Thursday, 9 November 2017

Finding The Right One

Words matter, and the right words matter most of all. In the end they’re all that remain of us.”  – John Birmingham

I relish layering in artwork…colour on texture on paper on ink on paint. You never know what the outcome will be, but the journey can be enough. And as much as I love surprises in the visual arts, I also love words. They too can carry you on an elaborate voyage of discovery…with twists and turns as you search for just the right word for the right moment.

For my next Artistcellar Design Team project I primed illustration board with gesso and attached an old dictionary page. When dry, I covered the center with a mixture of Splendid Gold acrylic that I thinned with glazing liquid. I surrounded the gold with Bubble Gum Dylusion Spray. Rather than use the pump spray, I brushed it on. The spray colours are great and hold their hue regardless of the surface they are painted on, or how they are applied. I wouldn’t be without them. My next step was to add rubber stamp images. I chose both a typewriter and calligraphic stamp and a dye ink to minimise bleed.
Some time ago I added Quentin Matsys’ painting “The Money Changer and His Wife” to my collection of paper bits and pieces. It was printed in a newspaper and I really liked the saturated colour on the newsprint. I chose to use only the woman and her open book in the collage.
With such a variety of designs it is can be a challenge to choose just one Artistcellar stencil. I decided to start with the Quilt. This stencil comes in two sizes, which allows so much freedom when planning your work. The Pocket Stencil was the perfect size for my collage, and what a wonderful foil for Quasicrystal Infra. Large or small, Artistcellar stencils are instrumental when you are looking to give your work a unique edge. You’ll always find just the right one for your project. I continued layering the stencils, with the final image as you see here, surrounding the woman with letters and words. Will she find the right ones to narrate her story? I wonder...
Finding just the “right one”…be it an image, a colour, or a word can be perplexing. But what a marvellous feeling of accomplishment when you do! And sharing the right word layered with the right sentiment is an incredible way to immortalise the sweet story of our lives.

MATERIALS USED:

Friday, 27 October 2017

Restoring Sanity & Reviving Creativity

“Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helter-skelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts.” – Nick Bantock

If you are like me, you are not averse to peeking into a trash can now and again…without shame! Collage and mixed-media artists all know the unsung wastepaper basket can be an absolute treasure trove. It was in a receptacle of wonder that I found the discarded interoffice envelope I used as the heart of my next Artistcellar Design Team project.

The envelope was still intact. Originally used to communicate between workplace departments, with a bit of creativity I could turn it into a place to hold new notes and letters. And so the work began by brushing Ruby, Blushing and Lemon Dina Wakley Acrylics directly on to the envelope. To keep the colours transparent I mixed the paint with glazing liquid. It is wonderful to add to your paint, allowing you to get just the right amount of transparency for your art.

I covered a shipping tag with Vibrant Orange Dylusion Paint. When dry I stamped on a Gibson Girl image with dye ink. It was now ready to place. I hooked the cord around the red tab at the top and glued the tag in place. The pen nibs at the bottom of the envelope were added with stamp pad ink…just the image for the new purpose of this envelope.

I decided to try my hand at making Washi Tape. Laying a few lengths of first aid surgical tape to wax and freezer paper, I wanted to see which would be a better substrate when I started my stencilling. Both worked well. So if you are out of one or the other, you can still create your own tape. Using the Artistcellar Open Work Block I stencilled in various shades of Dina Wakley acrylics, highlighting with touches of gold. The colours held true and dried quickly. Tearing the tape was easy and gave me the finished look I was after.

I continued adding elements as they came to hand…more Artistcellar stencils (of course!), crayon scribbles, printed paper, and even a pencilled inscription. I threaded ribbon though the already drilled holes. Tied at the back, it secures my new enclosures with a bit of inspiration.

Slowing down is always a good idea. I agree that we do have a helter-skelter universe, now more than ever. But taking time to see the wonders of the world around you restores sanity and revives creativity. And aren’t these a fantastic qualities to share through the written word?
 MATERIALS USED:

Friday, 13 October 2017

What Are The Colours of Your Soul?

Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” ― Oscar Wilde
Colour surrounds us. It can lift our spirits, enhance a mood, or simply help us to express a feeling without words. For my next Artistcellar project, I decided to use a limited palette of colours I find comforting and see where it would lead me.

I began by covering the illustration board with a light coat of gesso. Once dried, I mixed the Dylusion Squeezed Orange Paint with an equal part of Glazing Liquid leaving the acrylic semi-transparent. I wasn’t very careful when painting over the gesso and let the brush strokes overlap. I was pleased with the texture left behind.

While the board was drying I looked through my collection of ephemera. I have an assortment of old magazines, as I am sure most mixed-media artists do. I ripped out a page from “True Story” published in the 1920’s. The charming text read similar to most of the romances of the period, peppered with lots of “Darlings…” and “longing looks”. I liked the fragility of the vintage paper and the way it was so easy, although not very predictable, to tear.

Next I chose a scrap of Joss Paper. Burned in traditional Chinese ceremonies during special holidays and funerals, the bamboo paper is just delicate enough to hold a layer of foil. I love seeing it in collage work. It really adds a bit of luster and texture. I glued it, and the magazine clipping, to the board with my gloss medium. I also had a few scraps of the yellow round Joss Paper and added it to the design.

Some time ago I experimented with beeswax and a selection of different types of paper. The image I chose for the top of my work was from this session. I’m sure you know this woman’s face well, as it has been added to projects by an array of artists. With her silent gaze I liked the way it mirrored the text. The beeswax gave my stamped paper just the right amount of translucency and a torn edge with a bit of roughness.
I finished the work with my Artistcellar Quasicrystals Stencils. They were perfect in size and design, as I have come to expect from all Artistcellar products. No matter what the project, Artistcellar never lets you down. You will always find just the right stencil to allow your creative spirit to fly. I first stenciled Quasi in gold and then added Infra in a selection of other warm colours from the Dylusion Paint series.

We artists use colour as a language. What part of the spectrum speaks to you…and how do you communicate the poetry of your soul?

MATERIALS USED:

Friday, 29 September 2017

Don't Let Anyone Burst Your Bubble!

“Don’t let anyone burst your bubble!”
I enjoy trading art. It’s great to see what is currently motivating other artists to create. Our Artistcellar Design Team inspiration this time is the Kylie Fowler Faces Series. There are four distinct views of a face, each one different enough to use in a variety of designs. My choice of the four was an easy one for me. Something about the expression in her eyes and the cheerful cheek circles made me think of the blissful feeling we experience when seeing a floating cluster of soap bubbles. I decided to expand on this concept. Wanting to share some happiness, I made my choice the Joy stencil. She became the focal point of my Mail Art project.

The only requirement for the current Mail Art challenge is to recycle a paper bag into an envelope. I decided to use a standard heavy paper bag I received from my favourite Chinese restaurant.
I have never used stamp pad ink through a stencil so I decided to give it a go. The results were even better than I expected, and a pleasant surprise. The face has a slightly rough appearance similar to graffiti art. This is a technique I will use on future projects as well. I am also happy to say the stencil cleaned up in seconds and remains in perfect condition, not at all unusual for Artistcellar products.

I masked off a single dot on each of the Halftone Dots stencils. Choosing an assortment of acrylic colours I added the dots with no particular pattern in mind. What formed was just a swirl of bubbly shapes and colour, leaving just enough room for the address.

We are artists. With each new work we share a part of ourselves. My hope is that as my envelope leaves me and starts its journey to France it brings a smile to everyone who sees it. And with her knowing grin, I am sure Joy would never let anyone burst her bubble!
 MATERIALS USED:

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Are You A Hopeless Romantic?

