Friday, 8 June 2018

What Would Happen If...

“What would happen if…” – Daniel Keyes
 Have you ever wondered "what would happen if"…and if you did, where did your thoughts take you?

As PBS has launched the Great American Read, I decided to revisit my favourite book, Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” a tale of what would happen if intelligence could be altered through surgery. I am captivated by the creative process. I enjoy seeing the preliminary drafts of a work as much as the final piece. Keyes’ “Algernon, Charlie and I – A Writer’s Journey” not only described his method of fiction writing but the inspiration for “Flowers”. I was in bibliophile paradise!

Motivated by my stack of hardback book covers I decided to choose a light coloured cover for my next Artistcellar Design Team project. Inspired by the story I made my own inkblot on tissue paper. Once glued to the board the rest of the elements fell into place. The bottom image transfer was copied from a 1950’s post card. Bit and pieces of paper were added building up the layers. I glued dried hydrangea petals across the composition.
Artistcellar stencils have a great selection of designs in their collection. I chose one from the Labyrinth Series. The Chartres stencil was a perfect fit. The maze like pattern not only added an interesting design, but enhanced a key component of the story.
To brighten the composition I added acrylics using only a portion of the Infra stencil. Again, with just a bit of painter’s tape as a mask you can achieve the look you are after. However you chose to use them, they are never damaged and clean-up is a snap….the essential quality I look for in stencils.
Hopefully my collage will give you a hint of what “Flowers for Algernon” is all about without giving too much away. If you aren’t familiar with the story perhaps this post will spark your interest. With a bit of luck it will also inspire you to explore your passions and journey to what would happen if…
 MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: QUASICRYSTALS (Infra), LABYRINTH SERIES (Chartres)
  • HANDCUT DIAMOND STENCIL
  • HIGGINS BLACK MAGIC DRAWING INK
  • DECOART: Blue Harbor
  • DYLUSIONS PAINT: Crushed Grape, Squeezed Orange, Bubblegum Pink
  • DYLUSIONS SPRAY: Bubblegum Pink
  • REEVES: Bronze, Gold
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • PAINTER’S TAPE
  • TISSUE PAPER
  • WAX INFUSED PAPER
  • LASER PHOTOCOPY  
  • FLOWER PETALS
  • HARDBACK BOOK COVER

Thursday, 24 May 2018

ABRACADABRA! The Magic in You!

“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life. All mystery and magic.” - Houdini

Do you believe in magic? Are you intrigued as I am by stage magicians? Even if I know the secret to the trick, I still relish the performance. Mystery and magic. I can’t get enough of it.

For my next Artistcellar Design Team project I wanted to experiment with a supply I haven’t used in a long time. I have always enjoyed adding embossing powders to my art. There is something about the magical transformation from powder to a liquid metal effect that I find sublime. I recently purchased a set of Seth Apter’s Baked Texture Embossing powders. With delicious names like Chunky Rust, and Vintage Beeswax I couldn’t wait to create with them.
My other recent obsession is image transfers. I have been attaching images to an array of papers. Although they widely vary, it's interesting to see the final results. When they work, it’s like holding a bit of magic in your hand. Most of my transfers have been produced from photocopies of engravings. The line work holds well to the substrate. I wanted to try a halftone photo. I decided to try my luck with a photo of a woman in a top hat I saw in a book. Because I wanted a transparent finish I transferred the photo to a tea bag. After a bit of soaking and rubbing, I was pleased with the results.Her magnificent tuxedo and top hat sparked my curiosity. I could imagine her backstage, ready to share an evening of illusion and misdirection to an enraptured audience.
Using an old library book cover for the substrate I began the collage. I glued a piece of joss paper to the cover and layered the image transfer on top. While it was drying, I covered a selection of papers with embossing ink using my Open Work stencil from the Blocks series. I especially liked the colour and texture I got from the Ancient Amber powder on the tea bag.
I also tried the powders on a piece of parchment paper. As the powder set, they lifted from the paper and I glued them to the design as free standing jewels. I liked the old carnival poster effect of the piece. I completed the work with tissue paper from my last project, a bit of French newspaper I covered with Vintage Beeswax powder, and papers infused with real beeswax.
Every time I create I dive into all that is magical and mysterious. The magic has been the discovery of a new way to use a supply. The mystery often times is just the process of creation. My hope is that you follow your inspired heart. It can guide you to places and people who will forever enchant your life.

 MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: HALFTONE DOTS, BLOCK SERIES (Open Work)
  • HANDCUT DIAMOND STENCIL
  • PLAID ACRYLICS: Sunflower, Inca Gold
  • DECOART: Sunny Day, Blue Harbor, Sea Glass, Desert Turquoise
  • DYLUSIONS PAINT: Vibrant Turquoise, Cut Grass, Fresh Lime, London Blue, Crushed Grape, Squeezed Orange, Bubblegum Pink, Postbox Red
  • DINA WAKLEY ACRYLICS: Blushing
  • REEVES: Bronze, Gold
  • SETH APTER - EMERALD CREEK EMBOSSING POWDER (Ancient Amber, Chunky Rust, Vintage Beeswax, Patina Oxide)
  • STAMPENDOUS CLEAR EMBOSSING INK
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • PAINTER’S TAPE
  • HEAT GUN
  • TISSUE PAPER
  • JOSS PAPER
  • WAX INFUSED PAPER
  • VINTAGE FRENCH NEWSPAPER
  • LASER PHOTOCOPY  
  • HARDBACK BOOK COVER

Monday, 14 May 2018

Something Out of Nothing!

"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." - Frank Zappa

I always smile when I read this Zappa quote. When I was in Art School, as much as our instructors encouraged following our creative voice, they equally stressed the importance of sales. After all, a starving artist in a garret sounds romantic, but creativity has a difficult time thriving when you’re faced with a lack of income.

I have been working on a series of Prayer Flags using the Artistcellar Tibet Series for inspiration. They are on on exhibit at WITF-TV, our local PBS channel in Harrisburg, PA. This is my second set. The first sold at an exhibition last year. Although the new set is in the spirit of the old, I found my colour choices and positions of the stencils were evolving. As you use your Artistcellar stencils you too will discover how they inspire your work. When masking a stencil here or there, you can change the feel of your design, always creating something fresh and new.
Recently a friend gifted me with a beautifully wrapped wind chime. The deep purple tissue paper she used has a wonderful sheen and light texture. I knew it would find its way into my art. While working on the flags, I found it hard to just wash all the luscious paint off my stencils. Instead, in celebration of Earth Day, I used my purple tissue as a blotter. What better way to “Reuse & Recycle”?

When I was finished stenciling my flag, I transferred the paint to the paper. The tissue took the acrylics well and soon I had two gorgeous paint covered sheets. But this is just the beginning. The paper will be a central part of a project I will write about in the coming weeks.
Have you ever tried using up your paint on paper this way? Not only “saving” your acrylic it’s a great way to extend the life of your stencil…to have positive and negative images at your fingertips.
I suppose Frank Zappa was right. As artists we can make something from nothing. And here’s hoping you have future sales to boot!

 MATERIALS USED: 

Monday, 9 April 2018

Oh for that Sweet Madness!

“It’s what we call a dolce pazzia…a sweet madness. Once you feel it, you will never want to leave”. – "Juliet" by Anne Fortier
Travel and romance. To me the words are synonymous. I have wanted to use the photo of the woman with the dreamy expression from my collection of Victorian postcards in a project. At last I found a place she might call home.

I will soon be facilitating a collage workshop at a local library. We will use discarded book covers as a substrate.  I was given a deep blue cover to see how it would inspire my work. The map of the romantic city of Venice from the Old World Maps series was perfect for what I had in mind. I started my Design Team project by stenciling in a subdued colour palette of blues and aqua to allow the rest of the collage elements to pop. This is another reason why I love the Artistcellar collection of stencils. They can be bold and the focal point of your work. Or they can be subtle, but just as vital to your art. The inside book cover was smooth and didn’t drink up the acrylics. As I had hoped, there was very little shift in colour.

I have been experimenting lately with transfers on various types of paper. This time I transferred the photocopy of the woman and added it to a blank shipping tag covered with a layer of gesso. I was pleased with the finish and the way the colour complimented the background. I surrounded the tag with textured paper I received from the Netherlands in a paper swap. The gold foil was reclaimed from greeting cards. Cherry tree twigs blown into the yard with the last storm, wrapped in tea stained gauze, became part of the collage. It’s great that with this type of work trash can become a real treasure!
I usually have tiny jewelry tags on my table when I am working. They are a great place to try techniques or to deposit left over paint. I chose a few from this collection. After masking out parts of the Playful Pods and Quasicrystals stencils, I added glittering dots of colour to the design.
I am captivated by the woman’s wistful smile. Could she be thinking of a journey in the making? Or is she returning to her dolce pazzia…the sweet madness of a certain time and place?

We are fortunate that creating Art allows us the freedom to follow our inspiration wherever it may lead. The door is open just waiting for our ideas to burst through. Who is your muse today?

MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: PLAYFUL PODS SERIES (Bodacious Pods), OLD WORLD MAPS SERIES (Venice), QUAISCRYSTALS SERIES (Infra)
  • LIQUITEX GESSO
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • PLAID ACRYLICS: Aquamarine, Blue Topaz, Pure Orange, Blue Sapphire, Amethyst
  • DECOART: Splendid Gold, Blue Harbor, Peacock Pearl, Sea Glass
  • DYLUSIONS PAINT: Vibrant Turquoise, Cut Grass, Fresh Lime, London Blue, Crushed Grape, Squeezed Orange, Bubblegum Pink, Postbox Red
  • DYLUSIONS INK SPRAY: Bubblegum Pink
  • REEVES: Bronze, Gold
  • VIVA INKA Gold
  • MEMENTO INK DYE: Tuxedo Black
  • RUBBER STAMPS
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • PAINTER’S TAPE
  • TISSUE PAPER
  • GOLD FOIL
  • TEA BAGS
  • STAINED GAUZE
  • ORGANDY RIBBON
  • CHERRY TREE TWIGS
  • JEWELRY & SHIPPING TAGS
  • VINTAGE PHOTO POSTCARD
  • DISCARDED LIBRARY BOOK COVER

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

What Makes You Glad?

