Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
Oh hello! Today, I filmed a little video of my art journaling. Right now I'm going through a time of healing. One of the ways that I heal is through baring my soul in an art journal. Today I was inspired by a bit of poetry by Nayyirah Waheed. (You can find her @nayyirah.waheed on Instagram)
"The idea of a second heart."
I've had this graph paper composition notebook laying around for a while. I use it for planning/drawing comics, making lists, and everything in between, I love sketching on graph paper! However, I never liked the weird, splotchy, black and white covers of composition notebooks. If you also want to add a personal touch to any boring sketchbooks of yours, here's how you can!
Supplies you’ll need:
I forgot to take pictures of the very beginning, but I started by sanding the cover of my book to make it easier for the paint to stick. I also wrapped the pages in paper towels so I wouldn’t get any paint on them. Then, I covered everything with a coat of white gesso.
I sanded this layer again with some really soft/fine sandpaper, then put on a second coat of gesso. After that was dry, I sanded it too.
I’m sanding between every layer to try to minimize brush strokes - while the heavy acrylics and gesso make it easy to cover up the dark pattern underneath in only a few coats, they also leave some pretty big brushstrokes and I want a smooth look. Make sure that your paint is dry all the way through before sanding or you might take little chunks off and make it even bumpier! It also helps to wipe off the dust after with a baby wipe or wet paper towel.
Now for the fun part- the color! I wanted a summery pink, so I mixed blushing, fuchsia, a bit of lemon, and white all right on the page and blended them together. Pretty!
I wasn’t feeling it though, so I decided to mix them first and change it to a more even and lighter color. I also put a few layers of gold on the binding edge strip. Using tape to get a nice neat edge would have been a great idea (if only I had thought of it before tediously painting it by hand…)
Now for the stencils… I think I’m going to use my favorite quasi flowers (from the Quasicrystals series) with gold. I got some ideas for possible future covers while looking through stencils; I think that if I had a darker book, a silver base with celestial in dark blues and purples would look stunning, or turquoise greens with a coral stencil in a contrasting copper…
Using a sponge and taping the edges down is the best way to get a neat edge! I dabbed on more magenta, white, yellow, and gold. The gold smells wonderfully pepperminty. The back, by the way, looks the same, but lighter and I used the infra dots instead.
And now we’re done! Almost. I put a coat of Decoart Media satin varnish over everything to seal it and keep my paint from scratching off or getting dust in it. I also gave it another quick and soft sand to make it a little matte-er after.
Nice. Spice up those journals!
Oh hello again!
This week I have been really busy filming - I'm a teacher in this year's Ever After with Willowing Arts! My theme is Alice in Wonderland, which you know I'm very excited about.
To keep with the Alice in Wonderland theme, I decided I wanted to paint intuitively on a huge piece of watercolor paper.
I had so much fun creating that "poster" last time, I decided to give it yet another go. I started with some 12 x 12 Artistcellar Stencils. I love these Sacred Geometry stencils, and they pair nicely with the Diamond Series stencils as well!
From here, I'm just building up layers with the same DecoArt Media Mister in "Carbon Black" except now I'm also adding in 6 x 6 stencils and pocket stencils!
Now, for the really adventurous part... I mixed up some fluid and high flow acrylics with DecoArt Pouring Medium and poured paint directly on the poster.
If I had planned ahead for this part I would have worked on a big canvas and not watercolor paper, but hey! We are painting intuitively here, after all.
This is probably one of the messiest yet most satisfying things ever! The hard part is waiting for it to dry, which takes 24 hours or more.
But, with a little patience I was able to return to it and add small details with Posca Paint Pens. Here, I'm adding some leaves and the quote, "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
This was so hard to photograph because the pouring medium leaves things a bit glossy which looks incredible in person! (If you would like to sign up for Ever After 2018, visit: https://www.willowing.
“What would happen if…” – Daniel Keyes
Have you ever wondered "what would happen if"…and if you did, where did your thoughts take you?
As PBS has launched the Great American Read, I decided to revisit my favourite book, Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” a tale of what would happen if intelligence could be altered through surgery. I am captivated by the creative process. I enjoy seeing the preliminary drafts of a work as much as the final piece. Keyes’ “Algernon, Charlie and I – A Writer’s Journey” not only described his method of fiction writing but the inspiration for “Flowers”. I was in bibliophile paradise!
Motivated by my stack of hardback book covers I decided to choose a light coloured cover for my next project. Inspired by the story I made my own inkblot on tissue paper. Once glued to the board the rest of the elements fell into place. The bottom image transfer was copied from a 1950’s post card. Bit and pieces of paper were added building up the layers. I glued dried hydrangea petals across the composition.
Artistcellar stencils have a great selection of designs in their collection. I chose one from the Labyrinth Series. The Chartres stencil was a perfect fit. The maze like pattern not only added an interesting design, but enhanced a key component of the story.
To brighten the composition I added acrylics using only a portion of the Infra stencil. Again, with just a bit of painter’s tape as a mask you can achieve the look you are after. However you chose to use them, they are never damaged and clean-up is a snap….the essential quality I look for in stencils.
Hopefully my collage will give you a hint of what “Flowers for Algernon” is all about without giving too much away. If you aren’t familiar with the story perhaps this post will spark your interest. With a bit of luck it will also inspire you to explore your passions and journey to what would happen if…
"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!
“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” - Kurt Vonnegut
A collection of miniatures in a variety of media will soon grace the walls of a local gallery. The trend of purchasing small works is gaining in popularity and can be found in both home and office settings. I find viewing miniatures a fantastic way to slow down and to make time to enjoy what surrounds me…to enjoy the little things in life.
“Excellent!” I thought when I heard about the exhibit. I instantly reached for my Artistcellar Pocket Stencils. I primed a 4” x 4” canvas panel with a mixture of gesso and Sunflower yellow acrylics and stenciled on metallic gold diamond shapes. I wanted a warm background on which to build the work.
Once dried, I added the word “CREATE” from the Creative Words Pocket Stencil Series. And what a wonderful word it is…bursting with the spirit of the exhibition. The rest of the design easily fell into place. The Dragonfly stencil from the Traditional Japanese Series is the perfect complement in essence and size. I masked out two of the insects and began stenciling in a variety of colours.
I immediately think of a piece of visual art when I hear the word Create. But as we all know, there is so much more to the meaning of this word. For the wordsmiths among us I rubber stamped text to a piece of tea stained tissue paper and attached it with matte medium. The transparent appearance was just what I was after. I finished this part of the collage with a gold foil border.
The wonderful advantage of creating with Artistcellar stencils is that it is easy to mask out just what you need. The stencil designs inspire you to make your work truly your own. This is one reason I love using the Infra stencil from the Quasicrystals Series. The random dots I chose finished the piece and added the perfect amount of extra colour.
Do you take the time to appreciate the small things in life? I hope my miniature encourages the observer to take the time to stop and enjoy the moment. Hopefully they will create and share, by image or word, the meaningful little things of their life.
“It’s what we call a dolce pazzia…a sweet madness. Once you feel it, you will never want to leave”. – "Juliet" by Anne Fortier
Travel and romance. To me the words are synonymous. I have wanted to use the photo of the woman with the dreamy expression from my collection of Victorian postcards in a project. At last I found a place she might call home.
I will soon be facilitating a collage workshop at a local library. We will use discarded book covers as a substrate. I was given a deep blue cover to see how it would inspire my work. The map of the romantic city of Venice from the Old World Maps series was perfect for what I had in mind. I started the project by stenciling in a subdued colour palette of blues and aqua to allow the rest of the collage elements to pop. This is another reason why I love the Artistcellar collection of stencils. They can be bold and the focal point of your work. Or they can be subtle, but just as vital to your art. The inside book cover was smooth and didn’t drink up the acrylics. As I had hoped, there was very little shift in colour.
I have been experimenting lately with transfers on various types of paper. This time I transferred the photocopy of the woman and added it to a blank shipping tag covered with a layer of gesso. I was pleased with the finish and the way the colour complimented the background. I surrounded the tag with textured paper I received from the Netherlands in a paper swap. The gold foil was reclaimed from greeting cards. Cherry tree twigs blown into the yard with the last storm, wrapped in tea stained gauze, became part of the collage. It’s great that with this type of work trash can become a real treasure!
I usually have tiny jewelry tags on my table when I am working. They are a great place to try techniques or to deposit left over paint. I chose a few from this collection. After masking out parts of the Playful Pods and Quasicrystals stencils, I added glittering dots of colour to the design.
I am captivated by the woman’s wistful smile. Could she be thinking of a journey in the making? Or is she returning to her dolce pazzia…the sweet madness of a certain time and place?
We are fortunate that creating Art allows us the freedom to follow our inspiration wherever it may lead. The door is open just waiting for our ideas to burst through. Who is your muse today?
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.
Dribble paints on your watercolor paper. (I used a variety of pinks, reds, and white).
Spread paint with a wide brush. (Enjoy the wonderful colors that appear before your eyes!)
Place a stencil or two on the wet paint. Use a baby wipe or damp paper towel to remove the paint through the stencil.
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.
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.
Add the Heart Chakra stencil in bright green.
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
“Many people think that patience is a sign of weakness. I think this is a mistake. It is anger that is a sign of weakness, whereas patience is a sign of strength.” - Dalai Lama
Life of late has taken a turn in a not so wonderful direction. I appreciate we are often challenged by circumstances beyond our control. I am also aware that with Life’s every twist and turn there is something to learn. I think the lesson for me, here and now, is Patience.
Last year I created a series of Prayer Flags. They still fly on the pergola. Seeing them inspires me to embrace serenity mindfully. And their comforting cues usually do the job. I wanted to add another chiffon flag. This time I wanted to feature the virtue of Patience.
Finding solace in Art, it was a relief to gather up my supplies gets started. The first step was to prep the cardboard base. Because of the weight of the chiffon, just a light coat of repositional adhesive was needed. I rolled the fabric on to the cardboard and smoothed out the few air bubbles I found. I started work with a new stencil series recently added to my collection: Artistcellar Steampunk! It was the perfect choice…a pattern of gears and dials reminded me of clocks and the need to allow life to unfold at its own pace. Not mine.
I placed the Apparatus stencil on an angle and when dried flipped it to continue the pattern across the flag. The Steampunk Lace stencil fell beautifully into place just above the border. If you are like me, you find that certain stencils quickly become favourites. They are the ones that allow your creativity to fly. The Steampunk Series certainly falls into this category for me. And even with the many cut outs, the stencils cleaned up in a flash, not requiring me to exercise patience. I have found that Artistcellar stencils are sturdy enough to take frequent applications of paint and cleanings. This is so important to me. I gravitate to supplies that I don’t have to baby. They let me to focus on the creation of my work.
I have also been falling in love with the Ranger series of Dylusions Paints. If you haven’t tried them, you don’t know what you’re missing. The tubs have a wide mouth which makes it easy to dip in your brush, or as in my case, a natural sponge. But what I love the most is the way they hold the vibrant colour, even on something as sheer as chiffon. I can’t wait to see my flag flying next to the Prayer Flags. But that requires patience.
I threw caution to the wind for the rest of the design and added the colours and stencils as they came to hand. The final piece of the design was the word that inspired it all: Patience. It was now ready to sew on to the dowel and add a string.
I take refuge in the fact that all things pass…the great, the good, as well as the dreadful. And I hope my gentle reminder floating from the pergola brings comfort on the days when the strength of patience is truly what I need.
Who doesn’t like soup? Warm, comforting, encouraging you to release your creativity with each new recipe, it is just the thing to lift my spirits. And as we trudge through more cold and snowy winter weather the smiling woman in the vintage ad carrying home her paper bag of Campbell’s soup and an article in a local magazine inspired me.
I have participated in a charity postcard exchange for the last several years. I knew my mind was set on the image I wanted to use for my next design. If you are like me, you know when an art supply is “just right”. The incredible range of Artistcellar stencils always help me find precisely what I am looking for in minutes. Spreading out my stencils, my eye was drawn to the Quasicrystals and Blocks Series. Yes…they were “just right”.
The card came together fairly quickly. I lightly coated a postcard size piece of cover stock with gesso. Using my sponge with the most texture, I applied several shades of Dylusion Paint. Working wet on wet I sponged the wonderful Dylusion Ink Spray to build the background. I wanted to create a sensation of warmth and happiness. Using the Dylusion products never disappoint. The colours are as rich and vibrant dry as they are wet. Again…they were “just right”.
Cutting out the image of the woman from the ad, I glued it to the card.
A local monthly magazine runs the most amazing food column. The recipes are carefully thought out which makes them easy to successfully replicate. This month paid homage to a rich and robust Minestrone, one of my all-time favourites. Reading through the ingredients, an old song came to mind…"Life is a Minestrone". I cut out sections of the recipe to surround our shopper.
Returning to my inspiration, I believe our lives always revolve around choosing a little bit of this, maybe a tad of that. We make the best of what we have on hand. But I am convinced that with a dollop of creativity and a dash of invention our lives can be as truly nourishing as a simmering Minestrone.