Saturday, 17 September 2016

WARNING! DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!!

DON'T LET THIS BE YOU! - ATC
Are you like me? Does even the idea of running out of coffee strike fear in your heart? Are you just "not yourself" until you down that first...second...or third cup?

Rather than using street names, do your directions list coffee shops as landmarks? Do you consider a balanced meal coffee and a donut? Are you the person who is always polite to the Barista knowing they are creating your kind of magic in that cup? Then, my friend, we share a passion.

I recently sent off this Artist Trading Card to a friend who also proclaims her adulation for this beverage. The background and type are from newspaper ads. The truly distressed woman was sent to me from Germany as part of a paper exchange. I finished the card by rubber stamping on handmade paper.

No matter what you call it: Joe, Java, Brew, Cuppa, Liquid Delight...word to the wise: Never, ever run out of coffee!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Finding Power, Love & Serenity

"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 wandered 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, wild 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 use 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 the memories of my journeys. I believe travel empowers you to wander with purpose and explore the passions that drive you. Travel is more than the physical movement from one place to another. Travel resurrects the desire to explore within and find love and serenity in just being present.


MATERIALS USED
PLAID FOLKART METALLIC ACRYLICS: Rose
REEVES ACRYLICS: Silver, Gold, Rose Red
DYE-NA-FLO: Turquoise, Midnight Blue, Magenta, Sun Yellow
VIVA INKA GOLD GLOSS PAINT
NATURAL SPONGE
SOFT CLOTH
1” FOAM POLY BRUSH
RUBBING ALCOHOL
RUBBER CEMENT
MINERAL PAPER
STRATHMORE Mixed-Media Visual Journal 300 Series- 5.5" x 8.5"
LABYRINTH SERIES STENCILS FROM ARTISTCELLAR
DIGITAL IMAGES – Purchased & Created

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Finding Your Center....


“Say not, ‘I have found the Path of the Soul’. Say rather “I have met the soul upon my Path’”
-Kahlil Gibran

Have you ever walked a Labyrinth? Have you thought about it, but perhaps don’t have one near enough to easily visit? If that’s the case, new addition to the Artistcellar stencil collection is for you!

Unlike a maze with twists and turns designed to challenge the walker with the possibility of misdirection, think of a Labyrinth as an empathetic guide. Regardless of design, the winding paths all lead to a single point. The objective of a maze is to reach the center. The objective of a Labyrinth is to reach your center.

Labyrinths embody the saying “It’s all about the Journey”. Not aligned to any specific religious tradition, the beauty of walking a Labyrinth is its ability to slow you down and allow you the opportunity to seek comfort and wholeness for your soul.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful Labyrinth at the Unity Church of Harrisburg. Built in 2007 it is of a medieval or Chartres design. I have walked it and continued my journey in their Peace Garden, always leaving relaxed and renewed. This is the reason why I was delighted to receive the new Artistcellar Labyrinth stencil series…and so happy to see the Chartres design is included. And as with so many things in life, it came at just the right time.

This Summer has been a whirl of activity…some wonderful experiences and others less so. But one thing is certain. I need to slow down, to regroup, and to revive. Having the stencil in my hands was the first step in the right direction.

My Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal has become my “go-to” at the moment. I like the size and quality of the paper. The Chartres stencil was a perfect fit on the page. My stenciling efforts are now part of a growing collection of images ready and easy to use.

I had a general idea of the elements I wanted to include in my final design.  Looking through my box of acrylics I chose colours in the purple family:  Amethyst and Plum and gold for an accent. I wanted a slightly worn feel, so I began stenciling with a natural sponge. Although the colours complimented each other, and I liked the texture, something didn’t feel “right” about it.

After cleaning the stencil I went back to the box of acrylics to choose shades of green: Aquamarine and Blue Topaz.  And suddenly everything fell into place. The texture and colours worked just as I imagined. I added further highlights of sunflower and Viva Inka Gold which I burnished with a soft cloth to a brilliant sheen. To complete my image, I placed it on a background mixing the sense of earth and a sky sprayed with stars.

And there it was…the Labyrinth just as I envisioned it. A sensation of well-being washed over me, just as it does when physically walking the winding path. Still, one aspect of the work puzzled me. I’m normally not a great lover of shades of green and usually don’t feature it in my art. But here it worked. And thinking it over, a thought came to mind: The Heart Chakra. Of course…just working with the Labyrinth stencil guided me to reach my center. And there I placed a Heart Chakra symbol.

I have read of the use of “Finger Labyrinths” for meditation. After creating with the Artistcellar stencil I firmly believe it works.  I would like to share this with you.  Please feel free to download my art and walk the Labyrinth with me.

And why not try your hand using the new stencil series in your own art? As with all Artistcellar products, the quality of the stencils opens the door to creativity for years to come.

Will you walk the winding Path to find your center? I’d love to hear about your adventures.


MATERIALS USED

PLAID FOLKART METALLIC ACRYLICS: Aquamarine, Blue Topaz, Champaign, Antique Gold, Amethyst, Plum

PLAID ACRYLICS: Sunflower

VIVA INKA GOLD GLOSS PAINT

NATURAL SPONGE

SOFT CLOTH

STRATHMORE Mixed-Media Visual Journal 300 Series- 5.5" x 8.5"

DIGITAL IMAGES – Purchased & Created

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Are Your Days Filled with Sunshine?

"Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together…" 
Lesley Gore/Marvin Hamlisch, Composer

And who said crayons are just for kids?

Included in my most recent box of delight from Artistcellar was a set of Tim Holtz Distress Crayons.  And with names like Peacock Feathers, Twisted Citron, and especially Mermaid Lagoon I couldn’t wait to start using them.

I have long been a fan of the Tim Holtz line of Distress Inks. I love the wide range of colours and the deliciously descriptive names. The quality is always consistently high and I expected the same from the new line of Crayons. I was not disappointed.

Of late, I have been working with my metallic acrylics or watercolours. Receiving the Crayons was a good excuse to bring out the Distress Inks once again. Opening the box I keep them in was like opening a door and visiting with an old friend. The Tim Holtz line was my first purchase when I ventured into Mixed-Media. And what an adventure it has been!

A new addition to my supplies is a Strathmore Mixed-Media Journal – 300 Series. The compact size is perfect for working with my Artistcellar stencils. I am now well on my way to building a library of background images…all easy to find and in one place! Now if only I could get a Mineral Paper spiral bound notebook. That would be Nirvana!

I started my work on Strathmore Watercolour Artist Trading Cards. I chose to keep the colours warm and bright. I covered the card with a wash of Tim Holtz Spiced Marmalade Ink and flat Royal Langnickel watercolours using my Sakura Koi Waterbrush.  The waterbrush is a great tool to have in your collection. It saves time, can be taken on the road if you are an en plein air artist, and can give you everything from a swath of colour to a thin line. It’s great!

With Journal in hand I chose my favourite Artcellar stencil series: Halftone Dots and Seafoam. I wasn’t sure which applicator would best compliment the crayons. I applied the colour with a natural sponge, cosmetic sponge and the Tim Holtz Blending Tool. The crayons are soft and it’s easy to transfer colour to your applicator.  When pushed through the stencil the natural sponge gave a spotty textured effect. The Blending Tool and cosmetic sponge were equally successful, giving me the soft gradated look I was after…all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.

Getting out my Distress Inks was truly like visiting an old friend and reminiscing about happy times past at the start of my Mixed-Media journey.  This explains my choice of using this fashion photo from a 1950’s collage sheet. The women look so joyful…sharing a secret, spending time together, and capturing a moment that will stay with them forever. I am sure you have similar memories. Aren't we shaped and molded by the memories we hold closest to our hearts? And the friendships nurtured through the years are always the sweetest…like sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

 MATERIALS USED:

ARTISTCELLAR HALFTONE DOTS SERIES STENCILS

ARTISTCELLAR SEAFOAM STENCILS

TIM HOLTZ® DISTRESS CRAYONS – SET #1

TIM HOLTZ® BLENDING TOOL

TIM HOLTZ® DISTRESS INKS

NATURAL SPONGE

MAKEUP SPONGE

ROYAL LANGNICKEL WATERCOLOURS – FLAT & PEARLESCENT

SAKURA KOI WATERBRUSH

STRATHMORE MIXED-MEDIA VISUAL JOURNAL 300 SERIES

STRATHMORE 400 Series Watercolor Artist Trading Cards

DIGITAL IMAGE – FASHION OF THE 1950’S


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Are You A Canvas?

