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Art, Business and Balance + 3 Amazing New Stencils in the Shop

 

Can We Talk?

Nothing like starting out with the truth. After last weeks post, I had some second thoughts that I should have told you how I was being paid for featuring Heidi and her shop. Um, I’m NOT. I did that feature (and will do future ones too) for FREE. Nothing, Nada. Zero.

I spent my time and effort all for the fun and joy and humanity of doing it. Interested in having your own feature? Just send me a note and we’ll get started. Now, that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about some more true things.

The weekly newsletter is from today going to be a monthly newsletter. (If you haven’t, you can sign up here.) It’ll be a little longer and include goodies for you like free product downloads, subscriber discounts and early product releases the first week of the month. If there’s something super exciting in the studio in the meantime, you may get an interim quick update as well. Of course, those are likely to be more random, but there’s the fun of it!

Wondering why the sudden change? The true reason is the toll on my own art and creativity is too high. I committed to weekly mailings for a year and I’ve done that and more but my studio time and artistic output has suffered greatly. So, I’m making the decision to cut back the schedule and focus on making more art. That means more creative stuff to share with you!

If you want to keep up with the new projects and behind the scenes, let’s connect on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to see you there!

Taking the time to really look at art and business and personal time balance and telling the truth of it is how we all make creative progress – whether it’s purely personal or as a tiny business. It’s no good if it’s not fulfilling.

New Things in the Shop!

I know you’ve been eyeing these NEW stencils – I have too! They’re heavy duty, easy to clean Mylar, made in the USA and ready to ship from the studio. I especially love these gears and have an idea for a journal cover. See how fancy they are!

Thanks for taking this walk with me…

Monette

PS Long made short: Have your own shop feature (NO payment required!); the newsletter becomes monthly to make more time for art; NEW stencils in the shop; you’re awesome!

New Stencils in the Shop

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Stencils for Fast and Easy Effects – Video Demonstration

It’s no secret that I love and use stencils in my mixed media paintings. While many are my own custom designs, I also studio trial stencils from the shop to make sure they’re going to make your art more beautiful too.

These tag shaped stencils are a lovely discovery. Because they’re graphic and distinctive, they really add a nice sharpness and clarity to a project. I sometimes find my mixed media projects going a little fuzzy and a dose of graphic contrast is a great fix for that.

Here’s a quick demonstration of the Dress Form Tag Shaped stencil from the shop. The stencil design is 6 inches long  by 3.25 inches wide – a good size for smaller projects. They also work well either as a standalone design or as a supporting component where you use only parts of the stencil elements.

There are three designs in this series and they all play well together!

 

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Easy Stencil Solutions to Boring Art

How do you feel about stencils? Personally, I’m a fan!

Artful Stencils

Stencils add amazing complexity and patterns to your work without hours of numbing effort. By choosing your stencils carefully, you lay the foundation of a coherent and beautiful finished work. Patterns and textures work together to allow you to build on your own personal imagery and express your distinct style.

So, how do you combine different stencils so they work together instead of being a hot mess?

Choosing

I limit myself to three stencils and usually only one or two. Too many patterns – especially if they’re distinctive – starts to look mechanical instead of artful. Sometimes one really nice pattern is all you need. I like this brocade pattern and use it frequently.

When combining stencils, look for contrast in the sizes of the elements and the quality of the patterns and textures: linear vs organic, regular vs random, etc.

 

Placing

I like to use only parts of the stencil pattern on the paper. I’ll usually choose a portion of the pattern and place it carefully. Then, shift the stencil and use another part somewhere else on the paper. I seldom stencil the entire surface with any one pattern because it’s more interesting and visually appealing to have the patterns appear and disappear.

As you place your stencils, look for chances to highlight the focal point of your work and parts of the stencils your eye is drawn to. If you’re layering contrasting stencils, test the layered effect before you commit to your work because it doesn’t always look like you expect!

 

Painting

My experience is a lighter hand applying paint is best for several reasons. One is that it helps keep the stencil edges crisp. More than that, I like to keep my stenciling subtle, both in color and depth of paint. The muted low-key background effect adds a lot of interest without standing out. My favorite tool for paint application is the humble cosmetic sponge.

As you apply your paint, try for a sheer application so that the background is barely covered. Choose colors that are similar to the background or a little lighter or darker to help sink the stenciling into it. As you stencil, you can even wipe away part of it while it’s still damp to help blend it even more.

 

Stencils: Your Secret Tool Kit

I use stencils extensively in my mixed media work. And, I’m currently experimenting with ways to incorporate them into watercolor artwork and even three dimensional works like art dolls. They really are a secret treasure to solve boring art!

Here are some of my favorite stencils from the shop. All of these are sturdy, reusable Mylar, made in the US and in the studio, ready to ship.

 

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Fast Tips for Crisp Stencil Edges

I just got a great question via email and having sent the answer off, thought you might like to hear it too.
 
The question was about how to get crisp edges when using stencils and did I have any tips?
 
My Answer:
I’ll make an assumption that you’re having a problem with the edges when you use paint with a stencil – that’s the most common medium that causes problems. My experience has been there are two things that may be at fault: the application tool being too wet and the stencil moving around.
 
First, the application tool. Paint is inherently wet and stenciling is an inherently dry art form – thus the smudgy edges. I’ve found that using a sponge applicator (either a cosmetic wedge or special purpose sponge brush) is a better way to apply paint. Brushes are difficult to get dry enough and often “push” the paint under the stencil edges.
The trick with using a sponge is to dip it into the paint and then dab most of it right back off until the sponge is barely damp with paint. Then gently tap it onto the area straight up and down. Of course, it may take more than one coat to get the color build-up you want, but the edges will be crisp and, personally, I like the look of the differences in coverage – it gives the work a more lively quality.
 
Second, the stencil itself. If the stencil moves while you’re painting, the edges will smear. If you’re working on a project that allows, go ahead and tape the edges of the stencil down with low-tack blue tape. That will keep everything in place for the duration of the project.
But, if you’re like me and move that stencil around to get different angles, that won’t work. In that case, I hold the working area down firmly with one hand (up close to where I’m working) and apply paint with the other. One other tip with this is to gently twist your wrist as you lift the sponge so it doesn’t pull the stencil up with it. It takes a few times of practicing but it really does keep that stencil down so the edges stay secure. Finally, be sure to wait long enough before picking the stencil back up – it shouldn’t be long at all if the application was dry enough.
Now, this is just my experience and your results may vary – do you have something that’s worked for you?

Try out your stencil technique with these sturdy, US made stencils – in the shop and ready to ship!