Archive for the ‘Stencil’ Category

stencil overlayHi there. Lest you think I have turned into a Big Cheater, I haven’t. My Daily Art is drying. In the meantime I decided to show you this.

I was minding my own business after having applied light modeling paste to a piece of Rives BFK® printmaking paper. The experiment today was to use the modeling paste on a paper that could handle watercolor paint. Now, I’ve used spackling paste in the past to swipe over stencils to create texture. I have the light modeling paste which is better. It’s smoother and lighter and easier to spread, but it is also much more expensive. And I mean that from the bottom of my wallet.

I picked this fern stencil because I seriously love ferns. Ferns, to me, are the primary representation of endurance and survival of the fit. The fern family are some of the oldest life on this planet. It’s just science. Plus, there is the marvelous unfurling of the frond. Much is made of the rosebud opening to blossom, but what about those tightfisted fern buds?

When I applied the paste, I noticed some ink began to color the paste as I swiped. This was The Accidental Stencilists first Fortunate Event. It was fortunate because the color was very fern-y. Obviously, my lack of housekeeping the last time I used the stencil was paying off today. By the way, had I wanted to color the paste before coloring the background, I could have left the stencil in place, waited for the paste to dry, then spread acrylic over it or sprayed it with ink.

The modeling paste dries fast (so does spackling paste). Now for the next step. I wanted to use watercolors today. I have a bunch of tiny tubes of Cotman Water Colours® that I bought at a thrift for next to nothing. The good thing is that watercolor paint, even if it dries in the tube, is usable. You’ll have to destroy the tube to get at the paint, but it is doable. I’ve done it. Anyway, I put out Indian Red, Rose Madder, Sap Green and Cerulean Blue and went to it. I used a tiny brush to get into the fine fern branches and a medium sized brush to wash over the background. I am not happy with the background application of this piece. It is not as muted as I wanted. I tried to lift some paint but I didn’t have time. As the clock ran down, my final action was to throw some salt and dry rice on the page, which, hopefully, will diffuse the hard lines between colors.

I am not a proficient watercolor user. My love for it does not indicate any skill. For me, watercolor is a hard way to get good results; it  demands learning techniques and practice. Strangely, I am better with inks which are just as difficult but more predictable with spreading and blending. The ink is the same amount of wet, whereas, watercolor is different amounts of wet on any given brushstroke. There is likely a better descriptive word for this, but I don’t know it.

The Accidental Stencilist struck again by having a messy work island. A collaged canvas board has been loitering on my desktop for too long a time. I don’t know where to put it. As I was moving through the Daily piece, I cleaned the stencil and laid it on top of this other art. I glanced up and for a minute I didn’t know what I was looking at. In fact, I thought it might have been the wrapper for the stencil (as if it would still be in it’s original wrapper, silly girl!). It took a second for me to realize that I was seeing the other art beneath the stencil. It was real purdy. While I’ve talked about putting stencils over found papers, it never occurred to me to put it over my own art.This particular stencil would involve some severe fussy cutting, but other stencils wouldn’t. Just experiment laying stencils over your previous art, then lay them on the copy machine and voila! a custom collage element.

I thought the two accidents would be of more use to you than showing the Daily art today. I’ll forget the Accidents if I don’t share them now. I’ll show today’s art tomorrow–a twofer!

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da1-5-16The Daily Art Challenge police would have no trouble spotting the crime here–1/4/16?? It’s 1-5-16–busted! Yes, after signing this today (in permanent Sharpie™ of course) I realized the correct date.

But, moving on to this odd fellow. The lettering is a stencil alphabet that I traced onto transparency in 8.5×11 size. Then I cut a light colored scrapbook paper to 8.5×11 size and copied the alphabet by running the paper through the printer tray. That way, instead of having to buy stickers or stamps, I can print any of my alphabet stencils into any paper. So, if you are following along with my Make Do Initiative, and I know you are, this is a creative way to make your supplies and tools more versatile and also you have stuff that nobody else has with no further financial investment. How cool is that?

For sure you remember the Dollar Tree stencil sets I’ve been bragging about. The big leaf gnome body is a stencil from the Sea Life set, cut out from an old map. The legs, arms and hat are cut from a botanical print. The tree and acorn were sketched in with a Stabilo-All®  Water Soluble Pencil (brown) and wet very delicately and smeared, which is where this pencil excels. I outlined the gnome and letters with Prismacolor® pencils. The face is from a stencil of four different cherubs.

I thought I was using Rives BFK Arches printmaking paper. During making, the paper was behaving UnBFK-ly; it was buckling. I held the paper to the light and discovered it had an Allstate watermark–it is half-sized paper I found at an estate sale and bought for it’s cotton rag content. This paper is not suitable as a collage foundation. Not sure how, but this piece was in with my pre-cut BFK supply. A tip and reminder: any foundation you use for collage has to be heavier than the paper you are applying.

I may have taken longer than an hour. It’s been a weird unpredictable day. Several business matters needed to be done during normal studio time. An installer is coming to put in some equipment. There’s been unusual unavoidable interruptions. My work was intermittent and I forgot the timer. The dog ate my homework.

 

 

 

barebear

Here is my creation today. It is expressive art mixed media that began with this image:

b4croppedweb

How did this image come to be? About six months ago I bought some stencils at the Dollar Tree. There were five sets available: Sea Life, Farm Life, Alice in Wonderland, Monsters and an alphabet. (I wrote about these at Mythos in an entry Idea Farm). I bought the Alice set and opened it about a week later and it was awesome. Yes, the stencils are on lightweight cardboard, but they were detailed and cut cleanly. The images they selected were not all mainstream. On my next trip in I decided to pick up each set.

For some reason, perhaps all the children’s books I’ve been looking at, the Monster set got appealing. Actually, it started further back than that now that I’m thinking about it. About a month ago I decided to do a mixed media piece using a black silhouette. I’ve done these before (some of them are shown on this blog). Basically, I find an evocative fashion magazine image, one that will translate to being blacked out. I cut it out, paint it with black gesso and create a background to put it on. It’s fun to do and cool to look at. In this instance, I found a couple good samples. I flipped them to the back, and one of them had an image I had not planned. I decided on a different image for the piece I was working on, but I wanted to remember to try this, although as I say, it was an accident. I was going for the boxy pose on the other side. I put the image in my process journal and made notes about why/how it had happened. I left my notes on there but not sure you can make them out.

accidentalcutoutweb

I think this was backburnering, then the children’s book thing happened. The Dollar Tree stencil sets are a good size for my 5×7 Daily Art Initiative projects. During TV time, I go through books and magazine pages and hold the stencils over the pages to find ones that utilize the images on the page.

Because the Monsters (I prefer Creatures, because, really, they are more cute than scary) were abstract I started with that set. Oh, the fun that I had. I tried to use all the Creatures, but found I was partial to several. This one seemed “bearish” to me, it also reminded me of a shaman cave drawing. When I saw the word “Bare” printed on a page I couldn’t resist myself.

All the little guys and gals got gelled down to a full size piece of paper, smack dab in the middle. I’m not sure this was necessary but it seemed like it was, so that’s what I did. The idea was to scan them, crop them and then be able to stick them all on a page(s) to print out to conserve paper. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? I do not want to use the originals.

I have about 30 0r so done. See my last post about how fast my new Brother inkjet scans. I sat down the other day and scanned them all, then I sat down yesterday and cropped them all and grouped them in files so I could do what I did today, quickly and efficiently. It was a lot of work to digitally resize them and organize them, but if I don’t do it right away, they will just get lost and not get used. Another important Initiative in 2016 is to develop the habit of Organization, but I digress.

