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!


“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?



Hello again!

This week I've been busying myself getting preorders ready for my oracle deck. In the meantime, I was going through my art studio and re-discovered Mineral Paper! Don't you just love when that happens? 

I was on vacation this weekend, so I packed up some art supplies on the go -- watercolors and stencils! I absolutely love the way watercolors work on mineral paper... and I really, really love how the paper does not buckle or have any issues standing up to the wet media. 

To begin the painting, I sketched out the girl and then outlined it in black ink. Then, I started adding color using various Artistcellar stencils (see supply list below).

Once I everything was dry I also added white highlights and additional "doodles" with the Uniball Signo UM-153 pen and Tim Holtz distress crayons.

Use your intuition and let yourself play on the page with your supplies!

I hope you enjoy this week's project - and in the meantime you can check out my oracle deck preorder at:

Supplies Used:

Is it too early to think about Saint Patrick's Day? If you asked my dad that his answer would have been a resounding, "NO!". My father was very proud of his Irish heritage. He had quite a collection of Irish themed objects including several books about Ireland, pins, ties, green shirts a'plenty, knick knacks and even his business logo (which he asked me to design) was a shamrock! When I saw an unfinished wood shamrock at the craft store the other day I knew it had to be mine and I knew it needed two things: Artistcellar stencils and Dina Wakley acrylic paints. Well, and a wee bit of Inka Gold too, of course!

Here's what I used:

After lightly sanding my wood form I gave it a coat of Evergreen paint. 

While I waited for that to dry I used the stencils and paint on deli paper to create a few sheets with interesting layers.

I chose a couple papers and tore them into smaller pieces and applied them to both sides of the shamrock with matte medium. The best way to do this is to apply a thin layer of matte medium, then the paper and another thin layer of matte medium. Use your paintbrush to smooth everything out.

When dry I painted the edge with the Penny and Umber paint. I used Distress Crayons to add a depth of color to the outer edges of the surface and bring out more green. I also rubbed Inka Gold along the edges to give it some sparkle.

I found an inspiring Irish proverb and simplified it to add a little text to my shamrock.

A few little details made with my acrylic paint pens and a coat of clear finish later and I have a finished piece!

I really like the layers of texture and the shimmer of the gold. Many thanks to my lovely eldest daughter for being a fabulous hand model for me once again. May you all have the Luck O' the Irish with you in your creative pursuits this week!


Hello Artist Friends,

Today is my 27th post written for the artistcellar blog. I am about to go deep, so you may wish to take a centering breath before you read on.

The art I would like to share today, is a page in my journal, inspired by listening to the audio book Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein.


In the introduction of Miracles Now, Gabby says

Over the last several years, our collective negativity and fear have adversely affected the economy, the environment, and the health of all beings on this planet. Due to new technology, global warming, financial crises, violent crimes, political turmoil, and planetary shifts, we’ve become more sensitive to the energy around us and the pace of life. The world has sped up, and the changes we’re experiencing can be difficult to navigate. The intensity of this time can be very uncomfortable and, in many cases, paralyzing. (p. 1, Miracles Now, Gabrielle Bernstein, 2014)

First of all, I want to say that creative expression is so important, as we practice self-care in this tumultuous time. Keeping an art journal is salve for the soul. Of course, any form of creative expression is encouraged. For me, art journaling and writing are my go-to forms of self expression.

Second, I am a fairly happy, healthy human, but in no way is my life perfect. I don’t believe anyone’s life is “perfect”. We are all struggling; because working through life’s challenges is how we learn, grow, and transform.

I also want to say that creative expression does not need to take a lot of time to create a shift in how you are feeling. I did this journal page rather quickly, but felt very connected to something greater, full of light, hope, and inspiration.

That feeling of inspiration led me to look up the meaning of the number 27, after noting this is my 27th blog post for artistcellar. I had a sense there was something there for me to learn.

According to this numerology site here, 9 is quite a significant number.

“Number 9 is the number of Universal love, eternity, faith, Universal Spiritual Laws, the concept of karma, spiritual enlightenment, spiritual awakening, service to humanity, humanitarianism and the humanitarian, lightworking and lightworkers, leading by positive example, philanthropy and the philanthropist, charity, self-sacrifice, selflessness, destiny, life purpose and soul mission, generosity, a higher perspective, romance, inner-strength, public relations, responsibility, intuition, strength of character.”

