Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
“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!
“Never lose a holy curiosity.” - Albert Einstein
Have you tried Art Journaling on playing cards? I enjoyed it so much I decided to continue with the project. I suppose my curiosity got the better of me.
Inspired by the saying “In The Moment” I found printed in a catalogue, I made it my goal. I prepped the cards by lightly sanding them and then giving them a coat of gesso. I placed all of the cards face up on my table and began randomly layering acrylic paint. Whatever colours came to hand I used. Once dried, I flipped to the back and began working. I love the new Tibet Series by Artistcellar. I wanted to incorporate the Eternal Knot stencil in some way. Although too large to completely fit on a playing card, when dropped here and there on the cards the stencil certainly added interest.
It’s been a long time since I looked through my collection of rubber stamps and clings. The Curious Possibility clings by Tim Holtz was just perfect for what I had in mind! Combined with a few images I had in my collection I got just the right Victorian vibe I wanted. I know some people like to cover the images on the playing cards completely. I like to allow the flavor of the card to show through where possible. To complete this series I highlighted portions of the back design with Distress Crayons and Crackle Paste. They are now safely tucked away in my binder.
One word of advice: I used my heat tool to get the layers to dry faster. I believe I got a little too close as one of the cards “popped” and buckled. My guess is the plastic coating just didn’t like the heat.
As artists, curiosity is the force that inspires us to create new work. Journaling was always a bit of a mystery to me. I suppose for me it’s “in the cards” using this technique. My question to you: What are you curious about?
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”-Georgia O’Keeffe
Do you journal? Or are you like me, jotting thoughts and sayings on random bits of paper? I have often purchased beautiful journals fulling intending to fill them. I just never do. I don’t know if it is the fear of the blank page, or what seems like the vast the number of pages that puts me off. But whatever the reason, there they sit, on my bookshelf, spotless as the day I purchased them.
Some time ago I bought a pack of inexpensive Ace playing cards. The flying biplane on the backs won me over! Who wouldn’t want to fly off to a new adventure in that wonderful plane? It was then I decided to use them as a journal. With a deck of 52, completing one card a week didn’t seem beyond the realm of possibilities. To kick off my venture I knew the best place to start was with the Artistcellar Pocket Stencil series Creative Words: Believe, Trust, Seek, and my favourite, Create.
Have you ever noticed the lovely sayings tucked away on the inserts of your Artistcellar Stencils? To me the stencils alone are creative cake…the inspirational quotes are the icing. Creative Words were just that…the catalyst I needed.
The playing cards have a plastic finish. To allow the media to attach, I sanded the cards and applied a quick layer of gesso. I didn’t want to totally cover the suits and numbers, so I removed some of it with a paper towel. On my work table, I assembled my stencils, acrylics and stamps. I wanted to have a bit of fun and see where my journey would take me. I revisited an old technique: applying rubber cement through the SEEK stencil.
I tried a new idea as well: dabbing Dye-Na-Flow colour through the TRUST stencil.
When dried I positioned the cards in a row and completed the backs. Though not identical, they have the same “feel”…a record of a time and place. In the end I was happy with the results. Best of all, the stencils stood up to everything I threw at them. Clean up was a snap and they were back to perfect condition.
The cards are now part of my new journal project, safely tucked away in a pocket page protector in a three ring binder.
Time seems to be racing by for me. Is it the same for you? Journaling is a wonderful way of capturing the essence of who we are. The perfect journal format is whatever suits you best. We owe it to ourselves to take the time to make our unknown known. Not only to ourselves, but sharing it those we hold dear. Right now. Right here.
RESTORING THE BALANCE
“Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot”
“Big Yellow Taxi” - Joni Mitchell
Why is that song stuck in my head? Like me, have you ever wondered how a fragment of a melody started what seems like a never-ending loop in your brain? Did a memory trigger the earworm? Perhaps it was a date? I started working on my latest collage on Earth Day…so it’s no wonder Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” became my musical imagery repetition inspiration.
And here my collage begins. I really like my Strathmore Visual Journal. The spiral binding allows me to place the book flat on my work surface. This makes anything I want to do to the page easy. There’s no holding back a cover or other pages getting in the way. It’s such a time saver, especially when working entirely conventionally.
The collage began with a discarded page from a dictionary I found in my box of unbound books pages. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw the listing included the word “taxi”. I attached the page to the Journal using matte medium…a quick coat to the paper and back of the dictionary page.
When dried, I started the work from the outside in. I painted the border of the page with Dina Wakley heavy body acrylic paint in Lemon. For the center I mixed Dina Wakley Ruby and Lemon and created a glaze using the Golden Glazing Fluid. It’s a great product. The Fluid allows you to hold vibrant colour, yet produce a lovey transparent effect.
Now it was time for the part I love best…the stenciling. I started with the Artistcellar Blocks Series-Open Work which mirrored the checker board pattern on the taxi perfectly. I wanted an organic shape to compliment the patterns I created on the page. Artistcellar Playful Pod’s Petite Pods fit the bill. It complimented the design just as I had hoped.
I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy using Dylusion Sprays. I have to admit Bubble Gum Pink is my favourite. The pop of colour is exciting, especially as the hue stays true…no fading when dry.
All that was left was the ephemera and texture techniques I wished to add. It’s been fun working with Seth Apter’s “low-tech” materials. In this piece I created the textured lines with corrugated board and gesso. I had a piece of anaglypta wallpaper. The flower pattern worked well with the gesso technique…subtle but effective. I even added a few words from transfer lettering I had in my collection. From a selection of old newspapers I found the headline: "Restoring the Balance". Perfect.
As collage and mixed media artists we embrace the mantra of reuse and recycle. For us everything old is new again. In our work, our life, the environment: Aren’t we all trying to restore the balance? And often balance is not perfection. “Give me spots on my apples, But leave me the birds and the bees.” Let’s hope it’s not too late.
Do you ever find that inspiration strikes in the most random of ways? Recently I was cleaning in my art studio and I found a container of old watercolors. They are probably around 10 years old -- but they are bright, bold colors and great big bottles! I'm not sure how they were ever forgotten, but I had to pull them out to play with them right away.
I discovered that I have a love for making painted papers with watercolors and stencils! The papers can be used as collage or as a foundation for a painting later on.
Here, I grabbed a few different Artistcellar stencils and used a paintbrush to brush the watercolor on 140lb watercolor paper... however I really want to also try it with Yupo and Mineral Paper. On a few of them, I also mixed watercolor with rubbing alcohol and splattered alcohol on the page. Look at the fun textures I was able to achieve!
I went a little crazy with it because I was having so much fun playing with colors -- so I made page after page after page. Try it! I think you might find it a little bit addicting.
Artistcellar stencils used:
Hello! Today is all about mixed media layers and inspiration from the Om symbol.
I hope you enjoy the video I made as a result:
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.
This week I'm working with chakra's again -- but with a little bit of a different approach. Lately I've been having a lot of fun using Amazing Mold Putty and creating molds of various items I own --- especially from my doll collection. I've been creating artwork on canvas with these pieces. Today, I wanted to create a painting on the theme of the "Third Eye".
Every time I think about this -- it reminds me of one of my favorite Tool songs by the same name. Before I started painting -- I lit some candles, turned on some music, and used a tiny bit of Clary Sage essential oil in my brush water.
I have created a little video of what happened next: