Friday, 15 April 2011

Fishy Business

.......or How Long It Really Took Me To Do A Stencil

Spend an hour sifting through pictures of shoals of fish on Google until I find an image I like.  Print off.

Days 2 - 7
Decorate downstairs loo.  Procrastinate......

Day 8
Take picture to printers and have it enlarged to A2.  Reel at the price but reason that it is still cheaper than buying a stencil.
Day 9

7 a.m.   Wake up with the intention of getting all housework out of the way and shopping done by 10 a.m. in order to start cutting out stencil as soon as possible.

8.30 a.m.  Still in pyjamas and dog not yet walked...plan not going well.

10 a.m. Dog walked and housework half done.  Talk to a friend on the phone and waste half an hour....plan looking shaky.

11.a.m.  Finally finish housework and get in car to go to town.  Errands take me nearly an hour....still confident I can cut out the stencil before lunchtime.

12.15 p.m.  At last!  Cut edges off large plastic folder in order to use one side for stencil.
Tape plastic to enlargement of picture.

Select suitable blade from my scalpel collection.
Abandon that blade after five minutes and replace it with a finer one.  Start cutting.  Realise this might take a while.....
1.05 p.m.  Decide a spot of lunch is in order.  Sit and read the paper for an hour.
2.15 p.m.  Decide to water the garden.  Plants haven't grown since I last looked at them 5 hours ago.
2.40 p.m.  Take dog and go to meet aforementioned friend for a field walk.  This takes an hour.  Discovered my large saluki can be posted through the very small holes under country stiles.  Impressed with his fortitude under such indignities.
4 p.m.  Sit down once again to cut out rest of stencil while at the same time preparing the dinner.  Abandon idea of getting on with some painting for an hour, must get this stencil done today and out of the way.
5 p.m. Still cutting and only about halfway through.  Crack open the packet of chocolate mini-eggs that was supposed to be reserved for decorating the Easter cake next week.  Don't care that they might 'spoil my dinner' as I'm slowly losing the will to live. 
6 p.m. Serve up dinner to family.  Only two fish left to cut out.  Stencil peppered with masking tape repairs where scalpel slipped as design very delicate and plastic not very sturdy.
6.40 p.m. Dinner over so return to cut out the last fish.  Tape stencil to the wall in downstairs loo.  Stand back and realise it's not centralised.  Re-tape stencil to the wall.

Using acrylic paint in Indanthrene Blue and white mixed to the correct shade, start stencilling fish.  When this colour is dry, use Indanthrene to stipple darker shading on top areas of fish.

Using acrylic Interference Medium in green, stipple under-bellies of fish.  This medium is translucent and adds an iridescence which is picked up by the light.

Remove plastic stencil and hand paint in a few of the eyes which hadn't come out circular.

Design looks a bit square and unnatural, so using stencil and selecting separate fish, add extra ones to soften the edges of the whole image.
7.30 p.m. DH returns from Belgium two hours early as has caught an earlier ferry.  Tell him he wasn't supposed to see me still dabbing away at the toilet wall - he promises not to look until it's finished.
7.45 p.m. remove stencil entirely and use emulsion to paint over a couple of little smudges of acrylic.
7.50 p.m.  Stand back and admire!
Over the next week or so I may tweak this a little and add a couple more fish, perhaps meandering on to the other walls, but for now I'm happy.


Sue Doran said...

S'amazing, Caroline, well worth the effort! Hope DH is suitably impressed too! Enjoy the rest of the weekend :-)

Magpie Magic said...

LOL Your account of procastinating made me laugh. :-) Mine (apart from the dog walking) would have been the same. Cutting out stencils is not my fave job. LOL Looks great though and well worth the effort. You could add a little jellyfish somewhere? I love your jellyfish. My cup is sitting on my desk so I can admire the jellyfish whenever I feel like... LOL xoxo

zeejayem said...

Wow, that is talent. I love it!

Robyn... Pen Pals and Picture Books said...

it's beautiful! I love it!

HiKit9! said...

If you have a home projector, these work really well for enlarging anything that is already a digital file (jpeg, pdf, etc.) I traced my stencil on to paper taped to the wall, then was able to cut it out on the back patio. Especially useful for large stencils and saves on the enlarging price... *if* you already have a projector.