Friday, 20 January 2017

Raising Our Voices In Song

"The singer is the life of the soul
The sick man hears him and gets better…
And he clears away the darkness of night
Letting light into the eyes of the lovers
A little, a little”
“Ghannili Shway Shway” (Sing for Me A Little)

Have you ever started work on a project and for a variety of reasons it never finds its way to completion?  Perhaps you became too busy or had other commitments. Or, as I like to think, the time just wasn’t right for you to connect with the work. That’s the story of this collage.  Partially finished, I knew it needed something more. But what?

I found the photo of the Egyptian Lady included in a lot of postcards I purchased. Reminiscent of the haunting Lehnert & Landrock images I viewed in their shop in Cairo, I wish I knew more about her. How old was she? Where did she live in Egypt? Was she contented with her life? If only she could speak!

I can’t think of Cairo without remembering the blissful feeling of being enveloped by music.  From the latest pop tunes to the classics, music filters through the frenetic streets from taxi cabs, apartments, markets, and cafes. It is the heart and soul of the city and its people. And one voice speaks for young and old alike: Oum Kolthoum. “The Star of the East” as she was known, Oum Kolthoum’s inimitable musical interpretations united the Arab world as Egypt declared her a national treasure. But her music reached far beyond, enthralling audiences around the globe. Regardless of nationality, those who heard her sing could see a little of themselves reflected in her passionate performances.

A favourite song of mine is “Ghannili Shway Shway” (Sing for Me A Little). It was Oum Kolthoum’s first hit and was featured in the 1945 film “Sallama”. The lyrics, forever timeless, pay tribute to the captivating power of song.

I started the collage by photocopying the postcard on to a piece of very thin white tissue paper. Taking sheets of watercolour paper, I soaked them overnight in a bath of tea with a touch of instant coffee. I was surprised, but happy to see the paper dried to a warm auburn hue. I printed the lyrics to the song in Arabic and tore the edges to give an uneven look. Because I was concerned about the ink bleeding when I attached the elements to my canvas, I sprayed them with a fixative. I was now ready for the moment of truth. I primed the canvas with gesso and attached the paper with lyrics first. There was minimal bleeding and good adhesion. I was hoping it would be the same with the tissue photocopy. I placed the paper in position and covered it with a light coat of matte medium. Luckily it didn’t tear and was translucent enough to allow the lyrics to show through.

I wanted a dramatic background. The perfect choice was Artistcellar’s Arabian Nights series.  Inspired by the star patterns of Arabic geometry is there any better way to celebrate the music of “The Star of the East”? I chose “Celestial” and added it to my collection of backgrounds in my Strathmore Mixed-Media journal beginning with sponging Rose Red acrylics and building layer upon layer as each dried. On aqua tissue I dabbed a variety of metallic acrylics through a stencil that reminded me of the windows in my hotel, evoking the blur of colour and light of an early Cairo morning.

Where inspiration left me the last time I worked on this collage I was now energised and ready to complete the image. The elements seem to fall into place. Where would the love of music and a beautiful song take this woman? I pictured her dreamily gazing at a view of feluccas on the Nile. Perhaps she was wondering what the future would bring, all the while waiting to wish on the first evening star.

I truly believe music, as well as art, have the power to unite us. Now more than ever before, we need to raise our voices in song. Together. Regardless of language or genre, one thing is constant. We all search to find our one special star in the night sky. And when we do, we rejoice in letting our light shine, reflected in the eyes of those we love.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

When Dreams Take Flight

When Dreams Take Flight
I had a creatively delightful start to 2017. I received an incredible box of Artistcellar inspiration. Included were the new Chakras 2 Series stencils.  They were impeccably timed.

As with many people I know, I am still trying to make sense of the events of 2016 and see a positive way forward for 2017. I believe this is the reason I was instantly drawn to stunning Sanskrit Om stencil.

If you have ever taken yoga class or tried to find out more about spirituality, I am sure you have heard the sound “Om”. I have read that many believe the resonant tone of Om is the vibration of creation. It is considered the first sound to come from silence.

The symbol of Om visually resembles the essence of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, with serpentine curves mimicking his body and trunk. Ganesha is the Lord of good fortune and auspicious beginnings.  But most importantly, he is considered the remover of spiritual and material obstacles. For me, Ganesha has always been a favourite deity. His story of perseverance and faith encouraged me to embrace the power to redefine the course of my life on many occasions.

Om is also a “seed” mantra and is related to the Third Eye the Sixth chakra. Exploring this chakra, your energy to "see" clearly is heightened. Looking at the stencil, you can't help but notice petals in the shape of wings as part of the design. The Third Eye renews our ability to view the world and ourselves with hope for the possibilities of life...allowing our spirit to soar.

And most importantly, your Third Eye is the window to experiencing the feelings of others from their perspective…to revive our ability to empathize with those we meet.

I couldn’t wait to start my next collage. I’ve had my eye on a beautiful piece of marbleized rice paper. It was waiting for the right project. And I knew this was it! I lightly traced the Om and Third Eye stencils on to a page of my new Strathmore Watercolour Visual Journal and completed them using the Twinkling H20s paints and my ever handy Koi Water Brush. The finished effect was just as I had hoped…shimmering, rich colour in peaceful hues of indigo and violet.

I wanted to add straight edged elements to compliment the organic Om and Third Eye designs. I applied the same technique to a series of diamond shapes I had cut into Mylar sometime back. I decided to add the Traditional Japanese Ocean Waves stencil as well, taking it from my library of images safely kept in my Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal. Once everything was dry it was time to scan and build my collage.
I relaxed into working with the elements, allowing the serene sensation of mindfulness to wash over me. The collage came together quickly…almost as if each image knew where they would look best. The wings of the Third Eye allowed me to just go with it…to trust and create from a place of tranquility.

And there it was, my collage inspired by a series of synchronistic events: the release of the Artistcellar Chakra 2 Series and the arrival of the stencils and supplies at the time I needed them most. Perhaps 2017 will be a year of new beginnings… with Ganesha clearing the way, allowing our dreams to take flight.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Echoes We Find Within...

#artistsforempathy #artistsforlove
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” – Mohsin Hamid

An artist whose work I respect, Seth Apter, recently shared a heartfelt post on his Blog. Seth described a project initiated by several artists, all using the same motto, with the objective of bringing a sense of peace and unity to what has been an extremely chaotic time. By celebrating our diversity through creative endeavours, the #artistforlove movement called for the creation of art as a way to start a conversation and begin collectively healing. Through his work Seth is participating in the process for the restoration of support, acceptance, respect, and love by creating and sharing a lovely poster.

Inspired by the movement and the contributing artists, I decided to take part. As much as I find #artistsforlove an honourable undertaking, I’d like to go one step further. For me, finding a path back to acceptance, respect and a sense of normality begins with a single word: Empathy.

We are different, our outlook molded by our unique life experiences. But rather than the celebration of our unique gifts, our diversity has been manipulated to divide us. This is something I will not tolerate.

It is true that our reaction to what has played out before us has often become heated. But then again, isn’t this to be expected when discussing something about which we are passionate? Empathy encourages us to step back, calm down, and see the other point of view…to find another echoed within ourselves.

One thing I do know for sure, through travel and living in a variety of cities in the US and abroad, one thing is constant. We all want the same thing. We all want meaningful work that provides a good life for ourselves and our families. We all want a peaceful environment in which to thrive.  And together we can work towards making this a reality. Working at odds in counterproductive and will not benefit anyone.  I stand by our Nation’s motto E Pluribus Unum - "out of many, one". I am proud of the rich tapestry of traditions that make us who we are as Americans.

I began the collage with calligraphy enhanced with Twinkling H20s from the Summer Fun collection. The colours are luminous and rich. They went on smoothly using my Koi Water Brush – another of my now “go to” supplies.

The stencils used are the Artistcellar Traditional Japanese Series. I layered Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylic paint in Lapis, Ocean, Sky, and Elephant. I wondered how the stencil would perform during clean-up since each layer of acrylic was completely dry between applications. Of course, they worked perfectly…clean and back to pristine condition in a matter of minutes! As the work is my invitation to others to participate I pulled all my elements together and built the final art using a postcard as substrate.

