Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
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!
“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.