Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

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

"You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow." – Janis Joplin

I was just a kid, making my bed and listening to the radio on a Saturday morning. The opening notes of a song caught my ear, but it was when I heard the raspy, passion filled voice, I knew I was experiencing something exceptional. At the time I didn’t know who was singing, and I didn’t know the name of the song. But the vocalists’ raw emotion, the way she held a note…releasing it at just the perfect moment...captivated me.  The song was “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company. The mesmeric voice belonged to Janis Joplin. The memory of the first time I heard her sing will forever stay with me.

We all know her story…leaving Port Arthur, Texas to discover who she was as a woman and an artist, of her addictions and her need for pushing the limits of her rock-and-roll lifestyle.  But rather than dwell on the tragic I want to celebrate all that was triumphant.

As a confirmed letter writer myself, I loved reading Janis’ correspondence to friends and family. This Janis is the one that inspired me through my awkward (are they ever anything but!) teens and into my twenties. Janis kicked open the door for women in the arts. She showed us anything is possible if we follow our dreams to our authentic self. Her drive to succeed on her own terms…caressing the vulnerable and the beautiful…lead to many mishaps but also to great discoveries.

The quote is a favourite of mine. Before words like “mindfulness” became part of the lexicon, Janis was already a believer. As I’ve recently been working with the wonderful Artistcellar Labyrinth series, my heart and my work have found a brilliant resting place in being fully present and not destroying my “now”.

The newest member of the Artistcellar family is Blocks. I couldn’t wait to start creating! The variety within the four piece set is excellent. I was especially drawn to the Open Work and Cross T designs. I wanted to give my work a 1960’s vibe so I chose to stencil with the colours of the era: hot pink, purple, acid green. It was fun to dab my acrylics through the stencil and see the combinations. I even stenciled a single colour knowing I could add it to my art. As with all of the Artistcellar products, clean up was a snap leaving the stencils in perfect condition.

I enjoyed building the collage. I wanted to give the work a vintage feel and started with a tintype background. I added the layers including the stenciled images, newspaper clippings, date stamps, painted dryer sheets, and finally the image of Janis. I chose this particular photo because she looked fearless, happy and ready to take on her next adventure.

It is easy to be drawn to the heart-rending story of a creative who died before their time. But if there is one thing I’ve gained from following Janis’ much too short career it is this: Be true to yourself, as a woman and an artist, and you will find authenticity waiting to be discovered in that special piece of your heart.

MATERIALS USED:

  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: BLOCKS - Open Work, Cross T
  • PLAID FOLKART METALLIC ACRYLICS: Aquamarine, Champaign, Antique Gold, Amethyst, Plum, Rose Shimmer, Metallic Rose, Emerald Green, Peridot, Blue Topaz
  • PLAID ACRYLICS: Sunflower, Brilliant Pure Orange
  • REEVES ACRYLICS: Rose Red
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS
  • STRATHMORE Mixed-Media Visual Journal 300 Series- 5.5" x 8.5"
  • DIGITAL IMAGES – Purchased & Created

 

 

Yay! We have a new series out! This one is nice and square and blocky and makes great texture and backgrounds! I've been playing with these for awhile, beginning with my gelli plate (naturally!) Here's what they look like: 

Open Work

Deco

Tiles

Cross-T

Aren't they pretty? Of course I couldn't just show you the designs. You can see those on the Artistcellar Website Stencils page. 

So you know how you can have a half finished canvas laying around and it's saying to you "meh." Well, I grabbed one of those canvases and just started some layering with the Blocks Stencils. And since I loved how the design team kept using crackle paste through stencils, I tried that too. Boy did I have a hot mess at the end. Now it screamed "MEH!!" But I did a little trick that my friend reminded me of... I tied it all together with Nickel Azo and Burnt Umber glazes. This is what happened. 

But check out this texture! I wasn't sure if my crackle paste would even crackle, with the humidity being 423% (or so it felt) but it turned into crackle on steroids! 

And hidden in between the texture-y goodness lay more blocks. 

I sorta like this piece now. I call it "Cracked, not Broken" The original piece was inspired by a huge sidewalk crack I took a picture of, the end result is a little more metaphorical and reminds me of that poem about "cracks letting the light in." 

This morning I was visiting Diana Trout's blog and saw this little tutorial on Twinchies. Well, these were tags that failed at paper marbling so I stenciled over them, cut them square and decided to try Diana's method. I first glued some book page words on the squares and covered the entire square in an Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. I ended coating them twice to get a nice thick gloss. I then dipped the edges in a flat gold embossing powder and melted them smooth. I grabbed another half-finished canvas I've had laying around for YEARS and gave it a fresh coat of paint and stenciling with the same Tiles stencil, and mounted the little tile in the middle of the canvas. I coated the canvas edges in the glass bead gel to give it a little bling. The funny part is that the "Beautiful Exasperation" cracked when I tried to straighten it. I love delicious irony. 

But wait. Didn't I mention in the Newsletter something about a GIVEAWAY? Yes, yes I did! I'm giving away a set of stencils and a beautiful book called "Art Journal Your Archetypes" by artist and author Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli. It is a gorgeous book filled with artwork and interviews by your favorite artists like Nathalie Kalbach, Orly Avineri, Sarah Trump, Jessica Sporn, Mary Beth Shaw, Seth Apter, and Tamara Laporte. Yours Truly has a little piece of artwork in there, representing my main archetype "Nature Girl." 

It has a section where you can answer questions to figure out what archetypes you most identify with, and half the book shows you how you can use stencils and other mixed media methods to create journal pages to honor your archetypes. It really is a unique book, with a fascinating subject, you will be sure to learn something about yourself and then want to create art about it! 

Gabrielle and I also got the chance to talk a little bit over at Google Hangouts and she recorded it for everyone to see. (eeek!) We talked about archetypes, art journaling, running a business, and other "stuff". Enjoy!

Now for the details of the Giveaway! Just leave a comment here about what you think your archetypes are. Or just leave a comment about what you think about the Blocks stencils and artwork. Or just say hi :-) I will pick a random winner on October 8th, after the Design Team has had a chance to show off their creations. You have to come back to THIS post to enter the giveaway. Only one entry per person, duplicates will be eliminated. I am giving away a brand new book and a set of stencils. And if I have more than 50 comments, I will be giving away another book and set of stencils! So share this post and encourage people to enter. Good luck and... 

Have a fantastic week! 

xoLisa