Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fewer people travel during these days of 2020; this post is for anyone who does -- but today's ideas work for stay-at-homes too, especially for everyone who has to pull out the art-making supplies and put them away again, because the art-making space is also the dining room table or kitchen table.  Portable projects just make things easier!

A StencilGirl StencilClub member asked a question that got me thinking...  What stencil-related art projects are easily portable for travel?  With a tug at memory, five ideas tumbled out.

As you skim thru these ideas, be aware that the "loose," "painterly" look is what results from watercolor -- whether you use stencils or don't.  Watercolor flows, especially if you choose Yupo as your substrate. (Yupo, a synthetic paper-substitute, is ideal for traveling since it's nearly destruction-proof.)  Many of the examples below result in the "loose, painterly" look.

Idea One Supplies to Pack:

(A.)  a disposable waterproof plate .... or a sheet of sturdy cardboard with resist paper taped across its surface.  Resist papers include wax paper, freezer paper (shiny side up), deli paper; anything that resists paint's ability to stick.

(B.) watercolor pencils  (Watercolor pencils are water-soluble, unlike "regular" color pencils.  Test your pencils before leaving home by making marks and water-misting the marks to see if the colors run.)

(C.) a waterbrush -- empty when packed; filled with water once you reach your destination

(D.) a metal nail file or a piece of rough-grade sandpaper or anything else abrasive and easily portable

(E.) a pencil sharpener that's usable with the size of your watercolor pencils

(F.) paper towels or anything similar

(G.) StencilGirl stencils and masks; 6" x 6" and 4" x 4" sizes travel the best.

(H.) a substrate of heavy cardstock, watercolor paper or Yupo

Idea One, once you reach your destination:

Create a palette on your disposable plate, or other waterproof surface, by sanding or scraping the tips of watercolor pencils into separate color piles (these piles will be powdery.)

Fill the hollow handle of your waterbrush and dip into the colors one by one, cleaning the brush between colors by squeezing clear water thru its bristles and wiping it on a paper towel.

Now you can use the brush to apply watercolor in the same way you would use regular watercolors back at home.  To illustrate:

Below, With my 6" x 6" Pressed Leaves Stencil and a watercolor pencil, I've filled in all the stencil's.

Below:  I've lifted off the stencil.  

Below:   I've misted the surface with water.

Below:  Having allowed for drying time, I got these results.

Idea Two Supplies to Pack:

(A.)  If space is limited --  ATC-sized stencils, cut apart from their original 9" x 12" Mylar sheet; examples are here -- and ATC matching-sized cards cut from sturdy cardstock, watercolor paper or mixed-media paper

(B.)  If space is less limited -- 4" x 4" and/or 6" x 6" stencils and masks with cards of corresponding size.  My example below uses 6" x 6" Penguin Family.

(C.) a black Sharpie pen or two; or any pen with waterproof ink

(D.) optional: watercolor pencils and waterbrush

Idea Two, after you reach your destination:

One stencil and one card at a time, use the pen to follow the contours of the stencil's cut-out areas -- leaving some open areas to make room for drawing Zentangles.

A fast online search will bring up lots of Zentangle examples to get you started.

After drawing your Zentangles, you can keep the cards black-and-white, or you can add watercolor. 

If you want to add watercolor to your Zentangle cards, I recommend coloring in the areas with watercolor pencils, then going over these areas with the water-filled waterbrush.  For this approach, there's no need to create a palette as described under Idea One.

Below:  With a Sharpie pen, trace the outlines....



Above:  I've begun to draw in my Zentangles.

You can make Zentangling your last step, leaving a black-and-white image.  Or you can add watercolor pencil as I showed earlier using my 6" x 6" Pressed Leaves Stencil; and as I showed there, you can mist the colors to let them run. 

Idea Three Supplies to Pack:

(A) scissors

(B.) gluestick(s)

(C.) a small blank journal with pages made for watercolor or mixed media

(D.) a collection of papers previously printed with stencils and/or masks

Idea Three Project 

Cut the printed papers into random shapes and glue them into the journal.  After your trip you can return to the journal and add to these pages in any way you want: watercolor, etc.

Idea Four Supplies

(A.) one or more pens with non-permanent ink, such as Elegant Writer Calligraphy Pen or Marvy's Pigmented Artist Quality Memory Book Markers; but know that you need to test your markers before leaving on your trip.  (Please consult important details at the end of this post.)

(B.) stencils or masks of choice; personally, I think this idea works best with botanical designs

(C.) watercolor paper or mixed-media paper sized to match the paper

(D.) a small mister bottle to be filled with water upon arrival at your destination; these bottles are available here as well as other art supply vendors

(E.) a paintbrush (I prefer a small thin one, bristles either pointed or flat)

Idea Four Project

As far as I know, credit for this idea goes to the late Karlyn Holman, an artist whose work I long admired.

I started with my 6" x 6" Ginkgo (heavily stained from an earlier project)....


... then I chose the part of the stencil that I wanted to use, and, on watercolor paper, traced along those openings with an Elegant Writer Calligraphy Pen (fine tip; black), as shown below--


Below:  The results ....


Next, I lightly sprayed the design using the mister.  Adding water droplets can be done in other ways, but speaking for myself, using a mister helps me avoid over-wetting the surface.

Once I'd added water, I came in with a point-tip brush to draw color-filled water drops outward from each of the traced leaves and stems.  Drawing the water-drops outward along all edges created a watercolor-like background.  See below:


Below:  After the water has dried ....

Above:  You could stop with the uncolored version, or -- either on the trip or after arriving home -- you can add color with a variety of other media.  Below, I've added Pan Pastels:

Below:  another example of this technique; this one was 
created with a Marvy LePlume marker/pen and my 6"X6" stencil Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet.

Another example, below, was first drawn
 with the Elegant Writer Calligraphy pen, but this time, I experimented by (1) using glossy (slick-surfaced) cardstock and (2) swiping a soft cloth over the ink while it was still wet.  Here are the "artsy" results --

Here, I used my 4" x 4" Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini Stencil (which actually is a mask, not a stencil, but the two terms are often used interchangeably.)

What fun it is to flip a stencil upside down or backwards to use it!  It's almost like getting two designs for the price of one.

Idea Five Supplies to Pack:

(A.)  6" x 6" Penguin Family or any similar mask or stencil

(B.)  Yupo or any other sturdy substrate with a glossy surface

(C.)  Pan watercolors and a brush 

After Arriving, Steps to Take:

Below, I've placed the mask onto Yupo.

Below, I'm brushing on watercolor mixed with lots of water.

Below is the finished piece.

Please note --

About water-soluble pens and markers:  Some re-hydrate after drying, while others don't.
So if you plan to continue adding wet media (such as watercolor or acrylic paint) after you've created your initial project,
make sure to test your marker/pen in advance. 
If you have used the Elegant Writer Calligraphy pen, for example, your original image will stay intact when it again comes into contact with any type of moisture.
If you have used Marvy LePlume, for an opposite example, the original image will re-hydrate --it'll blur, run, or otherwise change as its dried ink is touched by new liquid.
The best way to tell which kind of pen/marker you have, again, is advance testing.  Some of these pen/markers will also have this information posted online in their ad descriptions. 

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

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