Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
I have a little primer on how to use clear gesso. Haha. See what I did there?
I used to have a love/hate relationship with clear gesso. I first heard about it when I took classes with Suzi Blu a few years back. Great for layering colored pencils and such. But whenever I used it (and I can't remember the brand) it would EAT UP my markers and pencils. I don't know how many marker tips I ruined trying to write over it.
Fast forward a few years and let me introduce you to... Dina Wakley's Media line of Gessoes. Artistcellar has the black and white versions, I just added the Clear Gesso to the shelves because.... LOVE! A lot of gessoes have a very rough gritty feel to them. This one is much smoother to the touch and still does the job! It still has some grit, but it's more like a chalkboard than sandpaper.
I went ahead and did a comparison between the Media Clear Gesso and a matte Gel medium (which has many merits of it's own!) in my art journal.
I grabbed as many art journaling tools that I could think of: watercolor, Neo2 watercolor crayon, water soluble graphite pencil, watercolor pencil, inktense, sharpie, india ink, permopaque marker, prismacolor marker, fude ball pen, pitt pen, pastel chalk...
Just looking over the pages as a whole, I can see that the gessoed page, on the right, has more intense colors. It was especially apparent in the area of the watercolor and the water soluble writing tools.
I glued book pages down in the journal to give some idea of how translucent the colors are. The picture below shows the page with the matte gel medium background. It's respectable and perfectly doable. It has a nice, subtle watercolorey look to it. From top to bottom is Neocolor2 crayons in purple, Water soluble graphite in gray, watercolor pencil in red, and inktense in green.
Now compare the clear gessoed page with the same colors below. MUCH more intense and vibrant. That gesso just grabbed onto the color.
I also tested a bunch of different pens and markers. India ink looked the same over both surfaces, but the others worked a lot better on the gessoed surface than the gel medium. Below is the mark test with gel medium:
It's okay. It gets a little smudgy. Below is the page with the gesso base.
Definitely has more intensity to it. And it wasn't so gritty as to chew up the tips of my markers. The sharpie marker really stood out, as well as the Fude Ball pen. The pan pastel chalk (blue in the corner) really did a LOT better over the gesso, chalk needs something to cling to.
One thing to remember is that ALL water soluble mediums (pens, paints, dyes) will smear if you put gel medium OR clear gesso over the top. Anything wet will smudge them. I had a page in my art journal that I had sprayed with Dylusions Black Marble ink spray and did a little stenciling to give it some depth and texture. I wanted to use the background for a Journal52 prompt "a tribute to David Bowie" but I knew that if I tried to write with white paint pens over Dylusions Ink spray I would get a muddy gray mess, because the ink spray would migrate into the white paint pen on top. This is a perfect example of how to use the clear gesso. I simple brushed a layer of clear gesso over the ink spray to seal it without changing the background much. Because my background was abstract more or less, I didn't mind that it smudged with the brush strokes. If you don't want it to smudge, use a makeup sponge and DAB the clear gesso on top without rubbing it. Let it dry thoroughly before adding anything on top.
I got nice and clear, WHITE lettering with a paint pen, no bleed through. (The white you see behind is a stabilo pencil I first wrote lightly with, to grunge up the piece a little.)
Something else to note, is that if you use a clear gesso over a page, then write on top with a water soluble medium like a neo2 crayon, it WILL continue to be water soluble, until you seal it again. Both gel medium and gesso are water proof and will hold that medium on TOP of the surface. Simply seal with another (dabbed) layer of clear gesso, or a spray sealant. Or don't seal it at all, consider it a top final layer and you're done!
Thanks for reading, see you next time!
We're looking for a couple artists to round out our next Design Team! One requirement besides being an awesome artist: that you have a blog where we can see your artwork AND your writing style.
If interested, send an email to Lisa at artistcellar.com
Explain why you want to be on the AC Design Team and include links to your blog/artwork (points for good grammar and spelling Artistcellar right!). Please be sure to put "Design Team" in the subject line so we don't miss your submission!
As promised, today's post will feature an ornament that is a little more difficult to make, but oh so much fun. Because you know you NEED another hobby, another medium and more tools and stuff to buy! Well, I already had all this stuff laying around, I just happened to unpack it recently, as I haven't soldered since I moved into my new studio.
What you will need:
Since this is a quick lesson showing you what I did, I will not go into detail regarding the types materials you need. There are some great books and youtube videos that can teach you the basics of how to solder and all the stuff you need to begin.
The first thing you want to do is "audition" parts of your prints. I cut a window out of a piece of paper the exact size of the glass slides. I decided to make some designs symmetrical, some abstract, and created little collages on the flip sides of some.
Cut out the design and put it between the two pieces of microscope glass.
Now, without getting too many fingerprints/oils on the edge of the glass, carefully center it on the copper tape so it will wrap around to both of the sides. It will look like this.
With the back of a spoon or bone folder, burnish the copper tape down all around, trying to miter the corners so it all lays nice and flat and adheres to the glass.
Here are all the designs I made, wrapped in copper tape and ready to solder.
Heat up the soldering iron and clip your glass so you don't have to hold it with your hand. Trust me you DO NOT want hot solder to drop on your skin. Unless you like third degree burns and scarring. (No, not even funny.) You MUST brush flux on the copper tape or the solder won't stick to the copper. Put the tip of the iron on the end of the solder wire and after a second it will melt on the tip and you can drip it on the edge of the piece. Slowly pull the iron along the edge and the solder will follow. (ooh. Look at the piece in the background. You can see my butterfly wing between some glass, being made into a pendant!)
Continue around the front and back edge the same way, picking up more solder as needed.
When you have half the piece done, let it cool a few minutes, flip it over and re-clip it, add flux to the parts you need to do next, and repeat the process until you have the entire piece done on all sides, front and back. If you have rough areas or peaks, you can rest the tip of the iron and re-melt it and smooth it out, but remember, perfection is overrated and it looks best lumpy and bumpy and rustic :-)
Adding a jump ring is best shown by someone else, I forgot to take pictures, lol. Basically you put a blob of solder where you want the ring, hold the ring with hemostats or a contraption called a "third hand" and melt the solder around the ring, the ring will sink into the melted solder and it hardens almost immediately and viola! like magic the ring is stuck to the top. (yeah, not really THAT easy! Practice!)
This one has the similar images front and back. It uses an abstract part of one of the Diamonds Series stencils gelli printed. The rest of the images show the fronts and backs of the ornaments. The FAITH one and the abstract one below were made using glass that was a little bigger than microscope slides.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the process. Soldering really is fun, but can be a bit expensive to start up. My dad gave me a lot of my supplies, as he used to make stained glass windows. Yes, I come from a family of artists :-)
I also want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Hey everyone! Congratulations to all the Diamonds Stencil Winners from our last Blog Hop. You should have all received your stencils by now and hopefully are happily playing with them!
Today I have a few projects for you showing how you can make some last minute Christmas ornaments. One is pretty easy... and the other isn't :-)
Who has played with Shrinky Dinks? You know, it's not just for children! When I first got the Diamonds Stencils, I was thinking of things to do "out of the ordinary" and I had just found my pack of shrinky dinks (um, still packed away in a box from when I moved!) I decided to try something different. AND you'll see how I screwed it up and finished it anyway!
When you first get your sheet of "Polyshrink Plastic" out you'll notice that it is shiny on both sides. We can't have that. There is nothing for the ink or colored pencil to stick to.
Get out your handy sanding block, or just some plain old FINE grit sandpaper. Scuff up the sheet on ONE side only. Go in all directions. Vertical, horizontal, diagonally both ways. This is what the ink or color is going to stick to. You can see how shiny it is by the reflection of my lap at the bottom.
Now you can see how scuffed it is by the reflection. Note to self: scuff it up even more next time. Colored pencil adheres much better the more rough it is.
So the first one I tried was only a part of the Flanders Stencils, the center area. I traced it onto the stencil on the rough side and colored the pieces in with some Prismacolor colored pencils. You want to get as dense of pigment down as possible. I cut the shape out carefully, including a little hangy hole. You will see the shrunk piece at the end.
For the next piece, I used the Heart Stencil from the Diamond Series. I was taking a BIG risk in doing something this large. But what the heck... I'm a rebel. I used StazOn ink in Red and a makeup sponge and stenciled through on the rough side of the plastic.
So it looked like this.
I cut around the shape leaving about 1/4" edge all around, and included a little area where I punched a hole with a regular 1/4" hole punch up in the crack of the heart so I could put a string through it. Now you get to watch a real-time video where I show it shrinking. And you can see how I almost screwed up the whole thing by trying to shrink something that big with a heat gun. It stuck together but I managed to pry it apart and save the day.
Between the two, I think the Heart came out better, because I used the StazOn ink. It was a more even coverage. The Flanders ornament shrunk nicely (and quickly) but you can still see some of the roughness and some pencil strokes. It's really hard to get a good picture of these guys!
Hi Everyone! Lisa here. I hope you are enjoying the Diamonds Blog hop and all the fabulous artists and artwork. If you would like to see all the artwork together in one place, I set up a board on Artistcellar's Pinterest Page, just click on: DIAMOND PINS.
