Friday, January 10, 2014

Using Stencils to Spark Your Inspiration

Often, when I don't have a lot of inspiration, I pick a pattern stencil and just start using it on a blank page or a page with leftovers from another project.  I'll pick several different colors of paint that compliment one another (close to each other on the color wheel),  and start pouncing with a cosmetic sponge.   (In a recent class I took with Donna Downey, she gave a great tip to how to remember which colors are friendly enough to be mixed when wet.  If you think of the ROY G BIV acronym for the rainbow - ROY (Red Orange Yellow) colors are friendly, and BIV (Blue Indigo and Violet) colors are friendly, G (green) is a little picky - friendly only with the colors on either side -- Yellow and Blue.)

For this page, I used Michelle Ward's Marrakech Mix Stencil from Stencil Girl.  I love how there is a "mix" of large and small openings.  Once a layer is dry, I turn the stencil and use another color until there are no white spots on my page.   Then I'll go back in with white paint or gesso, and lighten it up a bit.  Here's how I ended up.

 At this point, the page will sometimes suggest something to me.  What it said here was "live simply and gently."  So I took out black paint and a skinny brush and started sketching.  (I like to sketch with paint because there's just NO WAY to be too precious about it - it's going to be messy, and that's OK!)

On the bottom, I used Pam Carriker's Zig Zag Stamp.  And I sketched in a girl surrounded by animals and a tree.  
More painting.  I'm using matte fluid acrylics, which are very translucent.  I love how the stenciled background shows through, giving lots of depth and texture.

I wanted her skirt to be made in part by feathers.  I have a cool feather stamp that I used on white tissue paper.  I then adhered it to her skirt with matte medium.

I love how the original painting and texture shows through the tissue paper, which melts into the page.  I did the same thing with a french text stamp - used it on tissue paper and adhered it to the page.

I wanted leaves on the trees, so I pulled out my "Judy's Trees" stencil from Stencil Girl, and stenciled some leaves onto tissue paper using green and brown paint.

Then I cut the leaves up and adhered them onto the page. This way, I wasn't stuck to the original arrangement, but could place the leaves the way I wanted for this particular journal page.

I also used the curly branches of one of the other trees on the stencil around the bottom of the page to suggest tree roots and grass.  Can you see them?

My daughter painted out that the lady's legs were too short - so I lengthened them.  This caused me to add additional texture and pattern to her dress, which I really like.  I added words, and here she is!

And to think she emerged from a mostly blank journal page and Michelle Ward's stencil!

"Live Gently" is available for sale as a print, tote bag, pillow and phone cover on Society 6!

In case you didn't see it previously, I wanted to post a video of how I painted this portrait. 

I often "clean" my work table by gluing whatever is on it into my journal.  That will sometimes "suggest" to me what the page should become. 

The page started out as a collage of stenciled tissue paper using my Medallions stencil from Stencil Girl.  Some of that pattern shows through her face.  I finished her off using June Pfaff Daley's starfish stencil, which became a flower in her hair. 

You can see her as a print and more here!

You can also watch Fast Forward Face Painting with Jessica Sporn on You Tube here.

Have you found any of this helpful?  Let me know in the comments, which make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.

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  1. Oh what a wonderful tip.... just what i was looking for.... thank you soooooooooo much :)

    Great pieces by the way as well....


  2. Jessica - I'm so glad I found your blog - through YouTube! Your creativity just blows me away! I will use these tips when faced with a blank canvas or page! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love the portrait! I love the way you're so bold with paint straight on to the page. I'm way too hesitant about that stuff. Maybe it's one of the areas I should apply my One Word - stretch.

  4. your artwork is inspirational, love your background too
    Gill x

  5. Great process idea maker. Love all the animals too. xox

  6. Your paintings are always full of depth, wonderful layers and meaning-I love your work and the vids!

  7. Do you sleep? I love all the little animals and this girl. So much going. I need a spark for sure.. that's for the light.

  8. I love your videos! And YES!!! The video showing how you painted your lovely lady is very helpful! Thank you!

  9. Jessica love your work and the journal page in this video is just stunning, thanks so much for sharing I am going to have a look at the face painting classes you did.

  10. I just recently started art journaling and just came across your blog. Love your work! This first page is so whimsical and the portrait is beautiful.

  11. Wow Jessica, this posting is so full of inspiration, thanks so much for it! I love how the stencilled page turned out and the portrait is so gorgeous!

  12. Your journal page is just too sweet. The animals are adorable and your portrait is simply beautiful.

  13. So much to look at.... that woman is AMAZING... seems she could walk right off the page, so real.


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