Stencil Amalgam – A Fun Approach to Composition

This project comes from Stencil Craft by Margaret Peot. Margaret shares how to use a stencil amalgam (a mixture from your stencil collection) as a fun approach to composition.

stencil amalgam

Stencil amalgam composition by Margaret Peot

In the composition for this demonstration, I combined flowers, foliage, branches and rural landscape lines to create a meadow landscape. Gather stencils from your collection that might create a unified theme such as all your undersea stencils or all the astral ones. You could also combine your stencils in strange ways—a rocket landing in a flowery field or crows flying through floating gears. The juxtaposition of unlike things might make for an interesting series of works.

 

Materials

black liquid acrylic paint
stencils (an assortment that could create a landscape)
masking tape
medium-weight printmaking or drawing paper
spray bottle or Preval Sprayer
stencil brush
wax paper

Tape a 1" (25cm) margin around your paper. Lay out your stencils and play around with their placement until you get a feel for the general composition. (Snap a pic on your smartphone at this stage to make it easy to remember what goes where.) Remove all but the background stencils and secure these with a little masking tape. You may want to extend small stencils with wax paper.

Tape a 1″ (25cm) margin around your paper. Lay out your stencils and play around with their placement until you get a feel for the general composition. (Snap a pic on your smartphone at this stage to make it easy to remember what goes where.) Remove all but the background stencils and secure these with a little masking tape. You may want to extend small stencils with wax paper.

Mix black paint with water (1:1) and spray it over the stencils.

Mix black paint with water (1:1) and spray it over the stencils.

While the paint is wet, brush off the stencil here and there with a stencil brush to add depth and a cloudy feel.

While the paint is wet, brush off the stencil here and there with a stencil brush to add depth and a cloudy feel.

Place the mid ground stencil elements and tape them in place as needed. Spray the paint mixture over the stencils. Then place the foreground stencils (here, weeds, grasses, a plastic bunch of silk buds and a tree branch with masking-tape creating a trunk) and spray across these as well.

Place the mid ground stencil elements and tape them in place as needed. Spray the paint mixture over the stencils. Then place the foreground stencils (here, weeds, grasses, a plastic bunch of silk buds and a tree branch with masking-tape creating a trunk) and spray across these as well.

For detail in the foreground, dip into your collection of detail stencils to add elements such as berries, buds, flowers or dragonflies.

For detail in the foreground, dip into your collection of detail stencils to add elements such as berries, buds, flowers or dragonflies.

Step back to evaluate what you've done so far. I thought the just-black details looked too stark against the softer sprayed ground. On a palette, I mixed a couple of grays (one medium and one very light) and added lighter flowers and berries in among and on top of the black elements.

Step back to evaluate what you’ve done so far. I thought the just-black details looked too stark against the softer sprayed ground. On a palette, I mixed a couple of grays (one medium and one very light) and added lighter flowers and berries in among and on top of the black elements.

Refine the details. I took off the big dead tree on the left and used that branch stencil to add more branches behind the tree and on the right of the composition. Some of this is based on instinct. What looks good? When do I stop? Your piece may go through an "ugly" stage like mind did. Relax, let things dry, step back and look. Don't panic if it doesn't magically look right through the entire process. Trust your instincts and have fun!

Refine the details. I took off the big dead tree on the left and used that branch stencil to add more branches behind the tree and on the right of the composition. Some of this is based on instinct. What looks good? When do I stop? Your piece may go through an “ugly” stage like mind did. Relax, let things dry, step back and look. Don’t panic if it doesn’t magically look right through the entire process. Trust your instincts and have fun!

Drosselmeyer Flock by Margaret Peot

Drosselmeyer Flock by Margaret Peot

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