Monday, November 28, 2016

I am once again participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2017, run for the 6th time by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to kick your creativity into high gear in January 2017. I sooooo look forward to this every year. The videos are really substantive; the artists pack a lot into a short time frame and they are just enough to get me jazzed without causing me boredom.....ahem, I will admit it, I sometimes fast forward through videos if I am not interested. I never find that to be the case with CJS!!
And I have to say, the artists this year totally rock! 
I can.not.wait. Anxious to sign up? Click here already :)
Throughout January you will get access to 27 downloadable videos from 27 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” And StencilGirl is proud to be a sponsor. See for yourself:

Announcing Creative JumpStart 2017 - CJS17 from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

You will really want to do this, trust me, it's a terrific bargain. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Art Journal Your Archetypes Give Away

11/03/16 UPDATE 
Contest is over now and Jean Marmo is the winner!! Congrats, Jean!
I am thrilled to announce that I am a participating artist in Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli's new book, Art Journal Your Archetypes. When I heard about the book, I immediately knew I wanted 'in' because I have studied archetypes ever since I lived in California (late 90's). Gabrielle outlines Carl Jung's definition of an archetype as,
"an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious."  
Although this might sound like some woo woo verbiage, the study of archetypes is a way of exploring your personality and learning more about yourself based on patterns of behavior. It is fascinating, I mean who doesn't want to understand themselves better, right? To work on these ideas in conjunction with an Art Journal, well, that just makes a lot of sense!
I was lucky enough, as a participating artist, to have a consultation directly with Gabrielle. We walked through the testing and analysis together (there is a self test in the book!!) and I discovered many interesting things about myself. It was a moving experience that I would recommend to anyone, an appointment with Gabrielle. 
I also did a number of journal spreads that are within the book along with an explanation of archetypes that apply to me and the other featured artists - Seth Apter, Orly Avineri, Jessica Sporn, Nathalie Kalbach (lots of StencilGirl artists!!) and others. It is rather engrossing to read about each person. Uh yeah, I'm apparently a little bit voyeuristic, ha!!
If you are interested in watching the video conversation between myself and Gabrielle, you can find it on Youtube. You will be surprised at what I reveal about myself. 
But now for the good news........
I am giving away a FREE copy of this book to one of my lucky Blog Readers. All you need to do is leave me a comment below about why you would like to win this book. I will draw a name on Halloween!! Please make sure you leave your email address so I have a way to contact you. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

StencilGirl and Impression Obsession

Welcome to the Blog Hop. I am excited to share my discoveries regarding the rubber stamps I received from Impression Obsession. First of all, I requested a group of stamps called Clingables:
This particular group was made for Tea Bag Squares, but I just wanted them because they are such neat patterns. For a brief moment I considered actually making Tea Bag Squares and embellishments, but (although beautiful!!) they seemed too complicated for my feeble brain. 
So I decided to make collage parts which is pretty much my favorite thing to do. I thought it would be fun to stamp each design on graph paper. This would allow me to easily line up the stamps and it would be instantly layered with the grid showing in the background. I used StazOn ink because I knew it would remain permanent and not smear with collage medium.
Here are a few of the images I made:
I love the way these turned out and can't wait to use them in Collage. They look simple yet the complexity is instantly seen once you stamp with them - kind of a vintage tile look which I adore.
And then I happened to notice that a few of the stamps would offer two different design opportunities depending on what part of the stamp takes the center. Take a look at the package above, see the three on the right hand side? Look what happened when I stamped them in a square:
Oh my gosh, was I ever excited about this - six little stamps with such variation, how much fun is that!?!? Here are some parts that I glued onto a journal page:
I also got some of Seth Apter's stamps and I am very smitten with the grid (of course you know how I love my grids. I had to immediately use it in my journal - this time, I swiped StazOn and wet gesso across the page and pressed the stamp right into it resulting in a slight texture. 
I also snuck one of my new reverse Grid stencils into this one, I couldn't help myself, the piece called for it. 
Hope you enjoyed seeing SGP and Impression Obsession together; stencils & stamps living in harmony, it was sure fun. 

