Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

It’s almost a new year, and I don’t know about you, but I had a really difficult time choosing a planner. There are so many options these days. Sometimes too many options feels stifling, do you know what I mean?

Today, I’d like to share an idea on how to “artify” your planner of choice. Of course, you’ll have to consider the type of paper the planner contains, but most of the following techniques work for a variety of papers, even composition notebooks.

Suggested Supplies:

Technique No. 1: Watercolor Paint and Water-soluble Markers

Use watercolor and water-soluble markers to highlight words or sections of the planner pages.

Technique No. 2: Water-soluble Markers and a Waterbrush

When you make marks with a water-soluble marker, and then use a waterbrush to move the color around, you end up with a nice variation of light and bright areas.

After you use the waterbrush with the marker, you can make a few subtle sweeps on another page to add a little color (see right side of above image).

Technique No. 3: Acrylic Paint

Scraping acrylic paint is one of my favorite techniques. I love the vibrancy of the color and the layered look. I also love to write on top of scraped acrylic paint. There is just something wonderful about the texture.

TIP: Matte acrylic or paint that is meant for layering, like the Dylusions Blendable Acrylic, would be best to work with. Golden paint can be too sticky, thick, and glossy when dry.

TIP: Use more than one color to get some variation on the page. (Above I used a pink and a red.)

I have the January pages prepped, and I love how the color peeks through the edges of the planner. Just imagine how colorful it will look by December! I am excited to see it.

Additional ideas to “artify” your planner:

Use rubber stamps and colorful ink pads (or try water-soluble markers on your stamp)

Use colored pencils

Use water-soluble colored pencils and a waterbrush

Use stencils and acrylic paint

Apply color with Tim Holtz Distress Stains

Doodle with micron pens or Sharpie pens (the kind that does not bleed through)

TIP: Prep your pages one week or month at a time, so they are ready when you need them! This could be a simple creative practice that helps you use your art supplies and your planner!

Many Blessings to you as we enter the New Year!

-Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

“Hold the Vision. Trust the Process.”

The final days of preparation for gift giving are upon us! Is there a person in your life that needs a little boost to their creativity? I love to purchase blank Journals. I have faith they will find a home at just the right time, for the just right person. And in my collection was a little dusky blue book. This could be that special place for a friend to keep her hopes, visions…and gardening notes.

After giving the journal a light sanding, I brushed on several layers of gesso. I wanted a base of white with a bit of the dusky blue cover showing through. My next step when dry was to squeeze Rubber Cement through the “Create” Creative Words Pocket Stencil. I have found that using a scrap of illustration board gives the best coverage…smooth, few bubbles, and little bleeding under the stencil.

Building up the layers of acrylic paint was fun. I usually use a Natural Sponge when I work. I have several in different sizes and textures. I love the ease of application they provide. It’s always great to see how various acrylics react when encountering the roughness of the sponge.

I started by removing the “Create” stencil and lightly applying a coat of Dylusion Vibrant Turquoise over the rubber cement. Giving the paint time to dry, I looked through my stencils and chose the Playful Pods Series. The book will serve as a gardening creative journal, so the pods rolling across the cover was perfect.

I am in love with the Dylusion Spray Ink. Bubble Gum shade is the best around…vibrant and rich. I sprayed the front and back covers with the ink and continued building layers with complimentary acrylic colours. The next addition to the design was the Playful Pods stencils and another Creative Word: “Trust”. There are many reasons to love Artistcellar stencils, but for me it’s the flexibility. With so many sizes to choose from, you will always find the perfect stencil to allow your creativity to soar.

Because the journal will be thrown into a handbag or the back pocket of a pair of jeans, I wanted to keep the surface as flat as possible. The final addition was an image of the Mona Lisa. I covered it in matte medium and dropped in slivers of copper threads while it was still wet. The edges are concealed with Artistcellar-inspired handmade Washi Tape. The result was just as I had hope…a bit of texture, but not the bulk.

And finally, my moment of truth…the removal of the rubber cement. Although the waiting tests my patience, I am happy to say it was worth it…”Create” looks every bit as inspiring as the peaceful smile of Mona Lisa.

Be it with stencils and paint or the cultivation of blooming plants, trusting and enjoying the process is the first step in holding on to our artistic vision and creating the world we imagine.

All the best to you and yours for the Holidays and the New Year!

MATERIALS USED:

Hello Everyone! I have a question for you today. How much joy will you allow yourself? Whether this time of year is joyful or stressful, I believe there are ways to add MORE JOY into your experience. Let that idea simmer for a moment. How might you allow in more joy?

One thing I love to do is paint paper. The experience is hard to describe, so I hope you’ll just try it out for yourself. With the mixed media supplies available these days, and all of the wonderful products here at Artistcellar, painting paper is delightfully surprising, invigorating, and dare I say, blissful!

