Friday, March 1, 2013

What an learning experience!!

As soon as I saw this stencil, Swirly Garden from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer I knew I had to have it and I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. Julie shared this layout she made with it when she debuted the stencil and I was inspired! ( Photo via

I had just bought a solid black canvas apron to wear when I was working and I was going to use this stencil to put a border across the bottom. The design was going to be pink, blue, yellow and green just like Julie's!! I was so excited...until I started. I almost abandoned the project half way through. I pulled the stencil off, threw it on the floor and tossed my apron to the other side of my studio. I had put in about 10 hours on the apron and it was only half done. It was taking up my whole work table so I wasn't really able to work on anything else. I usually bounce around between projects while I wait for paint to dry or make decisions on the progress of a piece etc. I was angry, frustrated, and bored...I was going to Joann's to buy some fabric to make a few ruffles and cover up the half finished stencil design...but not that same day. I was not even going to look at that apron for some time, I didn't even care how many shirts I ruined by not wearing it when working. I'm happy to say that after about 4 days I picked the apron up and got back to it, put in about another 10 hours and finished it!

Here's what I learned:
 1. Do not paint on black canvas that you are going to wear. It took about six coats of paint to get the colors as bright as I wanted them to show up well.
2. Choose darker colors of paint...the yellow and pink took more like 8 coats of paint.
3. Choose a less detailed stencil. As much as I love this stencil I basically needed to repeat it 3 times to go all the way across my apron times six coats of paint through it equals 18 times I put paint through this stencil. On the plus side,  I got my $7.50 worth even if never use the stencil again but that won't happen, I love it again now. Now you understand why it took me 20 hours to complete :)
4. Choose a stencil that is easily repeated. This was not designed to repeat but thanks to the wonky shapes (one is just to the right of the flower) it wasn't too bad to create some of my own to blend one into the next so there are no visible lines.
 5. Saved the most important for last...NEVER GIVE UP COMPLETELY ON A PIECE OF YOUR ART. Our art is a part of us and giving up on a piece of our work is the same as giving up on a piece of yourself. DON'T DO IT!

And here it is!!

 Thanks for stopping by! If you are so inclined please leave a comment. They mean the world to me!!

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Michelle H said...

Beautiful!! I can see that stencil being used in so many different ways. Dawn, your perseverance is inspiring. I would have given up.

pbjfcs said...

LOVE it!!!!!

Rebecca said...

I love the vibrance. I am glad you perservered.

mjk said...

well it turned out beautiful. glad you finished it. tfs

Anonymous said...

Your finished apron is gorgeous. I hope you wear it with pride knowing the sweat & tears that went into it!