stencil- and mask-using artists...

First below:  Lisa Dobry has printed paper using 9" x 12" Tangled Pods Stencil.  Lisa has made it her backdrop for what she calls her "scribbles" in the lower right corner -- and I love these "scribbles!"


For developing the next two artworks below, Susan Jennings has used two of the ATC-sized cat stencils from ATC Mixup Swatton #1 --

Wendy Baysa has used 9" x 12" Garden Montage mask in creating the mixed-media artworks below--

And the original StencilGirl herself, MaryBeth Shaw, has included among her art-making tools my 6" x 6" stencil Pressed Leaves, in the upper left of the featured art below.  You can click on it to enlarge it and better see details ....

Susan Jennings has shared her step-by-step process here.

Thanks to everyone who allowed me to include her artwork here today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Combining Recognizable Images with Abstract Designs Using Stencils and Masks from

Many years ago, when designing art rubber stamps, I enjoyed combining silhouettes of recognizable images with abstract patterns. 

Fast-forwarding to more recent times, StencilGirl's MaryBeth Shaw and Carol Baxter gave me the idea of creating the same kind of imagery simply by overlapping stencils.  

Their idea gave birth to today’s post --and today's post starts with a show of my final prints, before its segue into step-by-step demo photos with directions.   Showing finished products first will help make those directions easier to follow. 

Today's first recognizable image:

6" x 6" Heron stencil -- a recognizable image.

Today's first abstract design:

6" x 6" Ornamental Iron Curls -- an abstract design

Below:  6" x 6" Heron stencil was used in tandem with 6" x 6" Ornamental Iron Curls .... 

 Today's second recognizable images are both included in Pair O' Parrots stencil (6" x 6")....

 Pair O' Parrots stencil (6" x 6") -- two recognizable images

And today's third abstract design is ....

an abstract design, 6" x 6" Pavilion Shadows 

And today's third abstract design is ....

6" x 6" Sassy Spray, an abstract design

Below: Pair O' Parrots stencil (6" x 6") was used with (left) Pavilion Shadows and (right) Sassy Spray.

Below: Pair O' Parrots stencil was combined with (left) Ski-Lift Works and (right) Ornamental Iron Curls .  All three measure 6" x 6".

Ski-Lift Works (6"x 6"), an abstract design

Below:  6" x 6" Heron stencil combined with 6" x 6" Sassy Spray.

My first step was to go thru my stencils and masks, looking for images that I wanted to combine.    

The photo below shows 6" x 6" Heron and 6" x 6" Pair O’ Parrots paired with Ornamental Iron Curls and Sassy Spray (both also measuring 6" x 6".).  Later photos will show that I eventually included 6' x 6" Pavilion Shadows, as well – to give each parrot an abstract pattern of its own.

The Heron stencil -- not easy to see here -- is on the far left and Pair O' Parrots is on the right.  This parrot stencil was used in an earlier project that left yellow paint, making this stencil easier to photograph! Under the bird stencils are Ornamental Iron Curls and Sassy Spray. Please click on the above photo to enlarge it and better see details.

Next, I taped the silhouette stencils to the sturdy paper I would be printing on--

Far left: Heron ; middle:  1 of the 2 parrots in Pair O' Parrots ; far right:  the other parrot in Pair O' Parrots .  You can click on this image to enlarge it and better see detail.

I then used the same masking tape to block off the tops and bottoms of each of the three bird shapes.  What I left open was the center of each of these silhouettes, as shown below:

Again, feel free to click on the above image to better see detail.

 Over the top of these openings, I taped the abstract stencils.  Notice in the photo below that I didn’t bother to tape over the feet and lower legs of Heron; there was no need, since I knew from the taped boundaries to avoid this area with the first application of paint.

Using heavy-body green paint and a Smudgee, I daubed paint through the three abstract stencils that I'd taped on top of the two silhouette stencils of birds.

Left to right, below, are Ornamental Iron Curls over HeronPavilion Shadows over the left Parrot, and Sassy Spray over the right Parrot:

Click on the above photo to enlarge it and better see details.  The Smudgee is on the far right.

The photo below shows the paint daubed through the abstract stencils, before the stencils have been lifted.

After the stencils were lifted …

… the printed abstract areas appeared.  Click on the photo above to enlarge it and better see details.

After these areas dried, they were covered with masking tape.  Then, more paint was daubed through the newly opened stencil areas – the tops and bottoms of the bird shapes:

When the above stencils were lifted, the results were the combination images shown at the top of this post -- 

Sometimes the finished prints need small corrections,so I use a Sharpie pen of matching color to get the precision I want.

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