Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

When life takes on the feeling of being trapped in a never ending roundabout, it’s nice to stop, step back and search for balance. I find solace in Art History.

The Dada Movement inspires me. Born of the chaos of World War I the Dadaists embraced all facets of art as an authentic means of expression. Tristan Tzara, a man with a poet’s heart and a founding member of the movement, composed his work by cutting up newspaper articles and selecting words at random. Following his lead, I cut text from a variety of sources and a photo of Tzara into strips.

The more I looked at the material on my work table, the more I wanted to free the collage to build itself. As was the choice of many Dadaists I wanted to follow the laws of chance. Using this technique and a photo of a pair of cupped hands, a design began to emerge.

To complete the work, I turned to the pages of my Strathmore Visual Journal.  It is such a great resource to have at hand…everything in one place ready for use. It was from these pages that I chose the Artistcellar Marked and Blocks series.  They were the perfect compliment. Not only did the neon acrylics and organic Marked shapes enhance the collage, but I was happy with the straight edged Open Work design. It was the perfect foil. Artistcellar stencils never disappoint!

Working in the method of the Dadaists did the trick. The commotion surrounding me slowed and became ordered and almost magically not as chaotic. I could see making the decision to leave some things to chance is beneficial in…my work as well as in life. It is true that when we learn to let go of what we can’t change, we are open to the possibilities of what we can. We are free to follow the laws of chance, knowing that the decision is always in our hands.

MATERIALS USED

Hello creative souls,

I'm excited to tell you about some of my findings. I consider myself to be an artistic alchemist. I'm sure you remember the many shrinky dink pendants I have been posting over the last few weeks.

I used the Sri Yantra and Seed of Life stencils for these pendants. I sold these pendants to a customer and she ended up wearing them painted side down. Even though the pendants were treated with 2 coats of  Krylon spray fixative her  perspiration, and body oils smeared and removed some of the painted surface.  I personally had not had any problems with my pendants as I wore them with the painted side up leaving the art altered side of the pendant away from the moisture and oils of my skin. So I got to work trying to come up with another way to seal the pendants and make them more resistant to the toughest of jewelry wearers. 

Here is what I found out.

As you can see I used some Mod Podge Dimensional magic, some matte Mod Podge, and some Krylon Kamar Varnish (what I used for the original pendants). The Dimensional Magic gives them a pretty shiny nice protective layer, but it gives it a "wet" look and takes the color and sparkle out of the original design. The matte Mod Podge leaves a dull shine, but still has that "wet" look and leaves the pendants looking rather drab. As you can see the original way I sealed the pendants with Krylon  Kamar Varnish is the most beautiful.  So I suppose you were expecting some remarkable conclusion to my experiment, but as you can see if just came full circle back to the beginning treatment as being the best choice. 

Do you ever come up with some of your best ideas when you are making a gift? This is totally the case for me as you have seen in my past blogs. I came up with this new awesome design when I was creating a "thank you" card for one of my customers. I rebranded my business as "Third Eye Gypsy" so I thought I would make some awesome third eye cards to send my customers with a nice hand written note when they place an order.  I used the amazing Seed of Life stencil and the Third Eye chakra pocket stencil. I have this nifty Martha Stewart thingy that you use to make fancy creases to your paper to create cards and such.

I then cut the cards with scissors.

Next I used the Seed of Life stencil and some gorgeous gold ink. Next I taped down my Third Eye stencil and instead of doing a solid color of distress ink I decided to use 3 (Hooray for color!) 

Just look at how pretty the multi-colored third eye stencil looks over the gold. I love how you can see the gold "ghost" through  the layers.

The design was so pretty as it was, but I thought I would use a layer of black outlining the eye to make it more dramatic by using a Molotow marker.

I can't really decide which one I like best. Maybe I will just make half outlined and half not outlined.

Which one is your favorite?

Love, light, and creativity,

Genea

Hello moonshine!

This week I'm exploring a technique that is not new -- but new to me. I have heard of it for quite some time but I never tried it out. Let's just say -- once I gave it a go -- it unlocked a whole new world. I've been using it in so many different ways with my projects. Today, we are doing a matte medium transfer ... among other things. I hope you enjoy the video I prepared for you this week. :)

Supplies Used:

(One fantastic resource for ephemera - specifically vintage photographs is a EPHEMERA group on facebook! This is the one I belong to, and my source for the picture used today: https://www.facebook.com/groups/312456512291650/)

I have had a memorable week. As I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of my family my thoughts were with my mom and her sister. My aunt entered the hospital with pneumonia after battling a different infection that we thought had cleared up. Her body struggled. She unexpectedly passed away a few days ago. 

Grief. 

That emotion has been close to me for several days now. As an artist I usually can express feelings through making things but with grief I struggle. It can close you up and isolate you and the thought of creation when I have just experienced loss seems foreign. 

But, through the creation of something I can process the grief, give it a name and begin to progress again. 

I share this only to explain my little art journal page I made. It's small and not my favorite but it is significant to me and a step forward. I like making whimsical, beautiful things and it can be difficult for me to express grief through my art but I discovered through this that creating beauty during sad times helps me grow. I miss my aunt but she was a creative soul who inspired me and will inspire me still. 

May you find joy in all your creations my creative friends. 

Supplies used:

Good Day Artistcellar Folks,

I have an art journal spread to share with you that I’ve also turned into a FREE PRINTABLE POSTER! Who doesn’t like free art, right?

So, here’s the step-by-step process, and at the end you’ll find the 8” x 10” printable poster. Enjoy!

SUPPLIES USED: Dina Wakley acrylic paints; Sacred Geo 2: Seeds of Life stencil; Sacred Geometry: Sri Yantra stencil; Virtues Words Pocket Stencils: Grace, Hope; Strathmore Visual Journal Mixed Media 9” x 12”

Step 1:Gather your paints, art journal, and stencils. Also grab a cosmetic wedge, a paint palette, and a paint scraper.

Step 2:

Apply two paint colors and scrape them across your journal page.

Step 3:

With a new color of paint, use the cosmetic wedge to dab paint through the Seeds of Life stencil in two places on your page.

Step 4:

Use a fourth color of paint and apply it with your finger around the edges of the stencil shapes. Consider drawing into the wet paint with the end of a paintbrush or toothpick.

Step 5:

Use the Sri Yantra stencil with white paint and a cosmetic wedge.

Step 6:

Add two of your favorite Virtues Words stencils.

Simple. Meaningful. Powerful.

And now for your printable poster!!

Today we have a special guest blogger, former design team member Linda Edkins Wyatt! I was thrilled when she agreed to come up with a post, and she even used several stencils that are on sale this week at Artistcellar :-D. I hope you enjoy seeing her process when creating a special Reiki Morning Prayer journal page. -Lisa 

To christen my new Dylusions square journal, I decided to do a two page spread using some of my favorite Artistcellar stencils. I am particularly fond of the Chakra stencils, which come in a six inch square size and also as a set of pocket stencils, which are conveniently the exact size of ATCs. The Diamond Series heart stencil, Sacred Heart Divine stencil, and Jill K. Berry Map Series Global Compass Rose combined nicely with the Chakras.

I started by prepping the pages with gesso.

When it dried, I sponged some light lavender acrylic paint through the crown chakra stencil, followed by the heart gem with aqua paint.

I randomly grabbed stencils, mixed paints, and sponged away until almost the whole spread was covered. I had the idea of putting a favorite Buddha quote on the right side, so I blocked that space out with a piece of cardboard.

Once I finished the stenciling, I stepped back and looked at it. Ugh! It was garish. With Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s tips from a recent class ringing inside my head, I took some black acrylic, watered it down a bit, dipped in my art toothbrush, and splattered away. Better, but still kind of…boring.

Julie’s other tip from the class was, when something isn’t working “knock it back,” so I applied gesso to tone the colors down. Better. I added some strokes of white acrylic here and there until I liked the background.

I had a vision of using my calligraphy markers and adding my favorite Buddha quote: “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” I pulled out my phone to Google the quote and to be sure that the words were correct. Much to my dismay I discovered that it is a fake Buddha quote. Good words to live by, but fake, fake, fake.

I threw caution to the wind and decided to just write the Reiki Morning Prayer on the pages, using an ordinary Sharpie marker, with my semi-sloppy handwriting sprawled on the page. I did not Google the words, I did it from memory. There are several variations to the wording on the Morning Prayer, but they all have the same intent. I also purposely left the pencil marks under my writing as a reminder of my own imperfection—I am a Virgo and constantly try to be perfect, to be correct, and to strive for excellence. The pencil marks peeking out remind me to slow down, relax, breathe, be thankful, and just be.

Hello beautiful souls,

Don't you love making gifts for friends? I always get the best ideas when I do! This new design is no exception. So first let's take a step back and see how this idea came about. Do you all remember my Labyrinth Lotus petals I made in the very beginning?

I did these super intricate petals using the Chartres Labyrinth stencil. I think it has to be one of my all time favorite stencils. Not only is the design gorgeous, but it's so incredibly detailed! Once the petals were done I assembled it into my very first lotus.

Next I moved onto the 4x6 art cards I created to gift at Resonance, our Wichita, Kansas regional burning man event.

I had so much fun taking this design and creating so many beautiful things. These cards were fun to create because they were a nice quick and beautiful piece of art to hand out. 

After that I had the brilliant idea to create a functioning light with the lotus design so I decided to create the labyrinth lotus design on some small paper lanterns.

I must admit I didn't finish the string of 10 lanterns after creating this one. The design was very beautiful, but it took so long to create each lotus and they ended up pretty large. I was only able to get 2 layers of petals attached to them just to keep their size moderate.

After that I had the brilliant idea to make this art wearable! Yay! A little ode to my  art jewelry making that was my primary method of making a living for 12 years.

Here you can see the pendant before I shrunk it down into it's tiny version.

Next I added this little beauty to some recycled sari silk and attached an adjustable clasp.

So what was this new idea? Well I decided to jump back to the petal design so, of course I HAD to use greens and blues. My friend's favorite colors are: purple, pink, and blue. Here you can see our pendants side by side.

I took this shot in my hand so you could see their size shrunken down

Now for the finale.........

I added my friend's petal to some gorgeous matching recycled sari silk cord and added some adjustable chain and a crystal dangle to finish it off. 

How do your designs evolve? Do you love the first design or the last the best?

Love, and light,

Genea

Hello again!

Today we're making stardust. I hope you enjoy the video I have prepared for you...

"Well nevermind we are ugly but we have the music" - Leonard Cohen.

 

Supplies Used:

Today I am bringing you a bookmaking project but it is not your average book. I was browsing through my collection of art books looking for inspiration when I revisited Alisa Golden's Expressive Handmade Books. (If you are in anyway interested in learning more about handmade books I highly recommend checking her books out.) The book structure that caught my eye is the Square Flexagon. The Dictionary defines Flexagon as a "folded paper construction that can be flexed along its folds to reveal and conceal its sides alternately." And no, it's not origami because you'll use scissors and adhesive to create it and the structure has its roots in mathematics. Don't be nervous! Here we go!

The square flexagon starts with a square piece of paper (surprise surprise!) and for mine I used a large 18x24 inch piece of Strathmore Mixed Media paper which I cut down after I had both sides decorated. 

On one side I used Inktense blocks to rub colors  all over the surface and then using a dry brush and a water spritzer I moved the color around and set the ink. 

When that was dry I used the same blocks to create a multitude of skinny stripes all along the paper. 

Then using the largest Dot stencil from the Halftone Dots Series and white gesso I added several sections of faint white dots.

The other side of the paper started the same with rubbing the sides of the on the surface and wetting the ink to move the color around. 

Then I used clear gesso with the largest Halftone Dot stencil and the Open Work stencil from the Blocks series all over the surface. This will create a resist. 

Once the gesso was dry I sprayed the entire surface with some Dylusions ink sprays and then wiped off excess ink with a paper towel. 

The resist effect was subtle but nice. 

I wanted to bring back more white into the design so using the same two stencils and white gesso I covered the surface with alternating dots and squares. 

To contrast all the small elements going on I decided to paint a large circle design as the final layer. I used yellow Dye na flow first and then Dina Wakely's Night color on top. Bam!

Now's the time I cut my paper down to a square.

There is a great contrast between the two sides. One is lighter and easy going. The other is darker and complex. I can see how these foundations can work together to create a thoughtful dialogue. As an artist I try to communicate SOMETHING in every piece of art I create and using a handmade book as the structure makes it even more interesting!

In creating the square flexagon there are several directions available online. The directions Ms. Golden gives in her book are slightly different then those I found online so I am including a picture of the directions she gives in her book. (Again, her books are wonderful!)

Here is the paper after I have made the folds and cut out the middle. (Which I also made into another square flexagon!)

Here is a video by Jill Britton I found on youtube for how to fold the paper together to make your book. It's smaller and not as pretty, but you get the idea. 

 

Here is the result! Fun, right!?

Many thanks to my eldest daughter for the wonderful hand model work!

Now comes the content but I will be working on that later. I have some thoughts and reactions that I'll get down on paper but I want to get them right before I decide how to put them down on the pages. All in all there will be 6 different "pages" to fill. Personally, an artist's book must have content to give it meaning. Whether that content is words, pictures or the materials the book is made of there needs to be something that goes along with the structure to tell the story. I hope you give this fun book structure a try!

What is the story you would tell?​

 

All of a sudden, I have fallen in love with watercolor pencils again. I used to use them more in my early art journaling explorations, nearly 17 years ago, but I sort of forgot about them.

While recently planning for an adult art workshop, I wanted to introduce the class participants to a user-friendly art supply with versatility. Aha! Watercolor pencils!!

And since I was having so much fun with watercolor pencils, I decided to incorporate them into this post for artistcellar, too!

Note: The Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils sold on artistcellar are of superior quality. Here’s a link to a video (created by ColoringKaria) that shows you many ways to use these fabulous watercolor pencils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_3538991757&feature=iv&src_vid=zSe119-1ZXs&v=VZ8Wi15RXXw

Note: There are many, many kinds of watercolor pencils on the market. If you are curious to see how different brands compare to one another, I found this video helpful (created by MyOwn Stuff): https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_3538991757&feature=iv&src_vid=zSe119-1ZXs&v=VZ8Wi15RXXw

Now for the step by step tutorial on the mixed media art I created on Mineral Paper.

Step 1:

Trace the Crete labyrinth stencil using a ballpoint pen on Mineral Paper.

Step 2:

Color inside the lines you traced in a way that pleases you. Keeping the stencil in place can be helpful.

Step 3:

Wet a brush and smooth out the watercolor pencil coloring you just did.

Tip: Swipe excess water out of the brush before painting. If it’s too wet, the water seeps under the stencil.

Step 4:

Play with the possibilities of watercolor pencils and a wet paintbrush.

Step 5:

Draw concentric circles with the watercolor pencils, in purple and blue, around the labyrinth. Wet the colored pencil work with a brush.

Drip Dye-Na-Flow in Midnight Blue around the paper.

Tip: Turn your paper upside down to get a new perspective.

Step 6:

Drip Bright Green Dye-Na-Flow around your paper.

Drop rubbing alcohol (90% isopropyl alcohol) onto the wet areas of your paper and watch what happens!

Step 7:

Squint your eyes and notice if you see enough contrast. Notice if there are any other colors you feel need to be added. (For me, I felt like a warm pink was needed. I decided to draw some plant-like shapes all around, including through the wet puddles of color).

Tip: Making an artful mess is fun! Try to enjoy the experience of exploration.

Step 8:

Drop more alcohol and tilt your paper in different directions for the drips to do their thing.

Step 9:

Unify the piece by adding sweeps of liquid watercolor. (I chose to use some neon liquid watercolor purchased at Blick).

Step 10:

Drop more alcohol onto the outside edges of the labyrinth where you traced with ballpoint pen. Watch the alcohol dissolve the ink and make some of the lines blur.

Tip: Not all pens are dissolved by alcohol, so do a test on a separate sheet of paper to check your pen’s solubility.

Finally, let dry and then enjoy your finished piece!

In Summary

I hope you feel inspired to play with watercolor pencils. They are versatile, portable, and fun!

I hope you feel inspired to play with inks and rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), because it’s a really fun technique to try.

May you continue to honor your creative spirit through exploration and play, even if you call yourself a professional artist.

I will leave you with this quote:

“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good” -Lucia Capocchione

Blessings and Peace to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

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