I wanted to use Bear, so I picked this one because of the Bare fun factor. I am easily amused. As you can plainly see, the image RESEMBLES a bear, if you squint and tie your Imagination Hat firmly onto your Noggin. Colored pencils are a dry medium so I used my Prismacolor set. I adjusted his ears and they were way too big, which sure set the tone right off the bat. Then I drew the face. I swear to God, the first face made him look like a rat. I couldn’t even with it, so I erased and started again, making the face bigger and wider, and that got better. I messed about giving him paws and shading him in. But there was that awful “Farrow” word that had to go. What to do? I thought the best thing would be to cover it up with a dry, opaque something and decided on ledger paper. I wanted to write the word “Bear” out because I thought maybe the drawing wasn’t good enough to allow you to get the joke. And the paper was all lined like elementary school, so I wrote “Bear” in a childish sort of way.

About now, I have an ugly bear with a childish look and goofy word and a pretty elementary pun to boot. Then I read it. “Bare Bear.” It sounds like what a kid would name a favorite, cherished stuffed bear. This is no longer a bear, its a bear TOY. But it was standing up so tall, not like a stuffed bear. Then I thought, it’s a wind-up toy bear that walks. But how to show the winder thingy? They are called keys, and this is an old school toy, so I can just draw a key winder. I made it big to make sure you could see it and know it was a toy bear.

Man, I only had an hour and I was running out of time. That rat face put me way behind. This toy bear made no sense at all standing in the middle of space, he needed a room. A kid’s room. A boy kid’s room. So I drew some curtains and put on some sailboat wall paper and an out- of-perspective table with a sailboat set on it. I polka-dotted the curtains and was just putting the red fringed rug under Bare Bear when the timer went off.

Ok, we all know this is no Beatrix Potter but I don’t give no fiddely dee about that. I like this; I like everything about this. I especially like these things: I enjoy doing this during TV time because I don’t enjoy TV much; this is super cheap–.10 magazine, $1 for 20 or so stencil images; the process spurs on imagination; drawing practice. Mostly I like this cute little bear waiting for a little boy to wind him up and give him some animation. Good ‘ole Bare Bear, long may he bust a move.

fabric paper copies

When last we met, Fabric Paper Part 1, I promised a follow up about my uses for the paper. Well, my purpose in making the paper was to cut it up and make bracelet cuffs from it. I still intend to do that, but I  haven’t gotten to it yet. So this post is about art journaling.

I don’t usually decorate the cover of a journal first. To be honest, I  rarely get past the first three pages of a journal so nearly no covers get done. It’s not unusual for journal makers to leave the cover for last. Perhaps the idea is that after the journal is completed there is more of a tone to bring to the cover than might have been apparent at first. Perhaps the idea is that the cover might get so monumentally messed up that nothing could fix it and it would be forever lost. Not a very good way to start a journal. My feeling is, I need to love that book to the point that I can’t leave it alone.

I don’t usually follow the market for supplies. I’ve used various mixed media sketchbooks, hardbound and spiral bound. For some reason, spiral bound journals started to bug me. I actually used to LIKE spiral bindings, so I have no idea what that is about. And, the hardbound journals I had would not stay open or lie flat. That started to bother me, too. Wet pages had a mind of their own and would flip closed to the other side. (Don’t write to me about clips). Anyhow, I saw a few videos by Ranger for the Dylusions Creative Journal. It is a bound journal that opens and stays perfectly flat on it’s own with No Clip. The paper is heavyweight and suitable for wet applications; the cover is heavy chipboard. The 8.5×11 journal retails for $25 at Michaels, so I wait for a 50% off coupon and buy it; at $12.50 this 64 page journal is an excellent buy.

If you’ve been keeping up with my Mythos blog, you know I’ve developed an obsession with Little Red Riding Hood. Since I posted over there about Red last week, I’ve gotten an obsession with all the Grimm Bros. tales, and the Grimm Bros. themselves. I plan next week to get an obsession with Hans Christian Anderson, to be followed by Charles Perrault. Ultimately Mother Goose will be involved, at which time if I’m decorating my bedroom as a nursery I expect professionals will be called in.

So, I procured me a new journal: hope springs eternal. And I decided to tackle the cover first. Mother of Pearl, what a confunction.  I have no hand-lettering skills. (Could this be at the base of why I am a journal writer that does not write journals?) How was I going to get the text on? Was I going to collage a cover? (Treacherous). Was I going to draw a cover? (Unlikely). Was I going to paint a cover? (Unlikeli-er). Maybe I wasn’t thinking out of the box enough, but it seemed that about covered it, technique-wise.

Finally, I considered stencils. It’s hard to imagine that I didn’t think of stencils right away, because there is a good portion of my grey matter dedicated to thinking about stencils. I have several tree stencils of the right size.  Then the decision: paint or ink?

Acrylic paint has drawbacks; it creates a slick “dimensional” coat. I felt it could limit my options later, both for material and technique. Ink also has drawbacks, the first being, I don’t like the look of sprayed ink. It CAN be very inconsistent and temperamental. Like, I spritz it off-project a couple times and everything is good, then I move onto the money shot and it fires out blobby and drippy and with extreme prejudice. One time it actually blew the stencil off!

I didn’t want the cover black, and I didn’t want it colored, either. I wanted it natural, so my mind went to walnut ink crystals. I had some ink made up already. I also had one of those Mini Mister applicators. I thought the smaller mister might give a more consistent spray.

I had to take it outside because walnut ink stains just about everything. Particularly cats, and they seem to jump on my work island just as I am executing a critical treatment. My experience with spraying any ink is that it goes all over the place, even though you think it couldn’t possibly. (A good idea for you is to put the ink-ee into a box; that is, if you, as a well-prepared artist, can put your hands on a box that doesn’t have black widow spiders inside it. I am not so lucky. I am not making that up.)

Outside I went. I had applied TAPE to keep the stencil laying down. I tell you, I was firing on all cylinders. I got the mister going and I was right, the Mini-Mister did a good job with a fine spray, consistent and very much enhancing the detailed stencil. However, mysteriously I did produce two large drips. The biggest one ended up spreading out and isn’t too noticeable. The smaller one is at the bottom. While I was out there I sprayed the edges of the journal all the way around. The edges always get messed up on my journals anyway, so I figured I’d grunge them up from the beginning. woodsjournalstenciled

I left off working on it last night to let it dry properly.Today I was faced with Now What? There were many options. I considered collage for the tree trunk and limbs with small pieces of paper. That’s why I copied the fabric paper–some of the designs worked for tree bark and texture. I tore a couple pieces up and tried it and I didn’t like it. Not One Bit. I tried a teeny dictionary with tiny type to collage the trees. That was better, but with the busy all-over stencil design I was concerned the collage would be overwhelming and make the tree look stiff and clunky.

I decided to take a break so I sat down and outlined the tree with a fine line black marker (Artline) and that created considerable depth to the image. At this point I considered doing very very very small handwritten text along the tree trunk and limbs. I was very tempted to do it, being that it is one of my favorite activities, but it might be even busier than the collage. No go.

It’s not possible for me to hand-letter the journal title. I considered transferring toner or inkjet computer text to the cover. (Treacherous). I thought maybe I’d do a packing tape or Contact Paper transfer. (Easier, but the stickers can look clunky). I did not want to stencil again, even I know when to stop. So I went into the stamp hoard and found this alphabet (I cannot tell you who made it, the packaging is long gone). It was amazing that I bought both the capital and lowercase set of this font. I must have realized 15 years ago that This Day Would Come-And It Did.

woodsjournallettering

Isn’t it nice? You can see that I had to do a pre-stamp trial run…better safe than sorry. I have been sorry SO many times. I loved the font and the color (StazOn Saddle Brown). I took the plunge….wait for it…

woodsjournalcover

This is where I stopped. You will notice that I optimistically added the “Vol. 1” notation as an afterthought. I’m pulling out the stops to get this journal on a good trajectory. I Winter Solstice-ed it up for you by adding a cheery pine cone. I know how you appreciate that Martha touch. (I reread this post and see I’ve mentioned two Ranger products. I do not receive any compensation from them and actually use very few of their products).

The cat is Peter Pan. During the above process, I listened to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, “The Theater of the Imagination”. Today it was Bluebeard. Her telling and analysis is a must hear for women.