Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Scared No More! Etching Plate Printing Simplified

The phrase "etching plate" used to scare me, since I have no background in printing.  

But somehow I've stumbled onto a simplified version, and I had fun working with it. 

To follow along with me, you might want to use a self-stick mounting board of craft foam and an artist's stylus/burnishing tool (pictured below, it's dark green and white).  Instead of this stylus/burnishing tool, you can use a ballpoint pen. 

If you can't find self-adhesive craft foam mounting boards, you can use a sheet of plain craft foam -- just glue it onto any kind of sturdy cardboard.  Or, if feeling brave, you can try using the sheet of craft foam by itself, without any kind of backing. 

The photo directly above shows my 9" x 12" Vases stencil (stained green) that has been placed over a sheet of white craft foam. 

9" x 12" Vases Stencil

With one hand, I held the stencil-and-craft-foam "sandwich" together by pressing them firmly down onto my work surface.  

Using the stylus/burnisher, I drew thru the squiggle-line openings that form one of the vases.

Next, I lifted off the stencil to show the craft foam that had been under it -- now "etched" with the vase design. (Please pardon shadows in the photo below!) 

My following step was to take the top off a Distress Ink pad, and rub the upside-down inkpad across the "etched" plate.  I then spritzed the newly inked surface of the craft foam with water, as shown below --

I placed white cardstock over this damp surface and used my hands to press the cardstock evenly across the entire inked surface.  Then I lifted the cardstock, pulling the first print, shown below....

Deciding to go for a stronger image, I tried another inkpad color, repeating the sequence, and pulled the print on the far right, below:

I hope this simplified version of "etching plate printing" has opened a window to new art-making adventure for you!

Thank you for taking time to stop here today!  To follow this 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.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Shel Cee!

Artist Shel Cee is a member of StencilGirl's StencilClub who's delighted me with the way she's using my 6" x 6" Garden at Nemours Stencil s844 -- developing an artwork that had my heart as soon as I saw the mega-gorgeous background she created.  A brilliant concept, with shades of green that touched every happy button of mine!  

Below are just two screen shots from a video Shel Cee made:

My 6" x 6" Garden at Nemours Stencil s844 itself looks like this--

And the same design comes as a mask, too --

6" x 6" Garden at Nemours Mask s658

Many thanks to Shel Cee for letting me post this YouTube link of hers for you here today!  You'll enjoy her video -- I know that I did!

And thank you, readers, for stopping by my blog today.  If you'd like to scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl masks and stencils, please start here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mary Beth Shaw with HERON and OSPREY WINGS 6" x 6" Stencils

The July/August 2017 Somerset Studio magazine carried Mary Beth Shaw's write-up about using silhouette stencils with patterned stencils.  This vintage copy of the magazine may still be available online, either from its publisher or perhaps on EBay.


To my delight, for this article, among other StencilGirl stencils, Mary Beth had chosen two of my 6" x 6" silhouette stencils for her demonstrations. 

Mary Beth's stunning artwork above was created with the help of Osprey Wings ...

6" x 6" stencil Osprey Wings

... and my 6" x 6" stencil Heron ...

... was used with other StencilGirl stencils in Mary Beth's art below...

Mary Beth's process:

Make an imprint with the silhouette stencil and allow that paint to dry.  

Place the stencil back over the print.  (Secure with masking tape if desired.)

Layer a patterned stencil over the first stencil and make an imprint with it.  Usually you would want to use a contrasting color; in the example directly above, Mary Beth used the complimentary color orange when making the patterned imprint, having used blue for her initial imprint.

When the second imprint is being made, the first stencil becomes a mask to keep the second (patterned) stencil inside the lines of the silhouette.

There are probably several ways to come up with the same results; I tried one of them in creating this--

Below is a close-up detail:

In creating the above, my approach was: 
(1) Trace a cat from my 6" x 6" stencil Cats onto a blue-and-red print that I'd made using my 9" x 12" ATC Mixup Swatton # 1.
(2)  Cut around the traced outline. 
(3) Now that the cat shape is cut out, any other stencil print can be placed behind the cat-shaped opening.  I chose a black-and-white print that I'd made using my 6" x 6" mask Sprigs.  (This is the mask designed to have a "hidden angel!")

Sprigs in its entirety looks like this --

9" x 12" ATC Mixup Swatton # 1 contains both stencils and masks, all sized to fit Artist Trading Cards, and looks like this:

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

Friday, April 16, 2021

These three gorgeous art-prints by artist Sylvia Lokhoff de Bruijn    were created with 4 stencils and masks -- my 9" x 12" Blooming Where Planted L449, my 9" x 12" Palm Fronds Silhouettes L791; and, by Valerie Sjodin, Stone and  Pebble  Pilings and Stone Tilings.  How happy I was to see two of mine used with two that were designed by one of my favorite artists, Valerie Sjodin!

What gorgeous dreamy images!  Gray, white and black are one of the triads that has a special place in my heart.

To me, the excitement in each of these prints come from the fact that Sylvia used only parts of each stencil or mask, while at the same time blending all the designs together.  Sweet visual magic! 

My 9" x 12" Blooming Where Planted L449, in its entirety, looks like this:


And my 9" x 12" Palm Fronds Silhouettes L791, likewise in its entirety, looks like this --

Palm Fronds Silhouettes L791 is third in a series; the other two are:

Palm Fronds Silhouette Mini (4" x 4")

Palm Fronds Silhouettes Small (6" x 6")

9" x 12" Blooming Where Planted L449 is one of my masks that I've used often; below, a photo shows a print made on foil giftwrap.

And, like Sylvia, I've made prints using only parts of this mask.  Below is a step-by-step photo sequence showing progress thru a mixed-media collage on stretched canvas.

Above:  After using masking tape to secure this mask to the stretched canvas, I've applied red acrylic paint thru about half of the openings of the mask.

Above:  The mask is still taped to the canvas but I've flipped it off to show the red print on a pale green background.

Above:  I've added another partial layer of acrylic paint, this time a translucent white, to faintly "fog" the earlier print.  This application of white was done with the same mask.

Above:  This is the finished mixed-media collage.  The upper left is the area shown in the previous close-ups.   The collage papers were printed with other masks, including my 6" x 6" Ornamental Iron Curls (red on gray.)  After the collage papers were added, I cut out a large paint5-stained area from one of my 9" x 12" masks Blooming Where Planted L449.  I don't consider this a successful collage but I include it here to show a few different ways of using this mask.

Many thanks to you for checking out my blog today, and to Sylvia Lokhoff de Bruijn for allowing me to show her artwork here! To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Pucker Up?

Puckers are good for kissing.  Not so good for collage papers.  Today's post will list 5 things I've learned while making collages.

Above:  I developed this mixed-media collage using assorted papers, including papers I'd printed using stencils and masks, via a variety of stencil/mask-using techniques.  The substrate is a stretch canvas.

Above:  This greeting card is embellished with cut-outs from a print made with 6" x 6" Abstract Composition Backbones Mask 1 s864.

Above:  A collage made with blue papers printed using 9" x 12" Clustered Leaves.

Above:  Collage created using prints made with (top layer) 9" x 12" Garden Montage and (bottom layer) 9" x 12" Prayer Flags

If your collages pucker, here are my suggestions.  

(1)  I learned from MaryBeth Shaw that, at least for the larger collage papers, it's good to lightly mist them with water on the back before adding adhesive.  The mist swells the paper's fibers and that's going to work to the artist's advantage in eliminating puckers.

(2)  Use the driest adhesive you can find.  My personal favorite is extra-heavy matte gel.  Low viscosity ("runny") adhesives throw down the welcome mat for wrinkles and puckers. 

(3)  After each collage piece is added to its substrate, go over it with a hard rubber brayer.  If a stretched canvas is your substrate, place a book or pile of magazines under the unframed bottom of the canvas, so the pressure of the brayer won't over-stretch the canvas and make it sag from its built-in frame.

(4)  As soon as the gluing is finished, it needs to be pressed under a pile of books.  If your substrate is a stretched canvas, keep that pile of magazines or that book under the unframed area of the canvas, for the same reason -- to keep pressure from causing a sag in the canvas.

 (5)  Between the top of the artwork and the pile of book-weights, place a sheet of wax paper or waxed deli paper.

The waxy paper (A) soaks up any residual moisture and (B) protects the art from sticking to the book-weights if there happens to be any residual adhesive on the face of the art.

My personal preference is to let the pressing period last all night.  If too much adhesive was added, the pressing period will take longer.  

Above:  Most of this collage was created using prints made with (top layer) 9" x 12" Garden Montage and (bottom layer) 9" x 12" Prayer Flags. The right side was made using a print created with 6" x 6" Sprigs.

Above:  A mixed-media collage created with cut-up prints made using 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees s793.

Thank you for taking time to check out my blog today! To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.  To subscribe to my blog by email, please use that option in the upper right sidebar.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ever Tried This?

 "Dry brushing" may sound like an oxymoron; since Day 1, we've been dipping our brushes into paint, then running the bristles across a substrate -- the point being, obviously, to cover a surface with a layer of paint!

Somewhere along the way, however, someone discovered or developed the technique of dry brushing.  For anyone like me, who likes to overdo everything when it comes to paint, this might seem a hard technique to master. 

But a little practice works magic!  And the results of dry brushing with stencils are rewarding -- especially for me, since I love to find ways of achieving new looks with my stencils and masks.

I've been taught that the way to paint with acrylics is to first dip brush bristles into water, then use forefinger and thumb to squeeze excess water back out.  Result:  a damp brush tip that now gets dipped into paint.

The technique of dry brushing skips that water dunking.

The bristles need to be dry; only the tips will be brushed into paint.    

First, try a dry run.  Crumble some scrap paper, enough to make a textured surface for practice --

Above:  Only the tips of the big brush have been just slightly loaded with acrylic paint.  The next step:  Lightly brush the bristles over the textured surface.

During my own practice time, I started with soft-bristled brushes.  Eventually, however, I decided the brush that works best for me, personally, is a brush with very stiff bristles.  So that's the kind of brush I've used in all the following photos.

Above, part of my 9" x 12" mask Blooming Where Planted has been masking-taped to a substrate.  Especially with this technique, I find it very helpful to secure the stencil in some way.  Dry brushing across the texture of a stencil will make the stencil want to move, unless it's held firmly in place.  

Below is a similar shot, this time, with my 9" x 12" mask Prayer Flags being put to work on stretched, gallery-wrapped canvas. 

In the close-up below, you can see that, on this particular piece, I've dry brushed all the way down the length of the stencil.  (The round splashes of green paint were applied earlier and were dry before I started dry brushing.)

Below are two shots of this stretched canvas, showing what the surface looks like, now that the stencil has been lifted.


I'm ending today's post with a warning -- it's so easy (at least, for me)  to load too much paint onto your brush when first approaching this technique!  Below is a shot of what happens when the brush is over-loaded with paint.  In this case, the stencil used was my 6" x 6" mask Webbed Medallion -

Above:  If you're trying for the effects of the dry brushing techniques, the painting above is a "failure."  But a whole different viewpoint maintains that it's a success.  An artist always has "poetic license" to say,  "I wanted it to come out like this!" 

Many thanks for stopping by my blog 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.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

 Today's post follows an artwork of mine as it goes thru its stages toward resolution.

Above:  My paint-stained Abstract Composition Backbones Mask 1 s864, now cut free from its original 6" x 6" frame, is placed on a new substrate and from it extends an ultra-narrow artist's masking tape.  Under the roll of tape lies a small sponge-top paint applicator that's just been used to add pale pink acrylic paint all along the area around the tape.

Below:  So the starting print can be seen, the tape has been removed and the mask has been slightly moved.

Below:  As I continue repeating the same type of paint additions, I rotate the substrate and eventually bring in another paint-stained mask, Abstract Composition Backbones Mask 3 s866.  It too has been cut from its original 6" x 6" frame: 

Below:  Now the substrate looks like this: 

The next photo shows more development --

Below:  Now I bring out Abstract Composition Backbone Mask 4 s867, which has been further customized -- not only removed from its original frame but also cut into two unequal halves....

And I change from pink acrylic paint to blue --

Below:  I start to add a darker pink and darker blue, still using the small sponge-tipped applicator thru my masks....

Finally --

The photo above shows the finished piece.  By the time I've reached this point, I've used all four of the masks.

Abstract Composition Backbones Masks 1, 2, 3 and 4 look like this --






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