I got a wonderful gift in the mail the other day, a review copy of Kathryn Costa's book, The Mandala Guidebook. Sometimes you just get lucky! Truly. I am not sure the book would have flown onto my radar screen otherwise. I like this book!
I brought it into the studio the other day, all set to peruse some pages in order to write a review. Now you know StencilGirl Products sells lots of mandala-like stencils, but nothing beats the idea of starting from scratch and creating your own design, so I was excited to learn how to do this.
I became rather engrossed with the book and started reading page by page, as Kathryn covered everything from drawing a mandala freehand to using a grid; painting patterned papers and making collages; even using magazine pages. When I got to page 80, where she was drawing a Grid type mandala on a painted background, it hit me like a ton of bricks - the way the grid structure is formatted looks an awful lot like a Color Wheel! And StencilGirl has Color Wheel stencils, designed by my friend Pam Carriker.
And, well, since I hate to measure anything, using stencils to trace my format, well it seemed like a bit of simple genius to me.
I started out by putting a skim coat of acrylic paint on three backgrounds. I decided I would make mandalas using three of my favorite Pam Carriker Color Wheels stencils. I used a pencil to trace the stencil design onto the dry background.
At first I was thinking I would just use this as my guide and then draw free hand within each space, but heck, I own a stencil company, so you know what I did next.......I grabbed some stencils
I started out by placing a stencil in the center ( Scribble Blooms, the flower in the center). If I were a more precise person, I might have worried about the paint that went outside of the center, however, I am not that person.
....the photo above shows how I then used painter's tape to tape off a section of the stencil. I thought I would be able to easily fill in the sections this way. I intentionally made the taped off part slightly wider than my pencil lines thinking this would allow the sections to match up to one another (thus compensating for the width of the Mylar during tracing).
After I stenciled all the sections, I went back with a paint pen and added further embellishment.
Next up was the Green background and I pulled out some painted collage papers to glue into a few sections, using the stencil (once again) as a tracing guide so the sizes matched up.
I know I shouldn't play favorites, but this is my fave. I just love how it turned out!!
And finally, the yellow one. Again, I pulled out some collage parts, this time literally scraps from a previous project.
I've gotta say I was totally inspired by Kathryn's book. It provides specific, hands on, precise information about a variety of ways to make mandalas. I chose to take this in the direction of stencils, but there are lots of other projects I can't wait to explore, such as the Gratitude Mandala and the Labrinth. Anyone with an interest in making their own mandalas will definitely want this book in their library.
Time for another Blog Hop and this time we are teaming up with the lovely people from Earth Safe Finishes. Seems like the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day, doesn't it?
Nancy Burkhart of Earth Safe, has developed paints and mediums that are free of the toxins and solvents normally present in many of the products we artists use.
I worry about toxins, especially when I am working with wax products. The need for ventilation is so pertinent I won't work with wax unless the room is properly ventilated.
So imagine how excited I was when I discovered that Nancy has a product that is a substitute for Cold Wax! And she has pigments that can sub in for the oil sticks I typically use. Zero smell, zero toxins.
Follow along to see how I used these products.
1. I took a sheet of Arches Oil paper and cut it into a 9"x9" square. Using blue painter's tape, I taped off around the edges and taped off a cross shape through the center. That left me with four working square areas, which I treated as one piece.
2. Using Licorice Chalk Paint, I scraped some random marks across my substrate.
3. Truth be told, I couldn't wait to play with the pigments so I immediately opened them and put a few drops (they are intense!) on my palette. The colors are gorgeous and so highly pigmented that you really only need a couple drops, wow oh wow! This is a pretty unusual product - to find pigment in a liquid form, I'm not familiar with another company who makes this. I have certainly used powdered pigments before, but you need to wear a mask because the particles go airborne; these liquids are so darn convenient. You can add them to any of your mediums to create colorful versions of, say molding paste or texture medium or clear tinted gel. Or in my case, Cold Wax!
4. Next I opened up the wax. It wasn't what I was expecting, I thought it would be, well, more obviously waxy I suppose. It is fairly liquid, kind of runny yogurt consistency. And a creamy color. ZERO odor. I kid you not. It was unbelievable, absolutely no smell in these products. I put some wax on my palette and mixed it with the droplets of pigment.
5. And finally I started to paint. This was all palette knife and skewer work (no brushes) and naturally several stencils jumped in, ha!!
Since the wax itself is so fluid, I simply used my regular sponge to pounce it through the stencil. The Quinacridone Violet is a simply glorious color. That is it on top of the yellow (full strength) and mixed with some white in the foreground (see below).
6. Here is my final piece after I peeled the tape away. I just love how it turned out.
I want to spend some more time playing with these products, they have a lot of interesting potential I want to explore. And here's the thing - these days we are assaulted with toxic ingredients in every part of our life; it is really wonderful for a company to take the time to figure out other ways of manufacturing and to make safe products for artists. Kudos, Nancy!
And guess what? You can win my art. All you have to do is visit the blogs showcased today throughWednesdayand leave a comment. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN this one of a kind, 9x9 inch Cold Wax painting on Arches Oil Paper made by me.
One comment per blog please. You will have until Monday, April 25th at 11:59 p.m. Central Time to leave your comments.
The winner of Stencil Girl's give-away will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Wednesday, April 27th.
I was delighted (not to mention flattered!) when Roxanne Evan Stout asked me to participate in her book. I had admired her work from afar for many years and the topic of collage is near and dear my heart since collage jumpstarted me into the mixed media world. And, well, you know my pieces always involve a story.
My submission is an encaustic piece, one that is embedded with personal meaning. As sometimes happens, this piece came to me fast, a spilling over of emotion packed into an 11x14 painting.
Roxanne's book is exactly as I imagined it would be.
Thoughtful and Contemplative, full of earthly visual delights, something to savor.......
One of those books where you read every single page. Artists I know like Orly Avineri, Seth Apter, Lorri Scott. But also a lot of new faces who are making wonderfully inspired work.
Everyone has a story.
Learning to tell it is a gift, doing it with art and collage is the icing on the cake, at least for me. I am honored to be included in this special book.