Our world is changing. There is no doubt about it. Will you reach out through your work with the #artistsforlove and #artistsforempathy movements?  We all need to take that first step… to begin the conversation, to throw open the door to Empathy… to search for, and find the echo of another person within ourselves. It is only then that we can rediscover our common ground.

MATERIALS USED:

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Laws of Chance

When life takes on the feeling of being trapped in a never ending roundabout, it’s nice to stop, step back and search for balance. I find solace in Art History.

The Dada Movement inspires me. Born of the chaos of World War I the Dadaists embraced all facets of art as an authentic means of expression. Tristan Tzara, a man with a poet’s heart and a founding member of the movement, composed his work by cutting up newspaper articles and selecting words at random. Following his lead, I cut text from a variety of sources and a photo of Tzara into strips.

The more I looked at the material on my work table, the more I wanted to free the collage to build itself. As was the choice of many Dadaists I wanted to follow the laws of chance. Using this technique and a photo of a pair of cupped hands, a design began to emerge.

To complete the work, I turned to the pages of my Strathmore Visual Journal. It is such a great resource to have at hand…everything in one place ready for use. It was from these pages that I chose the Artistcellar Marked and Blocks series.They were the perfect compliment. Not only did the colour of the neon acrylics and organic Marked shapes enhance the collage, but I was happy with the straight edged Open Work design. It was the perfect foil. Artistcellar stencils never disappoint!

Working in the method of the Dadaists did the trick. The commotion surrounding me slowed and became ordered and, almost magically, not as chaotic. 

It was then I realised something I knew in my heart all along. Making the decision to leave some things to chance is beneficial in…my work as well as in life. It is true that when we learn to let go of what we can’t change, we are open to the possibilities of what we can. We are free to follow the laws of chance, knowing that the decision is always in our hands.

MATERIALS USED

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Searching for Letters Abroad

“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all”  
In My Life - John Lennon

Of late, the Full Moon has been my time of introspection. Urged on by the changing of the seasons, so it was again this month. The feeling of melancholy surrounds me as I see the leaves change colour and begin their spiral dance to the earth. And the progression continues with change as the only constant.

I have mentioned how much the Artistcellar Labyrinth series has inspired my work. Believing in Synchronicity, they came to me just when I needed them most. This time my chosen stencil to work with was Gonzaga. I love the clean straight lines. It would be a superb counterpoint for the elements I collected for the collage.

A new medium for me is the Deco Art Media Crackle Paste. Application is easy and all that is needed is a palette knife and patience to allow for an adequate drying time. I picked a piece of copper metallic writing paper for my substrate. As I spread the paste through the stencil I wondered how it would hold up. Would this technique be its demise? It’s an interesting process to watch. The thickness of application varies the size of the eggshell cracks. And like magic…there they were. I pulled the stencil away from the paper and started my clean-up. I’m happy to report, as with all Artistcellar products, cleaning was easy and the stencil held up beautifully. Quality, quality, quality!

Hearing “In My Life” on the radio brought back so many wonderful memories from a time before email. It’s no secret that I am a passionate lover of the written word. Letters, postcards…anything in the mail is nourishment for my Muse! I relish the anticipation as much as the delivery. Just to see an address in a familiar hand is uplifting. I wanted my theme for the collage to be the art of correspondence.

I admit I find it difficult to meditate. So many ideas, so many images interrupt what should be a place of quiet and wonder. By using the labyrinth as the focal part of my work, I am getting closer to quieting my mind. The Labyrinth pulls together my random thoughts. So the work you see here is an attempt at stream of consciousness meditation, for lack of a better phrase.

It was time to complete the collage. Drawing from my Book of Backgrounds (aka the Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal) I selected other stencil designs I created: Halftone Dots, Seafoam, and Open Works from the Blocks series. Placing the images went smoothly…as if they knew where they should “live”. I allowed myself to feel, and to journey looking back at what once was with a definite optimistic view of the future. I recognise that accepting change is an integral part of the progression.

In my life all these places had their moments. And for that I am grateful.

Shameless Plug: The Labyrinth Series in addition to other works incorporating Artistcellar Stencils will be on show at the Oyster Mill Playhouse, Camp Hill, PA November 4 through November 20, 2016

MATERIALS USED:

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Did You Hear About Hugo & Kim?

