Thursday, November 8, 2012

Use those stencils.

Ok, so now you have heeded my advise, you've invested in a few good quality useful stencils.   What can you do with them?  Tons!!!!  Note the exclamation marks!!!  Seriously the sky is the limit, they can used on walls, canvas, wood, paper, there isn't a surface around that you can't use a stencil on. 

Twenty years ago my husband and I had just built our current home, we had spent the extra money on solid oak trim for our windows and didn't want to cover them so I stenciled above the windows and used that instead of a valance.  It was cheaper and could easily be changed when I was tired of it.  A friend of mine did a bathroom using the Deco Art Zebra Border stencil with black and pink.  She and her daughter stenciled a wall and added border trim, she showed me a photo of it and it was darling.

Use sections of the stencil to add interest to your background before you begin painting the foreground.  It isn't necessary to use the entire stencil, I like to take portions of a stencil and use only that.  Deco Art has another border stencil called Floral Breeze and the swirls, or as I call them the flourish, is beautiful.  Why not add that to a background with a tone on tone color scheme, it will add interest to your background without being overpowering.  Often we want a plain background but honestly I have found that I like adding a surprise of color, it adds interest and gives your background a hint of texture.  Using your stencil to help layer color gives you a beautiful effect with just the right amount of interest to draw your eye through the entire piece. Or want a dramatic effect?  Try using the compliment of the color that you've used in your background, that should give your painting some drama. 

Another easy way to add texture to a piece is to use a palette knife and smooth texture paste across the surface of the stencil onto your surface, carefully pull the stencil away and you are left with the stenciled image.  Let it dry and paint it as you would the rest of your piece.  This is another great way to add excitement and interest to your background or foreground.  If you want to show swirls to mimic the look of wind blowing in the sky use your stencil/texture paste technique and paint it the same color as the sky and then dry brush a highlight color over the swirl to subtly give the impression of wind.  Gorgeous.  It is simple yet subtle and gives your painting an interesting dimensional feel that is extremely popular right now.  Deco Art carries a fantastic texture paste that I use frequently called Decorating Paste, I used it on a project recently to make fall leaves stand out and I was pleased with the result. 

How about the age old dilemma of whether to use stencil brushes or a sponge?  Honestly it is personal preference and is dependant on the surface.  If I'm stenciling on a small surface and I want the stencil to be subtle then I use a makeup sponge but if I'm stenciling on a wall and I want to show variations in color for shaded areas and highlights then I will use a stencil brush.  Be careful not all stencil brushes are alike and I would recommend that you invest in a good quality stencil brush, do your research and see which one would work well for you.  I frequently use my stencil brushes for purposes other than stenciling, they are amazing for dry brushing. 

I hope this helps you feel confident and comfortable to give stencils a good old college try. 

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