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In the town where I spent my formative years, there is an old storage block on the east side that was converted into a street art installation. Every so often, new images appear. I am always impressed by the effects the artists create, presumably only using spray paint and stencils. Perhaps I can credit my fascination with this art medium for the newest additions to my walls.

The Steps:

1) I purchased some canvas, paint brushes, blank stencil sheets and acrylic paint from a craft store. Everything else (utility knife, images, tape, etc.) I had at home.

Have fun making the colorful background for the paintings. I found a pretty good tutorial for “abstract art for dummies”. Here’s one of them:

2) Find images for your art that aren’t too intricate. You are, after all, cutting these out of plastic sheeting and tiny details don’t show up as well. Confession: I liberally stole from some intelligent beings online, then slightly modified a few of the images to cater to my needs.

3) Tape plastic sheet to the image and secure to a thick piece of cardboard or scrap wood so you don’t gouge the heck out of your table top. (This could even be a cutting board.)  Tip 1: Remember that whatever you cut out is going to show up painted on the canvas. If your image is busy, I would recommend marking those areas that you want visible, assuring yourself that you don’t accidentally remove an essential piece.

4. Try out your stencil on a piece of blank paper to see what the image will look like, then decide if you’d like to make adjustments. The kissing couple, for example, wasn’t the representation I wanted, so I made some changes to the physical features and then added some detail.

before

after

5. Next, tape your stencil to your canvas. I used masking tape, although painters tape might be a better option? You’re ready to go! Tip 2: to begin, don’t use too much paint . . . less is more (see the word “Evolve” in number 1).

6. I experimented with different color combinations and layouts. For example, the black lotus below stands out against the white “outline”. Really, this was just one stencil on top of another, but I didn’t want the same effect to appear on all the flowers. I also didn’t want the “no bombs/war” image to be entirely black down the side. Small things, and they’re fun to play with! Enjoy!

 

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