And then I also noticed this: 

Numbers Adding to 9
 27 / 9
Artist, must lift the energies to the highest, balance and perfection, Universal Love, Brotherhood, unfolding, completion, humanitarianism, benevolent, intuitive, selflessness”

Interesting, right?

Okay, let’s get grounded by taking a look at the art journal page.

Allow me to share the steps I took to create in my art journal. Again, this may quick and easy.

Step 1: Grab needed supplies

Step 2: Create some marks on deli paper with Distress Crayons. Spritz with water.

Step 3: Make a print in your art journal to get rid of the blank page. (Honestly, this didn’t turn out like I had hoped, but it didn’t really matter. I did get rid of the blank page.)

Step 4: Draw into the wet areas and other parts of the journal page, using Distress Crayons.

Step 5: Create a focal point that will be decorated using Inka-Gold.

Step 6: Open the Inka-Gold container and revel at its beauty. : )

Apply the gold paint with a brush to the focal point.

Step 7: Using a pencil, write “Miracles NOW” in the gold circle.

Step 8: Use a black paint pen to make the words stand out.

Step 9: Meditate on “Miracles NOW” in that shimmering gold circle.

In summary, I do recommend Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein. Even if you only get one take away item to use and practice, that is enough.

Please take good care of yourself in these challenging times. There’s a lot happening globally and in each individual person’s life. Spread as much love as you can muster, starting with self-love.

If you feel inspired, keep a journal. Writing and art making are extremely beneficial.

Thank you for reading this post. May you be well in mind, body, and spirit.

“When the masses begin to vibrate with an energy of love, the world will no longer be a container for war, violence, and lies.” (p. 2, Miracles Now, Gabrielle Bernstein, 2014)

May it be so.

Blessings and Peace to you,

Briana of


Hey everyone! Lisa popping in here for a quick post about the Tim Holtz Distress Crayons. I know there are some people who ask what can be done with them, other than copy exactly what Tim Holtz, the Distress Guy does. Besides all the ways Tim shows you on Youtube, I have three of my own favorites. (To see Ranger's videos, just put "distress crayons" in the Youtube search engine.) 

Artistcellar got the two newest color packs in, sets 6 & 7. They are all delicious colors, matching the rest of the distress stain and ink line. These are my favorite ways to use them. 

1. Backgrounds. 

Please don't judge my tag. I simply grabbed it and started experimenting with the crayons. It's not quite the artistic accomplishment you guys are used to :-D What I did was take 2-3 colors and scribble in patches on the background. Then I took a baby wipe and smeared it all around. Heavy wiping will give a lighter look, very light wiping/dabbing will keep more color. I wanted a lighter background here. You can also use a polymer medium or gel medium to smoosh it around and it won't be as water soluble anymore. 

2. Straight up. 

I love crayons. They remind me of childhood innocence. These crayons are smooth and creamy and make awesome bold rough textured lines. They feel very similar to the Crayola Slick Stix and Gelatos, but of course come in a zillion different colors. The heart is outlined, straight up, no smudging. (The "Happy Holidays" type is a stamp). Now, if you want to smooth the line out, fingers are the best tool to smudge the line. An example of that is below: 

The edges are smudged with my finger. I simply drew a line as close to the edge as I could and rubbed with my finger out about 1/4" to bring that blue line in and frame the tag. At the very end I took an Espresso color and outlined the very edge to bring an even darker line. 

3. Watercolor Effect.

The above also shows an example of using the Distress Crayons for a watercolor effect. I used Archival Ink and stamped a few stars all over the tag. I also stamped some Christmas Trees, shown below. 

I took the color I wanted, got a small paintbrush wet (a water brush would also work really well!) and lifted the color off the tip of the crayon, and painted inside the trees. I used a yellow for the stars. I do this with Neocolor II crayons, I thought, why not try the same with the Distress Crayons? It's nice and subtle and you can layer to make it darker. And if you don't like it, take a baby wipe and wipe the color away :-) 

4. Splatter. 

To make the white snow splatters on the Christmas Trees, I took the white Crayon color and "drew" on my craft sheet to lay color down. I then took the tiniest drops of water and made a white thin paste. I loaded a paintbrush, and tapped it on the crayon to create splatters on the area. The white kind of disappeared in the background area, and showed up more opaque on the green color, perfect! 

