Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello my lovely lovelies! I am so happy to share this week! I am home in Wisconsin to visit my awesome family like I do every year.

I always bring art supplies with me and this year I brought my Koi Watercolors Pocket Field Sketch Box, my Sakura water brush, Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelles and two art journals, one a homemade with watercolor paper, and the 2nd my Strathmore  with mixed media paper.

When I am home I just create to keep flow going, I don't go about trying to get a style. I just paint or draw things around me, with the landscapes here it's easy to be inspired. Sometimes my Daddy and I just hang out and have beer summits so I decided to record that in my journal! It's always Pabst Blue Ribbon and always served in my favorite bass can cooler.

Other times we go for drives and end up driving home with the sunset, the colors are so vibrant that I can't do them justice because they are so bright they don't look real.

Or other times I just doodle away, my favorite doodle this year is this pretty fairy girl.

All of these quick pages started with a sketch with Graphite Aquarelles and then I activated the pencil using the Sakura water brush with watercolor and without. These are by no means glorious works of art, but they are bits of time that I cherish recorded in my journal.

I will be back in Arizona before my next post so I will have a video to go with it! Thank goodness for cell phones so I could share with you!

Big hugs and mushy stuff to you my lovelies!

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“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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“I have never been able to understand the artist whose image never changes”-Lee Krasner, Abstract Expressionist Painter

When I feel adrift, I return to Art History. There I find comfort and direction. Reading Lee Krasner’s quote started me thinking about the evolution of our work.

Do you ever review your body of work? Do you find you can re-experience a particular time in your life just by looking at your colour selection, composition and the materials you chose? Art journaling clearly gives us a sense of time and place. And I feel work beyond journaling can take you on a similar voyage.

Usually when I begin to work I have an inkling of where my journey will take me. But this time I really didn’t have a finished piece of work in mind, so I decided to let my supplies influence my direction. Building on my last Artistcellar piece I wanted to continue exploring the use of Rubber Cement as a resist. Last time I chose a heavy watercolour paper. I now went to the extreme…my cherished smooth and silky Mineral Paper. I was excited to see if the new substrate would enhance the resist.

Using the Artistcellar Seafoam stencil I once again applied Rubber Cement. But this time instead of using my fingers for a mottled finish, I brushed the cement in an even layer through the stencil and allowed it to dry overnight. Removing the stencil was easy, the clean-up quick, leaving it in pristine condition.

Punchinella, circular and hand cut stencils at the ready, I covered the Mineral Paper. I used both a dry brush and wash technique of various watercolours. When dried I added the metallic acrylics. I varied the density and disregarded the placement of the rubber cement.

The final step was the removal of the resist. The Mineral Paper held the cement in place which made it a little difficult to remove. What simply peeled off the watercolour paper held fast this time. But with a little perseverance, all cement was removed and I was left with an interesting array of colour and form. As with past projects, the Mineral Paper held up beautifully. No tearing or buckling. The paper is just fantastic and a MUST for any artist.

The final pattern reminded me of the post-War Abstract Expressionism movement…and I knew what I need to add to complete the image. Some time ago I purchased a fashion photo of a woman in a lovely flower print dress and hat. From her pose she could easily be gazing at an interesting piece of art. Could she be wondering…Is it Art? What do you suppose her answer would be?

When you view your work can you see a shift in perception? Do innovative and interesting influences appear over time? What images are constant…giving you a secure base to allow you to dream and experiment. And do you ever wonder, looking at the world around you…Is it Art?

MATERIALS USED

  • MINERAL PAPER
  • ARTISTCELLAR SEAFOAM STENCIL
  • ELMER’S RUBBER CEMENT
  • RUBBER CEMENT ERASER
  • ROYAL LANGNICKEL WATERCOLOURS
  • PLAID FOLK ART METALLIC ACRYLICS
    • ROYAL GOLD
    • AQUAMARINE
    • AMETHYST
    • PLUM
    • ROSE
    • CHAMPAGNE
  • DIGITAL IMAGES
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Hello Creative Beings! Because I need a little more balance in my life and motivation to practice meditation, I decided to make a meditation banner using Artistcellar pocket stencils Chakra Series, ATC cards and Splash Ink.

To start this project I punched holes in all four corners of each card and got out my trusted Splash Inks in Magenta, Yellow and Blue then painted 7 ATC cards with each Chakra color starting with purple for the Crown Chakra. To make purple, I mixed magenta and blue according to the color chart in the Splash Ink package. Then, I mixed up an indigo blue for the third eye chakra, light blue for the throat chakra, green for the heart chakra, yellow for the solar plexus, orange for the sacral chakra and lastly, ruby red for the root chakra. I was able to mix all of these colors easily with only three colors using Splash Ink.

Next, apply gloss medium over the stencil with a palette knife using a scraping motion. Lift the stencil carefully from the card and put the stencil in a bath of water to make cleaning easier. I chose clear gloss medium to scrape over the stencil onto the ATC cards so the color will come through after drying.

 

Cover all cards with the gloss medium using a different Chakra stencil. Set aside to dry until the gloss medium is completely clear. I use this drying wait time to clean my stencils thoroughly.

 

After the medium was bone dry, I brushed on titanium buff and titanium white acrylic paint over the entire card.

When the paint is just dry enough to touch, use a baby wipe to gently remove the white paint from the chakra to reveal the color underneath. Do this step with all cards so all color is removed off the gloss medium area. Touch up areas on the card if some of the paint was removed from around the chakra.

 

I inserted antique brass eyelets and connected the chakra cards with antique jump rings. You can also use ribbon or thread to connect the cards.

Once all the cards were connected I mixed a wash of Splash Ink and brushed it over the cards and wiped off the excess color for an antique look.

Here is the finished banner hanging on my bedroom wall next to my mirror. I plan to use it every morning during meditation to start the day and when I travel, I can fold it up and take it with me. Namaste :-)

Supplies:

  • Splash Ink Acrylic Mixing Colors
  • Artistcellar Pocket Stencils Chakra Series
  • Strathmore Artist Trading Cards Illustration Board
  • Golden Gloss Medium
  • Holbein Titanium White and Titanium Buff Matte Acrylic
  • Eyelets
  • Jumprings
  • Standard hole punch
  • eyelet setter
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Hello again!

Today I wanted to paint a funky faerie -- I started with a simple background on Mineral Paper using Prima Confections watercolors and Artistcellar stencil series in Diamond Series and Sacred Geometry 2. For this background, I just used a little bit of paint on a Koi waterbrush. I took care to pick up different colors of paint and not overlapping the stencils. I also added a few splatters and drips here and there. 

I really adore how the mineral paper reacts with watercolors and I loved the results when I picked up my stencil each time. 

Once the paint was dry I started drawing a funky faerie using a Scribe-All pencil and then filled it in with some more watercolor.

Now my  imagination started going wild with the story on this faerie. Ornery? Definitely. Ever wonder where that button went from your shirt? Or perhaps you knew you had some extras in the drawer over there... but they're gone now. It was definitely her. Her name is Petunia and she is a button thief!

Using Liquid Glass I glued some buttons down to the page for her eyes, and then I sewed them with dark blue thread. I tied them off on the outside so that she could have eyelashes. 

I finished her with some white highlights here and there with a Uniball Signo pen and a little bit of Ice Stickles glitter... because every faerie *needs* a little bit of sparkle, right?

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Hello again! I am excited about the project I'm sharing with you this week as it combines two of my favorite things. Hand-lettered quotes and beautifully designed stencils. The supplies I used are my Art Journal, black water-proof pigment ink pens (like Faber-Castell Pitt Pens), Cathedral Series Four-Stencil Set, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils (or the Inktense Blocks), small paint brush, pencil and a kneaded eraser.

First step is tracing the stencil into the paper to make the decorative border. Please notice that I am tracing a portion of the stencil first and then rotating the stencil and tracing a different part. This ends up making a symmetrical design that looks elegantly complicated. The magic of the Cathedral stencils!! Try "rearranging" the way you use your stencil images. Happy accidents will abound. 

Next comes the hand lettered quote. I turned to my trusty Pinterest board devoted to inspiring words and chose quotes that weren't too long. Using my pencil and kneaded eraser (because it erases cleanly, without smudges) I penciled in my words until I got to a general composition that I liked. Then I used my pigment pen again to ink in my letters and build them up with angles, thick and thin lines, and little embellishments. 

Final step is the color!! Grab your watercolor pencils or Inkstense blocks, choose complementary colors and begin filling in various parts of the design. The Cathedral series is inspired by stained glass windows so I wanted to use vibrant colors to convey that idea. Be sure to layer different shades of color to add depth. Don't worry about filling in the space completely with color. When you use a damp brush to "activate" the pigment you can smooth it out and fill in all the nooks and crannies. Gorgeous!

This project was kinda like making your very own coloring page. How trendy of us! Haha! As you can see from this picture I had Bob along for maximal creative zen relaxation. 

Happy creating!

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