Those of you who have followed my mixed media efforts for long enough will know that I am kack-handed when it comes to stencilling. I really cannot seem to get the knack of it. If I get the pigment strong enough, there is usually blobbing around the shapes; if I keep the shapes crisper, it is usually at the expense of strong pigment. Therefore, when I saw that this week’s Life Book lesson revolved around stencils, I knew I was in for a challenge and hopefully some progress.
This week’s lesson was taken by Lynzee Lynx and the thrust of the lesson was to use stencils we created ourselves and to use them in a layered mixed media piece. We were encouraged to create stencils of any shapes that came to mind. I used OHP acetates and cut one that was like a series of striped pebbles, one that was like some curvy arrowheads and one that was a trio of lozenge shapes. The tutor used her stencils with spray paint but, having none, I sponged acrylic through the stencil shapes instead. Oddly enough, I actually got the best results I have ever had from stencilling with good coverage and pretty crisp edges. I wonder if it is because the shapes were larger.
We were to use the stencils intuitively and employ that same instinct to creating the background for the stencils and then layering on top of the stencil shapes. Working instinctively never comes easily to me. However, this time, with four kids under my feet and near constant interruptions, I did not have the luxury of time to get stuck inside my head. Since necessity compelled me to work in a rush, I had to just reach for materials and quickly do something with them without over-analysing or planning. Of course, I did lots of dribbling and spatter because that is something I really enjoy doing.
Interestingly, there were bits of this piece that I thought were a hideous mess at one stage. The big cobalt blue blob was a mistake I made when distracted, dribbling the paint in one spot for far too long. In the end, however, that pool of cobalt spattered with turquoise is one of my favourite elements in the piece. Likewise, unlike the other spatter, I added the turquoise spatter after I had laid down the black stencilling and I worried it would look like the after-thought it was. However, I really like the effect of the turquoise on the black. I am not sure how I feel about the piece overall, however. I think it lacks cohesion. I think perhaps I ought to have stencilled the pebble shapes in black rather than gold as they draw the eye too much and the other gold elements in the page – dots created with various implements – do not successfully balance it out. I did the doodling while watching a movie with my kids and I think in this case the not thinking about it led me to over-doodle, though I am happy with the variety of shapes I chose.
So the lessons learned this week are that I do better when stencilling larger shapes, that I need to find the right balance between working instinctively but not making a mess of things by not thinking enough, and that I need to trust that things I think are a disaster might just work out in the end.
*Apologies for the wonky angles in the first photo*