MID-CENTURY MODERN DREAMS - Collage
 “Fashion is Art and You are the Canvas!” – Velvet Paper

Fashion truly is Art! From Haute Couture to Prêt-à-Porter the designer escorts us through their passionate journey.  Colour, form, and pattern: our shared tools of the trade inspire them to make their concepts tangible. And how heartening it is to be wrapped in someone’s dream!

When my Artistcellar box arrived in the mail I couldn’t wait to experiment with the Marked Series Stencils. With circles, X’s, and an interlocked ladder the graphic feel made me think of Mid-Century Modern art and interior design. And I was in luck: my Artistcellar treasure trove also contained Dylusion Bubble Gum Pink Ink Spray and Dina Wakley Lemon and Lime acrylics. The stencil pattern and my acrylic colours were perfect for taking me back to the time of Bakelite telephones and the Camel cigarette man wafting smoke rings across Times Square from his billboard.

I wanted to start with the background. I went to a new page in my Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal. The ladder stencil and Dina’s Lemon acrylic came first. Slowly, I built up the layers using each stencil in the collection and a variety of acrylics. Then came time to throw caution to the wind! I grabbed my Dylusion Bubble Gum Pink ink and sprayed away. I loved the hot pink colour, mopped up a bit with my sponge and pushed it through the stencil. I really was pleased with the effect and will be adding it to my favored techniques. I completed the background with Punchinella, Artistcellar Halftone Dots Stencils and metallic acrylic.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the fact that the Artistcellar stencils hold up to anything I throw at, or push through them. Clean up leaves them in perfect condition ready for my next project.

Now that I had my background ready, and my colours were just as vibrant as they were wet, I knew the focal point needed to be just as bold. I am a great fan of black and white fashion photography of the 1950’s. I chose a photo of a woman, head titled back, with eyes slightly closed. What was she dreaming about… Perhaps a great adventure? And who would accompany her? And most of all, what clothing would she pack! I thought of the Bakelite phone…and the phone book she would peruse. To the left of the work you will see a page which I infused with bee’s wax.

This is what I love about Art. We have countless ways to express what comes from deep within us. With so many tools at our disposal we are only limited by our imaginations. By sharing what is essential to us we give it life, and hopefully nurture the spark in others. 

So the next time you put on that favourite piece of clothing, just think…you are the canvas helping to make a designers soul immortal!


MATERIALS USED: 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Rest, Rejuvenate...COLOUR!!!

As Summer comes to an end, what better way is there to beat the heat, to rest and relax than to colour? And to celebrate, today is National Colouring Book Day!

As Artists, wasn't your first step in free expression aided by rough newsprint pages printed with line drawings? And I'm sure you'll never forget the heavenly scent wafted from a freshly opened box of Crayola crayons!

Why not host a party...or join one in your area? The National Colouring Book Day website has a multitude of parties listed!

Grab those pencils and paper. Meet up with friends. Enjoy a day of relaxation and rejuvenation. Colour!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Do You "See"?

"Photography helps people to see." – Berenice Abbott
Do you “see”? Do you mindfully take time to appreciate the glorious sights that surround you? Do you find similarities in beliefs and dreams reflected where you least expect them?

The incredible photographic work of Berenice Abbott is without a doubt thought-provoking. And while I agree that photography helps you to see, I also think music, literature, painting, printmaking, drawing, and in my case collage, also encourages introspection.

My passion for New York runs deep. While many people find rejuvenation rambling through the countryside, the sound of my heels clicking a staccato rhythm on the sidewalk sets my soul on fire. And if I can’t physically be in New York, Berenice Abbott’s dramatic black and white photos are a passport not only to my hometown, but to another time.

Looking at Abbott’s catalogue housed at New York Public Library, I decided to work with a photo of a Manhattan courtyard on laundry day taken in the 1930’s. The realist in me knows doing laundry in the tenements was a back-breaking job at best. But the romantic in me yearns for the days of seeing clothes strung on a line, the patterns and colours enhanced by the sun and wind.

