Archive | March, 2014

Inspiration from Poetry

28 Mar
painting of dancing figures and Zora Neal Hurston

Watercolor and pencil on watercolor paper. Dancing figures in the background and script writing, both faded, like the dreams Hurston mentions in her writing.

Reading about Zora Neal Hurston, an African-American writer, inspired me to paint this piece.

What I read:

 She once retrieved a tattered volume of Milton’s works from a rubbish pile and spent days savoring Paradise Lost instead of looking for work.  Years later in her autobiography, she reflected on those times:  “There is something about poverty that smells like death.  Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet.”

Making Stencils and Masks

21 Mar
using a solder gun to cut out a stencil

Here I carved out a homemade stencil of buildings using a solder gun.

Did you know that some of the first stencil work was around 30,000BC-9,000BC?  That early stencil work was done with bamboo and banana leaves with images and patterns cut from the leaves.  Vegetable dyes were used to stencil onto clothing.

The stencils I’ve been using with my Gelli printing plate are thin and made from plastic.  There are some really terrific stencils available for sale commercially but I’ve wanted to cut my own.  I’ve already tried Tim Holtz Stencil Film with very limited success and in this picture you can see my 7th try at making my own.  The Grafix Matte Stencil Film is another thin plastic that can be die cut, punched or cut with an X-acto knife.  I used my solder gun in a well-ventilated area to try cutting this stencil.  It left a really rough edge, so I’m going to keep trying until I can get a smooth edge.  I am looking for other plastics that I can buy for stenciling that will take the solder gun well.

Stencils are great because you can use them over and over.  You really don’t have to use the plastic but it is very durable.  You can use paper or cardboard, such as a cereal box, and just add a thin layer of gel medium to make it more durable.   What ever you use to make your mark, have fun with it!  There are so many possibilities.