Sponges and Stencils

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Creative Exercises, My techniques, My Work | 9 comments

I have a lot of stuff in my art studio, and I am trying to pare down which means giving away all the things I do not use in my work. Up until now that would have included stencils.

As you may know, I designed a set of stencils for Artistcellar last year. That was a challenge for me since I do not, nor have I ever been a stencil user. So I designed stencils that might appeal to someone like me, someone who might want to add texture but not purchased imagery. The stencils that I designed are abstract calligraphy, and they are calls “TEXTures”. I am proud of how they turned out. The second set in this series is due out in November.

Artistcellar makes great stencils, which is why I work with them and now a few other people do too, people like Chris Cozen and Jane Davenport. I received a goodie packet of their stencils this week, and challenged myself to use them on paste paper (against my rules) and ONLY the stencils, paints and paper I already had. And I was going to use them my own way, which turned out to be in many layers of paint applied with a sponge. I tried a paintbrush, but it was too messy and blurry for me.

The first one was using Chris Cozen’s stencils, Playful Pods Series. First I painted a background.


The set of four of Chris’ stencils were used on this paper.


Here is a detail.


The next stencils I used were Old World Maps Series and Water Series by Artistcellar.


Here is a detail. I call this page “Atlantis.”


Next up was a stencil I made of a dog, and adhesive letters that I had stashed along with some punchinella.ย Both the positive and negative stencils were used here.


I am an ocean person, so combing the Coral Series with the Water Series was a natural for me. The colors were stenciled on a page I had painted bright orange. Gotta love us some orange.


Here is a detail.


Lastly I made a page using Cathedral Series along with Jane Davenport’s Jane Girls Series. This one is about these girls sneaking out of Catholic School through the Cathedral at night. IMG_8904

Here is a detail.IMG_8905

It was a fun day. Some of this stuff I will be teaching at the Painted Papers class in Denver next month.

Painting papers is like miso soup: it cures what ails you. It is fun, low risk, cheap, colorful and satisfying. It is one of the parts of my practice I never get tired of.

So order up some stencils and get thee to your studio!


  1. I love all of these Jill! You know my favorite one is the blue one ๐Ÿ™‚ The cathedral plans one, with the profile face hidden in there, turned out really cool too! Not bad for a “not a stencil person”! LOL

  2. You can come play with me and my stencils anytime, Jill! Love what you did with the pods!

    • Sounds good Chris, let’s do it!

  3. I read it even tho’ I DO play with stencils ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now, having seen all of your gorgeous colors and textures, that’s all I want to do today ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Thanks for sharing your ‘play’ with us, dear Jill!

    • Come on by for a playdate with me Penny!

  4. Inspired by your work; I have gotta get the map stencils because I adore your book and the two would work so well together.

    • Thank you Linda, I am so glad you like the book! And yes, these map stencils are the bomb.

  5. Love your creations!! Just got my package from artist cellar and you’ve given me the inspiration to p,ay!!

  6. omgosh Jill these artwork are so gorgeous. I love the layers, especially what you did with the cathedral set. wow.


  1. Painted Papers by Jill K. Berry | Stencil Search - […] technique to share with our StencilTalk readers. Last weekend I was lucky enough to find both in this blog…

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