One of my favorite pastimes is hiding away in my studio to paint on canvas. These days it’s almost a luxury for me, so when I can make it happen I revel in losing myself in the art of creation. Time stands still, hours pass, and my whole being takes a mental vacation. Then I emerge covered in paint, grinning from ear to ear.
Do you see yourself in my description? Want to try something new using stencils, leaf and Chalk Paint®? We know that my creation and yours will be completely different, but I hope to share with you a few “I never thought of that” techniques to try.
This canvas features warm colors with cool accents. I also added some sheen in a few select spots to add visual interest without getting too busy. My theory of designing a piece like this is to stay away from dead center, so I float color, pattern and sheen to lead the eye across the surface.
- Royal Design Studio Esperanza Lace Tile Stencil & Polka Party Furniture Stencil
- Royal Stencil Cremes in Lime Shine & Peacock Fancy
- Royal Stencil Size Clear
- Royal Design Studio Stencil Brushes in various sizes
- Modern Masters Semi Glass MasterClear
- Chalk Paint® in Emperor’s Silk, Florence, Arles & Old Violet
- Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax
- Large & small paint brushes
- Art canvas, preferably gallery-wrapped
- newspaper, cardboard, palette, colored pencils or crayons, tape, mister with water, containers, stir sticks, foam brush
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE BLANK CANVAS! WASH ON A BACKGROUND COLOR
Are intimidated or excited to see a blank canvas? I admit, I really don’t like that glaring white staring at me. The sooner I get something on it, the better.
Pour some Emperor’s Silk, Arles and Old Violet onto a palette. Mix up the colors a bit with a brush. I was going for a soft purple and then an orange. Blend Emperor’s Silk and Arles for orange and Old Violet and Emperor’s Silk for purple.
Mist the canvas, then wash some color onto the surface. If you like drips, prop the canvas up. Mist some more if you like. Avoid splitting the canvas up in half with color.
While waiting for this step to dry, pick out some stencils that have different pattern scales, but go together.
“STENCIL” WITH WAX TO MAKE A RESIST TO WASH OVER
Tear up a long strip of paper and lay it down vertically covering about two thirds of the surface on the right side. Place the lace stencil on top. Work on the left, where the stencil covers the canvas.
Dip into Clear Soft Wax with an old stencil brush and swirl with a circular motion. (Clean it later with mineral spirits.) Let dry about 30 minutes. While you’re waiting, put some Florence in a small container and add about 50% water.
From the top, drip a heavy amount of the mix. It will flow over the waxed resist area and leave the stencil pattern. Mist, or leave as is. Let dry. Put the stencil back on and stencil again from the top using Peacock Fancy. Let dry.
STENCIL POLKA DOTS
Tear some more paper and position it to the right of the center of the canvas, vertically. Stencil polka dots using the Lime Shine. You will notice that the color looks blue or green, depending upon what color it is on top of!
ADD SQUARES OF GOLD & SILVER LEAF
Make a square homemade stencil out of heavy paper. Plot out a pattern or just wing it. Use the Clear Stencil Size and a wide foam brush to brush on the size. Let come to tack.
Plan where you want to use the silver and gold leaf, then tap it on using a clean stencil brush. Avoid perfection!
ADD COLORED PENCIL ACCENTS & SHEEN
Use several colors of colored pencils or crayons to accent the leaf squares. Be loose and don’t think too much.
At this point I was pretty happy with my work, but since the Chalk Paint® is very matte, I found myself craving some sheen.
I painted on three coats of MasterClear sealer just to the section on the far left, to give it some zip. It’s difficult to photograph it well, but I love how it appears as the light moves during the day.
FINISH WITH RANDOMLY-PLACED OLD POSTAGE STAMPS
When we moved to our home 25 years ago, we did not discover much in the attic. There were a few things like old pots and pans – and – believe it or not, a massive stamp collection. It was accumulated over years by a little boy and his grandparents, who sent them to him from all over the world in the 1960s. There are hundreds, all cancelled, all beautiful. I use them in artwork often because they add another dimension that I like.
You could use copies of old photographs or decoupage papers.
I used some Royal Stencil Crème on the back and the front to adhere them in small doses. I also made squares using the crème in some areas to create sheen in some light.
Decide if you’re done. But how do you know when it’s time to quit?
I just look for something missing, a big hole in the center with nothing there, and make sure I used about three different scales of shapes and patterns.
If so, I declare it done! Then the fun begins.
Now where do I put it?
During August on Paint + Pattern I am going to do a large reverse-painted, or verre eglamisé, glass piece using all sorts of products along with a favorite Royal Design Studio stencil design. I’m also adding a large floral stencil pattern onto the rustic beaded board headboard in our guest bedroom.