Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

“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!

MATERIALS USED:

Hello all!

This week I have some new mediums to play alongside my artistcellar stencils.

To start, I grabbed an 8 x 10 piece of hot-pressed Fabriano watercolor paper. This paper is nice in that it is both 140lb and hot pressed AND it doesn't break the bank. Good watercolor paper tends to be really expensive, and while worth it - I can't always afford it!

Next, I started auditioning some Artistcellar stencils on the page. Here, I'm using Tibet Series: Buddha Eyes, Cathedral Plans: Notre Dame and Cathedral Plans: Amiens Plan.  The Cathedral Plans series stencil is a longtime favorite of mine for backgrounds. They are so versatile and I've found use for them in many different paintings.

With a palette knife, I scraped Golden Glass Bead Gel through the stencil. Let me tell you -- this stuff is awesome! Glass beads inside the medium really shimmer and shine and it works beautifully with the stencils!

I let it dry completely, and then I started dripping strings of Golden Tar Gel throughout... the tar gel appears white, but it will dry pretty much clear and adds great texture (similar to creating lines with a hot glue gun). 

Next I used watercolors, mermaid markers and alcohol to add color and even more texture. To create the cell-like effect I simply dipped a brush in the alcohol and then stamped it on the page. Yum!

For extra accent, I used a bit of Inka Gold and some Dina Wakely acrylic paint as the finishing touches. 

This is a super texture rich page and it was such a fun way to experiment with new supplies and old favorites. 

 

Hello everyone! I am so happy to be sharing with you this week! 

So I had a bit of an accident at the dog park, my sweet pup was running with the rest of the dogs and knocked me down! I know he is so sorry! 

The bad part, I fell straight back and caught myself with my right arm and did a good number on my back and right shoulder, so a bit of a hiatus was forced upon me. I am still sore so I have decided I will be working lefty until I am healed!

This week I wanted to play with the newest of the Artistcellar stencils, the Tibet Series. I acutally have an idea for a painting but without the control of my right hand I decided to forego the paint and do some art journal work!

I have a friend Shannon that comes over every Saturday and we have what we call "Shantime" where we create and learn from each other. This week I talked her into playing with the set of stencils and then further talked her into letting me share what she created!

Without planning to, we both started our pages in our dylusions journals with a line of of the lotus flower stencil across the bottom and that is where similarity ends...

For my journal spread I used watercolors to create my line of lotus flowers along with colored pencils and acrylic paint.

I then used Dy-na-flow in turquoise along with India ink in teal to create a fun drippy background over the top of some watercolors through the Eternal knot stencil allowing the drips to go over my lotus flowers.

Then for a challenge I decided since I am all lefty I would try my hand at creating a girl using an assortment of paints including Dina Wakley in Ocean and Fuchsia, colored pencils and regular pencils. I used the Buddha eyes on the opposite side  with the word overcome to signify my new lefty status.

Shannon on the other hand (pun intended she is right handed! lol) decided she would use paint for her lotus flowers and created a body of water for them to float on. She then went on with metallic paint and painted the Tibetan Ohm Symbol, Buddha eyes and the Eternal Knot using metallic paints. Then went over them using dylusions sprays, and for more fun she used the stencils again to ghost the symbols into the page.

We had so much fun creating our journal spreads using the new stencils, it is always so much more fun to share art with a friend and I am truly blessed to have so many I hold close to my heart!

Big hugs and mushies to 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?

 

MATERIALS USED:

It's so exciting when there is a new stencil release and the Tibet Series is stunning! 

For my project I chose to use the Eternal Knot stencil. (It's also called the Endless Knot) Here is an excellent explanation from the Sivana East website:

An intricate pattern of interlacing lines and never-ending loops, the eternal knot is nothing short of eye catching and deeply intriguing. Though found mostly in Tibetan Buddhist culture, the Endless Knot can also be found in Chinese and Chinese-inspired art, and can even be seen in Celtic culture.

Without beginning or end, the endless knot is an intricate design of looped intertwined lines that weave in and out of each other to form a beautiful lattice pattern.

The origin of this ancient symbol is thought to be the icon of snakes- a symbol of duality in many cultures.

Buddhism focuses heavily on the idea of duality and finding the balance between the feminine and masculine qualities in life. This gives a balanced perspective that allows the practitioner to let go of challenging situations, and to see the opposing side of arguments in a new light. This lets go of attachment and hatred, resulting in a closer path to enlightenment.

With all the twists and turns in the knot, it clearly illustrates the interconnectedness of all beings on the planet. This makes the sacred knot take on the symbolism of not just duality, but the perfect representation of unity in the universe.

At its heart, the endless knot inspires one to ponder the connectivity of opposites.

As The Dhammapada reads:

Conquer the angry man by love.
Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth.

 

This is why the endless knot can be found everywhere in Tibetan Buddhism- to remind us of the interconnectedness of all beings in space and time.

Isn't that inspiring? 

I wanted to make a simple pendant banner so clearly display this beautiful symbol. 

Here is what I used:

Use the Infra and Ripples stencils to create texture onto the painted canvas and your background is ready! Take the Eternal knot stencil and transfer the design onto the center of the canvas. The stenciled lines from the pattern will guide your stitching and use the turquoise thread to sew a back-stitch along the design. Paint the space inside the thread lines with white paint to highlight the knot design. 

Create a loop at the top of the canvas by folding the fabric over the dowel and gluing the edge down. Using your choice of cord or thread take a length and tie each end onto the dowel to create a way to hang the banner.

This leaves room for so much more embellishment and personalization. Want to add beads? Handwritten words? Go and do it! I hope you are able to create something beautiful this week and find inspiration from the new Tibet Stencils!

I am back again with another project using the same face I painted for my previous post. I am a big believer in repetition of a theme or subject especially if you switch up the media you use. It gives your creativity the freedom to just focus on how you use the materials since your subject is already decided. It is also interesting to see how each media can give your subject a different look and feel.

Here are the supplies I used:

My substrate this week originally started as a decorative panel I found at the $ spot at Target. Upon closer inspection I saw that it is some sort of MDF board with a wood type veneer on the surface. To prepare the panel I first gave it a light sanding to remove the glossy surface and then covered the panel in a thick layer of gesso.

While the gesso was still wet I pressed the Penrose stencil all over the surface of the gesso to create texture. Immediately wash off your stencil and wait for the gesso to dry.

Since my layer of gesso was so thick it helped to create a subtle texture to the surface when dry. Next came a few glazes of color and some stenciling along the edges with the Quasi stencil. When the paint was dry I gave it a light sanding which highlighted the texture created by the gesso.

Using the same technique from last time, I used transfer paper to trace my portrait design onto my surface. I chose to make it off center to add more interest to the composition. I used the General's Scribe-All to trace over my lines and since it is water-soluble I was able to establish some shades to build my painting upon which started with a layer of white acrylic

Then I bounced around the painting creating more color, value and texture by rotating through using Inktense sticks, distress sticks, General's Scribe-All, Faber-Castell Aquarelle Pencils and Dina Wakley's acrylics. Every once in awhile I would give certain areas a sanding to bring back the under texture.

I was also very inspired by our very own Cristin and her magnificent use of drips in her artwork. I tried my hand at it and I am digging the layer of texture (can you tell it is my very favorite thing!) it adds. 

The final piece has a much different look than my last composition and I am pleased with how it turned out. I encourage you to recreate a subject from one of your previous artworks with a different media. You might be surprised and pleased at what the new materials will draw out of you!

Greetings Artistcellar Folks,

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I love using soft rubber brayers and silky smooth acrylic paint, such as Dina Wakley Media Acrylic.

I love to use magenta in my art.

I love to make marks with found objects, like corrugated cardboard.

I love to look at my messy color palettes.

I love the Marked Series stencils designed by Lynn Krawczyk.

I love subtle contrast and well, circles.

I love to use yellow paint. Yellow + Magenta = Orange (not shown, but always in my heart of hearts).

I appreciate good design and the work of artists. I love new art supplies, like this eye stamp designed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer for ArtFoamies.

What do you love? What causes a “revolution in your heart”?

Sending Love and Blessings,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

 

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:

A DAY AT NATHAN'S

"Coney Island is and always will be 'the people's playground.' It's a place where people of all backgrounds come to have a good time." Harold Feinstein, Photographer

It could be the incredible weather. Eighty degrees in April?! Really? Or maybe it was the Pink Full Moon. Or maybe I was just hungry. Nevertheless, my thoughts were drawing me to Coney Island. And one of my favourite places was, and still is, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.

Established in 1916, immigrants Nathan and Ida Handwerker spent their life savings of $300 to pursue the American dream. Still standing on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Brooklyn, Nathan’s was always a great stop on the way home from a day at the Beach. The huge white sign with the “Nathan’s” green script is forever a welcome mat to every Beach weary traveler. 

I found a great vintage photo taken in 1947 of a hungry crowd waiting to be served. And there in the foreground was the object of their affection…the famous Nathan’s hot dogs and buns marking time on the rolling grill. 

Grabbing my Strathmore Visual Journal I started the design. I brayered layers of acrylic paint on to the stock. I wanted colours that screamed beach, summer, and joy so I selected hues of yellow, orange, red and pink. I especially love the Dylusions sprays. Bubble Gum Pink is outstanding. It really gave the background the pop of colour it needed. But rather than spray it on to the paper, I sprayed my palette, coated the brayer and rolled it on to the surface. The hot pink colour stays true even when dried. I love it!

But what is the Beach without the Ocean? Part of the charm of eating at Nathan’s is feeling the grit of the sandy sidewalk under your feet and the salt in the air. That is why the Artistcellar Water Series is the perfect complement for my composition. I chose to use the 12” x12” Surf stencil. The movement of the stencil is a wonderful counterbalance to the straight brayered patches of colour.  In addition to my Visual Journal I also have a digital counterpart. From this collection I chose two watercolour versions of the Artistcellar Halftone Dots Series. Stenciled on to Mineral Paper the samples had just the quality I was looking for to complete the work.

But what is Nathan’s without people? With a bit of digital manipulation the image was ready to become part of the final composition. 

And that’s what I love about Art. Even though I couldn’t be at Nathan’s physically, by working on the collage I was able to travel through time and visit a location near and dear to my heart. It allowed me to remember an exceptional, blissful time with my family.

But Nathan’s isn’t just somewhere to eat. For me it is the embodiment of all that is truly American: our spirit of entrepreneurship, our willingness to hope for a better future, a place where young and old, rich and poor can mingle. In essence, it is a microcosm of the tolerant and diverse city I am proud to call my Home.  

As a Nation there may be times we seem to go off track. But I firmly believe our collective soul thrives on compassionately embracing ideas that are different. And most of all offering a warm welcome to those who want to make this Nation their own.

MATERIALS USED:

Today I bring you part two of my project using the Quilt Series Stencils. I ended my last post by showing you that I had just started adding my stitches to my piece of canvas. 

I ended up concentrating on one of the stencil designs and really took my time adding more and more stitching details to the original design. I used regular embroidery thread in a variegated color scheme as well as black, white and ecru. I stuck with the basic stitches I am familiar with, running stitch, back-stitch and Xs.

After I had filled our my design to my liking I decided I would turn this into the cover for a fabric book where I plan to paint, collage and stitch on the pages. I plan on making it full of texture and color. 

After cutting my cover to size I also cut some batting (to thicken the cover) as well as fabric for the inside of my book to the same size. The fabric I pulled from my stash includes ticking, canvas, white broadcloth and gray felt. The ticking ended up as the inside layer of my cover with the batting sewn between it and my painted canvas.

It's a little wonky and certainly not perfect but I am so so happy with how it is coming along. The stitching makes me slow down, relax and it's nice to just let something evolve as I add a bit to it each evening.

I'll be back next time with a finished book filled with chunky texture, luscious color and more stencils!

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