Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

“Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind” - Jim Seals & Dash Crofts



It was nice to hear “Summer Breeze” on the radio the other day. It certainly takes me back to a time and place…one that now seems exceedingly serene.

Not long ago I purchased a set of Heidi Swapp fabric flags at Michaels. The pack has twelve 4” x 5.5” natural cotton pennants held together with white cord. They are perfect for painting and stenciling. The flags easily slide across the cord which allows you to choose how many you wish to use. I decided to create a triptych. With the melody of “Summer Breeze” blowing through my mind, I knew my next project needed to caress the spirit of summer the song so effortlessly portrays.

After spraying my poster board with adhesive I lined up the flag so I could create a read-across of continuous images. I like using natural sponge with acrylics. The textures they leave behind can lend a lot of interest to a design. Using a rough sponge, I covered the flags with warm yellow acrylic adding lemon highlights. Once the flags dried I started the stenciling.



The Bodacious Pods from the Artistcellar Playful Pods series were perfect. I altered the stencil with painter’s tape and used the pods to fit the space. The languid movement across the flags was just what I wanted…like a summer breeze. The Traditional Japanese Dragonfly stencil finished my design with another image that speaks summer magic to me. Diamonds and dots completed the project.

I can’t wait to hang the summer flags next to my Prayer Flags. How do you embrace the essence of your favourite season in your work? I hope the tranquil spirit of summer envelopes you and lasts well into the seasons to come.

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Hello Everyone,

Right now, I need both a creative outlet, and a way to bring a sense of calm to my nervous system. I unconsciously created a journal page with a color palette that is not my norm. I’d like to share it with you in this post, to hopefully inspire and encourage you to trust your intuition as you create.

Supplies Used:

 

To apply the Distress Stain, I used a paper plate palette and dabbed the color onto it.

I then used a cosmetic wedge to grab the color of the stain to work through the stencil.

This worked well for me. In the past, when I’ve tried to use the Distress Stain directly through the stencil, it was too wet, and it seeped under the stencil.

I liked how light and airy these pods were, so I decided to give them some space to breathe.

Choosing the blue acrylic paint for the background was sort of a surprise to me. Once I used it, it felt like water, which made me relax.

Next, I decided to add more pattern over that blue. So, I grabbed the Block Series stencils.

What I loved about the “Cross T” stencil was that I could easily line it up where I left off, to continue the pattern.

And again here:

I decided this all looked like a plate on a tablecloth, so I added a yellow napkin, too.

Since I was thinking of nature and the ocean, a thought came to me with a title for this journal page. So, I wrote, “I am calling this ‘Respite with Yellow Napkin.’ Beach, sea, water, land, color, calm the self.”

I created another page more quickly by cleaning my stencil with a baby wipe, and using up some the extra paint on my palette.

Sometimes these are my favorite pages, as they are free, loose, and expressive!

Thank you for being here and reading this post.

I am sending creative vibes out to you, so may also experience a sense of calm and inner peace while you play with your art supplies!

Blessings to you,

Briana of OrangeSpiralArts.com

“I’ve learned that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” – Cecelia Ahern

Have you ever been driving down a street and wondered…Who lives in a house like this? It may not be the largest or the most attractive, but there is something about it that catches your eye. That’s how I feel about a local apartment house with the chic name Stonehurst Court. 

In my last post I mentioned recycling tissue paper to mop up paint from your stencils. Using the tissue I covered with acrylic, I created the mini canvas you see here.  I love the freedom of this technique. You never know how much of the paint will transfer. The results are unexpected and can be a great inspiration. I still have quite a lot of paper left. I will be using it for a community project in a few weeks.

One of my favourite Artistcellar stencils is the Halftone Dots Series. With just a bit of painter’s tape you can mask off just what you need to enhance your design. Inspired by the many steps leading to Stonehurst Court’s front door the largest dots, Shadow, take center stage on my canvas. As the building is surrounded by bushes and plants, I completed the design by tearing off organic sections of the tissue and layering with matte medium. The Playful Pods shimmering in gold added just the effect I was after.

Who lives in a house like this? I like to think people who are adventurous and like to create the feeling of home wherever the put down roots. Is there a certain place that inspires you? I hope you will try the tissue paper technique and have as much fun with it as I did.

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"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." - Frank Zappa

I always smile when I read this Zappa quote. When I was in Art School, as much as our instructors encouraged following our creative voice, they equally stressed the importance of sales. After all, a starving artist in a garret sounds romantic, but creativity has a difficult time thriving when you’re faced with a lack of income.

I have been working on a series of Prayer Flags using the Artistcellar Tibet Series for inspiration. They will be on exhibit at WITF-TV, our local PBS channel in Harrisburg, PA. This is my second set. The first sold at an exhibition last year. Although the new set is in the spirit of the old, I found my colour choices and positions of the stencils were evolving. As you use your Artistcellar stencils you too will discover how they inspire your work. When masking a stencil here or there, you can change the feel of your design, always creating something fresh and new.

Recently a friend gifted me with a beautifully wrapped wind chime. The deep purple tissue paper she used has a wonderful sheen and light texture. I knew it would find its way into my art. While working on the flags, I found it hard to just wash all the luscious paint off my stencils. Instead, in celebration of Earth Day, I used my purple tissue as a blotter. What better way to “Reuse & Recycle”?

When I was finished stenciling my flag, I transferred the paint to the paper. The tissue took the acrylics well and soon I had two gorgeous paint covered sheets. But this is just the beginning. The paper will be a central part of a project I will write about in the coming weeks.

Have you ever tried using up your paint on paper this way? Not only “saving” your acrylic it’s a great way to extend the life of your stencil…to have positive and negative images at your fingertips.

I suppose Frank Zappa was right. As artists we can make something from nothing.  And here’s hoping you have future sales to boot!

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“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.”- Hafiz of Shiraz

It’s been cold, snowy and in my humble opinion, a dreadfully extended winter. Now that March is here I am more than ready for longer and warmer days. And the first day of spring, for me, is forever linked with the Persian New Year festival of Nowruz. Starting on the day of the vernal equinox and literally meaning "new day", Nowruz celebrations continue for two weeks ending with an outdoor picnic. Inspired by the holiday, I couldn’t wait to start my next project.

Although too cold in many parts of the country for a picnic, I wanted to send some warmth through the mail. Junk mail is a plethora of inspiration for mixed media artists. Digging through my collection of envelopes, I decided to recycle one with a window. I masked out the cellophane opening with surgical tape and started my background with a textured natural sponge and Dylusion Paints. Once the background was dry, I started stenciling.

The Artistcellar stencil range is known for its diversity.  You will always find just the right stencil to create inspired work. This time I wanted to feature the flying dragonflies and cherry blossoms of the Traditional Japanese series. I used the Playful Pods as a hint of what the envelope would hold. The stencils effortlessly conveyed the spirit of all things fresh and new.

Recently I have been experimenting with used tea bags. I have been exploring different techniques…trying to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t. I chose two of my bags to use as seed packets. Keeping with tradition, I filled one with wheatgrass. I packed the other with forget-me-not seeds. They will show through the window when I get them ready to mail. An added bonus…my surgical tape mask is now washi tape for use with another project.

It’s been difficult getting through the dark days of winter. But with the approaching first day of spring and the celebration of Nowruz I now have a good excuse to fill the house with hyacinths and tulips. And here is my wish for you: I hope you surround yourself with all that makes you glad to be creative and alive. Happy Spring!

MATERIALS USED

“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!

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“There is a distinct kind of Magic in the iridescence of a Dragonfly’s wing.”

The Dog Days of Summer are already here. I can’t help but feel as the mercurial sizzling days slip through our fingers it is a gentle reminder to be mindful and savor every moment.

A few months ago I created a prayer flag inspired by the new Artistcellar Tibet Series Stencils. As luck would have it I purchased enough chiffon to make four flags. This is the second in my series and I decided to feature the Lotus.

Once again I began by spraying a light coat of repositionable adhesive to a large piece of cardboard. I rested the chiffon with as few wrinkles as I could manage to the sticky surface. I was then ready to start stenciling. Keeping the colours to shades of pink and cream I wanted my lotus to embody the qualities of devotion and purity.

To me the Dragonfly is not only a perfect match for the Lotus, but symbolizes the exquisiteness of the season. I have loved Dragonflies endlessly. Not only are they a wonder to witness in the air, but my thoughts drift back to peaceful childhood summer mornings spent at a local creek with a friend. Dragonflies represent transformation. They guide our spiritual and emotional quest of self-realization. To see a dragonfly in flight is to grasp the magical possibilities of freedom. But to be truly free, we need to accept our unique selves. And I suppose that makes us all works in progress.

The Artistcellar stencils provide a great array of options. I selected the Petite Pods from the Playful Pods series to add to the flag. The image was perfect and continued the theme. I have long been fascinated by the iridescent colour released from dragonfly wings. So inspired I completed the design with dots of glimmering acrylics. It now flies next to the Buddha Eyes flag on the pergola.

Artistcellar stencils are inspirational. I am always discovering something new when I begin to work. The images allow me to explore and express my creativity. They encourage me to design with the same freedom we feel when seeing the shimmering flight of a dragonfly. By permitting my creativity to unfold my desire is to delve deeper, discover my unique self, always knowing I will forever be a work in progress.

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