Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

When you are short on time but would like to make an exciting background page in your journal, I’ve got an idea for you! It involves a little bit of mess and a lot of fun!


The Process

I love to make backgrounds in my journal. I have so much fun playing with acrylic paint. I sometimes smoosh paint together, you know, like how you made butterflies in kindergarten. Or, the fabulous and wonderful Gelli Plate is another great tool for smooshing paint into your journal. You just use that plate like a big ol’ stamp and flump! Your print is made!

So, I am working on a two-toned yellow background that I made in my journal using the Gelli Plate technique I just described.

Next, I am pulling out two of the 12" x 12" Water Series stencils and laying them across the page spread.

As you may be able to see, I am doing all of this inside a large, rectangular Amazon box. (You may need to order a gigantic art book to get this size, or maybe a long calendar would do the trick??)

Anyway, working inside a box like this helps to keep the wild and crazy spray ink somewhat in control. Please note that I said, “somewhat in control.”

Once the stencils are ready, grab a couple of spray ink colors that will play nicely together.

I choose a magenta and blue. You can see some of the lovely purples that they made in the upper right corner.

Once you’ve sprayed your two colors a few times, you’ll need to sop up some of the ink. You can either use a roll of paper towels or a stack of folded towels.

Many mixed media artists like to keep these beautiful towels and repurpose them into their art, once they are dry. The color is pretty spectacular!

Now it’s time to see how things turned out. Remove the stencils, and either clean them with a baby wipe, rinse them under water, or just let them dry. Most spray ink is reactivated by water, so I usually use a baby wipe or rinse under running water.

I am in love with how these pages look right now. The colors and contrast, as well as the patterns from the stencils, makes me really happy.

Below are some shots of each individual page.


I did let you know that using spray ink is messy, didn’t I?

If you are afraid of the spray ink staining your skin, I am here to tell you that it does wash off after a few sessions of soap and water. You may want to use it before you take a shower or something, just in case it makes you nervous. After washing your hair, you’ll be all good.


Spray ink and stencils are really fun to use together.

The Hot Tip of the Day:

Work inside a large rectangular cardboard box when using wild and crazy spray inks.

The layering of acrylic paint, then spray ink over stencils, creates a dynamic background ready for collage, lettering, or other fun ideas you may have.

Thank you for being here today!

Happy Creating!

Blessings to you,

Briana of

I had hoped to share the progress in my fabric book but it is going quite slowly so I have a different project to share with you today. Never fear, the progress in the fabric book will be shared in the near future!

This project was inspired by a portrait lesson I taught my 4th graders at school. We have been learning about facial proportions and portraiture and I knew they wouldn't be excited about drawing random faces for long. In an effort to make their art more personal I asked them to draw a self-portrait with a simple line drawing. Then I asked them to fill their faces with words that describe who they are and what they like. It was fun to see what words they chose for themselves.

When I finished my project example and as my students were busy with their own I looked again at my paper and realized I had the beginning of a great piece of artwork. I ended up creating two versions.

Here are the supplies I used:

I began by spraying water and Dylusions ink liberally on the watercolor paper. While the ink was still wet I pressed the mineral paper onto the watercolor paper and then carefully peeled them apart to see how the color transferred. Let dry before continuing.

Before using the stencil I sprinkled water on the mineral paper and after a few seconds I wiped up the water by rolling a paper towel roll on the surface which resulted in the ink being lifted off the paper. I set the stencil down on the paper and sprayed it with water. Since the inks are water reactive I was able to take a soft paper towel and rub it through the stencil design to remove some of the ink. This was done on both the Mineral and watercolor papers. The subtle design it created was perfect for a background.

Using carbon transfer paper and a stylus I transferred my drawing onto both papers. I did not trace the words as I wanted the freedom to change those around if the composition called for it. 

Using a small brush and black paint I went over my graphite lines to create a bold outline for my face. I carefully painted white paint onto the face on the watercolor paper. The ink from my first layer is still reactive with wet media so I was careful not to scrub my brush too much on the surface. Some color transfer happened and it was lovely how it created a dimension to the white paint. Having an under layer on a painting always help bring more depth to the piece. For the Mineral Paper I just painted regular water onto the sections of the face and blotted the water up with a paper towel to remove the inked surface. 

From this point on I found myself concentrating on the watercolor paper composition. Using a pencil I sketched in my lettering lightly to focus on how things would fit. When everything was where I wanted it I used a black acrylic paint pen to bring out the lettering. 

Final details were using Dina Wakley acrylic paints to paint the eyes, lips and shirt. 

I am very pleased with the result and I can't wait to finish the variation on Mineral Paper. I hope you will take some time to create your own self-portrait celebrating the qualities that make you, YOU!