I knew I needed a background as dramatic as the photo. I chose a handmade scarf completed at a workshop I attended at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center. The silk chiffon was accordion folded, secured with wooden blocks, drizzled with reactive dyes and steamed in the microwave to set the colour. It was the first time I tried this technique and I was extremely pleased with the results.

The warm tones of coral, orange and yellow were the perfect framework for the cool palette I chose when using Artistcellar’s Seafoam stencil. The foamy look of the stencil merged perfectly with my wash day theme. And that’s what I love about the Artistcellar products. The only limit to their use is your imagination. With a swash of watercolour, a splash of acrylics and Artistcellar Halftone Dots, my background was nearly complete.

But something was missing. Looking at the patterns formed by the laundry I wondered what stories they had to tell. Life was challenging, but still there was hope. I wondered about the letters sent home to family and friends…some who would be making the journey soon and others would only experience Die Goldene Medina through their eyes. So I added the text in Chinese, Italian, and French.

The Arts are a mirror by which we see a reflection of ourselves and each other. A photo, a painting, a bit of prose...they all help us to truly see that hopes and dreams are passions we all share.

MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR SEAFOAM STENCIL
  • ARTISTCELLAR HALFTONE DOTS SERIES STENCILS
  • 100% SILK CHIFFON SCARF
  • REACTIVE DYES: CORAL, YELLOW, ORANGE
  • WOOD BLOCKS
  • STRING
  • ROYAL LANGNICKEL WATERCOLOURS – FLAT & PEARLESCENT
  • REEVES METALLIC ACRYLIC: GOLD, BRONZE
  • PLAID FOLK ART METALLIC ACRYLICS:ROYAL GOLD, AQUAMARINE, AMETHYST,
    PLUM, ROSE, CHAMPAGNE
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • FLAT PAINTBRUSH
  • RUBBER CEMENT & ERASER
  • DIGITAL IMAGES

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Leaving One Place To Venture To Another...

DIE GOLDENE MEDINA - FROM ITALY
“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 favourite Artistcellar products, the Halftone Dots stencil. 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:
ARTISTCELLAR SEAFOAM STENCIL
ARTISTCELLAR HALFTONE DOTS SERIES STENCILS

STRATHMORE MIXED MEDIA JOURNAL

ROYAL LANGNICKEL WATERCOLOURS – FLAT & PEARLESCENT

REEVES METALLIC ACRYLIC: GOLD, BRONZE

PLAID FOLK ART METALLIC ACRYLICS: ROYAL GOLD, ANTIQUE GOLD, INCA GOLD, CHAMPAGNE, ROSE SHIMMER,  AQUAMARINE, AMETHYST

NATURAL SPONGE

FLAT PAINTBRUSH

REPURPOSED DRYER SHEET

DIGITAL IMAGES

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Shall I Tell You About My Life...

Man of the World - Conventional/Digital Collage
"Shall I tell you about my life
They say I'm a man of the world..."
Peter Green 


How do you share your deepest feelings? Do you ever use your Art to tell someone about your Life?

June's Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge is all about Fathers and Brothers. As with all Lunagirl Collage Sheets, sometimes it is difficult to settle on just one image. But for me, the J. C. Leyendecker image from the "SharpDressed Man" sheet whisked me away on my journey. It was easy finding just the perfect complimenting backdrop...the Lunagirl Maps Sheet. I loved the look of the map...like an open book.

Who could this man be? What was he reading? Why does he look so serious? Could he be planning a great adventure or contemplating voyages of the past?

Working on the piece my thoughts were drawn to an early Fleetwood Mac tune, written by Peter Green in 1969. A melancholy song, it is about a man who has everything he desires except the true love of a partner. At the time, Peter was fighting his own demons. And, as is the case with many artists, he let us witness a glimpse of his struggle by opening his heart through his work.

Supporting the digital aspect of the collage is a selection of stencilled conventional elements from my collection. As it is an introspective piece I added the Moon...the symbol of the soul, the capacity for reflection and renewal and the cadence of time.

Do you ever open your Book of Life sharing with us your voyages of the soul? Does your Art allow us a fleeting glimpse of your world?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

But Is It Art?

BUT IS IT ART? Digital Collage
 “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