I’d like to share a few techniques you might want to try.

SUPPLIES USED:

THE PROCESS

I decided to do multiple techniques on one large sheet of paper. I enjoyed playing; turning the paper, seeing how different supplies interacted with one another, etc. You may wish to do one technique per paper, if you are a more linear thinker.

First, you’ve got to choose some stencils. I am using the Arabian Nights Series Stencils by Artistcellar.

Next, choose a few paint colors. I am using Postbox Red, Fresh Lime, Bubblegum Pink, and Vibrant Turquoise of the Dylusions Blendable Acrylics.

Now it’s time to get painting that paper!

Technique no. 1:

Using a cosmetic wedge, apply paint through parts of the stencil in one color, and then add a second color.

Technique no. 2:

Spray through a stencil with Dylusions Spray Ink.

CAUTION: These sprays are unpredictable. Be sure to protect your work area with newspaper or work inside a cardboard box.

 Technique no. 3:

Use a plastic card to scrape paint over various areas of your paper. Watch and see what happens as you scrape over spray ink or other paint colors.

I have got to put a plug in for these paints, when it comes to painting paper. I use a lot of different brands of acrylic paint in my work. There is definitely something unique about the layering effects you can get, using the Dylusions Blendable Acrylics. I highly recommend giving them a try.

Technique no. 4:

Use a wax crayon to create subtle texture by making a rubbing of a stencil. You do this by placing the stencil underneath the paper, and use the side of the crayon on the top of the paper. The stencil texture then shows through to the surface of the paper.

Continue playing around until your paper is full, or your heart feels content.

Enjoy playing with colors and art supplies. Make your soul sing!

TIP: When this painted paper is held up to light, or placed in a well-lit window, the paints have a glowing effect. It sort of reminds me of stained glass, but it’s paper!

May you feel, experience, and allow MORE JOY, perhaps through creating painted paper gift wrap, or some other way.

Sending Blessings and Peace to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

 

If the only prayer you ever say is ‘Thank You’ that will be enough.” – Eckhart Tolle

Looking out over our frost kissed lawn has been a not so gentle reminder that Winter is on the way. But rather than curse the cold, I embraced the sparkle and shine as inspiration for my next Design Team project.

Working with my favourite substrate, Illustration Board, I covered the surface with a smooth coat of gesso. The next layer added was an article about the Dada Movement printed on slightly yellowed newsprint paper. There was a little bit of bleed when I covered the print with Matte Medium. I liked the way the ink became bolder in certain areas as it dried. Looking for a bit of texture, I mopped on white gesso with a rough natural sponge. My board took on a white, frosty appearance … exactly as I had hoped it would. Slow to dry completely, I left it out overnight and in the morning I was ready to begin.

I wanted the look of lace for my background. Artistcellar’s Quasicrystal stencil Quasi, was perfect. I applied the pattern with Champagne metallic acrylic. Combined with the white gesso, it gave me the nostalgic effect I was after.

I’ve had the image of the two women kicking around my scrap box for some time, and I knew this was the perfect setting for them. I only wish I knew who they were and the reason for the photo. They do look happy to be sharing time together. Perhaps I could create an interesting history for them with the elements I had at hand.

I surrounded the ladies with beeswax infused art paper, rubber stamped waxed paper, coffee stained gauze, and more homemade Washi tape, inspired by the Halftone Dots and Quasicrystals Infra stencils.

I have been winterizing the flower beds around the house and salvaged a few dried hydrangea blossoms. The colour was perfect and the petals held up well when glued to the board. My finishing touch was the series of jewelry tags, covered in liquid acrylic and a few Halftone Dots.

As the seasons blend one into the other, I know I am guilty of allowing the daily mechanics of “life” to dull the sparkle and shine of living life mindfully. With the celebration of Thanksgiving I am reminded that a simple “Thank You” has the all the magical sparkle we need.

MATERIALS USED:

  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: QUASICRYSTALS (Quasi & Infra), HALFTONE DOTS
  • INKADINKADO RUBBER STAMP: Moth
  • LIQUITEX WHITE ACRYLIC GESSO
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • MEMENTO DYE INK: Tuxedo Black
  • DYLUSION PAINT: Squeezed Orange
  • PLAID: Champagne, Sahara Gold                                      
  • DALER-ROMNEY: Acrylic Ink Velvet Violet
  • DALER-ROMNEY: Liquid Acrylic Galactic Blue
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • JEWELRY TAGS
  • BEES WAX INFUSED BROWN, ART PAPER, & DOILY
  • COFFEE STAINED GAUZE
  • SURGICAL TAPE
  • DRIED HYDRANGEA PETALS
  • STORE TRADING STAMP
  • VINTAGE IMAGE
  • ILLUSTRATION BOARD

Words matter, and the right words matter most of all. In the end they’re all that remain of us.” – John Birmingham

I relish layering in artwork…colour on texture on paper on ink on paint. You never know what the outcome will be, but the journey can be enough. And as much as I love surprises in the visual arts, I also love words. They too can carry you on an elaborate voyage of discovery…with twists and turns as you search for just the right word.

For my next project I primed illustration board with gesso and attached an old dictionary page. When dry, I covered the center with a mixture of Splendid Gold acrylic that I thinned with glazing liquid. I surrounded the gold with Bubble Gum Dylusion Spray that I brushed on. The spray colours are great and hold their hue regardless of the surface they are painted on, or how they are applied. I wouldn’t be without them. My next step was to rubber stamp. I chose both a typewriter and calligraphic stamp and a dye ink to minimize bleed.

Some time ago I added Quentin Matsys’ painting “The Money Changer and His Wife” to my collection of paper bits and pieces. It was in a newspaper and I really liked the saturated colour on the newsprint. I chose to use only the woman and her open book in the collage.

With such a variety of designs it is can be a challenge to choose just one Artistcellar stencil. I decided to start with the Quilt. This stencil comes in two sizes, which allows so much freedom when planning your work. The Pocket Stencil was the perfect size for my collage, and what a wonderful foil for Quasicrystal Infra. Large or small, Artistcellar stencils are instrumental when you are looking to give your work a unique edge. You’ll always find just the right one for your project. I continued layering the stencils, with the final image as you see here, surrounding the woman with letters and words. Will she find the right ones to narrate her story?

Finding just the “right one”…be it an image, a colour, or a word can be perplexing. But what a marvelous feeling of accomplishment when you do! And sharing the right word layered with the right sentiment is an incredible way to immortalize the sweet story of our lives.

MATERIALS USED:

It’s nearly my birthday, and I want to have some FUN! So, I decided to use some awesome supplies from artistcellar to create a sign to hang on my art studio wall, as a loving reminder.

Supplies Used:

Step 1:

Gather your supplies.

Step 2:

Apply the Dylusions Blendable Acrylic paint through the Sea Foam stencil in a way that pleases you.

Step 3:

Remove the stencil and take a look at what you’ve got so far.

Step 4:

Look around your studio for some painted papers or some scrapbook paper.

Hand-cut the letters F-U-N.

TIP: The N can be tricky. I usually have to draw it out the correct way before my brain can process what it looks like backwards. Usually I draw the letter on the backside of the paper, backwards, so that when I cut it out, it’s the correct orientation. With the N, I just cut inside my lines on the front of the paper. That helped me have more fun!

(See how tricky N can be??!!)

Step 5:

Enhance your letters in some way to help them stand out from the background. I chose to color in some oval shapes, using markers.

Step 6:

Hang your FUN sign on your studio wall and smile each time you glance at it!

Sending You Blessings for More Fun!

 -Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

“Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helter-skelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts.” – Nick Bantock

If you are like me, you are not averse to peeking into a trash can now and again…without shame! Collage and mixed-media artists all know the unsung wastepaper basket can be an absolute treasure trove. It was in a receptacle of wonder that I found the discarded interoffice envelope I used as the heart of my next Artistcellar project.

The envelope was still intact. Originally used to communicate between workplace departments, with a bit of creativity I could turn it into a place to hold new notes and letters. And so the work began by brushing Ruby, Blushing and Lemon Dina Wakley Acrylics directly on to the envelope. To keep the colours transparent I mixed the paint with glazing liquid. It is wonderful to add to your paint, allowing you to get just the right amount of transparency for your art.

I covered a shipping tag with Vibrant Orange Dylusion Paint. When dry I stamped on a Gibson Girl image with dye ink. It was now ready to place. I hooked the cord around the red tab at the top and glued the tag in place. The pen nibs at the bottom of the envelope were added with stamp pad ink…just the image for the new purpose of this envelope.

I decided to try my hand at making Washi Tape. Laying a few lengths of first aid surgical tape to wax and freezer paper, I wanted to see which would be a better substrate when I started my stenciling. Both worked well. So if you are out of one or the other, you can still create your own tape. Using the Artistcellar Open Work Block I stenciled in various shades of Dina Wakley acrylics, highlighting with touches of gold. The colours held true and dried quickly. Tearing the tape was easy and gave me the finished look I was after.

I continued adding elements as they came to hand…more Artistcellar stencils (of course!), crayon scribbles, printed paper, and even a penciled inscription. I threaded ribbon though the already drilled holes. Tied at the back, it secures my new enclosures with a bit of inspiration.

Slowing down is always a good idea. I agree that we do have a helter-skelter universe, now more than ever. But taking time to see the wonders of the world around you restores the sanity of creativity. And isn’t this a fantastic quality to share through the written word?

MATERIALS USED:

I just returned from a wonderful trip in northern Minnesota. For those of you in the Midwest, I went “up north.”

It was a sister weekend. I think this is the first time I’ve spent four days with my sister since we were children! And we had a blast!

The fall leaves are changing colors all around the state. Imagine the reds, oranges, and bright yellows against a blue sky. It’s breathtaking!

For this artistcellar post, I felt like making a little project.  I am decorating a file folder to collect nature photos, ephemera, and/or leaves! I am feeling very inspired by nature’s beauty upon returning home from up north.

Supplies Used:

Steps 1 & 2:

Apply Inka Gold through the Surf stencil over part of the open file folder. Fill in the rest of the stencil with white acrylic paint, using a cosmetic wedge.

TIP: To continue the water pattern, I flipped the stencil over and kept dabbing white paint through it!

Steps 3 & 4:

Print some nature photos on 8.5 x 11 inch copy paper. Cut out sections that please you. Glue them to the front and back of your file folder.

Step 5:

Hand-cut some letters to glue on your folder.

Place the letters before gluing to see what you think.

Step 6:

Add a layer of Dylusions paint to make your hand-cut letters pop!

Step 7:

TIP: Place and glue the first and last letter of your word. Layout the remaining letters to get the spacing visually pleasing.

TIP: Use an old catalog or junk mail as a place to do your gluing.

Step 8:

Enjoy your hand-decorated folder to collect nature photos, leaves, or related ephemera.

May you find some peace, quite, and solace in nature sometime soon.

Blessings to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” ― Oscar Wilde

Colour surrounds us. It can lift our spirits, enhance a mood, or simply help us to express a feeling without words. For my next Artistcellar project, I decided to use a limited palette of colours I find comforting and see where it would lead me.

I began by covering the illustration board with a light coat of gesso. Once dried, I mixed the Dylusion Squeezed Orange Paint with an equal part of Glazing Liquid leaving the acrylic semi-transparent. I wasn’t very careful when painting over the gesso and let the brush strokes overlap. I was pleased with the texture left behind.

While the board was drying I looked through my collection of ephemera. I have an assortment of old magazines, as I am sure most mixed-media artists do. I ripped out a page from “True Story” published in the 1920’s. The charming text read similar to most of the romances of the period, peppered with lots of “Darlings…” and “longing looks”. I liked the fragility of the vintage paper and the way it was so easy, although not very predictable, to tear.

Next I chose a scrap of Joss Paper. Burned in traditional Chinese ceremonies during special holidays and funerals, the bamboo paper is just delicate enough to hold a layer of foil. I love seeing it in collage work. It really adds a bit of luster and texture. I glued it, and the magazine clipping, to the board with my gloss medium. I also had a few scraps of the yellow round Joss Paper and added it to the design.

Some time ago I experimented with beeswax and a selection of different types of paper. The image I chose for the top of my work was from this session. I’m sure you know this woman’s face well, as it has been added to projects by an array of artists. With her silent gaze I liked the way it mirrored the text. The beeswax gave my stamped paper just the right amount of translucency and a torn edge with a bit of roughness.

I finished the work with my Artistcellar Quasicrystals Stencils. They were perfect in size and design, as I have come to expect from all Artistcellar products. No matter what the project, Artistcellar never lets you down. You will always find just the right stencil to allow your creative spirit to fly. I first stenciled Quasi in gold and then added Infra in a selection of other warm colours from the Dylusion Paint series.

We artists use colour as a language. What part of the spectrum speaks to you…and how do you communicate the poetry of your soul?

MATERIALS USED:

Have you heard about the painted rocks? People paint them and then leave them around for strangers to find? I recently found out it was a "thing" and loved the idea right away!

One of my favorite things is "abandoning art" around town for people to find. In fact, at the last First Friday KC I showed up with a purse full of prints and dropped them about the entire evening. It's kind of fun to leave a little trail in a large crowd like that and notice just how fast they get swooped up. 

Sometimes, I drop things around town and simply post a "clue" to its whereabouts online. I've had people send me photos after they discovered and let me tell you, it's awesome for them AND me. So, I set out to paint some rocks. I picked out a few and then cleaned them up with soap and water. It doesn't take long for them to dry if you sit them outside on a sunny day.

Then I picked out a couple of colors and started painting them. Once dry, I decided to add some glitter. Because.... well, GLITTER. Ice stickles glitter glue is perfect for this and pretty much the most non-messy way I've discovered to work with glitter. 

Then, I pulled out some of my Artistcellar pocket stencils to create some designs with Dylusions paint and a little q-tip (it worked perfectly!), and used fine detail brush for edging, highlights and to bring it all together. 

Check out the end result!

Overall, not very time consuming but SUPER FUN to paint some rocks, and I can't wait to scatter them about. I hope they will be something that brightens someone's day... and the world could use more of that, don't you think?

Supplies Used: