“Home is Where the Cat Is” is my design and stenciled hand-lettered by me in acrylic paint on weathered wood reclaimed from a neighbor’s old stockade fence. I create each sign individually and the wood surface varies so each sign is unique. This sign measures 10″ wide x 3.5″ tall and has a sawtooth hanger on the back.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
My back yard in the morning is a great creative place for me. While I’m working in my garden and around my house for an hour or two, early, I’m also thinking through yesterday’s ideas to make them today’s realities. I’d been thinking of signs, and begun to visualize a few of them on the wood I’d gathered. Then Mewsette did this on the steps to the deck.
I added the rest of her in a shape that worked, and knew I wanted a dangling tail for interest. Initially I planned to curve the text around her back, but since the wood is narrow and I want to keep it simple I decided to place the text where it naturally fit—in the space underneath reinforcing her position on the step.
When I was handpainting this sign I painted around Mewsette’s eyes, leaving them the wood color. Since I’m stenciling it’s awkward to try to get those little bits of stencil to stay in the right place, so I stencil over the entire shape and then paint the eyes in with a brush. In this case I used a light cool green, which is the color of Mewsette’s eyes, but it’s too light. Her eyes will be a color, and I think I’ll go with a bright green.
I just started doodlin around in my studio with some nice weathered wood from my neighbor’s old stockade fence. Originally they were hand-painted, not stenciled. I was a sign painter 30 years ago and I’ve wanted to paint some decorative signs since they’ve become popular again. I gave the wood and the paint and two designs a try, then decided on four designs and started painting.
Because of that I began painting these signs freehand with outlines I traced on the wood and that worked fine with the first pieces of wood I used that I’d chosen because they were nice and smooth. However, in real life, most of the wood is not smooth but has rough finishes, stamped patterns from being cut, and splits and holes from nails and weather.
The wood is very rough and weathered so I give it a sanding, then wipe it down with a tack cloth. Now the larger areas on the signs are stenciled, and the text is hand-lettered. I try to find a smooth area for the text for each sign. There is no way to smooth out the surface so I just deal with it as I paint.
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