Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello beautiful souls!

Birthdays are the best time to make art for gifts. I ended up creating this awesome 12"x12" piece for a friends birthday the day of. We got invited over last minute so I spent the evening making his gift. He told me his 3 favorite colors were: green, blue, and purple. Score! They all look gorgeous as galaxy colors and fade into each other nicely. It turned out so pretty I wish I still had it for our wall. 

I used the 6x6 flower of life stencil and 6x6 metatron's cube stencils for this piece. The moon and some of the galaxy stars also glow-in-the-dark.

I also took the time to play around with some more of the awesome Deco Art crackle paste , the 12x12 Sri Yantra stencil, and the 6x6 golden mean stencil for this piece. I had a lot of fun with the bottom layer using some stencils, and splashes.

Next I layered the crackle paste. I love watching the little crackles form as the medium dries. The inks like to show through the white layer and it looks pretty awesome.

Next I started layering the sprays and things to create the metallic gold look. I used some dylusions ground coffee spray, some glimmer mist, and some other sparkly sprays.

The first layer looks like snake skin. Pretty cool. Then I added some Viva Decor Inka Gold to really give the gold some nice highlights and depth. I even took a nice little video on my Instagram to show off the finished piece since a 1 minute video can capture way more than several photos. 

I create one last piece literally last night just to get some art time in. This mini art is 4"x4" and will be backed on a flat canvas. I used the flower of life 6"x6" stencil and the third eye chakra pocket stencil. I really dig this little piece celebrating the awakening of the third eye.

What projects do you like to create when you only have  a short amount of art time?

Love, light, and creativity,

xo Genea

Hello beautiful souls,

Well I had a blast with the crackle paste this round! I learned some awesome things too so I am excited to share those things as well. So let's dive in! I like to start out with a 4x6" watercolor piece to try out the design and then go bigger. So for my first piece I rocked the chakra, pocket chakra and pocket chakra 2 stencils.

As you can see the crackle starts out white, but that's boring, right? So why not get down and dirty with some colors?

So here are some helpful tips I learned while working with this super sweet medium. On the website it suggests that you use matte medium to help the crackle stick to your piece better, but if you forget to do that when you start you kinda have to go backwards. Luckily you can still do that after you put your paste down. So you want to let the crackle paste dry. DON'T try to speed up the crackle with a dryer or you will not allow the medium to crackle on it's own. If you want big cracks you want a nice thick layer. Thinner layers will create thinner cracks, but be careful. The thinner the layer the flakier the little crackles, and when you put the matte medium on top you will lose it on your brush. The crackle doesn't really like to let all colorful things stick like watercolors so you need to get creative. On my heart sanskrit piece I used alcohol inks and the liquid solution to thin down and blend the color. I just squirted them right from the bottle on my piece and let them drip. When I was creating both pieces of artwork I flipped between both while I learned how to use them.

So let's take a look at my Om piece using the 12x12 Om crown stencil. I got my background nice and poppin' with some super bright colors, layers, black, white, drips, inks, and watercolors. I laid my Om on the top with the crackle paste and got to work.

It was pretty with just the white. You can actually see the distress inks penetrate the surface and bleed through, but they were a little too subtle. I started out with some opaque inks, but the crackle was so delicate before I learned the matte medium trick.

So I did the inks and then did the matte medium. This is not a water based ink so I didn't have any of the ink come up on my brush when I painted on the protective layer. So you want to keep that in mind as you do your matte medium layer. You can see the places where I lost some crackle, but it looks distressed and goes awesome with my piece. I was kinda digging the kind of tie-dye easter egg look, but it was pretty pastel.

I decided to get down with some alcohol inks and distress inks to really make the crackle pop, but then things got to be a little too much, and I was losing those awesome layers I had build up.

I got a little stuck so I posted on Facebook and asked friends to help make some suggestions. I got things like outline in white, black, dark blue, and some greens. I had already tried to outline in white but it still wasn't  enough to help. I decided to go for metallic gold so I  covered the Om in white ink and then got out the dylusions ground coffee spray, some other sparkle sprays, and I finished off the look with Viva Decor Inka Gold. I deiced I want to to clean up the outline so I addedd a paint pen in metallic gold as well and the constrast was pefect. I LOVE how well this piece turned out especially after the mess I started out with Lol.

What awesome saves have you done with your work when you got stuck in a design rut?

Until next time...

Love, light, and creativity,

xo Genea

I worked in my art journal this week and by using a few stencils and paint I added to a page I previously worked on. Here are the supplies I used:

You might remember this face from a previous blog post. The facing page was empty and I felt drawn (heeheehee) to it this week. It seemed to me that this facial expression was sad, confused or uncertain. I thought about what words she would like to hear to help with these emotions. The words used in the Creative and Virtues words pocket stencils were perfect positive affirmations to include on my page.

After creating a layered background I used a silicone tool to spread a medium layer of crackle paste in six small sections where I wanted the words to be. When dry I sanded the crackle paste to smooth it and then stenciled the words on top. To create a border around each word I used the Faber-Castell pencils and activated it with water to smudge the graphite.

I wanted to add some personal journaling in black Fude Ballpoint pen but I couldn't come up with my own words. SO many things are happening in our world right now and I am still thinking of how I can express my feelings about it. Right now the stenciled words are enough for me.

I hope you can make time to create in your art journal this week!​

“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

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 

Hello, hello!

This week I've struggled with a bit of a creative block. It doesn't happen often -- but when it does it hits hard! For some reason, everything I went to work on turned out horrible -- really, really horrible. I realized the correlation between the projects was that they were all quite small... so for this project I pulled out the big guns! A large piece of watercolor paper.

I prepped it by grabbing some inspiring ephemera and used matte medium to "glue" them down. Next, I added a shabby layer of gesso just to push some of it back and help it not be so crazy.

True to my nature (especially lately) I grabbed a DecoArt Media Mister in "Carbon Black" and the Adirondack Color Wash in "Butterscotch" along with the Labyrinth stencil set, and one of my favorites from the Diamond Series Set.

After the sprays, I added another light shabby layer of gesso, and then used Dina Wakley "Black" paint to doodle on the page. I started with a portrait, and then decided to go ahead and add in a lotus flower as well.

Next, I used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Black, Payne's Grey, Titan Buff and Titanium white to paint the portrait. These are some of my favorite portrait colors (especially the Payne's Grey and the Titan Buff combo -- yum!)

I also added bits of metallic gold, because I love the way it pops off of the painting when paired next to the Black and Payne's Grey.

The Diamond Series Stencil "Flanders" is one of my favorite stencils EVER, especially the center design. I used it on the dress of the girl, with some crackle paste.... I loved the way it turned out!

To finish off the painting, I added some white highlights with a Uniball signo UM-153 white pen and Inka Gold in "Gold" throughout.

I also added some song lyrics that inspired me as I painted -- "Eleanor Rigby" by ... *drumroll* The Beatles!

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Oh! My lovely lovelies!

I am so happy to be back with you this week! I played a lot the past couple days! And I made a piece that I adore!

I decided I wanted to go out of my comfort zone a lil bit, and try to use mostly items or mediums that I hadn't used before! so I decided I would use DecoArt Crackle Paste, something I have been avoiding, mostly because I had no clue what I was going to do with it, DecoArt Gesso, its really thick so hadn't had a real reason to get it out, my Inka-Gold, my steampunk gears stencil set, they are just new and I love them and some fluid acrylics I got on a clearance rack. I also ended up using one of the Sacred Hearts stencils and a ranger paint dabber along with some other craft acrylics.

For the background gears I just used 1 stencil thickness layer of the the crackle paste, I found that allowing it to air dry produced more cracks than if I tried to speed the drying up with a heat gun. For the heart and the key I first used a stencil thickness layer of the thick gesso, allowed it to dry then applied a 2nd layer using the crackle paste.

For the color on the background, I used fluid acrylics and dark spray ink applied with a paintbrush. I then went over it again with color, did some sanding to rough it up and then applied the inka-gold with my finger or a paint brush. I love how the inka-gold looks, on some of the pictures it looks like a light is shining on the piece, but its not! It's just the Inka-gold doing its thing! love the stuff!

I then decided I had to add a face, so I went in with the thick gesso to create a face shape and cover up some of the background gears, I then just did a very simple face, using the background gold as pseudo hair.

I am totally in love with the crackle now! I cant wait to try it out again on something new. I have all kinds of ideas!

Big hugs and mushy stuff to you all!!
XOXOXO
- Shana Banana!
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Hello again!

I really, really loved the combination of butterscotch and black from my last project... so I couldn't help but incorporate it again! This week I started with a piece of matboard and sprayed Adirondack Color Wash in "Butterscotch" and DecoArt Media Mister in "Primary Cyan" through Artistcellar Labyrinth stencils. Once dried I added a layer of white gesso randomly throughout. Then, I used a palette knife to layer crackle paste. I let that dry completely by just sitting aside overnight. The thicker the layer of crackle paste, the more dramatic crack effect you will achieve! 

I came back to my project the next day with a Faber-Castell Aquarelle pencil and started drawing a simple sunflower design. To fill it in, I used Dye-Na-Flow ink in "Sun Yellow" and let it drip throughout (of course!). To add a little more dimension to the sunflower I also used DecoArt Media in "Titan Buff" and "Metallic Gold". 

Then, for the center, I used Dina Wakley "Black" and "Umber" acrylics

I finished it off with Inka Gold in "Gold" and Pearl Pen in "Black"

That's it! Have you been creating with the Labyrinth stencils?

Hello, hello!

I recently received the most amazing package from Artistcellar and in it were the new stencils - The Labyrinth series!

I grabbed a square piece of matboard and applied a layer of white gesso to the entire surface. Once dry, I went in with each Labyrinth stencil and sprayed DecoArt Media Mister in "Carbon Black" and Adirondack Color Wash in "Butterscotch". I let the two sprays mix together a bit and I loved the effect.

During the stage, I also used a paintbrush that was soaked down with water and some Carbon Black acrylic paint to create spatters and drips then added some more white gesso over the background I had just created, to move a little bit of the color and "busy-ness" to the back. 

While the background dried, I sketched out a hamsa on a separate piece of paper and then later used graphite paper to transfer to the matboard. From there, I painted in the hamsa using acrylic paint and Pearle pen in "Black" and "Ice White". 

I wanted more dimension in the background so I used a palette knife to scrape a thick layer of DecoArt Media Crackle Paste throughout. When it dried, I used Dye-Na-Flow in "Turquoise" and then my hand to spread Inka Gold "Gold" into the cracks that the paste had created. 

In the end, I was so excited about the texture I had achieved and found the painting to be very interesting to look at. 

Shhhhh, you hear that? No? That's okay because it's silence. At my house. The first day of school was this week and it was awesome (Yippee!!!!). All four of my darling daughters are in school now and for the next 6 weeks I will thoroughly enjoy all the silence before I return to school and begin teaching art again. One of the perks, I guess, at my school is the "specials" classes don't start right away so I have more time to prepare! And procrastinate!

While I was enjoying the silence and procrastinating my lesson planning I played with the new Labyrinth Series stencils from Artistcellar. These stencils are ah-may-zing and I have only tipped the iceberg on the creative possibilities!

I ended up creating four different greeting card designs and I am pleased with how unique they are from each other. My substrates are blank white smooth greeting cards by Strathmore. I found them in the depths of my stash. When using a supply (like these gorgeous stencils) for the first time I usually like to work with a smaller size paper and what's better than a blank greeting card!? That way, if I make something AWESOME, I can send it to someone and bring a little sunshine in their mailbox. Who doesn't love that?

Here is a list of the supplies I used and a peek into the process:

CARD #1

Using a random piece of painted deli paper from my stash I pasted it to the front of my card. (Use a clean brayer to really smooth it down!)

I chose the Crete stencil for this one and started with a layer of gesso and then I bumped the stencil over a smidge and did a layer of red. When that was all dry I put the stencil down again and traced all those lovely lines with a black pen. I just dig that off register look it makes.

It still needs text and I haven't decided yet what I want it to say. Suggestions welcome!(That stencil does look a bit like a brain here, don't you think? hahaha!)

CARD #2

This time I used the Chartres stencil with the crackle paste. I applied the paste in a thin layer with a palette knife. Be still my texture-lovin' heart! I was unsure how successful it would be since the lines in this stencil are smaller but the result was gorgeous!

After the crackle paste was fully dry because you don't want to ruin that lovely texture I applied a wash of Blackberry Violet and Night. Before it dried I gently wiped the paint from the crackle paste and then added a painterly layer of the same colors beneath it.

For the finishing touch I applied five lines of pearl dots with the Ice White Perle Pen. (You can make a big impact by repeating a simple element.)

I think of this card as a love letter to Texture. (Texture, how I love thee, Let me count the ways....) Just check out those little pearls!

CARD #3

(Let me start by saying that this card is not my favorite. I almost decided not to include it but the simple technique I used is so fun and wanted to share just in case it is new to you.)

Up next is the Gonzaga stencil! I grabbed Dina Wakley's brand of Gesso and applied it with a palette knife making sure not to smooth it too much because I wanted the texture (of course!).

When that was dry I grabbed a cosmetic sponge to apply some Ruby and Tangerine colors to the entire card. Then, with a baby wipe or lightly damp cloth, I wiped the paint from the gesso. (Dina's gesso is less matte than others I have used and it lends itself to this technique making the paint wipe easily from the surface.)

Now this is when things got a bit wonky. I grabbed my black pen and traced the design to make the maze stand out more. It was then it reminded me of Pac Man or other maze games. I used the Black Pearl Pen to make some shiny dots and then added some words in the center.

While I like the idea I think my execution was a bit messy. I also don't like my lettering. Sometimes hand lettering works and other times it doesn't. I'm going to type up my words, print it and glue it over my lettering. I think I will be happier with it then. Yay for creative solutions!!

CARD #4 (My favorite!!)

This one started with Distress Crayons. So smooth! So colorful! Don't be stingy with the color.

The crayons are water activated but instead of water I used Acrylic Glazing medium. I quickly added a layer to the surface of my card making sure not to make too many brush strokes as I spread the medium over all the crayon marks. Before that dried I put the Anasazi stencil down and with a baby wipe or damp cloth I wiped the color off. Let dry.

The shape the stencil left reminded me of a tree. I wanted some shimmer and applied a thin layer of  Inka Gold with a palette knife. (Inka Gold dries super fast!!)

I don't have pictures of a few steps because I kinda got in the zone. But here's a rundown of what I did next: Using the stencil again I added a light layer of paint and then, when dry, traced the stencil with a black pen. I added a heart with the Ruby paint color and when that was dry I applied Liquid Glass to it to make it shine. It's my favorite detail! I used a gold Pitt pen to make five layers of dots around the "tree" (I repeated a favorite element from a previous card!) and a slight border of red. Love.

I hope this inspires you to make some cards yourself and send some sunshine to your loved ones' mailboxes! Happy Creating!