Did you Hear about Hugo and Kim?

If you'd like to know more about their story, visit The Oyster Mill Playhouse in Camp Hill, PA. The company's production of Bye Bye Birdie will run November 4th through November 20th.
I am also thrilled to announce my work is to be exhibited in the Lobby during show hours. It's an extra treat for me as "Bye Bye Birdie" is a one of my favourite musicals.

So if you are in the Central PA area and would like to experience great entertainment...and get all the scoop about Hugo and Kim...visit the Oyster Mill Playhouse. By the way, I hear they're goin' steady, steady for good. Oh, yeah!!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

To Find Deep Stillness...

“Don’t think. FEEL! It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!”   Bruce Lee – “Enter The Dragon” 

The Artistcellar Labyrinth series holds great inspiration for me. The variety of designs is an encouragement to slow down and listen, and to allow their voice to guide you. Or in the words of Bruce Lee, “Don’t think. FEEL!”

So it was, during the last full Moon, with my Strathmore Journal in hand, that I started my next design. I chose the Anasazi stencil. My heart was telling me it was the right one to use.

I stencilled directly on to the page in my Journal with Dye Na Flow Midnight Blue. By drying between applications I was able to produce a dappled effect of varying shades. Once the base was complete I layered lunar inspired colours of metallic acrylic. Warm highlights were added to accent and compliment the cool.

It is wonderful to experience the positive aspects of the full Moon by revising goals and setting intentions. Because of this powerful lunar energy, meditation is encouraged. I find just looking at the Moon introduces calm and stillness to what is usually a frenetic life. Mindfulness is highlighted. It is the perfect time to seek the benefit of walking a Labyrinth.

It was my time to put the work together. I’ve mentioned that I am compiling a great collection of images in my journal and from there I chose a watercolour swatch in shades of indigo. I also selected the Open Work stencil from the new Artistcellar Blocks series.  It has become one of my favourites!

The Bruce Lee Estate recently released a series of his 1968 pocket notebooks.  He filled them in neatly written script noting appointment details, affirmations, and his philosophy on life. They are inspirational. Reading through them, you can’t help but see how his life and work were intertwined…the fluid with the sharp, the public with the personal, and the strong with the sensitive. But above all, he had the power to still the mind and allow his spirit to soar. He found the compliment in opposites.

I kept his quote foremost in thoughts while working and allowed the collage to build itself. I wasn’t thinking of technique but rather was permitting the elements to find their own home. I allowed myself just to feel. When my collage was finished, I knew I had discovered a place of deep stillness. And once there I too did not will miss all that heavenly glory.

MATERIALS USED

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

From Gettysburg to Williamsport - It's ALL About Art!

An ART-ful Destination in Central PA!
Does your heart beat a little faster when you hear the words: Mixed media, painting, pottery, sculpture, photography, jewelry? What if we added tasty local wines, deliciously inventive meals, and cozy, relaxing lodgings to the mix?
And what if I told you these features and more are here for you to explore and experience when you journey through the heart of Pennsylvania by following the Route 15 Artisan Trail? 
The newly launched website, Rt 15 By Way of the Arts, is your ultimate guide to all art and tourism events held along the Trail. The website makes planning your journey quick and easy by arranging artisans and events by county. Updated by four daily newspapers, The Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Sunbury DailyItem, The Carlisle Sentinel, and The Gettysburg Times content is focused to bring you the best in uniquely flavored regional arts and entertainment.
Looking for a special gift? Why not interact with the artist as they create? Searching for a charming location to rest, relax, and rejuvenate? It’s here for you on Route 15.
I admit I am biased. I live along the Route and have explored many of the destinations. For this reason I am so excited to share this with you. Even if you can’t journey with us physically, I hope you will take the time to experience what our area has to offer.  The website is a showcase of galleries, theaters, festivals, artists and more.
Creativity thrives along Route 15. Hope you’ll come along for the journey!


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Just Be You...

"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.

MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: BLOCKS - Open Work, Cross T
  • 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
  • REEVES ACRYLICS: Rose Red
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS
  • STRATHMORE Mixed-Media Visual Journal 300 Series- 5.5" x 8.5"
  • DIGITAL IMAGES – Purchased & Created

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: