Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

This week, I started working in a new little journal for the Columbia Center for the Arts, “Collective Wisdom: The Artist Sketchbook Project”. Basically, I just fill this little journal with – whatever I want ! – and then send it off to live there! Pretty cool, huh?  I have to fill it by December 1, so I've been diligently working on filling this little guy up.

Today, I started with no plan in mind other than I knew I wanted to use some of my brand spankin' new paint and stencils! To start, I used a paper towel to "dab" some Dylusions Paint in Fresh Lime, Vibrant Turquoise and London Blue. Along with the paper towel, I also used some brushstrokes here and there for some different texture.

Next, I used Artistcellar's Arabian Nights: Celestial stencil with DecoArt Media Mister in Carbon Black. What a contrast!

For some extra fun, I brought out the old favorite - the Pearle pen in "ice white" for some extra dot details

and then finished off with some acrylic paint and a paintbrush to brush on the lyrics, "Reaching out to embrace whatever may come."  

That is a snippet of a favorite song of mine, "Lateralus" by Tool. As I create I'm always listening to music, and this one just happened to be playing at the time.

Ta-Da! Super simple art journal spread that is so visually appealing!

I also love that I was able to morphe two of my favorite things together - art and music! Speaking of, I'm currently teaching in Mixed Tape II with Effy Wild and Sarah Trumpp and I would love for you to join us! Class has started but you can still sign up, and since you have forever access there won't even be a rush to catch up. Sign up here!:

Hello Starshine!

This week we are exploring carving stamps!

It's not as scary as it seems - - if you have the right tools. In the past, I attempted this with the wrong type of rubber piece and a exacto knife. It was a disaster... and it was scary. I didn't look back..

Until I received the box from Artistcellar! The lino cutter is a GAME CHANGER!

Today, I'm going to carve a couple stamps and then turn the stamp "test page" into a mixed media piece!

Supplies Used:

Hello, hello!

I recently received the most amazing package from Artistcellar and in it were the new stencils - The Labyrinth series!

I grabbed a square piece of matboard and applied a layer of white gesso to the entire surface. Once dry, I went in with each Labyrinth stencil and sprayed DecoArt Media Mister in "Carbon Black" and Adirondack Color Wash in "Butterscotch". I let the two sprays mix together a bit and I loved the effect.

During the stage, I also used a paintbrush that was soaked down with water and some Carbon Black acrylic paint to create spatters and drips then added some more white gesso over the background I had just created, to move a little bit of the color and "busy-ness" to the back. 

While the background dried, I sketched out a hamsa on a separate piece of paper and then later used graphite paper to transfer to the matboard. From there, I painted in the hamsa using acrylic paint and Pearle pen in "Black" and "Ice White". 

I wanted more dimension in the background so I used a palette knife to scrape a thick layer of DecoArt Media Crackle Paste throughout. When it dried, I used Dye-Na-Flow in "Turquoise" and then my hand to spread Inka Gold "Gold" into the cracks that the paste had created. 

In the end, I was so excited about the texture I had achieved and found the painting to be very interesting to look at. 

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!