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:

Greetings Everyone,

I am sooooo excited about the latest and greatest stencil series at artistcellar. Are you ready to find out what it is? Allow me to introduce the Tibet Series Stencils. In this series, there are four symbols of enlightenment: The Tibetan OM, Buddha Eyes, the Eternal Knot, and the Lotus flower.

In this post, I am featuring the Buddha Eyes, also called Wisdom Eyes. I gravitated toward them right away. I looked up their symbolism and learned the following:

Buddha Eyes - Also called Wisdom Eyes, this pair of eyes can usually be found depicted on all four sides of the Buddhist shrines known as Stupas. The symbol denotes the all-seeing and omniscient eyes of Buddha and is representative of the Lord’s presence all around. The curly line below the eyes in the middle (where the nose is on a face) is the Sanskrit numeral one that symbolizes the unity of everything and also signifies that the only way to attain enlightenment is through Buddha’s teachings. The dot between the eyes is indicative of the third eye, which represents spiritual awakening.
Source: http://www.ancient-symbols.com/buddhist-symbols.html

I’ve been missing my Dylusions Ink Sprays lately, so I decided to pull them out for this post.

I spritzed three warm colors (red, pink, yellow) on a 9 x 12 piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper.

Next, I placed the Buddha Eyes stencil on the paper and spritzed plain water through it.

There was quite a bit of seepage, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did the paper towel roll trick again to soak up the extra water. Once I lifted the stencil, I saw a very subtle impression of the Wisdom Eyes.

Can you see it?

It’s kind of cool, but I was hoping for something more. I decided to really add some contrast by adding black acrylic paint through the stencil.

I created a repeat pattern of Buddha Eyes.  (See photo at the top of this post).

 Next, I decided to use only part of the stencil to add more details in the in between spaces. Notice the sideways numeral ones and the third eye dots.

I haven’t decided if I am going to cut this page up into Artist Trading Cards or Journal Cards, or use it as a journal cover, etc. Right now, I simply enjoy looking at it, and don’t mind that it’s also looking at me.

May you enjoy the NEW Tibet Series Stencils. May their symbolism stir your heart and soul to experience more wisdom, compassion, connection, and knowing. May our human consciousness rise up and our oneness continue to be shown. May it be so.

Blessings to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”-Georgia O’Keeffe

Do you journal? Or are you like me, jotting thoughts and sayings on random bits of paper? I have often purchased beautiful journals fulling intending to fill them. I just never do. I don’t know if it is the fear of the blank page, or what seems like the vast the number of pages that puts me off. But whatever the reason, there they sit, on my bookshelf, spotless as the day I purchased them.

Some time ago I bought a pack of inexpensive Ace playing cards. The flying biplane on the backs won me over! Who wouldn’t want to fly off to a new adventure in that wonderful plane? It was then I decided to use them as a journal. With a deck of 52, completing one card a week didn’t seem beyond the realm of possibilities. To kick off my venture I knew the best place to start was with the Artistcellar Pocket Stencil series Creative Words: Believe, Trust, Seek, and my favourite, Create.

Have you ever noticed the lovely sayings tucked away on the inserts of your Artistcellar Stencils? To me the stencils alone are creative cake…the inspirational quotes are the icing. Creative Words were just that…the catalyst I needed.

The playing cards have a plastic finish. To allow the media to attach, I sanded the cards and applied a quick layer of gesso. I didn’t want to totally cover the suits and numbers, so I removed some of it with a paper towel. On my work table, I assembled my stencils, acrylics and stamps. I wanted to have a bit of fun and see where my journey would take me. I revisited an old technique: applying rubber cement through the SEEK stencil.

I tried a new idea as well: dabbing Dye-Na-Flow colour through the TRUST stencil.

When dried I positioned the cards in a row and completed the backs. Though not identical, they have the same “feel”…a record of a time and place. In the end I was happy with the results. Best of all, the stencils stood up to everything I threw at them. Clean up was a snap and they were back to perfect condition.

The cards are now part of my new journal project, safely tucked away in a pocket page protector in a three ring binder.

Time seems to be racing by for me. Is it the same for you? Journaling is a wonderful way of capturing the essence of who we are. The perfect journal format is whatever suits you best. We owe it to ourselves to take the time to make our unknown known. Not only to ourselves, but sharing it those we hold dear. Right now. Right here.

MATERIALS USED

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:

I had hoped to share the progress in my fabric book but it is going quite slowly so I have a different project to share with you today. Never fear, the progress in the fabric book will be shared in the near future!

This project was inspired by a portrait lesson I taught my 4th graders at school. We have been learning about facial proportions and portraiture and I knew they wouldn't be excited about drawing random faces for long. In an effort to make their art more personal I asked them to draw a self-portrait with a simple line drawing. Then I asked them to fill their faces with words that describe who they are and what they like. It was fun to see what words they chose for themselves.