StencilGirl Products will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Impression Obsession will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your
chance to win 4 great prizes during the hop!
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per blog please.)
You have until Friday, September 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced onStencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, October 2nd.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Stencils with Paper Clay

Today I am reviewing Artful Paper Clay, a terrific new book by Rogene Manas. Watch the video to catch the review along with a quick project! 
Hope you enjoy. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stencil Love

Today I am the guest artist on DLP 2016. I made a little video of my pocket cards which you can see here, click the link:

Stencil Love

If you are interested in seeing a quick tutorial, you will find one on StencilGirl Talk, you may watch the "With Two Stencils Tutorial," by clicking here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Making Mandalas with Stencils

I got a wonderful gift in the mail the other day, a review copy of Kathryn Costa's book, The Mandala Guidebook. Sometimes you just get lucky! Truly. I am not sure the book would have flown onto my radar screen otherwise. I like this book! 
I brought it into the studio the other day, all set to peruse some pages in order to write a review. Now you know StencilGirl Products sells lots of mandala-like stencils, but nothing beats the idea of starting from scratch and creating your own design, so I was excited to learn how to do this.
I became rather engrossed with the book and started reading page by page, as Kathryn covered everything from drawing a mandala freehand to using a grid; painting patterned papers and making collages; even using magazine pages. When I got to page 80, where she was drawing a Grid type mandala on a painted background, it hit me like a ton of bricks - the way the grid structure is formatted looks an awful lot like a Color Wheel! And StencilGirl has Color Wheel stencils, designed by my friend Pam Carriker. 
And, well, since I hate to measure anything, using stencils to trace my format, well it seemed like a bit of simple genius to me. 
I started out by putting a skim coat of acrylic paint on three backgrounds. I decided I would make mandalas using three of my favorite Pam Carriker Color Wheels stencils. I used a pencil to trace the stencil design onto the dry background. 
At first I was thinking I would just use this as my guide and then draw free hand within each space, but heck, I own a stencil company, so you know what I did next.......I grabbed some stencils
I started out by placing a stencil in the center ( Scribble Blooms, the flower in the center). If I were a more precise person, I might have worried about the paint that went outside of the center, however, I am not that person. 

....the photo above shows how I then used painter's tape to tape off a section of the stencil. I thought I would be able to easily fill in the sections this way. I intentionally made the taped off part slightly wider than my pencil lines thinking this would allow the sections to match up to one another (thus compensating for the width of the Mylar during tracing). 
After I stenciled all the sections, I went back with a paint pen and added further embellishment. 
Next up was the Green background and I pulled out some painted collage papers to glue into a few sections, using the stencil (once again) as a tracing guide so the sizes matched up. 
I know I shouldn't play favorites, but this is my fave. I just love how it turned out!!
And finally, the yellow one. Again, I pulled out some collage parts, this time literally scraps from a previous project. 
I've gotta say I was totally inspired by Kathryn's book. It provides specific, hands on, precise information about a variety of ways to make mandalas. I chose to take this in the direction of stencils, but there are lots of other projects I can't wait to explore, such as the Gratitude Mandala and the Labrinth. Anyone with an interest in making their own mandalas will definitely want this book in their library. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrate Earth Day with StencilGirl + Earth Safe Finishes

Time for another Blog Hop and this time we are teaming up with the lovely people from Earth Safe Finishes.  Seems like the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day, doesn't it?
Nancy Burkhart of Earth Safe, has developed paints and mediums that are free of the toxins and solvents normally present in many of the products we artists use. 
I worry about toxins, especially when I am working with wax products. The need for ventilation is so pertinent I won't work with wax unless the room is properly ventilated.  
So imagine how excited I was when I discovered that Nancy has a product that is a substitute for Cold Wax! And she has pigments that can sub in for the oil sticks I typically use. Zero smell, zero toxins.

Follow along to see how I used these products.

1. I took a sheet of Arches Oil paper and cut it into a 9"x9" square. Using blue painter's tape, I taped off around the edges and taped off a cross shape through the center. That left me with four working square areas, which I treated as one piece.

2. Using Licorice Chalk Paint, I scraped some random marks across my substrate.

3. Truth be told, I couldn't wait to play with the pigments so I immediately opened them and put a few drops (they are intense!) on my palette. The colors are gorgeous and so highly pigmented that you really only need a couple drops, wow oh wow! This is a pretty unusual product - to find pigment in a liquid form, I'm not familiar with another company who makes this. I have certainly used powdered pigments before, but you need to wear a mask because the particles go airborne; these liquids are so darn convenient. You can add them to any of your mediums to create colorful versions of, say molding paste or texture medium or clear tinted gel. Or in my case, Cold Wax!
4. Next I opened up the wax. It wasn't what I was expecting, I thought it would be, well, more obviously waxy I suppose. It is fairly liquid, kind of runny yogurt consistency. And a creamy color. ZERO odor. I kid you not. It was unbelievable, absolutely no smell in these products. I put some wax on my palette and mixed it with the droplets of pigment. 
5. And finally I started to paint. This was all palette knife and skewer work (no brushes) and naturally several stencils jumped in, ha!! 
Since the wax itself is so fluid, I simply used my regular sponge to pounce it through the stencil. The Quinacridone Violet is a simply glorious color. That is it on top of the yellow (full strength) and mixed with some white in the foreground (see below). 

