Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

This week's project is inspired by a mantra that I have been saying to my elementary students more and more in art class. 

Progress, not Perfection

The younger students are still filled with the wonders of being creative and don't get hung up on perfection. They are excited to try new things and love their results no matter what. I have noticed that starting in 3rd and 4th grade the doubts start creeping in and they are more and more unwilling to take risks and do something they don't already know how to do. There is much discussion on having a mindset that allows them to grow and that making mistakes is part of that growth. I try to make my classroom a space where they don't feel like I am constantly judging or comparing them to their classmates. I found myself repeating "Progress, not Perfection" over and over throughout the day and found most students began to relax and feel proud of the work they are doing right now. 

How true this is for all of us. The act of creation does come with feelings of vulnerability and when we start to compare our NOW with others' NOW it can be daunting. When my students see my project examples they proclaim that they want their art to have that same quality. I remind them that I have been creating for over 30 years and if they put the time in to work on their craft they will improve but they do not need to be perfect now. I want them to try their best and make it their goal to have each project improve in some way from the previous one. 

I wanted to make this mantra into a permanent art piece to hang in my classroom so my students (and myself!) can be reminded that progress is the goal right now, not perfection. 

I found a canvas in my studio that had a start of a background made from various printed papers. I don't care too much for the prints now but the subtle texture from the papers will be a nice foundation. 

Using light molding paste, a palette knife, the Shadow halftone dots stencil and the X's from the Marked series I created a raised pattern around the outside perimeter of the canvas. 

While that dried I pulled out my collection of chipboard letters (from my scrapbookin' days!) and spelled out my mantra. When the molding paste was dry I used regular gel matte medium to glue the letters in place in the center-ish of my canvas.  I carefully flipped my canvas face down on my non-stick craft mat and placed heavy beanbags in the center and edges of the canvas to make sure the surface was flat to the table to as the gel medium dries everything stays flat.

When I was sure everything was dry it was time to give the entire surface a coat of paint and I chose Night from Dina Wakley Media. Again, wait for paint to dry. I then used a piece of sandpaper (a fine-ish grit) to sand off the paint from the surface of the letters and some from the perimeter of the canvas where I put the modeling paste with the stencils. This step really helps the raised surfaces stand out from the background. 

After brushing off the dust from the sanding I used Ocean and Evergreen paints to give some color to the canvas but not the lettering. As a finishing touch I painted the outside edges of the canvas red. 

Ta-Da! I love the way it turned out and look forward to displaying it in my classroom.

Have a creative week!

 

Love is in the air, and I don’t mean only for those who are in a relationship, married, or partnered. There are all kinds of ways to love and be loved. In fact, self-love is huge in my book. It’s the foundation for which we make room (in our lives, in our hearts) to allow in love from other people.

I am one who believes in the power of love. I believe in the power of giving and receiving kindness. I most certainly believe in the healing power of art.

So, let’s make some hand-painted and stenciled paper to use as the foundation for handmade valentines. Create them for yourself, for your friends, your neighbors, your family, etc. The world can always use a little more vibrant color, light, and love from you. Let’s begin.

Step 1:

Dribble paints on your watercolor paper. (I used a variety of pinks, reds, and white).

Step 2:

Spread paint with a wide brush. (Enjoy the wonderful colors that appear before your eyes!)

Step 3:

Place a stencil or two on the wet paint. Use a baby wipe or damp paper towel to remove the paint through the stencil.

Step 4:

Continue using a variety of stencils, removing paint through the stencil.

TIP: If the paint is getting too dry, you can spritz plain water through the stencil, and then wipe away the paint.

Step 5:

Get out those spray inks and stencils!

TIP: For a crisper image, hold the spray ink further away from your paper.

(The closer you are, the wetter and more blurred the end result appears.

The image below shows too much spray ink, sprayed too close to the paper. It’s a learning process, and I am still learning. It’s okay if you are, too.)

TIP: After you’ve sprayed the ink over the stencil, use a paper towel roll to soak up the extra ink. (I learned this from Dina Wakley or Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.)

I had an absolute love affair with this Dylusions “Cherry Pie” Ink Spray. The color is just sooooooooooo delicious.

Step 6:

Add the Heart Chakra stencil in bright green.

Step 7:

Once your background paper has dried, use a heart template or paper punch to cut out your valentines.

Hand them out, mail them as a surprise, put them in your art journal, etc., etc. The possibilities go on and on! Be sure to save at least one for yourself.

I had a blast making this background paper. I am so grateful for artistcellar and other makers of quality art supplies. We need to play, enjoy color, and express ourselves. We need to give and receive love. If Valentine’s Day is hard for you, please be kind to yourself.

