So Long, Not Goodbye -by Karen Elaine

In art and in life there are ups and downs and today I feel a little bit sad because this will be my last Artistcellar design team post. It is for the best that I let go and let someone else shine. I have enjoyed seeing the work others have created with Artistcellar stencils and I hope I have made some friends here.

I love the portrait series by Jane Davenport as they are a great way to make beautiful portraits without the worry of getting the eyes, ears, nose and lips in all the wrong places (unless you want to of course). I chose ACS063 (Side) because it expresses so much with so very few lines. I love doing portraits over a colored background instead of the white paper. Having a colored background gives me more creative freedom where I can have fun accenting shapes and colors using watercolors and ink.

Supplies needed:

  • ACS063 Jane Girls Side stencil
  • Canson Moulin Du Roy 140 lb watercolor paper cut 5” x7”
  • Daniel Smith Watercolors: Quinacridone Rose, French Ultramarine, Pthalo Turquoise, Hansa Yellow and Shadow Violet
  • Yasutomo Traditional Chinese Ink Ultra Black (CM18)
  • Memento Bahama Blue stamp pad
  • One round and one flat watercolor brush
  • Small stencil brush

First, create a graduated wash of  blended color and apply it to a sheet of cold press watercolor paper. For a smooth graduated wash, wet the paper first by brushing on clear water until the paper looks semi shiny but not dripping or puddling. Load a flat brush with a generous amount of blue watercolor and brush it along the top, then quickly add a wash of yellow and finally a wash of rose. The colors will blend nicely and will be lighter once they are dry.

Position the stencil over the paper and secure with masking tape. I chose a blue stamp pad to being out the image but not to overwhelm since I want the lines to disappear when I start painting. Hold the stencil in place and scrub the ink in with the stencil brush in a circular motion to bring out the details.

Use a pencil to lightly draw in hair and other details.

I used transparent watercolors for painting in the details and shadows. I prefer transparent colors because they mix beautifully without creating mud. Brush on a wet wash of color and drop in another color without actually touching the brush to the paper. Doing this causes the colors to dance, mingle and create new colors. Remember, the secret to watercolor is water!

I felt the image needed more contrast so I used Yasutomo Chinese Ink Ultra Black to block in the background and bring out the face. This ink is really dense and concentrated so don’t mix it with your watercolors and use a different water container and brush for the ink. I love the way it dried to a matte finish.

Fill in more details with various shades of watercolor and ink until you reach the desired effect you want. 

Well it’s not goodbye, it’s so long for now and I hope see you out in the land of creativity.

Thank you for having me here!

Karen Elaine


Lisa Cousineau
Lisa Cousineau


1 Response

Linda Wyatt
Linda Wyatt

July 18, 2016

Beautiful! Excellent tips for using a stencil without it looking ovbiously stenciled

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