6. Here is my final piece after I peeled the tape away. I just love how it turned out. 
I want to spend some more time playing with these products, they have a lot of interesting potential I want to explore. And here's the thing - these days we are assaulted with toxic ingredients in every part of our life; it is really wonderful for a company to take the time to figure out other ways of manufacturing and to make safe products for artists. Kudos, Nancy!
And guess what? You can win my art. All you have to do is visit the blogs showcased today through Wednesday and leave a comment. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN this one of a kind, 9x9 inch Cold Wax painting on Arches Oil Paper made by me.
One comment per blog please. You will have until Monday, April 25th at 11:59 p.m. Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner of Stencil Girl's give-away will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Wednesday, April 27th.

Here are the links to the other posts:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Storytelling with Collage

I was delighted (not to mention flattered!) when Roxanne Evan Stout asked me to participate in her book. I had admired her work from afar for many years and the topic of collage is near and dear my heart since collage jumpstarted me into the mixed media world. And, well, you know my pieces always involve a story.

My submission is an encaustic piece, one that is embedded with personal meaning. As sometimes happens, this piece came to me fast, a spilling over of emotion packed into  an 11x14 painting. 
Roxanne's book is exactly as I imagined it would be. 
Thoughtful and Contemplative, full of earthly visual delights, something to savor.......
One of those books where you read every single page. Artists I know like Orly Avineri, Seth Apter, Lorri Scott. But also a lot of new faces who are making wonderfully inspired work.
Everyone has a story. 
Learning to tell it is a gift, doing it with art and collage is the icing on the cake, at least for me. I am honored to be included in this special book. 
And her book (you are going to want it, hint, hint) is available everywhere. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

StencilGirls love StencilGuts

Before we had stencils and masks, we had Guts. Guts are the parts that drop out of the Mylar once the actual stencil is cut. When we pull the stencil off the machine, the guts are the leftover parts in the machine to be cleaned up and, uh, well, discarded. At least that is what most normal people do, most stencil companies too. 
Except you know me.......
I can't discard something so darn cool and we here at StencilGirl have been saving them all this time. I've been using them off and on for years. One of my students, Anne Holliday, named them Guts and I thought that was very descriptive and clever. 
Today, we offer them to you, our customers, 
Sorted and packaged for all your crafting pleasure. 

So, why would you want StencilGuts and what can you do with them? 

  • You want them because they have so many interesting uses; that is what we are showing you in this Blog Hop. Ways to use Guts. 
  • You want them because they are cheap fun. And who doesn't like cheap fun.  
  • You want them because we have very limited quantities. My grandson and I sorted them and pretty quickly realized it was a crazy amount of work. So I'm not sure when we will do it again, just sayin'.....
  • Help us save landfills by using Guts as an art supply.

The photo above shows StencilGuts covered with Washi tape and I love the way these turned out, just so darn cute! Plus fun to make.
The photo above shows Random Guts mixed in with Gel Medium (and some Fluid Acrylic paint) They make such an unexpected texture that is quite intriguing. I can see this with a metallic dry brushed over the top, yumyumyum.
And a potential layout. Carol Baxter imagines this one as a Gourmet Chef! I didn't even see it at first, but it made me laugh when I did! The shapes can be assembled in so many different ways. 
Imagine them painted with alcohol ink? Or you could assemble them on your Gelli Plate and make lovely printed papers or Deli sheets - think of them as baby masks.

And finally, one of my very favorite uses, shown above. Collagraph plate!! To make the plate, use a scrap of matboard or cardboard and glue the StencilGuts in place with Glossy Gel Medium. Be sure and carefully coat the front and back of your Collagraph Plate with Gel Medium so it will be fairly water resistance and will withstand paint. Allow the plate to dry thoroughly before using. 
Use a brayer to 'ink up' your plate with acrylic paint and pull prints. I find it more effective to spritz your paper lightly so it will receive the plate better. I don't have an actual printing press but have found it is pretty easy to rig up ways to make this work. 

So there you have it. StencilGuts! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. To see what everyone else has made, hop along with us. Links below:

 And you knew we would be giving some away, right?? Cause that's how we are.
StencilGirl Products will be giving away package of StencilGuts
from EACH category
(Geometric Shapes, Birds, Cats & Rabbits, Flourishes, Hands
& Body and Dirty Random Guts)
to one lucky winner!
It's the mongo StencilGuts collection.
Visit all the blogs on today’s hop and comment to win!
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per blog please.)
You will have until Saturday, March 26th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, March 27th.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Life Book Post is nearly Live

Tomorrow, my main part of The Life Book goes live. I am excited, it is probably the largest venue of people I have ever taught. My lesson was a surprise even to me; I hope you like it. Although I am not allowed to share the art, here is a teeny weeny snippet. 
Add caption
Not signed up yet? There is still time. Click HERE
It is definitely worth it, there is so much value, I am very proud to be involved and also proud of my contribution. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Valentines - Look, Ma, no glue!?!