You are worthy. You are loveable, and you are loved.

May it be so.

Blessings to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

I've enjoyed making my own collage papers lately and I've only used paper, stencils and paint. I decided I wanted to make more interesting textures for my collages but this time I decided to leave the paper on the shelf and only use acrylic paint, gloss medium and stencils. The result is called an acrylic skin. They are super fun to create because the outcomes can be equally unpredictable and fabulous. Please know that this is a drawn out process with lots of drying time. Let's get started!

Here's what I used:

The reason I used page protectors to build my layers on is so I can peel off the "skin" when it is dried. I made sure to slip in a sheet of white cardstock to give the page protector more stability and to better see the colors of the paint.

The first layer is stencils and gesso or paint with the goal to create various designs and textures. Use a palette knife to scrape the gesso or paint through the stencils. Let dry. Clean your stencils right away!

The next layer is paint mixed with a gloss gel medium. I like to use a couple colors so I can get fun color mixing effects. You could also use a matte gel medium if you want to mute your colors. The choice is yours! I just squeezed the paint and medium right on top of the dried gesso layer. Use a palette knife to gently spread around the paint and it should be thick, like spreading peanut butter on bread. You could do a thinner layer but the resulting skin will be easily stretched and wrinkled, which could be a fun texture! A thicker layer will take longer to dry but will be more sturdy and thus easier to cut into shapes when using it in your collage. When using your palette knife go slowly so you don't over mix your colors because those variations will give you stunning results!

Now comes the difficult part, letting everything dry again. If you do this at the beginning of the day then set your creations outside in the sun and let it help expedite the process. I would not recommend using a heat gun because of how it could affect the page protectors. I did this in the evening thinking I would wake up to beautifully dried skins ready to use. I was mistaken, a few were almost dry but others needed more time so I set them outside and went about my day. I checked on them in the late afternoon and they were ready to carefully peel off the protectors. The results were awesome and I can't wait to use them. I am thinking an abstract collage would be fun!

Do not store these on top of each other as they will stick to each other. If you used matte gel medium there should be minimal stickiness. There are some quirks to this process but it is fun to experiment. I encourage you to search the internet for more inspiration, tips and tricks. Have a creative week!

This week I'm bringing you a project that takes a page out of one of my sketchbooks and puts it up on the wall. I am still loving the faces I created in my little Moleskine I shared a few weeks ago. I didn't want them to just stay in the book, I wanted them to break out and decorate my wall! I chose one of my favorites and... follow along!  

Here are the supplies I am using:

After the GAC-100 dries add a layer of gesso and use the Dots stencil to create texture in the wet gesso. Let dry.

Next comes a layer of acrylic paint. I used a Lemon yellow and a lime color. 

Let's bring out the pattern by using the dot stencil with a Ruby red and a Night blue paint. I really like how the colors blend and contrast with each other. Tada!! This is the background.

I prepped the chipboard with a layer of gesso on two sides (it keeps the chipboard flat). Using a blue and a red paint with the Tracks and Open Work stencils add a few layers to make a quick background. 

Looking at my original I took a pencil and sketched a similar face.

Use acrylic paints to paint in the face and outline in black. Final touches and more texture done with my favorite drawing pencil. 

After I am happy with the way it looks it's time to cut it out! Don't you just love how the stencil designs peek out?!

I used gel medium to attach the chipboard piece to the substrate and left it to dry overnight with a layer of books on top to help it dry flat.

After a coat of black paint around the edges to finish it off it's time for a coat of glossy sealer. 

She looks great and I think she will look even better on my wall with a few of her sisters to join her. Better get to work!! Have a creative week!

 

This week I want to share with you what I created with the collage papers I created from my last blog post. Remember these?

Here's what I used:

One more thing before we start. I don't have any process photos (GASP! I know!). I was going along with the creative flow and didn't even realize until I was finished, dagnabbit. But, on the other hand, I do have 12 finished faces to show you!

My process is as follows: In my little Moleskine I pre-gessoed a bunch of pages so the page is ready to go when I am. I decided I wanted to fill this book with faces but before I draw the faces I add a few layers of color onto my page with paint and stencils. Using a foam wedge makeup sponges makes this process easy. While those layers dried I went in with my paint pen (black or white) and drew faces on a few of the pages. (Nope, no pencil first! Just go for it! To make it even more fun I used a continuous line on some of them.) For the other pages I cut face-like shapes from my homemade collage paper and glued them down with matte medium. To review: On some pages I drew a face directly on the stencil decorated background and on others I drew a face on top on collage paper that was cut to a face-like shape and then glued in the book.

Oh look! I do have a process shot! LUCKY!

This shows some stencil layers and collage paper cut to a face-like shape.

Now I just use my imagination and paint the faces fabulous colors remembering to use complementary colors to help make things POP! Don't layer your paint on too thick since you want the underlayer texture created by the stencils to still peek through.

I also add a layer of paint to the backgrounds in some places to make things interesting.

Final steps happen when all the paint is dry. I take my extra-fine black paint pen and trace over my drawing lines again. This smooths the edges of the features and lends it a finished look. I also take my 9xxb drawing pencil to create value and texture.

I'm in love! We'll see how many faces I create with this style/technique before I change it up. I already have plans to make even more of my own collage papers.

Happy creating!

“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:

“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:

Hello My Lovely Lovelies!

It's my turn again to share what I have been doing for the past 2 weeks! 

I have continued to do more of the fun watercolor animals on my live stream using my Koi Traveler Watercolor kit here  are a few of my favorites:

But I also wanted to do something new for todays post! I Really REALLY wanted to use the stencils that are being released on the 15th but AHHHH! I can't! Lol!

SO, I asked Lisa for a bit of inspiration and she led me to Lynn K, (who just released her newest book "The Hand Stitched Surface") the person behind our Artistcellar Marked series stencils. How have I not Cyber stalked her before? It is crazy, I am in love with her work! it is so outside of what I usually create that I was immediately inspired!

I looked at her work on her website and loved her style, but I knew I didnt want to copy it, I just wanted to bring parts of it into my piece. 

This canvas is probably the truest MIXED media piece I have ever done. I sewed a little on it, I used papers, Dina Wakley Acrylics, Inks, white gel pen, black ink pen, I made marks, used hot glue and I used some of my button stash! I had so much fun! I started the piece planning on only using her Marked Series Stencils but I ended up grabbing the Labyrinth set to add some drama to the piece!

She inspired me to allow straight lines to show, for some reason I usually get rid of straight edges, I used little marks and doodles, and BUTTONS! I love using my buttons! whenever I felt a lull in my flow I would just look at her work, she is amazing. Thank you Lisa for opening my eyes! AND Thank you Lynn for sharing you beautiful work with us!

If you would like to watch my full process take a look below! It was a fun one!

Big Hugs and mushies to you!

Shana Banana!

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

 

Hello to Your Wonderful and Creative Self,

I am here to share something that really gets me excited. It’s simple mark making. I would like to encourage you try your hand at making your own unique marks. Even though I believe that is within all of us, I understand that doing something that is totally YOU may feel intimidating. Thank goodness there are many resources, and there’s even an art challenge (April 1-30, 2017) created by Rae Missigman to help you along your mark making journey! For details on Rae’s “Art Marks Part 2 - 30 Day Challenge”, click here.

Mark making is just something I am completely and utterly drawn to. When I want to create, but I don’t know what to make, I often turn to mark making. I find it extremely satisfying, meditative, and visually interesting.

One of my favorite sets of stencils here at artistcellar is the “Marked Series” designed by artist Lynn Krawczyk.

Let’s Get Started with Mark Making

Allow me to share a process to get you started with mark making.

  1. First, create a simple pattern on a blank piece of paper, using a brush and acrylic paint. Let your paint dry.
  2. Next, using a ballpoint pen, trace some shapes from the “Marked Series” over and around your paper.
  3. Use a small round brush and Dye-Na-Flow to paint in some of the shapes you traced.             
  4. Get out of  your own way, and allow for creative flow takeover!

As you know, things don’t always go smoothly. So, when you have an itsy bitsy spill, make the most of it! Create drips, and prints from the bottom of the jar. These are all wonderful marks!

Dip an Art Foamies stamp into that spill and make some more marks.

What I love to see about this mixed media process is how all of the materials work together. Depending upon the ink in the ballpoint pen, the ink may or not bleed a little from the wet Dye-Na-Flow on your brush. When you put Dye-Na-Flow over acrylic paint, there can be a resist that is subtle, but awesome!

I felt like I needed a little more contrast on the paper, so I used the “Midnight” color of Dye-Na-Flow. Sometimes I like to simply use the cap to dip my brush into as I paint.

Painted paper is one of my favorite things. I love paper, and the sound of painted, wrinkly paper is quite wonderful, too. (The paper I worked on here is copy paper-nothing fancy).

Paper like this can be used in so many projects: art journaling, gift tags, handmade cards, mail art, collage, mixed media art on canvas, book making, etc.

In Summary, I hope this post helps you to see that mark making is fun, energizing, soothing, and creative, all at once!

For more mark making ideas and inspiration, I invite you to hop on over to my site OrangeSpiralArts.com

Blessings and Happy Mark Making!

-Briana