When I finished my project example and as my students were busy with their own I looked again at my paper and realized I had the beginning of a great piece of artwork. I ended up creating two versions.

Here are the supplies I used:

I began by spraying water and Dylusions ink liberally on the watercolor paper. While the ink was still wet I pressed the mineral paper onto the watercolor paper and then carefully peeled them apart to see how the color transferred. Let dry before continuing.

Before using the stencil I sprinkled water on the mineral paper and after a few seconds I wiped up the water by rolling a paper towel roll on the surface which resulted in the ink being lifted off the paper. I set the stencil down on the paper and sprayed it with water. Since the inks are water reactive I was able to take a soft paper towel and rub it through the stencil design to remove some of the ink. This was done on both the Mineral and watercolor papers. The subtle design it created was perfect for a background.

Using carbon transfer paper and a stylus I transferred my drawing onto both papers. I did not trace the words as I wanted the freedom to change those around if the composition called for it. 

Using a small brush and black paint I went over my graphite lines to create a bold outline for my face. I carefully painted white paint onto the face on the watercolor paper. The ink from my first layer is still reactive with wet media so I was careful not to scrub my brush too much on the surface. Some color transfer happened and it was lovely how it created a dimension to the white paint. Having an under layer on a painting always help bring more depth to the piece. For the Mineral Paper I just painted regular water onto the sections of the face and blotted the water up with a paper towel to remove the inked surface. 

From this point on I found myself concentrating on the watercolor paper composition. Using a pencil I sketched in my lettering lightly to focus on how things would fit. When everything was where I wanted it I used a black acrylic paint pen to bring out the lettering. 

Final details were using Dina Wakley acrylic paints to paint the eyes, lips and shirt. 

I am very pleased with the result and I can't wait to finish the variation on Mineral Paper. I hope you will take some time to create your own self-portrait celebrating the qualities that make you, YOU!

Hello Everyone!

I am so happy that you are here reading this blog post. Something that I feel passionate about is staying interested, curious, and present with my creative process. For me, this looks like trying new techniques and playing with new supplies.

For today’s post, I will be using the following SUPPLIES:

Let’s Begin

I am working on an easel where I’ve set a drawing board.

I clipped the Star and Cross stencil to the drawing board.

Next, I pulled out a few colors of Dylusions Spray Inks. Caution: Sometimes the nozzle gets clogged and the spray goes where you don’t intend it to go! My solution to this problem is to expect that as a possibility and remove things I don’t want to get sprayed.

Using a water-soluble graphite stick by Pacific Arc, I scribbled inside the stencil. This felt very satisfying to do.

Now, I am ready to remove the stencil and add more layers of graphite marks and watercolor paint.

I’d like to say something here about items you may deem as “precious” or “too ‘cool’ to use.” I have experienced this feeling many times. Now, I am getting to the point where I think, “Why not use it? There’s always more cool stuff to discover.” How do you feel about using your “special” items? I am curious to know how others process this dilemma.

So, I just kept playing with the graphite stick and watercolor paint. I rotated my paper. I stood far away, and got close up.

Pictured below is where I decided to stop. As a mixed media artist, I often end up tearing my painted papers to use in collage. I am not sure the fate of this one. For now, I like it whole.

In Summary

I hope this post inspires you to use some of your “precious” items.

May you explore with some new art supplies, so the creative process feels fun and exciting. May you stay curious and interested, as you play.

Blessings to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

 

 

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:

Good Day Artistcellar Readers!

Here’s Today’s Supply List:

Have you heard that even artists need to do a little warm-up exercise, just like athletes and performers? Sometimes I remember that little tip, and sometimes it sort of naturally happens. Like preparing for this post, for example. On my art table, I had a piece of newsprint with some black painted lines.

I thought it might be cool to put a stencil over the top. I tried it, I liked it, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go, so I called it a “warm-up”.

What this warm-up did for me was helped me start a new art journal spread as I cleaned off the “Brain Coral” stencil with a baby wipe.

I am just getting several page spreads into the large 9x12 inch journal by Jane Davenport, sold at Michaels.

Feeling inspired by the work of Artistcellar design team members, I decided to take out the awesome 12x12 “Om” stencil.

Tracing and painting in something usually feels too fussy for me, but I tried to push my limits a bit.

So, I traced “Om”, using a black Sharpie paint pen. It was a little tricky to go over the middle of the journal spread, but I did it.

Next, I filled in the stencil shape with the same black Sharpie paint pen. The results were a little too scritchy scratchy for me, so I used black India ink and a paint brush to smooth things out.

Third, I added some colorful spray ink spots.

Since the black India ink wasn’t all the way dry on that “O” it ran a little. I like it, though.

Finally, I added a border of one of my hand-carved stamps, using Staz-On ink.

