Welcome back to Part 2 of Innovative Corner with Laurie Speltz. Laurie is sharing about her painting techniques and how she creates her designs today. She also will be giving away FIVE stencils of the winner’s choice so please join us!
What is your preference on paints and painting techniques?
I mainly use DecoArt Americana paints. I like the consistency of the paint I feel comfortable trying all kinds of techniques with it. I feel confident using almost all of their product lines and have at one time or another. I consider my painting pretty basic with lots of embellishments and layering. My backgrounds have become a great place to showcase our stencils. Layering and adding bits and pieces of different techniques provide some interesting and colorful alternative. On my main characters and additional elements I do a base/float/finish style of painting. I base either with brushes or by using our stencil shapes to apply solid color in an area. I then take that “base” color and embellish it with techniques and/or detail. I use floating as the technique to apply my shading and highlighting. I also do a lot of dry brushing. I also use pen and repetitive pattern and incorporate mixed media techniques and tools. Layering can also be done on individual elements/shapes to add additional detail and the color separations.
My stencil line of products has allowed me to reach new segments of the arts and craft industry. People who have very limited painting skills are finding they too can create with paint using our line of “Basecoat Stencils” and brushes. Seasoned painters find the stencils can save valuable time in basecoating and creating designs. They then can add all their own techniques and skills to these base shapes and elements. Mixed Media and paper crafting allows my stencils to be used with all kinds of mediums and techniques. The layering of products and techniques is made so easy when combined with our shapes, patterns, backgrounds, borders, and words. We started with 4 stencils and now have over 200 in our line. I was trying to teach people how to cut their own stencils and they kept telling me they would rather buy them already cut. Well I am from Iowa and just like the “Field of Dreams”, if you build it they will come. Well I came to find out that if you cut them, they will buy.
I did a big licensed line of stencils a few years back that made it into most of the major craft stores. They were called the “Instant Image Templates”. They came in 2 sizes – journal and pocket and they had a unique file folder tab on the side of each one. I also had unique edges on many of them and promoted layering and the combination of different shapes. They also included project ideas and education. It was an attempt to provide alternatives for paper crafters who weren’t comfortable using paint to create with. Stencils were not popular and were stereotyped at the time and these helped open the doors for templates/stencils again. Now stencils are more accepted with painters, crafters, paper crafters and mixed media artists.
I started using stencils back when I was doing craft shows. Nobody talked about it but many crafters were using them to save time. I figured it out and started cutting my own stencils. I found that in the time I transferred a pattern and basecoated one item with a brush, I could have 6 things done. The trick was to make them so they didn’t have that plain “stenciled look”. I came up with the term “Basecoat Stencils” because that what I was doing with them, applying base color to shapes. I then embellished them with skills of a decorative painter. I wasn’t the first to use stencils but I was the first to bring them to the forefront in this manner. I am proud of that fact.
Can you tell us about your creative process? How do you approach a design and where does your inspiration come from?
My creative process is probably unique to most. My favorite way to paint is to create or choose my surface and then adapt a design to the surface. My Mom used to do my basecoating for me and I would decide on a palette of colors and then have her base the surfaces a variety of colors. I would then decide what would go on each surface and I would create around that base color. I would draw directly on the surface and didn’t work from a pattern. I would create the pattern after I was done. I still do that but I now draw on tracing paper and start on paper because of the backgrounds I am putting down. It is harder to repaint an area if you don’t like it because your background may be destroyed in the process. So I have become a little more traditional but not much. I basically get a starting point and then create as I go.
I love looking at all areas of art for inspiration. I watch trends closely. I look for color, pattern and themes. I look at incorporating new tools, stamps, and adding my own stencils into the mix. When I design I have to figure out how to include my stencils as much as possible. I go back and include old stencils as much as new ones. That is an art in itself. They are tools and meant to be used over and over and not just for one project.
I was doing a craft show in Des Moines a few years ago. I was setting up and the vendor next to us came over and said, “I just want to tell you that you do Laurie Speltz really well.” I said thanks and chuckled to myself for a slight second as I really wanted to say “thanks I know her really well.” But I said I was her and we both got a good laugh out of it.
I enjoy travel teaching a lot. Each group is different and unique. I love the ocean and really enjoy getting the chance to be by the water whenever I can. I love when I get to explore the area and play a little too. I loved going to Cannon Beach in Oregon and always love my time at NET. I love Newport and the Cape. No matter where I teach we try to enjoy the people and the area.
Where do you teach?
Check our website for a full schedule. I teach at most of the conventions we attend. I also have an online classroom. This allows me to teach 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. Check our website for special events, classes and workshops on our site. We do a 12 Days of Christmas Event and a Santa’s Summer Workshop that includes videos, patterns and surfaces. It has become a very popular event.
We host our Creative Coach University twice a year. It is a workshop that is attended by designers, crafters, retailers and people who just want to have fun with paint. We explore all kinds of trends, new products, techniques and ways of approaching design. It encourages people to step outside their box and try different approaches to a project. There is lots of sharing and exploring. We have done over 20 sessions. We have limited seating to make it a personal experience where you are just not another number in the room. We also do a version of this on the road in Canton Ohio. Check out our site for more information.
I do travel teach and add a few dates each year. I try to make it a unique experience to each group. I like to do a main project and then bring some other new items that people may have never tried and let them get a chance to “play” a little.
Is there any other information that you would like to share?
2016 is a special year for us. We will be celebrating the creation of The Creative Coach – 25 years!!!! Now that is the number of years that I have been exploring and painting, but it is celebrating the starting point to something that has evolved every day for 25 years. We will be announcing some special opportunities, workshops and events throughout the year. Check our site or like us on facebook. www.lauriespeltz.com
I would also like to have another GIVEAWAY today. Today I will be giving away FIVE Basecoat stencils of your choice out of our 200 stencil line! It is a $24.95 value! All you have to do to enter is to comment here or on Debbie’s Facebook page at Debbie Cole Designs! The winner will be announce on her page on Tuesday to give everyone a chance to enter.
Laurie and I want to thank you for joining us for this two part article. We both have really enjoyed all of your comments! I will have another Innovative Corner next month with a special guest artist.
Also, for those of you who would like to learn more about stenciling, we have been discussing this subject all month in my group Creative Innovations>. Please join us! February’s theme will be Finishing the UFO’s so please stop by and join us!