So my tag is not the beautifulest of objects, but it does show four ways you can use the Distress Crayons that you may not have thought of. And Tim Holtz can show you some more ways if you google him. 

If you are reading this on December 21, 2016, these will be on sale for 25% off in the Artistcellar shop as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Promotion! All SEVEN sets are available, just look at all those delicious colors! 

Thanks for reading, and since I stole Shelby's day, she will be up tomorrow on the blog! xo Lisa 

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:


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!)


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!


(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!

"Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together…"  
Lesley Gore/Marvin Hamlisch, Composer

And who said crayons are just for kids?

Included in my most recent box of delight from Artistcellar was a set of Tim Holtz Distress Crayons.  And with names like Peacock Feathers, Twisted Citron, and especially Mermaid Lagoon I couldn’t wait to start using them.

I have long been a fan of the Tim Holtz line of Distress Inks. I love the wide range of colours and the deliciously descriptive names. The quality is always consistently high and I expected the same from the new line of Crayons. I was not disappointed.

Of late, I have been working with my metallic acrylics or watercolours. Receiving the Crayons was a good excuse to bring out the Distress Inks once again. Opening the box I keep them in was like opening a door and visiting with an old friend. The Tim Holtz line was my first purchase when I ventured into Mixed-Media. And what an adventure it has been!

A new addition to my supplies is a Strathmore Mixed-Media Journal – 300 Series. The compact size is perfect for working with my Artistcellar stencils. I am now well on my way to building a library of background images…all easy to find and in one place! Now if only I could get a Mineral Paper spiral bound notebook. That would be Nirvana!

I started my work on Strathmore Watercolour Artist Trading Cards. I chose to keep the colours warm and bright. I covered the card with a wash of Tim Holtz Spiced Marmalade Ink and flat Royal Langnickel watercolours using my Sakura Koi Waterbrush.  The waterbrush is a great tool to have in your collection. It saves time, can be taken on the road if you are an en plein aire artist, and can give you everything from a swath of colour to a thin line. It’s great!

With Journal in hand I chose my favourite Artcellar stencil series: Halftone Dots and Seafoam. I wasn’t sure which applicator would best compliment the crayons. I applied the colour with a natural sponge, cosmetic sponge and the Tim Holtz Blending Tool. The crayons are soft and it’s easy to transfer colour to your applicator.  When pushed through the stencil the natural sponge gave a spotty textured effect. The Blending Tool and cosmetic sponge were equally successful, giving me the soft gradated look I was after…all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.

Getting out my Distress Inks was truly like visiting an old friend and reminiscing about happy times past at the start of my Mixed-Media journey.  This explains my choice of using this fashion photo from a 1950’s collage sheet. The women look so joyful…sharing a secret, spending time together, and capturing a moment that will stay with them forever. I am sure you have similar memories. Aren't we shaped and molded by the memories we hold closest to our hearts? And the friendships nurtured through the years are always the sweetest…like sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.



Hello creative friends!

So maybe you remember these petals from my last blog post.

Well they have come a long way since then! So let's talk about this exciting new design I have created called the "Labyrinth Lotus". I had worked on some lotus petals for this design way back when I first started my mixed-media journey when I did the "Becoming Real" piece with the butterflies. I set the idea on the back burner as other ideas came up and finally got some time to revisit this design. 

First I created the center of the lotus with this honey comb texture using some: liquitex paint, Viva Decor Inka Gold, and some Dylusions Spray in Ground Coffee (even the name makes me want to go start my coffee pot and pour myself a cup)! 

Next I moved onto my petal designs. Here are a few photos of my previous petals (chakra series pocket stencils) so you can see how much they have evolved in my new design.

Here are a few photos from the process of the new "Labyrinth Lotus" petals. For my petals I did many different steps to the front and back of the petals. On the front side of the petals I color gradated them in 3 different colors with water colors and added some shimmer.

Next I applied the design using the Labyrinth Series Stencils (COMING SOON!) They are one of my VERY favorites and I would HIGHLY recommend them 😉 On the back side of the petals I used some distress crayons

to outline the petals and used the Viva Decor Inka Gold to give them some real shine.

When I mean shine, I mean SHINE! Just look at all of that luster from the gold, Yum!!

Next I attached the petals to the flower doing 3 layers. Here is the finished Lotus!

Since this lotus is SO SEXY I even made a video so you can see the layers of the flower! 


The most exciting thing about creating art is watching it evolve. This design really inspired me to keep dreaming of ways to make it even better! What's the next step? Well I started working on paper lantern string lights! Here you can see the start of the design.

Just look how large and detailed the petal is for this design. I can't wait to get this first light done so I can have an idea of how they will look! So I won't stop there! I already have a few more ideas. What's next after that? Well I bought one of these larger paper lampshades from Ikea

and I will make a large size light for a room, BUT.. I will need a few more tools for that project. Oh and I didn't stop there! So what could be bigger and better than that you may ask? Well how about a sculpture for Burning Man! Oh yeah, baby!! I am in the process of dreaming up a large scale design that hopefully 6 people will be able to climb inside. This is in the very early stages so all I can say now is how excited I am to have been connected with some other amazing artists that will help me make this dream come true. I think it will be one of the highest honors an artist could receive to not only create a sculpture that large, but to work on it with other artists, haul it out to the desert and let the masses enjoy your wondrous creation!

Let those creative dreams soar and see where they take you!

Much love, art, and bliss, Yours Always,


Hello Lovely Creative Folks, I created a couple of things, using a lot of artistcellar products. I am so excited to share my playtime with you!

First, I am using the Virtues Words-Pocket Stencils.

There are four words, and I am using three of them: Faith, Hope, and Grace. Don’t those words just make you feel a little warm and fuzzy inside? With that feeling in mind, I created a greeting card.

I set the three virtue words of Faith, Hope, and Grace out on a blank card. Then I sprayed them twice; once with bubblegum pink Dylusions spray ink, then with Adirondack Sailboat Blue spray dye. See the photos below:

I rolled up the extra ink with some paper towels. (I learned that trick from a Dina Wakley video, I think). 

Next, I cleaned off the inked up stencils with a baby wipe on top of a blank page in my art journal. (I will be showing more on that in a minute.)

I set the journal aside to work on the greeting card. Note: I sort of worked on the card backward. It works okay to turn it inside out, but it’s not what I intended to do. Just a little heads up for you to NOT follow my example.

Alright, let’s pull out the NEW Distress Crayons by Tim Holtz.

The Distress Crayons say they are water-reactive, which they are. However, they didn’t do what I expected them to do, based on other water-soluble products I’ve used. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, because it’s good to have a variety of art supplies that do different things. Anyway, water-reactive is different from water-soluble, just FYI. To get the look I wanted, I added a little fluorescent red liquid watercolor by Blick.

I think it is at this point that I realized my card is backwards. (I should have worked on the right-hand side for it to be the front of the folded card). You know, sometimes art making is problem solving. I decided to decorate the inside, so that the card could be folded in or out. Ta Da! A joyful solution!

I have been eager to try the fine tip applicators that are made for the Dina Wakley heavy body paint tubes.

This is my first attempt at using them.

I had a few questions after I tried them, and thought this video by Dina Wakley on YouTube might be helpful for you, too:

“Dina Wakley Introduction to the Fine Tip Applicator”

I used some Dina Wakley paint and played with the Distress Crayons some more. (I kind of couldn’t leave the Distress Crayons alone. I really wanted to get the hang of using them, as I love bright colors!) Pictured below, the right-hand side is the new front of the card, if I choose to fold it that way.

Now back to the art journal page. Like I said, I really couldn’t leave those Distress Crayons alone.

Both the Distress Crayons and Dina Wakley paint have a really soft and smooth texture to them. You’ll have to try them yourself to understand what I mean. I really enjoyed spreading the yellow paint around with my fingers.

I finished things up with a little more color and paint to get this cheerful journal page!

In summary, there are sooooo many great supplies available at

I love the AC Pocket Stencils, the Dina Wakley paints, the spray inks, and the NEW Distress Crayons. I hope you feel inspired to give some of these awesome supplies a try in your card making, art journaling, or other mixed media projects! 

Blessings to You!

Briana from