Back in the day I kept an enormous box of supplies specifically for Valentine's - doilies, foil, glitter, sequins, you name it. I started working on my cards in January, laboring over each and every one so each was different and significant. 

Flash forward to 2016, 

I had one afternoon. A few hours. 

Here's what I did:

1. I had already bought THESE cards. Simple heart shaped cardstock with an envelope.

2. I pulled out my massive assortment of Washi & other assorted tapes, started randomly placing tape over the front side of each heart, just butting the tape up next to each other, overlapping in places, really trying to not think too much. I trimmed around the edges. Added stickers in some spots.
It simply couldn't have been an easier. And I felt good because I was finally using all those Washi tape. That moment when you put your stash to good work.
3. I used my new text stencils to put a message on the back.
And called it done. 
Quick and simple. No glue, no fuss, no muss.
You can find my new alphabet stencils HERE at StencilGirl Products.
But you knew that.

Monday, January 25, 2016

StencilGirl and Art Squares (from inchie arts) Blog Hop

A long long time ago in a galaxy far away, I participated in an Inchie Swap. 
Remember when those were 'the thing?' At that time, we were using card stock that we handcut into squares.  
I about lost my mind because the squares were so little, as in one inch by one inch (duh) and I had an awful time decorating them, it was as if my brain simply wouldn't work that small. I famously (or infamously?) declared inchies were not my thing. 
Flash forward and my team here at StencilGirl developed the idea to do a Blop Hop with inchie arts llc. I'll fess up; I agreed to participate just to be a team player and, because it is (after all) my company, right?

Imagine my delight when I found out how totally cool and fun the Art Squares are! 
I love these little substrates!!
Art Squares of various sizes 
The minute I took them out of the packages, I started to see their potential in a new way. Yes! They looked like tiny substrates to me and I imagined working on them as part of an overall piece. 
I took some tape and arranged it sticky side up so I could lay out the Art Squares in a pleasing composition. I used delicate surface tape because they are made of museum grade mat board and I didn't want to tear the surface. There is a 'right' side and 'wrong' side to the Squares which is clearly explained on the packaging.
Once I had my layout, I started painting and working on the Squares just like I would any other piece. 
Initial painting using Golden Fluid Acrylic paints and white gesso.
The Art Squares tolerate quite a bit of water which was a pleasant surprise. During the course of this project, I created several layers and the squares held up beautifully. Naturally I used stencils, my own Grid stencils seemed made for this project, right??
Mary Beth's Grid Stencils
I also used Carolyn Dube's Building Stencil which is a 'must have' for a grid obsessed girl like me.
Carolyn Dube Buildings Stencil
Painted batch of Art Squares
I ended up with a gorgeous batch of square is a variety of sizes. Not wanting to be influenced by my initial layout, I took them all off the tape and contemplated them anew. I used the larger Art Squares as the background and painted them Raw Umber to blend with the smaller squares. Then I arranged them mosaic style and created a piece of art. I did a little bit more embellishing with stencils and ink, then called it done. I even have several leftover squares to use in other pieces.

So much fun to make, I adored working with the Art Squares. 


We'll be picking one lucky winner
to receive a $25 StencilGirl Products Gift Certificate and
1 package each of White 4", 3", ATC (2.5" X 3.5") and Swatch (2" X 4") size Art Squares!

All comments left on the hop list participants’ posts will be entered. 
One comment per blog. 
Comments close on January 30th @ 11:59PM Central.
Winner will be announced on 
StencilGirl Product’s Facebook Page
 on January 31st.

Below are the hop list order (with links embedded) and attached is the giveaway image!

Thanks to everyone for hopping!

Monday, January 18, 2016

All Aboard, 2016 - the year of the Mulligan

Today I am starting 2016 over. 
Yep, it's a do-over 'cause I've had a shitty year thus far filled with way too much death, illness, miscellaneous mayhem and more. 
I don't want to talk about it particularly, that's what my art is for. 
But really, it's time for a Mulligan.

Starting right now.
All Aboard!!

These pieces were made using stencils and stamps by Seth Apter. The stencils are (of course) available at StencilGirl Products.  I am especially fond of Seth's stencils because he incorporates words that nearly always help me process the things going on in my life. Plus the extra gnarly little shapes are just plain fun to use! His rubbers stamps are available several places, you can find out more information on his blog. 

These paintings are 4" x 4" painted on all sides. They are available for $45 each. If you are interested, just leave me a comment below. 

Who else is on board the Mulligan Train of 2016?