“Postman’s bag is always heavy because it carries the life itself: It carries all the sorrows and all the joys, all the worries and all the hopes!”― Mehmet Murat ildan

Have you ever waited for the postman to arrive? I am sure you have, if you are like me. And do you ever wonder what is in their mailbag? Of course there are bills, and junk mail, which can be a treasure trove for collage artists. But do you ever wonder about the other mail…the messages of delight or passion or longing? And is there still room for them in the age of texts and email?

I recently received a nice collection of acrylics from Artistcellar. They were new to me and I couldn’t wait to give them a go. The Dylusion Paint series is blendable and quick drying, manufactured with journaling in mind. The colours are vivid in the wide mouth tubs. I wondered if they would keep this wonderful quality once applied to my substrate.

I decided to work on illustration board. Rather than prep with gesso, I simply lightly sanded the surface and applied the Squeezed Orange Paint. Coverage was quick and easy, although it didn’t dry quite as fast as I thought it would. But sure enough, the orange kept its vibrant glow after drying. I next stenciled with Quasi from the Artistcellar Quasicrystals Series using the Dylusion Spray in Bubble Gum Pink. Although you can still see the stencil if you look closely, the Paint absorbed the colour. Not what I had in mind for this project, but a finish to keep in mind for the future.

I wanted to put the rest of the colours through their paces, so I sponged them randomly through my Diamond stencil. With the open stencil area it was easy to see how they performed. Again, as with the Squeezed Orange paint, I am pleased to say Vibrant Turquoise, Fresh Lime, and London Blue were easy to work with and held the brilliant colour you can see in the tubs…even after layering paint on paint.

With the background finished I continued by attaching a vintage photo I found in an old magazine. The postage stamps and Priority label just seemed to fit so well with our postman. I found a rubber stamp with beautiful calligraphy. Could the message on the stamp be from a letter in his mailbag? Why not? I inked the stamp with Vibrant Turquoise Paint and stamped on to very fine tissue paper, then attached with matte medium to the board. The final touch was to stencil the Infra image in gold.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, but seeing the postman with his mailbag does pull at the heart strings. And yes, I believe there is a place for "real" mail in the age of texts and email. My question is this: Is there someone who would love receiving a real letter from you? And would decorating it with your stunning art bring joy to you both? Many believe that letters mingle souls. I know I do.
MATERIALS USED:

Friday, 1 September 2017

Being Awake To Dream...

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. 
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” -  C. G. Jung
Working my way through my Prayer Flag series is a journey of looking within and without. And best of all, the meditative quality of producing the art has permitted me to stop and savor the moment. To be truly mindful. There is no better way to do this than to delve into the first sound to come from silence: Om.

The final stencil of the Tibet Series is the Tibetan Om. There are many reasons why I use Artistcellar stencils in my designs. I like to think of them as the vehicle giving flight to my creativity. The artistic journey is always supported by their excellent quality and ease of use, which is so important to me. So with a selection of stencils in hand I was ready to begin.

As I was so pleased with the last flag, I again decided to use the heavier cotton duck fabric as the base. I placed the Om image at the top. My colour choice was red in various hues as it is the colour favored by Tibetan culture to designate sacred areas. I wanted the space flying this flag to have the sensation of preservation, life, protection, warmth and comfort…all the positive qualities the colour red represent.

Continuing the theme, I needed a symbol to underscore the belief that Om is the sound vibration of universal creation. And suddenly I had it. A circle. The circle is the ancient symbol of harmony, timelessness, eternity, as well as the source of the goddess within. The Artistcellar Halftone Dots and Seafoam stencils were the perfect choice. Complimentary shades of red, violet, green, yellow, and gold completed the bottom of the flag.

I am now at the end of the prayer flag series. I have discovered through this journey that the art of creation is just the first step to fully appreciating the images gently changing shape and colour as they fly in the breeze. And as the metamorphosis takes place without, the clarity of vision evolves within. Only when we are fully awake can we realize our dreams.
 MATERIALS USED:

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Who Are Your Stars?

