Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
Oh hello again!
This week I have been really busy filming - I'm a teacher in this year's Ever After with Willowing Arts! My theme is Alice in Wonderland, which you know I'm very excited about.
To keep with the Alice in Wonderland theme, I decided I wanted to paint intuitively on a huge piece of watercolor paper.
I had so much fun creating that "poster" last time, I decided to give it yet another go. I started with some 12 x 12 Artistcellar Stencils. I love these Sacred Geometry stencils, and they pair nicely with the Diamond Series stencils as well!
From here, I'm just building up layers with the same DecoArt Media Mister in "Carbon Black" except now I'm also adding in 6 x 6 stencils and pocket stencils!
Now, for the really adventurous part... I mixed up some fluid and high flow acrylics with DecoArt Pouring Medium and poured paint directly on the poster.
If I had planned ahead for this part I would have worked on a big canvas and not watercolor paper, but hey! We are painting intuitively here, after all.
This is probably one of the messiest yet most satisfying things ever! The hard part is waiting for it to dry, which takes 24 hours or more.
But, with a little patience I was able to return to it and add small details with Posca Paint Pens. Here, I'm adding some leaves and the quote, "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
This was so hard to photograph because the pouring medium leaves things a bit glossy which looks incredible in person! (If you would like to sign up for Ever After 2018, visit: https://www.willowing.
“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life. All mystery and magic.” - Houdini
Do you believe in magic? Are you intrigued as I am by stage magicians? Even if I know the secret to the trick, I still relish the performance. Mystery and magic. I can’t get enough of it.
For my next Artistcellar project I wanted to experiment with a supply I haven’t used in a long time. I have always liked adding embossing powders to my art. There is something about the transformation from powder to a liquid metal effect that I find sublime. I recently purchased a set of Seth Apter’s Baked Texture Embossing powders. With names like Chunky Rust, and Vintage Beeswax I couldn’t wait to create with them.
My other recent obsession is image transfers. I have been attaching images to an array of papers. The results widely vary. But when they work, it’s like holding a bit of magic in your hand. Most of my transfers have been produced from photocopies of engravings. The lines hold well to the substrate. I wanted to try a halftone photo. I decided to try my luck with a photo of a woman in a top hat I saw in a book. Because I wanted a transparent finish I transferred the photo to a tea bag. After a bit of soaking and rubbing, I was pleased with the results.
Using an old library book cover for the substrate I began the collage. I glued a piece of joss paper to the cover and layered the image transfer on top. While it was drying, I covered a selection of papers with embossing ink using my Open Work stencil from the Blocks series. I especially liked the colour and texture I got from the Ancient Amber powder on the tea bag. I also tried the powders on a piece of parchment paper. As the powder set, they lifted from the paper and I glued them to the design as free standing jewels. I liked the old carnival poster effect of the piece. I completed the work with tissue paper from my last project, a bit of French newspaper I covered with Vintage Beeswax powder, and papers infused with real beeswax.
Every time I create I dive into all that is magical and mysterious. The magic has been the discovery of a new way to use a supply. The mystery often times is just the process of creation. My hope is that you follow your inspired heart. It can guide you to places and people who will forever enchant your life.
For this week's project I started working on a couple portrait of my friends, Arlo and Ruby.
This isn't just any portrait though, I wanted to create them in my own little character style, so I started with some rough sketches using some of their qualities. They are both unique, so it was pretty easy to pick out some great qualities to highlight.
From there, I used watercolors to add the first wash of colors.
Then, I picked three Artistcellar stencils - Cathedral Plans: Reims Plan, Blocks: Tiles, and Labyrinth: Crete. I used modeling paste and a palette knife to create incredible texture with the stencils. In fact, this has to be my absolute favorite way to use Artistcellar stencils - as background and texture elements to my paintings.
Once dry, I added even more watercolor - and watching it travel between the raised modeling paste really makes my soul sing.
To incorporate even more color I started incorporating acrylic paint into the portraits and the flowers.
From here, another one of my favorite techniques is to put down some watercolor on top of dried acrylic (you can see this in the flowers) then I spritz it with water and let it run and melt on the page. To me, this is relinquishing control... and I think that is an important and fun practice to integrate into my art.
So, to finish it all off I added some white highlights with a uniball signo UM-153.
I can't wait to send it to them. I hope they love it!
Currently, a year long journaling/tarot class called Pull Pen Paint is well underway! I'm excited to be one of the guest teachers - but also excited to be a student as well.
