I don’t usually work with commercially made stencils but last week when I was at a craft store, I decided to buy a pack of six. When I went to use them, I was quite disappointed that the stencils where only made of paper and therefore would only allow one use. Way too expensive for that!
So I decided to seal the stencils by coating them with gel medium. Then I realized that I could make a wonderful texture on my canvas as I coated the stencils. Using a long palette knife, I placed the stencil on my canvas and smoothed gloss gel medium over it.
The trickiest part is lifting the stencils without tearing them.
So I teased up the edges all around with the palette knife and ever so gently lifted them without any disasters.
I loved the texture of roses and leaves that my first stencil left and decided to add another to the composition with the Moorish styles grid.
When I added that, because it was the background, I used a damp paper towel and the palette knife to remove some of the textured pattern. This makes it look somewhat less mechanical.
Once I have the texture on the page, I decided to add some color in a very diluted mix so that it would float around the surface. I sprayed the surface with water before and after adding the paint to help move it around.
Since I enjoy drawing women’s faces and I haven’t done one in a while, I decided to incorporate that into this picture. The tricky part was to then draw the image on top of this very textured and slick surface.
I thought I’d be able to do the drawing in charcoal and then seal it but my surface and the charcoal did not mix it well. So I ended up doing my drawing in acrylic. This was pretty forgiving and let me erase whatever I didn’t like and have another go at it. I added more definition to the portrait and design as I added transparent and opaque colors. Here is the finished piece. What do you think of how this technique worked out?