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” - Marcus Aurelius

Returning to my prayer flag series seems especially timely. Viewing the events of the last few days has been emotionally exhausting. But a quiet place to reflect and dwell on the beauty around us is always found when I begin any art project. For my next flag I selected the Eternal Knot from the Artistcellar Tibet Series.

The interlacing design of the knot is found in many cultures. It represents the concept of duality and the search for the interweaving of qualities of wisdom and empathy, as well as femininity and masculinity. The ultimate objective is to acquire the necessary stability to allow us a clearer path to enlightenment knowing that in this life we are all connected.

I couldn’t wait to start the project. This time I decided to use a heavier 100% cotton duck fabric. I wasn’t sure if the acrylics would work, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the results. The colours are vibrant and blend as I intended. The heavier weight also made the flag easier to adhere to the card I sprayed with adhesive.

To compliment the Knot I selected the Shooting Stars and Celestial stencils from the Artistcellar Arabian Nights series. What could be more inspiring than observing the sky at night? Working with various shades of blue and green, colours traditionally representing unity and balance, I enveloped the shooting stars with a grand cosmic blanket. The flag was finished with a selection of multicoloured Halftone Dots and Diamonds. As in life, it’s the compliment of colours that unites and enhances the entire composition.

I, as well as many of my friends, have experienced great dismay at the world events surrounding us. Sometimes we opt to step back as a way to make sense of the insanity. But there are moments when we need to make our voices heard. Beauty in life includes thoughts and actions. I choose to focus on the people who in my mind are the stars. They are the brave that shine. They speak their mind with wisdom and empathy. They are the stars I aspire to run with.

MATERIALS USED:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

In The Realm of the Unconventional

“Knowledge is ultimately available to everyone. Only true intuition, jumping from knowledge to an idea, is yours and yours alone.” – Bill Bernbach
As artists are we naturally drawn to unconventional conduct? Are we guided by intuition to a life without limits? Are we passionate to share our experiences? Is there something in our makeup that emboldens us to reach further than we thought we ever could?

I started my collage with a photo. I have been looking for a place in my work for the image of the women reading. As a fellow bibliophile I recognise the bliss of total absorption in a book. For a background I flipped through a vintage book in my collection. After tearing out a couple of pages from the index I saw the words “Unconventional conduct”. Could the women be reading a work that would change their destiny? Why not?

My substrate is illustration board. I primed it with a coat of gesso. When dried I attached the book pages using matte medium and added one final coat of tinted Mod Podge. I gave the board twenty-four hours of drying time as the pages were especially thick and absorbent.

After framing the work with Rose Red acrylics, still embracing my messy side, I began the stencilling process with one of my favourites, the Halftone Dots series. The layers quickly built as I added a variety of stencil patterns to the collage finishing with the map of one of the most unconventional cities on the planet, Paris, from Artistcellar’s Old World Maps series. Although the stencil has many fine cut outs representing the meandering streets, clean up was easy with no damage at all, ready for many future projects.
To read, to seek, to know...this is the stuff that drives our creative spirit. And as an artist isn’t our calling to follow our intuition whenever it may lead? The realm of the unconventional is where our souls bloom. How will you release the magic of your imagination?

MATERIALS USED

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Are You A Work in Progress?

“There is a distinct kind of Magic in the iridescence of a Dragonfly’s wing.”

The Dog Days of Summer are already here. I can’t help but feel as the mercurial sizzling days slip through our fingers it is a gentle reminder to be mindful and savor every moment.

A few months ago I created a prayer flag inspired by the new Artistcellar Tibet Series Stencils. As luck would have it I purchased enough chiffon to make four flags. This is the second in my series and I decided to feature the Lotus.
Once again I began by spraying a light coat of repositionable adhesive to a large piece of cardboard. I rested the chiffon with as few wrinkles as I could manage to the sticky surface. I was then ready to start stenciling. Keeping the colours to shades of pink and cream I wanted my lotus to embody the qualities of devotion and purity.

