Stencil Harmony | Contrasting Elements

Mix it up

When choosing varied patterns for stenciling select contrasting elements, i.e., large/small, busy/open, bold/delicate, scrolls/geometric.  Patterns that are too similar will result in a static outcome.  Arouse curiosity with your art; give the viewer something to ponder.

Mismatched Patterning

Sometimes patterns do not need to have a consistent element or theme to play well together.  In fact, the opposite can be true. 


When you examine the Flourish & Drop Border alongside of the French Quarter stencil you can see that there are no common elements between them, yet I have paired them successfully.


I began with a tonal application of the Flourish & Drop Border then added the French Quarter pattern as a textured overlay. The varying scale of the elements makes these work in harmony despite their differences. The subtle contrasts in hue, value and intensity come together as a restful background.


In order to connect the supporting canvas with the detailed focal painting I repeated a segment of the French Quarter motif ever-so-softly in the background. You can see it on the corner of the watercolor board below.


When mingling multiple stenciled motifs within a singular work, varying the style, scale and texture of the patterns is an effective way to engage your audience.   To avoid overwhelming the viewer, consider an incomplete application.  Neither of the stencils used for this composition covers the entire surface.