Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

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.

 

MATERIALS USED:

Hello again!

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:

 

Supplies Used:

 

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

Greetings!

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:

Supplies Used:
- 5 x 7 canvas
- Ephemera 
- Artistcellar Chakra Pocket Stencil - Third Eye
- Doll face made out of plaster, broken into pieces
- Artistcellar Block stencil
- Matte Medium
- DecoArt Media Mister - Carbon Black
- Modeling Paste
- Golden High Flow - Indigo
- DecoArt Glazing Medium
- Prima Art Alchemy Metallique Light Patina
- Dina Wakely Black
- Dina Wakely Blackberry Violet
- Prima Art Alchemy Wild Fuschia
- Dye-Na-Flow Midnight Blue
- Uniball Signo UM-153 pen
- Gloss Varnish

“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all” 

"In My Life" - John Lennon

Of late, the Full Moon has been my time of introspection. Urged on by the changing of the seasons, so it was again this month. The feeling of melancholy surrounds me as I see the leaves change colour and begin their spiral dance to the earth. And the progression continues with change as the only constant.

I have mentioned how much the Artistcellar Labyrinth series has inspired my work. Believing in Synchronicity, they came to me just when I needed them most. This time my chosen stencil to work with was Gonzaga. I love the clean straight lines. It would be a superb counterpoint for the elements I collected for the collage.

A new medium for me is the Deco Art Media Crackle Paste. Application is easy and all that is needed is a palette knife and patience to allow for an adequate drying time. I picked a piece of copper metallic writing paper for my substrate. As I spread the paste through the stencil I wondered how it would hold up. Would this technique be its demise? It’s an interesting process to watch. The thickness of application varies the size of the eggshell cracks. And like magic…there they were. I pulled the stencil away from the paper and started my clean-up. I’m happy to report, as with all Artistcellar products, cleaning was easy and the stencil held up beautifully. Quality, quality, quality!

Hearing “In My Life” on the radio brought back so many wonderful memories from a time before email. It’s no secret that I am a passionate lover of the written word. Letters, postcards…anything in the mail is nourishment for my Muse! I relish the anticipation as much as the delivery. Just to see an address in a familiar hand is uplifting. I wanted my theme for the collage to be the art of correspondence.

I admit I find it difficult to meditate. So many ideas, so many images interrupt what should be a place of quiet and wonder. By using the labyrinth as the focal part of my work, I am getting closer to quieting my mind. The Labyrinth pulls together my random thoughts. So the work you see here is an attempt at stream of consciousness meditation, for lack of a better phrase.

It was time to complete the collage. Drawing from my Book of Backgrounds (aka the Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal) I selected other stencil designs I created: Halftone Dots, Seafoam, and Open Works from the Blocks series. Placing the images went smoothly…as if they knew where they should “live”. I allowed myself to feel, and to journey looking back at what once was with a definite optimistic view of the future. I recognize that accepting change is an integral part of the progression.

In my life all these places had their moments. And for that I am grateful.

MATERIALS USED:

Shameless Plug: The Labyrinth Series in addition to other works incorporating Artistcellar Stencils will be on exhibit at the Oyster Mill Playhouse, Camp Hill, PA November 4 through November 20, 2016

Hello starshines!

I've had some Dye-Na-Flow inks for quite some time... however, until now I had only ever used it in paintings. I knew they could be used on fabric and I wanted to explore!

I started with a tie-dyed piece of cotton fabric. I bunched the fabric up, rubber banded it and tossed it in a ziplock back. From there I poured in Midnight Blue, Turquoise and Bright Green. I set it aside for about an hour and then pulled it out to air dry. Once completely dry, the fabric can be ironed to heat set the dye. Pretty awesome right?

My discovery doesn't stop there...

I also found that I could use the dye to create sun prints!

To do this I placed the fabric flat on a canvas panel and used a foam brush to add thick layers of the inks to the fabric. While the inks were still wet I placed the new Artistcellar Block stencils on the fabric and took it outside in the sun. I let it sit outside for just about an hour and then brought it in. When I removed the stencils it was like magic!