I wanted to create a fun insert in my journal. This particular journal is a little strange - I made it myself and added in elastic so I could have a "travelers journal" feel to go along with it.
Today, I'm making a fabric insert using ink sprays and Artistcellar stencils!
Who doesn’t like soup? Warm, comforting, encouraging you to release your creativity with each new recipe, it is just the thing to lift my spirits. And as we trudge through more cold and snowy winter weather the smiling woman in the vintage ad carrying home her paper bag of Campbell’s soup and an article in a local magazine inspired me.
I have participated in a charity postcard exchange for the last several years. I knew my mind was set on the image I wanted to use for my next design. If you are like me, you know when an art supply is “just right”. The incredible range of Artistcellar stencils always help me find precisely what I am looking for in minutes. Spreading out my stencils, my eye was drawn to the Quasicrystals and Blocks Series. Yes…they were “just right”.
The card came together fairly quickly. I lightly coated a postcard size piece of cover stock with gesso. Using my sponge with the most texture, I applied several shades of Dylusion Paint. Working wet on wet I sponged the wonderful Dylusion Ink Spray to build the background. I wanted to create a sensation of warmth and happiness. Using the Dylusion products never disappoint. The colours are as rich and vibrant dry as they are wet. Again…they were “just right”.
Cutting out the image of the woman from the ad, I glued it to the card.
A local monthly magazine runs the most amazing food column. The recipes are carefully thought out which makes them easy to successfully replicate. This month paid homage to a rich and robust Minestrone, one of my all-time favourites. Reading through the ingredients, an old song came to mind…"Life is a Minestrone". I cut out sections of the recipe to surround our shopper.
Returning to my inspiration, I believe our lives always revolve around choosing a little bit of this, maybe a tad of that. We make the best of what we have on hand. But I am convinced that with a dollop of creativity and a dash of invention our lives can be as truly nourishing as a simmering Minestrone.
After spending my morning creating amazing little pieces with plaster and molds (some homemade, some store bought) I was feeling really inspired to create. I grabbed a small canvas and set to work without really a plan of what the final result should be.
First, I used an Artistceller Blocks Series Stencil (Tiles) with DecoArt Media Mister in Carbon Black. Since the canvas is so thick, I thought it would be fun to add some of that stencil design on the sides, too.
Next, I used an Artistcellar Labyrinth Series Stencil (Crete) with Golden Coarse Molding Paste.
From there, I glued my plaster pieces on, and started building color with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists in - Partridge in a Pear Tree, True Blood, Lava, and Iron.
I also used a palette knife and some of Finnabair's Rust paste for extra texture.
Then, to finish the whole thing off, I poured Liquitex Pouring Medium on top and let it dry. This creates a super glossy, almost resin-like effect except it's way less sticky, messy and smelly. (Hooray!)
I like to make weird art. Art that makes me think. Art that makes people uncomfortable.
I call this one D - I - S - C - O - N - N - E - C - T, and I'm still deciphering it's message myself.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
There is wisdom in the saying “One person’s trash is another’s treasure”. For a collage artist, the aftermath of the Holidays brings with it the immense potential of discarded materials. There’s a lot to be said for scavenging through the rubbish to find an inspirational gem or two. It was there I found the start of my next Design Team project.
My substrate is a piece of thin corrugated board that surrounded a picture frame. Using an inexpensive one inch brush I applied gesso with a light touch. I liked patchiness and bristles left behind as the gesso dried. You can still see a little of it through the brushed and sponged acrylics. My stencil choice this time was Open Work from the Blocks Series. Rather than spray, I used a wet sponge to dab on Bubble Gum Dylusion Ink Spray. I liked the watery finish as it bled under the stencil.
Greeting cards are a wealth of ephemera. The gold foil was peeled from the inside of an envelope. Next to it I layered sewing pattern paper, a price sticker, a stamp and a line found in a magazine: “If You Are Reading This”.
My final bit collage work included a clipping from a book page that I infused with beeswax some time ago. Many of us have hailed the end of 2017. With the start of the New Year, my waxed paper seems timely…quotes about the qualities of the word “smile”. My continued goal for 2018 is to live mindfully, to slow down, and to enjoy the wonder that surrounds me. This is the reason I inverted the waxed paper quote. If anyone is reading, perhaps they will pause and enjoy the moment…and hopefully it will encourage them to smile as well.
The Quasicrystals’ Infra stencil applied in a variety of contrasting Dylusion Paint colours completed the work.
The New Year is here. I am filled with hope. And is there any better way to make the world a beautiful place than with a smile?
“Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helter-skelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts.” – Nick Bantock
If you are like me, you are not averse to peeking into a trash can now and again…without shame! Collage and mixed-media artists all know the unsung wastepaper basket can be an absolute treasure trove. It was in a receptacle of wonder that I found the discarded interoffice envelope I used as the heart of my next Artistcellar project.
The envelope was still intact. Originally used to communicate between workplace departments, with a bit of creativity I could turn it into a place to hold new notes and letters. And so the work began by brushing Ruby, Blushing and Lemon Dina Wakley Acrylics directly on to the envelope. To keep the colours transparent I mixed the paint with glazing liquid. It is wonderful to add to your paint, allowing you to get just the right amount of transparency for your art.
I covered a shipping tag with Vibrant Orange Dylusion Paint. When dry I stamped on a Gibson Girl image with dye ink. It was now ready to place. I hooked the cord around the red tab at the top and glued the tag in place. The pen nibs at the bottom of the envelope were added with stamp pad ink…just the image for the new purpose of this envelope.
I decided to try my hand at making Washi Tape. Laying a few lengths of first aid surgical tape to wax and freezer paper, I wanted to see which would be a better substrate when I started my stenciling. Both worked well. So if you are out of one or the other, you can still create your own tape. Using the Artistcellar Open Work Block I stenciled in various shades of Dina Wakley acrylics, highlighting with touches of gold. The colours held true and dried quickly. Tearing the tape was easy and gave me the finished look I was after.
I continued adding elements as they came to hand…more Artistcellar stencils (of course!), crayon scribbles, printed paper, and even a penciled inscription. I threaded ribbon though the already drilled holes. Tied at the back, it secures my new enclosures with a bit of inspiration.
Slowing down is always a good idea. I agree that we do have a helter-skelter universe, now more than ever. But taking time to see the wonders of the world around you restores the sanity of creativity. And isn’t this a fantastic quality to share through the written word?
This week I'm bringing you a project that takes a page out of one of my sketchbooks and puts it up on the wall. I am still loving the faces I created in my little Moleskine I shared a few weeks ago. I didn't want them to just stay in the book, I wanted them to break out and decorate my wall! I chose one of my favorites and... follow along!
Here are the supplies I am using:
I prepped the chipboard with a layer of gesso on two sides (it keeps the chipboard flat). Using a blue and a red paint with the Tracks and Open Work stencils add a few layers to make a quick background.
Looking at my original I took a pencil and sketched a similar face.
Use acrylic paints to paint in the face and outline in black. Final touches and more texture done with my favorite drawing pencil.
After I am happy with the way it looks it's time to cut it out! Don't you just love how the stencil designs peek out?!
I used gel medium to attach the chipboard piece to the substrate and left it to dry overnight with a layer of books on top to help it dry flat.
After a coat of black paint around the edges to finish it off it's time for a coat of glossy sealer.
She looks great and I think she will look even better on my wall with a few of her sisters to join her. Better get to work!! Have a creative week!
“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” Bryant H. McGill
Do you have a secret you would like to share? Is it something no one knows about you? Do you have a sincere spirit of inquiry, a sense of curiosity about life? Does it lead you to unexpected discoveries?
Keeping with playing card Art Journaling I produced another set to add to my collection. Much of the materials used to create “A Holy Curiosity” collection found its way as a base for the new cards. I’m a great believer in the motto that too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
Working commercially for so many years, my art is usually much “cleaner”. I’ve long been curious about how it would feel to throw caution to the wind and let the paint fall where it may. The compact size of the cards have “given me permission” to explore and discover my messy side.
As I already had the backs complete from the previous project I set out to begin the face design. The Curious Possibility clings by Tim Holtz feature in this set as well. But added to the images are lovely rubber stamps I purchased from Leavenworth Jackson in California. The company truly has an outstanding collection.
Building the layers on the face was enjoyable. The Artistcellar Blocks series stencils were a lovely counterpoint to the Halftone Dots series. As with all Artistcellar products the quality allows you to focus on creating your work, not worrying about damaging the stencils. I have used a variety of media and the stencils always wash up easily, making them ready for my next project.
Distress Crayons are wonderful to work with. The colors in the set I have are bright and stay true when applied to the substrate. The feel is soft, smooth, and luxurious. Subtle touches of crayon completed the work.
I hope you will give Journaling on cards a try. You may discover, as I have, the joys of following your messy, succulent spirit of inquiry. You may even find a new kind of happiness waiting for you!