Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

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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Hello all in the wonderful world of arty fun-ness! I am back again to share what I have created using some more of the awesome stencils and supplies available here at Artistcellar!

I have been sick... I mean really sick, there is a bug going around and it was so bad I thought I had food poisoning! That being said it reasons to say I have felt less than creative.  I actually wanted to draw some stuff using the Faber-Castell Water Soluable Graphite that I got in my Design team box this month but I just couldn't get my muse to do her job, so that will have to come later!

Because I couldn't get anything to flow straight onto the void of white I decided to grab a few other items that were in the box this month, the Water Series stencils (which I ADORE) and the Generals Scribe-all pencils

I love to use stencils when my muse is in a funk just to get some texture and color on my page, I used acrylic paints and a make-up sponge to tap the color through the stencils just to fill the void that is a white page... I then went through and finger painted color willy-nilly until I saw something that I could work with.

Can you see it?

I outlined the fairy face then added in her features using the black scribe-all pencil. I added additional details using acrylic paints and gesso. I then used a damp brush to activate the pencil to make a nice wash look.

To make her pop out I did a nice wash of gesso and water around her to push her into the foreground. I then went in with the white scribe-all and added some whimsical detailing to her wing and the flowers in her hair.

And then because this is my journal and it is for me, I try to put things I want to remember, so I just wrote a note to myself "sometimes it's hard to make a mark, but don't stop, you never know what you'll end up with."

I hope you enjoyed my quick overview of the use of Generals Scribe-all and the Water Series stencils!

Big Hugs and Mushy stuff to you!

- Shana Banana

If you would like to watch my process here is a link to the Youtube video!

The Self Is Born in the Stars – Carl Jung

I’ve always been interested in Tarot. The cards intrigue me…not so much as a tool for fortune telling, but more of a way of discovering what is happening in the present and how it will  shape the future. I am by no means an experienced reader. But I do find comfort in handling the cards and finding my part of the story of the symbols.

As with many of us, my life has been quite hectic of late. And I find time seems to be moving at an accelerated rate.  I’ve been told that life gives you what you need if you are receptive. And what I needed was some time to stop and reflect.

Looking through my collection of Tarot cards, I was drawn to The Star card. Stars are visible in the Universe because of the cradle of darkness. So too, we shine when we have been through a difficult time and come through with strength and faith in ourselves.  I decided to use the card as the basis for my work using the Artistcellar stencils.

The Star Card is aligned to the Crown Chakra. I started the collage using Prismacolor pencils on rough drawing paper and the Crown Chakra stencil. When finished I built the collage around the stencil drawing. The vintage images of the Marseilles Tarot, the palmistry hand, and the night sky fell into place.

I can’t get away from the Mineral paper. It is wonderfully adaptable to any media. My acrylic paint using the Halftone Dots stencils stayed as vibrant dried as they did wet. The Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic kept their incredible shimmer, which is sometimes lost on other substrates. If you haven’t tried this paper...you must! The results are delicious!

It has been a brilliant education getting familiar with all the products Artistcellar has to offer. I have tried techniques that are new to me, and hopefully will stir your interest as well.  This brings me back to The Star card.

The card is one of personal transformation, new ideas, and opportunities. The thirst for new journeys can be of a physical or spiritual nature.  But above all, The Star is one to encourage you to have faith and believe in yourself.

And what better way to be true to yourself than to write your own story across the sky?

MATERIALS:

Artistcellar Halftone Dots Series Stencils
Artistcellar Stencils: Pocket Stencils – CHAKRAS – Crown
Hand cut stencils
Mineral Paper
Vintage Images Tarot Card, Palmistry
Drawing paper
Prismacolor Coloured Pencils
DecoArt Metallic Acrylic paint: Teal, Amethyst, Plum
Reeves Metallic Rose Red, Copper, Silver
Daler Rowney Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic: Moon Violet, Waterfall Green, Galactic Blue, Velvet Violet

Greetings Creative Ones,

Hand lettering is truly an art and takes years of practice and patience. I may come up with and master a style that I am happy with some day but until then, I can use these great Artistcellar stencils to make beautiful words happen.

I fell in love with Tam's Inspiration series stencils by Tamara Laporte. There are twelve words to work and the lettering style is very playful which is just what I was looking for. I didn’t really have a plan when I started this project today and I wanted to see where these whimsical little words would take me.

I used Yasutomo’s Mineral Paper and Splash Ink to create a background of color. Drop several drops of the acrylic ink randomly on the paper and wait a minute to let the color settle a little. Take a brayer and roll the color over the paper until the colors are blended and let the colors dry but not too dry. The ink should be slightly tacky on the paper. I chose the Kaleidoscope series for the the background because I can doodle inside the shapes later. Lay the stencil over the mostly dry color and lift off color with a damp makeup sponge.

Take another stencil from the Kaleidoscope series and apply ink from an ink pad with a sponge for a layered effect. Do this with several sheets of mineral paper and enjoy the process of making beautiful back grounds. If you feel the paper is too saturated with color, you can rinse it off or wipe off excess color with a sponge or baby wipe. I decided to choose the paper with the lightest background for the lettering.

Apply archival black stamp pad ink over the lettering onto the colored mineral paper using a makeup sponge. Bring out highlights using a white paint pen. Bring out shadows and fill in the gaps with a black felt pen. Make doodles using the shapes in the background with more ink.

Supplies:

Oh, and dont’ forget to those white “magic sponges” for cleaning paints and inks off stencils. :-)

 

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