This was a good experiment for me. And where is the best place to conduct such experiments? I would suggest an art journal is the best place. There is freedom in playing without fear of “messing up.”

In conclusion, Artistcellar 12x12 stencils are awesome! Creative warm-ups are good to do. And, an art journal is a place for artful experiments. Let yourself go!

Thanks for reading this post!

Blessings to you, and Happy Creating!

-Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

Greetings Folks

Have you ever created something that you weren’t satisfied with? You just didn’t like how it was turning out? Maybe you were even feeling like you just wasted some very good art supplies! Hmmph.

I am here to tell you that that’s part of the process, and it’s going to be okay. You don’t have to love everything you create. Each time you attempt to make something and use those precious art supplies, you are learning and growing. Try to give yourself a break, alright? You are doing good work!

Today we will look at how I made use of spray inks, the Crown Chakra stencil, and Dina Wakley Acrylic paint on a piece of Mineral Paper. This art creation definitely had a stage that had me wondering if I could save it or not.

Stepped Out Process Photos Below

TIP: Put a large piece of paper behind your work area before using spray ink. They can be unpredictable.

I used Dylusions Ink Sprays in pinks and purples over the Crown Chakra stencil.

Perhaps I sprayed a bit too much, because when I lifted the stencil, I saw this.

I tried to print the wet stencil on the bottom half of the paper, thinking I might be able to get a clearer image. However, that didn’t work as I’d hoped.

I put the Crown Chakra stencil back on and used a cosmetic wedge and Dina Wakley acrylic paint to try to save myself.

I ended up painting around the sprayed and painted stencil image. I felt like it was sort of starting to come together.

Since I am not one to waste paint, I started painting the borders around the two Crown stencil images. I sort of felt like Josef Albers, so that was fun!

As you can see the wet print of the stencil needs a little help, so I worked on that section next.

I put the stencil back on the Mineral paper, and applied some acrylic paint with a cosmetic wedge. (Have I mentioned how much I love the Mineral paper? It’s thin but tough!)

Pictured below is what the image looked like after removing the stencil. Can you see where I applied paint?

Yet, there’s still more work to do!

Now things are looking better.

Does anyone else reading this have a secret love with brown paper? I do!

The great thing about smartphones and photography today, is you can easily crop your images and turn them into something new!

I am pretty sure this piece will end up in a mixed papers handbound journal. It might even make a great cover! We shall see!

I like having options, don’t you?

Thanks for being here and playing along with me!

All of my best,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

“Fashion is Art and You are the Canvas!” – Velvet Paper

Fashion truly is Art! From Haute Couture to Prêt-à-Porter the designer
escorts us through their passionate journey.  Colour, form, and
pattern: our shared tools of the trade inspire them to make their
concepts tangible. And how heartening it is to be wrapped in someone’s
dream!

When my Artistcellar box arrived in the mail I couldn’t wait to
experiment with the Marked Series Stencils. With circles, X’s, and an
interlocked ladder the graphic feel made me think of Mid-Century
Modern art and interior design. And I was in luck: my Artistcellar
treasure trove also contained Dylusion Bubble Gum Pink Ink Spray and
Dina Wakley Lemon and Lime acrylics. The stencil pattern and my
acrylic colours were perfect for taking me back to the time of
Bakelite telephones and the Camel cigarette man wafting smoke rings
across Times Square from his billboard.

I wanted to start with the background. I went to a new page in my
Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal. The ladder stencil and Dina’s
Lemon acrylic came first. Slowly, I built up the layers using each
stencil in the collection and a variety of acrylics. Then came time to
throw caution to the wind! I grabbed my Dylusion Bubble Gum Pink ink
and sprayed away. I loved the hot pink colour, mopped up a bit with my
sponge and pushed it through the stencil. I really was pleased with
the effect and will be adding it to my favored techniques. I completed
the background with Punchinella, Artistcellar Halftone Dots Stencils
and metallic acrylic.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the fact that the
Artistcellar stencils hold up to anything I throw at, or push through
them. Clean up leaves them in perfect condition ready for my next
project.

Now that I had my background ready, and my colours were just as
vibrant as they were wet, I knew the focal point needed to be just as
bold. I am a great fan of black and white fashion photography of the
1950’s. I chose a photo of a woman, head titled back, with eyes
slightly closed. What was she dreaming about… Perhaps a great
adventure? And who would accompany her? And most of all, what clothing
would she pack! I thought of the Bakelite phone…and the phone book she
would peruse. To the left of the work you will see a page which I
infused with bee’s wax.

This is what I love about Art. We have so many ways to express what
comes from deep within us. With so many tools at our disposal we are
only limited by our imaginations. By sharing what is essential to us
we give it life, and hopefully nurture the spark in others.

So the next time you put on that favourite piece of clothing, just
think…you are the canvas helping to make a designers soul immortal!

MATERIALS USED: