why i'm doing happy dances + a little stencil demo

I have some super exciting news to share with all of you! I'm writing an ART SAVES piece for Crescendoh! And it will be featured the week of August 30! I can't tell you how much I LOVE reading Crescendoh and am so honored to be part of such an lovely project!

All of this good news has made me in the mood to create! And since I 've been getting a lot of questions and comments from people about painting technique, I thought I'd document my process for this new painting and show you how I go about painting with stencils. 

I have to say, after documenting this, I realize just how all over the place my process feels and how it all really just comes back to having an intent to express something I feel. I'm not just painting a character, I'm painting a feeling. And my hope is that somehow that comes across. It sure feels lost as I start, but that's the beauty of it. Slowly, piece by piece, it all comes together.  
For this piece I used a doily as my stencil. I started with a light blue background over the entire wood block. 

 Then I laid the doily over the wood and sprayed it with blue and then white paint. I've been reading a lot of fashion magazines and seeing tons of gorgeous tie-dye, so that's my inspiration for the look here.

I felt like the colors were a bit too bright and contrast-ie, and I wanted more of a water color effect, so I grabbed some watered down, white acrylic paint and blended it over some of the colors. Then I added a few more blue stenciled-in spots to up the contrast in other areas.

 I really liked the way this patterned origami paper worked with the tie-dye effect, so I used it for her dress and as a scalloped edge (like you'd find on a stage in a theater) along the top. I also painted in her head with acrylics, then blended in a complimentary color pastel on top for added softness.

 I found this phrase in a vintage book "fresh from the ocean" and just had to use it here. I have no idea how it will fit with the finished piece, but I know to follow my instincts with that sort of thing. 

I also filled in her skirt with acrylics and added the lines by globbing paint on  the end of my paint tube and pressing and smudging it.

 Here's how she sits in my studio now. I rubbed brown ink over her skirt to add depth and had to outline her in that pale green to get a better idea of who she is.

And see that giant white blob beside her left eye? I wanted you to see that because I think sometimes it can get frustrating creating and messing up things, especially when they seem perfect. Here I just happened to have too much white ink in my pen and it completely spread. That's when I stopped for the day. But usually those mess ups turn into happy accidents.

For some reason she needed those giant elk horns too. They're budding with cherry blossoms. And I am very excited to see just who this girl blooms into.

Here's what this girl turned into! Check out the entire evolution here!


  1. Congratulations on writing a piece for them!! Can't wait to see it!!
    Thank you for sharing a demo of your amazing painting!! I have a question, what medium do you use when you add collage items over your paint etc? Modge podge or something else?
    Thanks again for sharing!! Your work is simply amazing!! :)

  2. Congratulations on being a part of crescendoh! That's so wonderful! And thank you for sharing your heartfelt process here. It's so interesting to see how you progress with the layering of each piece. Fascinating to me...♥

  3. love love love this. thanks for sharing, so fun and interesting. i use those little wheels of paints too. super cute. your art makes me smile.

  4. Too cute...love the technique and the final result!!

  5. I love seeing your process! thank you for sharing!

  6. thank you! i'm so happy i can share a bit of my process with you.

    to adhere paper, i use Golden's Gel Medium (self leveling clear gel). i'm liking it better than the Modge podge i was using. for me, it stays nice and smooth. for a top coat, i still use Royalcoat's Decoupage Finish in Antique.

  7. Glad to see art + writing come together for you.

  8. oooh - this look sreally interesting - I'll pop back in to see how she turns out - just gorgeous!

  9. so much fun...and congratulations! keep dancing!

  10. I love the way that you developed this beautiful work.. gave me an enormous will of trying also.
    you also lit me the will of doing crochet.. something that I didn't do to many years.
    Thank you sweet friend for your generosity in explaining everything step the step... you are magnificent.

  11. Thanks for sharing your process... I just love your paintings... Your characters are so imaginative and full of whimsy.

  12. Congrats talented lady, and thanks for the demo! I just love seeing processes artist go through to get to their beautiful artwork!

  13. Congratulations on Crescendoh. Super exciting. Your process is amazing to me and I thank you for taking the time to share it. Happy creating...

  14. Congratz on Crescendoh!! I am soo happy and excited for you! Would love to do a dance with you but my left feet is not fully heal yet. :) Oh and thanks so much for sharing the demo!!! I love it so much and she turns out gorgeous! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

  15. How inspiring to see your process!! Congrats on Crescendoh!!

  16. Congratulations Juliette! Can't wait to read it. And thanks for sharing your process - I love the little white blob, almost like a tear in her eye

  17. Congrats! Can't wait to read your story!


Feel free to say hello and ask questions. I would be delighted to hear from you! xo -juliette

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