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What secret have I been keeping? 4 new stencils! They’ve just been released at StencilGirl Products and there were 2 big influences on these, play and Henri Matisse.

When I saw The Dance by Henri Matisse at the Museum of Modern Art, I was speechless. Sure I loved the feeling of unrestricted movement and the youthful spontaneity, but there was something more about it that I didn’t understand until I did a little research.

This was a scandalous and rule breaking painting for its time. The ambiguous nudes were called barbaric, they didn’t fit the traditional conventions of drawing figures at all.

This painting represents freedom to me. The freedom to not follow the rules, to make art the way that you want to, instead of the way that you’re “supposed” to. That’s how I feel about scribble journaling after years of handwriting critiques, so I added a touch of rebellious with it to the figures inspired by his painting.

After learning what a rule breaker Matisse was, his quotes held even more wisdom. What he said back then is just as true now.

Imagine we were sitting down with Matisse, having a cup of coffee while chatting about the creative process and the artistic journey. These quotes of his are the words of advice Henri Matisse would give us. Oh to have a time machine!

There was a time when Matisse didn’t understand color. Hard for me to even wrap my mind around that the impressionist painter, John Russell, explained color theory to him. When Matisse said “an artist is an explorer” he was speaking from experience.

These figures revealed their personalities as I turned them into fabric art dolls. The Inner Child and the Guide holding hands, the Superhero who leaps over tall obstacles in a single bound, the Free Spirit who hears the music of the soul even in these noisy times, and The Adventurer is ready to head off and see what the world has to offer.

The inspiration for Silly Silas and Sigmund was dealing with the conversations that happen in our minds and finding a way to not take them so seriously.

These characters are like vaudeville stage managers of our lives who just can’t seem to take things too seriously. 

Silas, on the bottom, is trying to coral all the everyday happenings, the feelings, the thoughts, while Sigmund is perched up top to get the best view of the show we call our lives. Both are quite opinionated and of course, share those opinions freely!

This stencil set is all about options. Not only do you have these characters in different sizes, you also get 3 masks with the stencil. That gives you lots of ways you can add a touch of playfulness to you art.

It’s Time to Play is filled with quotes to remind us all that a little play is good for the soul! Play is powerful for your health. Yes, your health!

Studies show there are health benefits to play. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve memory, stimulate the growth of the cerebral cortex, and that’s all on top of having fun. When my family asks what I’m doing in my studio, I tell them I’m taking care of my health!

Who said all of these quotes?

  • My childhood may be over but that doesn’t mean playtime is – Ron Olson
  • Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be-Eckart Tolle
  • Getting old is when you walk around the puddle instead of through it-  adapted from an RC Ferguson quote
  • A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest- Roald Dahl
  • Play is the beginning of knowledge- George Dorsey

When you’ve got stencils with words and phrases on them, you can use them as they are & you can combine them together. Here I took a quote from Conversations with Matisse and combined it with parts of quotes from It’s Time to Play to create a custom phrase.

Thanks for stopping by for a bit of play! You can find all of these stencils at StencilGirl Products.

Want to know when I have new tutorials up using these stencils? Get subscribed to my newsletter and you’ll be in the know!


Paint pouring can make drawing easier. Really! Create playful creatures without the pressure to get proportions “right” or any other intimidating facets of drawing. How? By finding shapes in the cells of a poured painting.

You start with any poured canvas. The more cells the better for finding characters and creatures in there. If you’re curious how to do a canvas like this, I’ve got the entire process for you in a free download, The Paint Pouring Blueprint.

How do you make a poured canvas with all those cells? Get the Free Paint Pouring Blueprint

If I was looking at a blank canvas, it would feel paralyzing to draw something but when I start with a poured canvas I’m just looking for what is already there. So no pressure!

Every canvas is different, so if you’re not seeing something right away, turn the canvas to look at it from a different angle or prop it up on the counter and step back from it. Changing your perspective can help creatures and images pop out.

Using a pencil, lightly draw the shape you see directly on the canvas. On this one, I saw a wonky bunny rabbit. You might see something different. That’s the fun of this, each person can see something totally different.

Once you’ve drawn the outline of the shape lightly in pencil, start painting around it. Use any color of paint that you want.

But be aware, that lighter colors may take more than 1 coat to cover up any darker colors underneath. If you’re more patient than me, let it dry between coats.

After you’re done painting, erase any visible pencil lines.

Do you need to seal this before you put it up on the wall? Since it was done with acrylic paints no sealing is required. But if you want a super shiny look, then you’ll need to add a gloss finish to it. Something like DecoArts TopCoat or Polycrylic will make it shine.

Next time you’re doing paint pouring, see if you notice any playful creatures or characters on your canvas!


Ever get a crazy idea that just doesn’t make any sense to you? When you’re art journaling, ideas can be nonsense – so follow them! In the video, you’ll see what idea got stuck in my head plus when I had a great big case of hesistation– and why that’s a good thing!

Is this a carefully curated pile of inspiration? Nope, it’s just stuff that called to me from my box of leftovers. Just because I grabbed all of it, doesn’t mean that I have to use all of it, even the parts I really wanted to use, like the purple ribbon.

Zero hesitation when it came time to glue these down and you might be thinking, wow, that’s so cool. She never has to deal with that hesitation. Oh to wait until a little bit later and you’re going to see when I hesitated, and why that made it fun! 

The numbers 1 to 10 cut from my Never Ending Calendar stencil planted a seed in my head that I could not shake. I kept coming back to counting down and blasting off.  Only there’s nothing here that is saying blast off to me…yet.

To cover up the background I used acrylic gouache. One of the cool things about this paint is that it behaves like a hybrid of watercolors and acrylic paint.  When you add water to it, it acts more like a watercolor, but when it dries, it dries like acrylic paint.

I wanted 3 windows on the page.  I really wanted them but 3 windows didn’t really work on the page. No matter how many ways I rearranged them or move them around they’re too big and too much.

I knew what I had to do, but I just didn’t have the heart to do it. I was going to have to cut one of them, but once I cut it, there’s no going back. That window will never be the same and I love those three windows.

There was so much hesitation about cutting these windows apart as if it was a huge risk.  I could have made more and done this all over again.  But it felt so huge to me.  Ever feel that way?

But all that hesitation has a benefit.  When you push through it you get an absolute rush. It’s almost like being at the top of the roller coaster with your hands up in the air when you take that risk.

Since I had the black paint out and a brush already in it, why not use it?  O.O.P.S., and not a pretty OOPS either, but even the ugly ones are truly Outstanding Opportunities Presenting Suddenly.  Even if you have no idea how it will become an opportunity!

Maybe a little bit of yellow on top of the black will make it not so avert your eyes ugly.  But nope.  Still not liking it. O.O.P.S. again. 


In the process of trying to rescue the yellow area, I used the teal paint.  That’s when it hit me, put that on the windows too!  The Opportunity in the black paint O.O.P.S. was finally clear.  It was meant to be under another color!

This whole time I had been dancing with the idea that I just couldn’t shake, the countdown, that didn’t seem to fit with what I was doing. As I added the word with The Dance of This Life stencil, I began to understand the story that had been developing on this page. 

So that person dancing there is jack and he’s dancing in celebration. celebrating.  He thinks he’s made the best deal of his life. You see, he had a cow and he traded that for some magic beans.

Well, when he got home, the family was very unhappy with this. They threw the beans out the window, he was in a wee bit of trouble for making such a big mistake. But what everybody thought was a big mistake turned out to be an amazing adventure. So upon that beanstalk, as it grew,  that was the countdown for Jack going an amazing adventure.  

Once I understood the story, some of the things that I’d done make more sense to me like down there at the bottom where the black and put the yellow on it, it actually looks like a faraway meadow with just a little bit of a tree line. Way, way back in the distance, say where Jack’s cow might have been grazing.

Next time you’re playing, if you get a crazy thought in your head that just doens’t make sense, go with it anyway and see where it takes you!

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming! The Maya Road chipboard windows are no longer in production and the architectural stamped image is Stamp Camp I think but they are no longer in business.