Today, artist Felicia Borges is wrapping up the blog hop with her art journal page using Diamonds. Be sure to leave a comment on THIS page for yet another chance to win to set of Diamonds Series stencils of your very own. Details at the end of the post.
Without further adieu, here's Felicia!
Felicia Borges (rhymes with gorgeous) here, creator of the Art Journal Rebellion, coming at you live from Sacramento California to share my totally rad take on Artistcellar’s new “Diamond” stencil series. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend (see what I did there?) I generally go for stencils that can be used in multiple ways and these multi-faceted stencils don’t disappoint. So many ways to use them! And at 6x6 inches they are large enough to make an impact (cuz you know you want a big one!) and yet still small enough to be portable. These are great for making quick and easy art in my Midori Travelers Notebook, used as my on-the-go art journal.
For me, the first step is almost always to free write on the background of a blank page. Here I used a basic writing pen with pink ink (because PINK!). I don’t worry about being profound. Who cares? It’s my journal. I don’t have to impress anyone with beautiful penmanship, dripping with deep meaning and significance. An art journal is defined as something an artist (HEY-that’s you and me!) uses to record things visually and/or with words. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. SERIOUSLY!
I then rubbed a white Faber-Castell Gel Stick quickly and loosely across the two pages and smudged the gel with a Martha Stewart Foam Pouncer (you can get them in a set—I tend to carry the one that is similar in size to the gel sticks around with me). OR you could try the Sponge Finger Dabbers from Artistcellar.
Next I used the “Heart” stencil from Artistcellar’s “Diamond” stencil series, along with a red gel stick. I swiped the gel stick across the foam on the pouncer and then smudged through the stencil. A little goes a long way. I prefer building up several light layers to get the coverage that I want. I also used my fingers (for me it’s so hard not to!). The stencil did a beautiful job of holding up to all that rubbing (and as expected, the foam held up well to the stencil)
Doodling faces is kind of my “thang.” So I did that with a basic black pen. This one is from Smashbook and is double-ended (the other is a glue stick—great for portability!), but any black pen will do. I prefer to draw with a pen. Erasing is not an option and forces me to just keep going. You can do it too! Just keep scribbling and eventually it will look somewhat like a pleasing face (and all the extra doodle-y lines make you look like a fancy artist)
This gel stick happens to be very dark green but the actual color doesn’t matter (there are no rules!). I just used something dark to create shadows. If you would like to see in more detail how I work with my fingers to shade a face (regardless of the supplies I am working with), head on over to my YouTube channel for several examples: www.youtube.com/FeliciaBorges
Some of my favorite supplies to use with my fingers are Faber-Castell Gel Sticks, Crayola Slick Sticks, Caran d’Ache Classic NeoColor II Water-Soluble Pastels, and my all-time favorite Uni Posca Paint Pens.
Once I had the shadow layer down, I followed that up by adding a mid-tone (apricot color) and highlight (white) to the other areas of the face as well as warmed up the eyelids, cheeks and lips (essentially added some make up in a reddish/pink color).
To finish up the page, I again used the “Heart” stencil from the “Diamond stencil series, along with black and purple gel sticks to add some depth to the edge of the stenciled image and to grunge up the edges. I then added some collaged words (cut out of a magazine) and a tag that I had previously created. Both were in my stash of collage, ephemera, and washi tape that I carry with me in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook. This page is now ready to be journaled on the next time I take myself on an art-date. I spent a total of 25 minutes on this page and had zero clean up.
Lisa here again:
If you want to go back and see all the fabulous artwork that has already been posted on this blog hop, and enter to win a set of stencils, you still have that chance! Please, one entry per blog, we will be picking winners soon (each artist has their own cut off date, so please read when that is.) I will hold comments open on THIS blog post until midnight on Thursday December 10th.
Get to know the artist:
Creator of the “Art Journal Rebellion,” Felicia Borges (rhymes with gorgeous) loves abstract, modern, and street art. She is inspired by patterns found in traditional cultural symbols and art from around the world, graffiti, stained glass windows, sand painting, and more. Current favorites are Day of the Dead, Chinese cut paper designs, African tribal masks, motifs from India, and sand art in all forms (including Native American, Indigenous Australian, and Tibetan). Using bold colors, patterns, and textures, Felicia works primarily in mixed media and what she refers to as "Kiln Formed Graffiti Glass." Tools are often found, recycled, or handmade and can range from a handmade Tibetan-inspired "chak-pur" to original stamps and stencils. Finished pieces, often containing 100 layers or more, are contemporary with an industrial edge. Felicia lives with her husband, a blind golden retriever, and her beloved pink scooter in Sacramento, California.
