I often use stencils to help establish shapes. Virtually any found objecta leaf, a piece of lace or a plastic templatewill work as a stencil. But I often go one step further and create my own designs by cutting out patterns from thin sheets of plywood, Masonite or heavy vinyl. To use a stencil, I lay it on my painting surface and spray or drop ink or paint through the cutout areas, using either a spray bottle, atomizer or eyedropper. I move my stencils around, repeating, overlapping and allowing the forms to merge to create depth and dimension. Since stenciled edges are sharp, I soften them with a mist of water to melt them into the picture.