Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

"You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow." – Janis Joplin

I was just a kid, making my bed and listening to the radio on a Saturday morning. The opening notes of a song caught my ear, but it was when I heard the raspy, passion filled voice, I knew I was experiencing something exceptional. At the time I didn’t know who was singing, and I didn’t know the name of the song. But the vocalists’ raw emotion, the way she held a note…releasing it at just the perfect moment...captivated me.  The song was “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company. The mesmeric voice belonged to Janis Joplin. The memory of the first time I heard her sing will forever stay with me.

We all know her story…leaving Port Arthur, Texas to discover who she was as a woman and an artist, of her addictions and her need for pushing the limits of her rock-and-roll lifestyle.  But rather than dwell on the tragic I want to celebrate all that was triumphant.

As a confirmed letter writer myself, I loved reading Janis’ correspondence to friends and family. This Janis is the one that inspired me through my awkward (are they ever anything but!) teens and into my twenties. Janis kicked open the door for women in the arts. She showed us anything is possible if we follow our dreams to our authentic self. Her drive to succeed on her own terms…caressing the vulnerable and the beautiful…lead to many mishaps but also to great discoveries.

The quote is a favourite of mine. Before words like “mindfulness” became part of the lexicon, Janis was already a believer. As I’ve recently been working with the wonderful Artistcellar Labyrinth series, my heart and my work have found a brilliant resting place in being fully present and not destroying my “now”.

The newest member of the Artistcellar family is Blocks. I couldn’t wait to start creating! The variety within the four piece set is excellent. I was especially drawn to the Open Work and Cross T designs. I wanted to give my work a 1960’s vibe so I chose to stencil with the colours of the era: hot pink, purple, acid green. It was fun to dab my acrylics through the stencil and see the combinations. I even stenciled a single colour knowing I could add it to my art. As with all of the Artistcellar products, clean up was a snap leaving the stencils in perfect condition.

I enjoyed building the collage. I wanted to give the work a vintage feel and started with a tintype background. I added the layers including the stenciled images, newspaper clippings, date stamps, painted dryer sheets, and finally the image of Janis. I chose this particular photo because she looked fearless, happy and ready to take on her next adventure.

It is easy to be drawn to the heart-rending story of a creative who died before their time. But if there is one thing I’ve gained from following Janis’ much too short career it is this: Be true to yourself, as a woman and an artist, and you will find authenticity waiting to be discovered in that special piece of your heart.


  • PLAID FOLKART METALLIC ACRYLICS: Aquamarine, Champaign, Antique Gold, Amethyst, Plum, Rose Shimmer, Metallic Rose, Emerald Green, Peridot, Blue Topaz
  • PLAID ACRYLICS: Sunflower, Brilliant Pure Orange
  • STRATHMORE Mixed-Media Visual Journal 300 Series- 5.5" x 8.5"
  • DIGITAL IMAGES – Purchased & Created



"Travel brings power and love back into your life." – Rumi

TRAVEL: To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey.

From the time I was a child the word “travel” was the genesis of my wanderlust. I couldn’t walk past a travel agency without stopping to look into their store window. Gazing at posters showing incredible scenes of cities that seemed so far away only fed my desire to travel. I wanted to learn about the lives of the people depicted in those posters. I wanted to see for myself the towns and cities that looked so enticing even when viewed through a plate glass window. I wanted to put pins in a map of all the places visited. I knew I was destined to live a nomadic life.

And I have been lucky. I have visited almost all of the places that sparked my interest. And I found when traveling my journey enriched not only my physical but my spiritual life as well. And this is why I am in love with the beautifully crafted Artistcellar Labyrinth series. Let me tell you about the journey I walked in creating this collage.

Starting with my Strathmore Journal, I covered a page with Dye-Na-Flow Midnight Blue fabric paint using a 1” foam poly brush. While still wet, I splashed on Dye-Na-Flow Magenta followed by dripping rubbing alcohol into the wet dye. As the page dried a soft floral pattern emerged.

Although I liked the effect, I wanted to see how the dye would react on Mineral Paper. But this time I drizzled on a bit of rubber cement before coating the paper. The beauty of Mineral Paper didn’t disappoint! I liked the way the resist seemed to flow with the dye one enhancing the other. Although the technique was the same, I now had two distinct looks. Where my journal paper produced a soft velvet effect, the mineral paper was watery and wonderful. Looking at the backgrounds, I couldn’t decide. Which one should I use in the final work? As the saying goes “You can never have too much of a good thing”, so opted to use both.

In my last collage I featured the Chartres stencil. This time I knew Crete was the one to work with and stenciled directly on to the page in my Journal beginning with Viva Decor Inka Gold. I liked the effect I got the last time I used this product and polished it, when dry, with a soft cloth. It then became a wonderful base for shades of Silver, Gold, and Rose Red acrylics. The final element added was a vintage map.

Just working with the Labyrinths allowed me to recall so many memories of my travels. I believe travel empowers you to wander with purpose and explore the passions that drive you. Travel does more than include the physical movement from one place to another. Travel also resurrects the desire to explore within and find love and serenity in just being present.



One of the new products that Artistcellar added to the shelves is the Fineline Masking Fluid Pen. Even though it's a bottle, it's called a pen because it has a very fine (20 gauge) wire tip, so it's pretty easy to "write" with it. And to prevent it from clogging, it has a pretty cool cap, with a needle that fits in the hollow wire tip, screw it on, and you're good. (Make sure you have your reading glasses handy though! LOL)


I saw a similar project like this on Pinterest and thought I'd try making one. I did this in my Strathmore Visual Journal. This is the completed page.

First thing you do is just write what you want to say on the blank page. I didn't gesso it or prepare it any way, just the naked paper.

It takes a little practice to squeeze and write at the same time. Have a scrap paper or tissue ready for any blobs that may appear at the tip. But... if you do make a mistake (or a mess) just wait a minute for it to dry, and rub off with your finger, and have another go at it! Easy Peasy. After I was satisfied with my writing, I let it sit and cry for about an hour. Then I got out the Distress Stains and Twinkling H2O's. You can also use Dylusions Sprays or Dye-Na-Flow. Get your soft watercolor brush nice and juicy and just start painting over everything. For this one, I used Distress Stains with a few splooshes of Twinkling H2O's to give it some sparkle. After the paint was dry, I splattered some black india ink over the whole thing.

I would suggest letting it air dry for a few hours at least. I did try using a heat gun, but it started shooting sparks and blew up. But then I wasn't sure if the heat gun would have softened the masking fluid or made it harder to remove. Once your page is thoroughly dry, take your finger and rub off the masking fluid to reveal the nice bright lettering. It's like magic :-)

Here are a few others I did. This one I used Dylusions Sprays in my spray box.

It was nice and wet and the ink pooled around the masking fluid and ran through the letters.

The next one I did was using only Twinkling H2O's. When it was really wet, I let it drip a bit to the bottom. It's nice and shimmery in real life, hard to capture on camera.

Since I made three of these, I'm going to give one away to someone who comments on this post. The one in my journal you can't have, but I will give one lucky winner the choice of the Twinks one or the BeYOUtiful one. I'll use a random number generator and pick one winner out of all the comments. Because this is a new blog, your chances might be pretty good! So tell me what you think about this project and what word or saying you would want to use in a page. I'll pick next week... let's say Wednesday.