Felicia’s work has been on display throughout the greater Sacramento and surrounding areas, including the 2014 Sacramento Arts Festival at the Sacramento Convention center, Gallery 1075 in West Sacramento, the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville, the Red Dot Gallery in Downtown Sacramento, and at various locations as part of Second Friday (Davis) and Second Saturday (Sacramento). Felicia’s work has been commissioned by private collectors and organizations worldwide.
Felicia has worked with organizations such as UC Davis Extension, Red Rover (event held at the Adamson Art Gallery), The Yoga Seed Collective, and PSI Makers—an emerging makers space in Rancho Cordova. She has also recently made her e-course teacher debut for “Radiant II: Art Journals.”
Current ways to connect with Felicia include:
Hi Everyone! I'm a little bouncy here, excited to tell you about our newest release, the Diamonds Series! You've all heard the phrase "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" right? Well, I say PSSSSHT to that! (We all know a girl's best friend is her dog!) BUT... in this case, Diamonds are an artist's best friend! I am kicking off a blog hop with some awesome artists, so keep reading to the bottom, where I'll post the link list. Of course we are also giving away a FREE set of Diamonds at each blog stop! Details at the bottom...
These are so fun to play with, and they make spectacular designs, no matter what medium you're working with. (Below is just one of the gorgeous Gelli Prints I made...)
Because I've had these stencils for awhile now, I've been doing a LOT of playing. I came up with a bunch of projects and ways to use them, but in the interest of keeping this blog post from being a mile long, I am going to focus on a crafty aspect, today being the official entry into Holiday Land! I tell you, it was difficult to choose just one project to share!
The project that won is a gift box for that special someone's holiday gift. I started with a round paper mache box with a lid of a little over 6" in diameter.
The round BRILLIANT stencil was perfect for the lid of this box. I got out some sticky back canvas to work on. This is Claudine Hellmuth Studio brand, which is no longer available, but there are plenty of other brands on the market now.
And some Stickles Glitter Glue in Copper because... SPARKLE.
(psst. ON SALE now!)
I taped the stencil to the canvas using some low tack painter's Frog Tape. Then I loaded up a Dina Wakley Palette Knife with a bunch of Stickles Glitter Glue and used it like molding paste, smooshing it through the stencil. You will use a LOT of the Stickles, reloading the knife often, until you have all the holes filled in.
When you're done, gently lift the tape and stencil all in one very careful motion so you don't smear the design. I just peel them both up together, rather than peeling the tape off and then lifting the stencil. Less chance of smudging.
Ooh la la! Yummy! Now, carefully place it out of the way and let it dry thoroughly. Do NOT let your cat walk on it.
Now we want to spiff up the bottom of the box with some stripes. I took that frog tape and masked striped areas off and used some copper paint to make some nice even stripes. You can see the result in the final picture. I also painted the edge of the lid that same copper color.
Once the Stickled canvas is dry (seriously, give it at least 8 hours, overnight is better) carefully trim it into a circle, leaving a scant 1/4" around the edge. Of course you want to trim it to the size of your box, this is just what I needed to do to fit the exact size of my box. Carefully peel the backing and stick it on the lid.
I added a bead of Copper Stickles around the edge of the canvas so the raw edge didn't show. You could also hot glue a cool fiber or string of plastic pearls, whatever you want. This is the finished box. You can see the stripes on the bottom now.
Maybe you can use the box to present a giant diamond to the one you love?
If you leave a comment telling me what you would do with a Diamond stencil, you will be entered to win a FREE set of Diamond Series! If you are impatient (like me) and want to order a set, the Diamond Series are available on the website now. Be sure to check out tomorrow's stop of the blog hop where Wyanne Thompson will be sharing her gorgeous artwork using the Diamonds stencils. I will be announcing on our Facebook page every morning with a link to the day's blog hop artist, so be sure to set your notifications so you see the posts.
In the meantime, have fun playing with your Diamonds and enjoy seeing all the beautiful artwork!
WOW! Shana does it again... check out this video of her using the Reims Stencil from Artistcellar. Also, do you think she uses her Koi Watercolor Travel set much? Love it!!
A few months ago, we conspired with Stefanie Girard, Artist and Maker, to create some art using some artistcellar stencils and supplies. Now that we have recovered from busy summers, we have something special to share with you! Stefanie came up with a great project using the cathedral series stencils. She stenciled her stepping stones in her garden! You can see the tutorial over at scrapbooking.com by clicking on the link below.
But wait, there's more! We are also giving away a BIG Artistcellar prize package to one lucky winner! You need to go over to the Recycled Crafts Blog and leave a comment to be entered to win. This is the perfect package to jump start your creative art journal.
The prize package includes:
This giveaway is open to US residents only! (We apologize to our international friends.) Be sure to leave a comment on the Recycled Crafts Blog to enter to win. We would love it if you left some love here, but we can't include these comments in the giveaway. So click on over and good luck!
As you may know I've been featuring some new stencil art on Facebook for the past few weeks. I've added a few new stencils to the shop, some by The Crafter's Workshop and a few Dylusions stencils. But first things first.
The TCW and Ranger/Dylusions stencils we've carried for a few years now have always been great sellers, but there are a bunch that were either discontinued, no longer available from my distributor, or no longer available in 6" x 6" size. So... out with them! The discontinued ones include:
Now, a few have already been sold out and taken off the website, but I still have some left of the rest of the designs. So if you've had your eye on any one of these, now is your chance to get them before they're gone for good!
In With the New!
I'm going to show some artwork made with each stencil because... well, it's way more fun to see what can be made with the stencils!
Dylusions - Stars (made with silver molding paste)
Dylusions - Alphabet Border (archival ink in art journal)
Dylusions - Leaf Flourish (archival ink in art journal)
Dylusions - Flower Medley (gelli print)
Dylusions - Blocks (gelli print)
Dylusions - Shattered (gelli print)
TCW - Stones Divided (gelli print)
TCW - Stripes Explosion (gelli print)
TCW - Onion Skin (gelli print)
TCW - Art Deco Leaves (gelli print)
TCW - Stacked Triangles (gelli print)
So there you have it. Can you tell I love my Gelli Arts™ printing plate?
Are there any new stencils you have fallen in love with and would like for us to carry? Let me know and I'll see if I can get a hold of them. Because stencils... well, you can never have enough!
I have a confession to make. Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday, but I think I'm falling in love with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I LOVE the makeup and costumes and sugar skulls and skeletons. I think my last trip to Arizona turned me into a DODeadHead. Walking around old town Scottsdale I found this:
I love the symbolism of it... the skeletons (representing death) at the marriage altar. Hmm. I had to have it. Then I found this one in the old Mexican Import store.
It is very very colorful! It's about 6" high, and is painted with marigolds, which is a symbol of death. Love those pearly whites!
In Tombstone, Arizona, we were exploring some shops and I fell in love with this mask:
It's actually wearable, in case I want to scare some small children. But then I thought... it doesn't look THAT hard to make! I didn't have any blank masks laying around but...
I did have some porcelain dolls sitting around here, waiting to be altered and Badabing! I'm hooked. I started out with this one:
She has no eyes, which makes her extra creepy. I still want to put some flourishes around her chin and cheeks. Celia said she'd make some colorful clothes for her and I have to come up with something to put over the hole in her head. I used gesso for the white, and Pitt pens for the black and red. SO easy to do!
Doesn't everyone have a bin of lost baby doll souls laying around?
I've already prepped the face of one; she is next. I kind of like the fact that she has glass eyes still, but to me they look dead and lifeless. Which is perfect, no? The one in the back will be next. I've filled her head hole with styrofoam and air dry clay. I will sand it smooth and paint her entire head white. Poor thing also has glass eyes, but no arms or legs. Still, I have plans for her. I recently picked up the one in front at an auction, last day, 50% off. I wonder what the previous owner would think. I suppose me altering her is better than her being thrown in the dumpster, right? I'm giving her a second chance at life (ah, death?)
Celia is planning on helping me with one too. We got this Character Doll at Tuesday Morning pretty cheap. It's some kind of Fairy Tale doll, similar to Monster High, but I think she has a good face to Dead Up.
Oh, so many ideas, so little time!
What kind of Day of the Dead or Halloween art do you like to do? This time of year, our Danse Macabre stencils become very popular! If you don't have time to scope out resale stores and estate sales for unloved Porcelain dolls, you can just whip out a stencil and celebrate in your art journal. I think my favorite one is DANCERS shown at the top of this post. It screams CELEBRATE and makes me happy. My other favorite one (who am I kidding? I love them all!) is ONLINE shown below. Sometimes after working all day, I totally feel like this!
And we have a TREAT for you. Until the clock strikes Midnight on October 31st, this set of stencils will be 20% off if you use the coupon code ACSpooky15 when checking out. (It will ask you for the code right before you pay.) It's good on one stencil, or the whole series. And leave a comment for me with a link to your Day of the Dead art or Halloween art. I would love to see what others are making!