Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello again everyone!

This week I opted to work on my Artistcellar project at a favorite local coffee shop! Frank and David joined me, and while they played a game of Magic the Gathering, I sipped coffee and arted to my heart's content.  It's really fun to create art in places other than my own home - not only was I able to spend time with friends, but it also sparked conversation with a stranger as well. 

It's no secret I'm -always- inspired by poetry. I'm working with my beloved mineral paper, watercolors, colored pencils and Artistcellar Quasicrystals and Sacred Geometry 2 stencils to create a simple yet beautiful mandala poetry piece.

I started with a poem I love by Nayyirah Waheed (an absolute favorite!) and built around that idea with colors and textures. From stencils to dripping watercolor, I intuitively built it up until I had something I liked. 

This was one of my first attempts at colored pencils on the mineral paper. I tried it after all the watercolor had a chance to totally dry. I will say my final verdict is it's not my favorite - but I don't hate it, either. I think I might like it for smaller details, and to stick to watercolor on the fill in's. Like in the flower petals! 

Either way, I'm really happy with my final piece. It was simple and meditative, yet it's fun to look at too. 

Where do you like to go to create art outside of your home/studio?

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!

Greetings! Thanks for being here.

Sometimes you just want to have a little artsy paper book wherever you go. It’s great to have to jot down notes, ideas, and inspirations. This one I am about to show you would also be great for collecting collage and ephemera of the day (like fruit stickers, receipts, insides of bill envelopes, etc.)

Supplies To Gather:

Your favorite set of artistcellar 6x6 stencils

12 x 18 inch paper

Dylusions Spray Inks

 

Step 1:

Set out the four stencils on the 12 x 18 inch paper-three on the top and one on the bottom left.

Step 2:

Spray the stencils and the blank area of the paper with a few colors of Dylusions Spray Ink.

Step 3:

Remove the stencils and print the wet stencils on the “blank” area of the paper to add some texture.

Here’s a detail shot of how cool the layered spray inks look.

Step 4:

Fold the paper in half the long way (hot dog bun style).

Step 5:

Fold in the two ends to overlap in the middle, so you have a little book.

Step 6:

Play around with the book and check out how fun it is!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Have an awesome and art-filled day!

Blessings,

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:

Hello beautiful souls!

Birthdays are the best time to make art for gifts. I ended up creating this awesome 12"x12" piece for a friends birthday the day of. We got invited over last minute so I spent the evening making his gift. He told me his 3 favorite colors were: green, blue, and purple. Score! They all look gorgeous as galaxy colors and fade into each other nicely. It turned out so pretty I wish I still had it for our wall. 

I used the 6x6 flower of life stencil and 6x6 metatron's cube stencils for this piece. The moon and some of the galaxy stars also glow-in-the-dark.

I also took the time to play around with some more of the awesome Deco Art crackle paste , the 12x12 Sri Yantra stencil, and the 6x6 golden mean stencil for this piece. I had a lot of fun with the bottom layer using some stencils, and splashes.

Next I layered the crackle paste. I love watching the little crackles form as the medium dries. The inks like to show through the white layer and it looks pretty awesome.

Next I started layering the sprays and things to create the metallic gold look. I used some dylusions ground coffee spray, some glimmer mist, and some other sparkly sprays.

The first layer looks like snake skin. Pretty cool. Then I added some Viva Decor Inka Gold to really give the gold some nice highlights and depth. I even took a nice little video on my Instagram to show off the finished piece since a 1 minute video can capture way more than several photos. 

I create one last piece literally last night just to get some art time in. This mini art is 4"x4" and will be backed on a flat canvas. I used the flower of life 6"x6" stencil and the third eye chakra pocket stencil. I really dig this little piece celebrating the awakening of the third eye.

What projects do you like to create when you only have  a short amount of art time?

Love, light, and creativity,

xo Genea

“ALL JOURNEYS BEGIN BY LEAVING ONE PLACE TO VENTURE TO ANOTHER.” – Ellis Island

And so began the journey for so many of our ancestors. For me, it’s always all about the story. I am fascinated by the motives behind a person making the decision to depart the land of their birth. What made them head off to begin life afresh in a distant country? Did they ultimately fulfill their dreams? Was the move as successful as they hoped? Given the chance, would they complete the journey again?

Ellis Island was, and is, part of the fabric of our family. So many of the stories passed on to me by my Grandmother certainly were the catalyst of my interest in all things relating to immigration, especially at the turn of the Century.

America. Die Goldene Medina. The Golden Land. A land of opportunity for everyone. A place like no other where every dream, every wish, could and would come true. Looking at the photo of an Italian woman taken as she waited at Ellis Island, I wondered about her story.

I have been using my Strathmore Mixed Media Journal quite a bit lately. With 140lb vellum finish paper that is acid free, it is quite a help in building a portfolio of backgrounds that I can use for future projects.

For this piece, I started with the Artistcellar Seafoam stencil and my water colours. I wanted the overall appearance to be bright and “golden” so I limited the pallet to tints of yellow, magenta and orange. I allowed the pattern of the stencil to dictate where the colours would fall, as well as where to use the flat or pearlescent paints. When dried, I stenciled using one of my all-time favorite Artistcellar products, the Halftone Dots stencils. This time I reached for my metallic acrylics and layered complimentary colours.  Again when dried, I finished the background with my Punchinella and metallic acrylic.

I assembled my images…the photo of the lady from Italy, a postcard of Ellis Island, a map and airship from the Lunagirl Moonbeams collection of collage sheets.  The last element was a clever bit of repurposing: an artist friend sent me a dryer sheet she used to mop up paint. I loved the rough edges of the sheet and the lovely texture. I am a believer in Synchronicity and her generous contribution was flawless! Just the colour I needed to tie everything together. The timing was perfect!

Looking at my finished work, I wondered, did the Italian woman find her “Golden Land”? What became of her life? I hope she did find all she wished for.

I feel fortunate, as I am sure many of you do, to be an Artist. Our work and imagination can take us wherever we wish to travel.  Art allows us the opportunity of self-expression and experimentation. Our Art allows us to venture to our golden land where dreams can come true.

MATERIALS USED:

Hello again! This week I decided I wanted to make a fun sign for my art space, affectionately titled the "Zen Den". I had a leftover dollar store Halloween sign and I decided to give it a boost of life. I started with a couple layers of black gesso just to get it good and covered up. Then, added a layer of white gesso that I scraped away a bit to give it a more "distressed" look.

Once the gesso was completely dry I used a palette knife to add thick, even layers of DecoArt Media Crackle Paste then I let it dry completely overnight. I have used a heat tool on this before and it works, but the cracks don't seem quite as dramatic as they do when you let it air dry.

Next, I used a Artistcellar Sacred Geometry 2 stencil with modeling paste to create the "moon". I let it dry completely and made sure to clean up my stencil immediately afterwards. If that modeling paste dries, it can ruin the stencil and I can't let that happen!

For the background, I mixed some Phthalo Blue (one of my favorite colors ever!) and Titanium white. I created washes, drips and splashes. You name it, it goes. There aren't any rules here!

Then, using a thin detail brush and some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Carbon Black, I painted a tree. A happy little tree.

For the sign, I mixed together some Dina Wakley "Umber" and titanium white.

I also added a thin layer of Dye-Na-Flow "Midnight blue" to the background... for fun!

To finish the sign, I added fine details with acrylic paint markers, white Gelly Roll pen and the Artistcellar Diamond Series Stencils. I just traced the stencil with the markers and it worked like a charm!

I hope you enjoy my Zen Den sign! I can't wait to hang it up.

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Hello again!

How long has it been since you played with Shrink Film? I found a few packages in my stash and decided to play. I had never tried to shrink an entire sheet before so I decided to try that and see if the result could be used as book covers. I was not disappointed!

Here is my supply list for this project:

  • Shrink Film (regular ol' clear stuff)
  • Cheap-o craft paints (but any water-based acrylic will work)
  • Halftone Dots Stencils (I just used the two largest dot sizes)
  • Cosmetic sponge
  • Hole punch (3/16 size)
  • Basic Bookbinding supplies for the Coptic Binding Stitch

Cover one side of the shrink film with one color of dots. When that is dry cover the other side with dots in a complementary color. Repeat this on another sheet of Shrink Film. Using a hold punch punch the holes where your binding will be. Remember to punch the holes BEFORE you shrink!

Now it is time to shrink the film in your oven per the instructions on the package. It will take less than 5 minutes and it is so cool to watch!!

Cool under a heavy, flat weight for a few minute to make sure it ends up flat.

The results will not be consistent from one sheet to another and the edges most likely will not be square but that was okay with me. Time to assemble the book!

I will not include a full tutorial on preparing a book block or the coptic stitch because there are a multitude of them all over the internet that explain things much better than I could. So I encourage you to search it out and watch a few videos.

Ta Da! The final book is fun and whimsical. I like the dimension that results from having the dots on both sides of the film. It makes a cool layering effect. The color of the paint became rich and dark after shrinking and has a cool texture to it. There is a little flaking as it is just cheap craft paint so I think a light layer of a spray sealer would help. I want to try this with more quality acrylics (like Dina Wakley's paints) to see if they end up having a different texture after shrinking. 

Shrink film and stencils are a match made in heaven!

Hello Everyone!

You may not know this about me, but I am a huge book arts fan. I love artists’ books, handmade journals, and the like. Today I am going to share an easy way to make your own mixed papers, single signature, art journal.

Here are the supplies you’ll need to gather:

The Cover and Inside Pages

I love hot press (smooth) watercolor paper. When Fabriano came out with this pad a year or so ago, I was thrilled! It works great for a sturdy cover.

Fold one sheet of 11x14 hot press watercolor paper in half, with the grain of the paper. In this case, the grain runs short, so make a “hamburger fold”. (See below)

Once your cover paper is folded, it’s time to get out those stencils and paints!

Scrape a few colors of paint on the outside of the cover.

As you work on the cover, have extra copy paper underneath your painting spot. Use this extra paper for the inside pages of your journal. You can even stencil on them as you give your cover a chance to dry!

Work back and forth between the cover (both inside and outside) and the loose sheets of paper for the inside pages. Pictured below is the second layer on the front cover.

Pictured below is the second layer on the back cover. I am using an 8B Faber-Castel Graphite Aquarelle pencil to do a stencil rubbing.

Pictured below is some stencil work and Dye-Na- Flow drips on the inside cover.

Scrape paint on the inside cover, over the drips and stencil work. Doodle on the outside of the cover with the Faber-Castel Graphite Aquarelle pencil. Then add a third layer of paint to the cover using a stencil and white acrylic paint.

Sewing the Signature To bind your single signature book, you will need a ruler, or a paper slicer that has a ruler on its surface. We are going to be doing a 5-hole pamphlet stitch.

First, you need to make a hole-punching guide, using a piece of cardstock, a ruler, and a pencil.

Fold the piece of cardstock in half lengthwise, or a “hotdog fold”.

Measure one inch from the bottom and one inch from the top, and place a pencil dot. Put a dot at the center of the punching guide. Put two more dots in between the dots you already have. (See below).

Label your marks from top to bottom, 1 -2- 3- 4- 5.

Reverse the fold of the punching guide, so the numbers are now on the inside of the fold.

Gather 5-7 pieces of artsy paper to be the inside pages of your journal. Fold them, and place the punching guide at the center of your papers.

Place the folded papers and the punching guide inside an open phone book or on a thick piece of foam.

Use an awl to punch the holes for sewing.

Thread a bookbinding needle with waxed linen thread. The thread should be about 2x the length of your journal. Be sure to tie a loose knot about two inches up from the end of your thread and also near the head of the needle.

Important Note: If you want the loose threads to be on the outside of your journal, start sewing on the outside in hole 3. If you want to tie off your sewing on the inside of your book, begin on the inside in hole 3.

Use your hand or clips to hold your pages in line with the sewing holes once everything is punched. The pattern for sewing is:

Hole 3 to hole 4
Hole 4 to hole 5
Hole 5 to hole 4
Hole 4 to hole 2
Hole 2 to hole 1
Hole 1 to hole 2
Hole 2 to hole 3

You will be making an inside to outside, outside to inside, weaving pattern as you sew. For simplicity, write the sewing pattern on your punching guide as: 3-4- 5-4- 2-1- 2-3 Choose to start from the inside or the outside of hole 3, depending upon where you want your final tied threads to reside.

TA DA! You bound a book! Congratulations!!!

For more art ideas and mixed media inspiration, be sure to stop by OrangeSpiralArts.com

Blessings to YOU!

Briana

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Hello my Mushy little Arty Lovelies! 

I'm going to be honest with you here, I am constantly making art that I do not like or I am not sure if I like it, but I always have fun with the process and that is what counts!

Today's piece is one of them! I am not sure if I like it. But it was so fun doing it I will let it sit and see if it grows on me. I have a large hoard of canvases, canvas panels, cigar boxes, frames, wood... (you get the drift) of stuff I have worked on that I either just don't like enough to put on the wall or it was a mock up of something some one wanted commissioned. These things take up space and are a waste of expensive substrates. So I have decided to do something about it.

SO I am starting out with a canvas board for a mock up I did for a wall mural for a Mexican restaurant.

(Nope didn't get the job, but I was their 1st choice! They just thought I should only charge $200 for over a weeks worth of work.) I had a blast researching the whole thing and even had fun with the mock ups; I have 4 panels worth of these. But now they are useless pieces that remind me that people don't realize that custom art is worth at least minimum wage. OK enough griping. 

I didn't want the paint on the board to go to waste so I just pulled my favorite stencils

from Artistcellar and went to town using some acrylic paints, the Dina Wakley being the boldest of the colors. I love the mudgy kerfuffle that the canvas turned out having!

I wish I would have scanned it as it was for future use, blug, hindsight is 20/20.

I then kept looking at the canvas until I decided what I needed to paint and got busy.

At this point I was having a blast painting

and I was trying to figure out where to add more shadows with the General's Scribe-all in black, I took a good look at it and put it aside because I though "who would want to see this?" and I got up all pissy and was stressing about what I would do for this blog. I got angry for enjoying myself! It took my half a minute after I realized that to get back to having fun, that is what this is about right? it's not about what I think others will like, its about enjoying the process.

So I sat my bedoodle back down and had fun! I just went with the flow, adding more color with the Dina Wakley paint, shadow with my General Scribe-all and used one of the water series stencils and paint to bring my figures into the foreground and my Faber-Castell Pitt Pen in black to add some shadows.

I don't know if I will keep this or if I will cover it with paint and make something else, but I had fun, and the colors energized me. I have to remember every piece does not have to be something someone would buy, sometimes I just have to create.

If you want to see the video of my process, here it is:

Big Hugs and Mushy Stuff!

Shana Banana!

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