To me the Dragonfly is not only a perfect match for the Lotus, but symbolises the exquisiteness of the season. I have loved Dragonflies endlessly. Not only are they a wonder to witness in the air, but my thoughts drift back to peaceful childhood summer mornings spent at a local creek with a friend.
Dragonflies represent transformation. They guide our spiritual and emotional quest of self-realisation. To see a dragonfly in flight is to grasp the magical possibilities of freedom. But to be truly free, we need to accept our unique selves. And I suppose that makes us all works in progress.

The Artistcellar stencils provide a great array of options. I selected the Petite Pods from the Playful Pods series to add to the flag. The image was perfect and continued the theme. I have long been fascinated by the iridescent colour released from dragonfly wings. So inspired I completed the design with dots of glimmering acrylics. It now flies next to the Buddha Eyes flag on the pergola.

Artistcellar stencils are inspirational. I am always discovering something new when I begin to work. The images allow me to explore and express my creativity. They encourage me to design with the same freedom we feel when seeing the shimmering flight of a dragonfly. By permitting my creativity to unfold my desire is to delve deeper, discover my unique self, always knowing I will forever be a work in progress.

MATERIALS USED:

Monday, 10 July 2017

What's Your Secret?

“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” Bryant H. McGill

Do you have a secret you would like to share? Do you possess an interesting quality waiting to be discovered? Do you have a sincere spirit of enquiry, a sense of curiosity about life? Does it lead you to unexpected discoveries? Do share...
Continuing the playing card Art Journaling Project I produced another set to add to my collection. Much of the materials used to create “A Holy Curiosity” collection found its way as a base for the new cards. I’m a great believer in the motto that too much of a good thing can be wonderful. How about you?

Working commercially for so many years, my art is usually much “cleaner”. I’ve long been curious about how it would feel to throw caution to the wind and let the paint fall where it may. The compact size of the cards have “given me permission” to explore and discover my messy side.

With the backs completed from the previous project I set out to begin the face design. The Curious Possibility clings by Tim Holtz feature in this set as well. But added to the images are lovely rubber stamps I purchased from Leavenworth Jackson in California. The company truly has an outstanding collection.

Building the layers on the face was enjoyable. The Artistcellar Blocks series stencils were a lovely counterpoint to the Halftone Dots series. As with all Artistcellar products the quality allows you to focus on creating your work, not worrying about damaging the stencils. I have used a variety of media and the stencils always wash up easily, making them ready for my next project.

Distress Crayons are wonderful to work with. The colours in the set I have are bright and stay true when applied to the substrate. The feel is soft, smooth, and luxurious. Subtle touches of crayon completed the work.

I hope you will give Journaling on cards a try. You may discover, as I have, the joys of following your messy, succulent spirit of enquiry. You may even find a new kind of happiness waiting for you!

MATERIALS USED:

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Celebrate Your Wonderful Day!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_gratitude
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_gratitude
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/melody_beattie.html
 "This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before."  — Maya Angelou 
A purple finch is eating at the feeder near my studio window. He doesn’t seem to mind the melody of the wind chimes as the soothing breeze plays their song. The afternoon is unusually quiet.  The day is perfect for celebrating the Summer Solstice.

Slowing down allows me the opportunity to be fully in the moment.  Even if we have the best of intentions, so often we are distracted by the commotion of daily life. But it is when coming back to center that I experience what truly makes me grateful. And this is when creativity envelopes me like the soothing sounds of the wind chimes and lets my heart sing.

A few months ago I facilitated a journaling workshop at my local library.  We each altered a 3.5” x 5.5” notebook.  Our objective was to create a Gratitude Journal…a special book to keep with us throughout the year. The art produced was delightfully unique. The evening filled with laughter. The more we spoke the more we realised how often we each experience fleeting moments of bliss. Now we had somewhere to keep them safe.

Here is my journal. I began by stenciling the cover with Artistcellar’s Ocean Waves from the Traditional Japanese Series. I covered the back and spine with acrylic paint.  I then added bits of ephemera: a page from an old dictionary, postage stamps, trading stamps, a leaf from a poinsettia and images I found pleasing. Keeping watch at the back of the book, I stenciled the word I am most grateful for: Create. The Artistcellar Creative Words Pocket Stencil was perfect. I wanted the journal to feel “special”.  I added a flower, altered tags, and keys to unlock my spirit of gratitude.

My Journal is filling up with all sorts of bits and pieces captured from my day…from simple observations to newspaper (yes, I still read them) clippings and ideas for new work. But all in all, I can’t help feeling a sense of wonder in the fact that joy is the essence of gratitude. And revelling in each new day is an adventure in itself.

As we change Seasons I ask you…what unlocks the joy in your life for which you are truly grateful?

MATERIALS USED
ARTISTCELLAR Stencils: TRADITIONAL JAPANESE SERIES - Ocean Waves
Liquitex Matte Medium
Liquitex Gesso
Liquitex Texture Gel Glass Beads
Golden Glazing Fluid
Avery Glue Stic
Plaid: Aquamarine, Blue Sapphire, Amethyst, Blue Pearl, Perfect Purple, Royal Gold, Plum
DecoArt: Splendid Gold, Peacock Pearl
Dylusion Spray: Bubble Gum Pink
Natural Sponge
Paper Towels
db editions Journal 3.5” x 5.5”

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_gratitude

Thursday, 8 June 2017

What are YOU Curious About?

“Never lose a holy curiosity.” -  Albert Einstein
Have you tried Art Journaling on playing cards? I enjoyed it so much I decided to continue with the project. I suppose my curiosity got the better of me.

Inspired by the saying “In The Moment” I found printed in a catalogue I made it my goal. I prepped the cards by lightly sanding them and then giving them a coat of gesso. I placed all of the cards face up on my table and began randomly layering acrylic paint. Whatever colours came to hand I used. Once dried, I flipped to the back and began working. I love the new Tibet Series by Artistcellar. I wanted to incorporate the Eternal Knot stencil in some way. Although too large to completely fit on a playing card, when dropped here and there on the cards the stencil certainly added interest.

It’s been a long time since I looked through my collection of rubber stamps and clings. The Curious Possibility clings by Tim Holtz was just perfect for what I had in mind! Combined with a few images I had in my collection I got just the right Victorian vibe I wanted. 

Many artists like to cover the images printed on the playing cards completely. I like to allow the flavor of the card to show through where possible, lending interest additional design elements.

To complete this series I highlighted portions of the back design with Tim Holtz Distress Crayons and DecoArt Crackle Paste. 
 
One word of advice: I used my heat tool to get the layers to dry faster. I believe I got a little too close as one of the cards “popped” and buckled. My guess is the plastic coating just didn’t like the heat.

As artists curiosity is the force that inspires us to create new work. Journaling was always a bit of a mystery to me. I suppose for me it’s “in the cards” using this technique. My question to you: What are you curious about?

MATERIALS USED:
STANDARD PLAYING CARDS
ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: Tibet Series, Traditional Japanese Series, Marked Series, Block Series, Halftone Dots Series, Sea Foam
TIM HOLTZ VISUAL ARTISTRY CURIOUS POSSIBILITY Rubber Stamps
STUDIO G Alphabet Rubber Stamps
HAND CUT STENCIL: Diamonds
PUNCHINELLA
ELMER’S RUBBER CEMENT
LIQUITEX WHITE ACRYLIC GESSO
LIQUITEX MATTER MEDIUM
DECOART Crackle Paste
MEMENTO DYE INK Tuxedo Black
PLAID ACRYLICS: Blue Sapphire, Amethyst, Blue Pearl, Pure Orange, Perfect Purple, Violet Pansy, Sunflower, Metallic Rose, Bright Red, Aquamarine, Pure Gold, Plum
DECOART: Splendid Gold, Sunny Day
DINA WAKLEY: Lime
NATURAL SPONGE
SANDPAPER
TIM HOLTZ DISTRESS CRAYONS
DYLUSION SPRAY: Bubble Gum
POCKET PAGE PROTECTOR
VARIOUS EPHEMERA: Paper, Rubber Stamps, Dover Publications Images, Rub-On Lettering

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Where Do You Find Serenity?



“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.Gautama Buddha
Could anything be more uplifting than seeing a row of decorated flags floating in the Spring breeze? I have long been captivated by the dynamics of fabric and wind. I get the same feeling of bliss seeing laundry hanging on a clothesline as I do when dancing with veils. The graceful movement of soft cloth echoing the direction of a breeze is meditative for me…a way to slow down and become mindful.

Traditionally Tibetans believe in the power of decorated Prayer Flags. By hanging the flags along mountain tops in the Himalayas the prayers and mantras are blown by the wind to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The wishes are not carried to the gods, but instead benefit all who are embraced by the wind. Subject to the elements, the Flags symbolically become part of the Universe, fading over time. New flags are hung beside the old; a sign of the ever changing wheel of life.

Inspired by the new Artistcellar Tibet Series I was ready to craft my own flag, the first of four I hope to create. As it is the colour of Air and Clouds I purchased white chiffon fabric. It is quite transparent and will easily float when caught by the wind.

To keep the fabric from slipping when stenciling, I used an old screen printing trick and spayed a light coat of repositionable adhesive to a large piece of cardboard. It made acrylic application easy and if luck was with me I was hoping to remove the cloth with little damage.  The top of the flag was the perfect spot for the Buddha Eyes, also known as the Wisdom Eyes, stencil. I chose shades of blue acrylic paint…the colours of sky and space…and a wonderful way to show the Lord’s existence around us. 

Spring has certainly arrived with flowers blooming in their beds. It is here in the garden that I find complete serenity. Our bearded irises are now gloriously cloaked in a vast spectrum of lavender to deep purple. They share the garden, living side by side with pansies of yellow, orange, and violet. They, like the Flags, will eventually become part of the Universe as their blooms fade and die. Hoping to hold the memory of this moment, I stenciled the bottom half of the flag inspired by the flowers. The perfect stencil for a kaleidoscope of colour is the Halftone Dots series. Layered, they recreated the riot of colour on display in the garden.

Once dried, it was time for the moment of truth: the removal of the fabric from the cardboard. Just as I had hoped, it peeled off easily with very little distortion. I wasn’t sure if the acrylics would stiffen the chiffon. I am happy to say it was anything but. Even with multiple layers of paint, the finish is muted and sheer, almost dreamlike. And best of all, hanging from a dowel rod finished with wooden end caps, the stenciling on both sides is equally as nice.

Of all the wonderfully creative benefits Artistcellar products have to offer I especially love the way they encourage me to think, slow down, and become mindful. Now more than ever we need to surround ourselves with empathy, strength, peace, and above all wisdom. My hope is that wherever you may be, may the wind caress you and the serenity of my garden encircles you.

MATERIALS USED:
ARTISTCELLAR: TIBET SERIES STENCIL (Buddha Eyes), HALFTONE DOTS (Highlight, Midtone, Midtone 2, Shadow)
HAND CUT STENCIL: Diamonds
PUNCHINELLA
CHIFFON FABRIC – White
DARICE CRAFTWOOD BALL & DOWEL
BEST TEST REPOSITIONAL ADHESIVE
CARDBOARD
PLAID ACRYLICS: Blue Sapphire, Amethyst, Blue Pearl, Pure Orange, Perfect Purple. Violet Pansy, Sunflower, Metallic Rose, Bright Red, Aquamarine, Or Royal, Plum
DECOART: Splendid Gold
DINA WAKLEY: Lime