Art for Kids at Biddington's Art Gallery
BIDDINGTON'S Home & Search.   BIDDINGTON'S Creative Process--visits to artist's studios.

MY ART--Art for Kids

Stencil Prints
by Charles Hewitt
Painter & Printmaker

I have always loved reading: seafaring tales like Moby Dick, short stories by Truman Capote and poetry. As a teenager on my first visit to New York, I met the great poet W.H. Auden on the street. I couldn't believe someone like him was just out walking around the city.

Charlie Hewitt print
My paintings include my new thoughts and also memories of my life growing up with seven brothers & sisters along the Maine seacoast. I make important memories into simplified shapes called graphics. Like a poet selects just a few words to tell a whole story in a small space, I use my graphics to put a world of experiences into one simple shape.

Charles Hewitt's Stencil Print
"Blue Veil"

This chain graphic is my own, personal symbol for docks, anchors and the life of the working seashore in Maine. This black cherry is the symbol I use for my mom.

Charlie Hewitt chain graphic detail

I like the opportunity to repeat a graphic. Here is the same chain graphic in a painting I just finished about the World Trade Center.

Detail of Chain Graphic in Charles Hewitt's
World Trade Center Painting "Veil 1"
To make it easy to reuse a graphic, I make the graphic into a stencil. I cut the stencil from acetate (a clear, light-weight plastic sheet) so it holds the shape. Then I place the shape against the paper or canvas surface and paint it in. Sometimes I use only part of the graphic, sometimes I paint over it with another color. In this painting, I covered most of the black chain graphic with a thin layer of white paint for a smoky effect.

Charles Hewitt stencil cutting animation

These photos show me outlining, cutting & printing some stencil graphics. The way I use the graphic in my painting or prints may change. But, over time, the simple shape--and the memories it represents--stays basically the same.

Sometimes I make a print composed entirely of graphic stencils. Why don't you try it?

PROJECT IDEA: Make a Stencil Print

1) Find some shapes you like in an old magazine. Make a stencil of each shape by using clear acetate and tracing the shape on it with a marker. Make 3 to 5 outline shapes.
Hint: Leave some space between the shapes on the acetate .

2) Cut the shapes out of the acetate.
Hint: The stencil is the outline of the shape--not the part that you cut out.
Use your head: Handle cutting tools safely--pointed-tip kids' scissors should work fine. Ask your parent or teacher for help if you need it.

3) On a piece of heavy paper or posterboard, decide where you want the first stencil to be placed and what color it should be. Color-in the empty stencil space by sponging over it with poster paint.
Hint: Use a damp sponge squeezed nearly dry and dip it lightly into the paint. Use a different sponge for each color.

4) While the paint takes a minute or two to dry, think about where you want to place the next stencil and what color it should be. Keep doing this with your stencils until your print is done.

Questions to ask yourself:
1) What kind of shape makes a good stencil?
2) Should the stencil shapes be alike or different?
3) Should the stencil shapes stand alone or overlap?
4) What happens if you sponge the paint very lightly? or very heavily?

Charles Hewitt with a stenciled painting

WHO IS Charlie Hewitt?
Charles Hewitt is a painter and printmaker who lives with his family in New York City. His art is in museums including: Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Museum of Modern Art (NYC), New York Public Library, Library of Congress (DC), Farnsworth Museum and Bates College Museum (ME).

See his studio visit interview to learn more about Charles Hewitt.

Project Notes for Parents and Teachers

Planning Time: Moderate to High.
This project requires some specific materials that might not be on hand. Acetate is usually available in art supply shops.
Costs: Acetate about $2/individual sheet
Washable poster paint about $10/set.
Level of Adult Supervision: Medium.
The project involves cutting and slightly messy sponge painting.
Ages: 8-11.

Materials notes:
1) Clear acetate sheet about 24" x 36"
2) Marker
3) Washable tempera poster paint for sponging
4) Damp household sponges (cut in half)
5) Small bowls for dipping sponges into paint
6) Medium ("20 x 26") piece of heavy paper such as bristolboard or posterboard
7) Pointed-tip kids' scissors
8) Old magazines with lots of images
9) Apron or smock for the child who worries about messy paint.

More of MY ART--Art for Kids at BIDDINGTON'S:
Art Club 4th Graders at PS6: Political Cartoons on United Nations Themes
John Clem Clarke: Mixed-Media Pop Art Painting
Charles Hewitt: Stencil Prints
Susan Kaprov: Puzzle Pictures
Kate Wattson: Still Life Painting


Visual artists show their own art to children, tell kids how they make it and suggest related art projects suitable for children ages 7-11.

BIDDINGTON'S--Index to Our Content Articles.<

Biddington's Home & Search