This technique is SO much fun. It requires just a bit of patience but the payoff is so great.

I loved the results so much I decided to give it another go... this time with an even bigger piece of fabric. After brushing the ink on, I played Artistcellar Blocks stencils and the Chakra series pocket stencils and placed it out in the sun.

This time, when I brought it back inside I added white pearl and black fabric paint with a brush and a Tim Holtz metal embellishment. Then, I grabbed a wooden dowel rod and super glued it to the back of the fabric, and finished it off with a piece of thick string to hang it up. A tapestry!

I love using these dyed fabrics to decorate in my home. They make a perfect pop of color and my personal favorite is using them to help display my crystal collection.

 

Hello fellow creatives! Have you checked out Artistcellar's brand-spankin' new stencils? They have quickly become one of my favorites because of their versatility and deceptively simple design that work with just about any type of project.

Since I enjoyed making a paper quilt last time I decided to explore that technique further by choosing a larger canvas and making smaller squares. The result...FABULOUS.

Here's what I worked with: Blocks series stencils, Gelli plate and brayer, scrap pieces of file folders, Dina Wakley acrylics, gel medium, glazing medium, glossy sealant and a 6x24 canvas.

Set up your gelli printing spree and have fun mixing colors. I used a brayer to "paint" color onto the scraps for an initial layer and then followed it up with more layers using the Blocks stencils. I made sure I had a few scraps that only had a few simple layers and others that had three or more. Keep to the same 3 to 5 colors to make sure your finished prints are consistent. 

For the next step grab your trimmer and some scissors, turn on a favorite show or blast some groovy music and get cutting. I cut down my scraps to 1x1 inch squares. Look at all that inchie goodness!

Now it is time to start adhering the squares to your canvas! Working in small sections and using an old hotel key card smooth a semi-thin layer of gel medium onto the surface of the canvas and place your squares in rows. You'll get in the zone and pretty soon you will have the entire canvas surface covered in your gorgeously patterned squares.

For a finishing touch, use a dark color like Umber or Night and make a glaze with glazing medium and paint it to the surface of the canvas (again, working in small sections at a time) and then wipe off the excess. The following picture shows a glazed section next to one that hasn't had the glaze wiped off yet.

Finished project! Another beautiful paper quilt that is both relaxing to create and interesting to look at. I hope you make one for yourself!

Hi Everyone, I want to encourage you to play in your art journal this week with the NEW Block Series Stencils and a Gelli Plate. I am using a 4” Round Gelli Plate, which I adore!!

First, get your journal out. Next, using a soft rubber brayer, roll out some acrylic paint on the Gelli Plate.



Third, place a Block Series stencil on top of the wet paint on the Gelli Plate.

Press lightly on the stencil so that the impression of it can get onto the wet paint on the Gelli Plate. Lift the stencil off and print both the wet stencil and the Gelli Plate in your art journal.




Move the Gelli Plate around the journal page to get several prints from it.

TIP: Depending on how thick your paint is, you might not see a clear print of the stencil impression. Expect a blurred impression and mostly a circle of paint to be seen. Try using many different colors of paint, including black, if you wish.


Use the journal page you created as a background for some creative lettering, expressive writing, or simply leave as is.


The most important part is to invite the spirit of play into your life and art.

Many Blessings,

Briana

Hello My lovelies! This week I played with Artistcellar's Blocks series of stencils! I felt like being wordy while playing, I did these 1st 2 pages using layers of 1st Dylusions sprays, then gesso to mute the colors. I then topped it with one of the Labrynth stencils

The words were inspired by the time I spent with my Mum last week. They are a few key phrases that sum up what my mum has always been trying to instill in me.

For the 2nd page, I wanted to put a face on a page for this week. I also put another phrase to live by on this page. For this one I used the DecoArt Media line fluid acrylics through the stencils, creating a pretty patterned background with plenty of nice white space which is a weakness of mine.

I love how easily these stencils can be combined or used alone to create a background with interest, I will definately be using these in additional pieces and am thinking I may use it in a focal point in a page to come!

Big hugs and mushies!!

- Shana Banana