“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.”- Hafiz of Shiraz

It’s been cold, snowy and in my humble opinion, a dreadfully extended winter. On this first day of Spring we are once again under a Weather Advisory with snow is in the forecast. I keep reminding myself that, at last, March is here. I am more than ready for longer and warmer days. The first day of spring, for me, is forever linked with the Persian New Year festival of Nowruz. Starting on the day of the vernal equinox and literally meaning "new day", Nowruz celebrations continue for two weeks ending with an outdoor picnic. Inspired by the holiday, I couldn’t wait to start my next Artistcellar Design Team project.

Although too cold in many parts of the country for a picnic, I wanted to send some warmth through the mail. Junk mail is a plethora of inspiration for mixed media artists. Digging through my collection of envelopes, I decided to recycle one with a window. I masked out the cellophane opening with surgical tape and started my background with a textured natural sponge and Dylusion Paints. Once the background was dry, I started stenciling.

The Artistcellar stencil range is known for its diversity.  You will always find just the right stencil to create inspired work. This time I wanted to feature the flying dragonflies and cherry blossoms of the Traditional Japanese series. I used the Playful Pods as a hint of what the envelope would hold. The stencils effortlessly conveyed the spirit of all things fresh and new.
Recently I have been experimenting with used tea bags. I have been exploring different techniques…trying to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t. I chose two of my bags to use as seed packets. Keeping with tradition, I filled one with wheatgrass. I packed the other with forget-me-not seeds. They will show through the window when I get them ready to mail. An added bonus…my surgical tape mask is now washi tape for use with another project.
It’s been difficult getting through the dark days of winter. But with the first day of spring and the celebration of Nowruz I now have a good excuse to fill the house with hyacinths and tulips. And here is my wish for you: I hope you surround yourself with all that makes you glad to be creative and alive. Happy Spring!

MATERIALS USED

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Fall In Love with You!

“As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.” – Charlie Chaplin

Valentine’s Day has arrived, flinging open the door to love. But when jotting down names on your Valentine card list, did you add yourself?

An article published in a local holistic magazine titled “Self-Love” caught my eye. Drawn from the wisdom of Charlie Chaplin, the article was inspiring as well as thought provoking. So often we think of others and their needs before our own. Shouldn’t self-love, or if you prefer to call it self-care, be part of our daily nurturing practise? Isn’t getting to know our authentic selves the best gift we can give to others? What is wrong with falling in love with ourselves?

I have once again decided to study Tarot. I have added Tarot to my “when I have the time” list over and over again. Taking the lead from the article, I decided to make a journal as a gift…and maybe a physical prompt…for myself.

I really love the small journals currently on sale. This little book is manufactured by C.R. Gibson and is similar to others I have altered and perfect for my next Artistcellar Design Team project. For me, journaling is more about note taking, list making and snippet saving. Similar to the other journals, the book has small folder attached to the back cover. It’s perfect for hiding away little bits of ephemera.

The cover is dusky blue faux leather. I lightly sanded it and the applied a thin coat of gesso. When dried I attached a piece of rubber stamped tea stained paper with matte medium. I have been experimenting with a variety of stamp inks, dyes and paper. I decided against using the paper covered in wax as I wanted to try hand colouring the image.
My choice of stencils was an easy one. I masked out part of Steampunk Lace stencil. It fit perfectly at the corner of the cover. Echoing the Tarot card, The Wheel of Fortune, it will be a constant reminder of karma and the fluidity of life. I built the colour with layers of Dylusions Paints and Spray using brushes, a sponge and paper towels.
Surrounding the stencil and stamped image with swabbed and splattered paint, I was nearly finished. I added the words “Carpe Diem” created from the same paper as the woman’s face. I coloured the woman’s eye and lips with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist and a brush, giving the image a bit of shine.

This Valentine’s Day…and every day of the year…be kind and loving to yourself. It’s the best way to share and honor your own truth and live authentically. Simply fall in love with you! 

MATERIALS USED:

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Life is a Minestrone...


"Life is a minestrone
Served up with Parmesan cheese
Death is a cold Lasagna
Suspended in deep freeze."
"Life is a Minestrone" - 10cc – Eric Stewart, Lol Creme
Who doesn’t like soup? Warm, comforting, encouraging you to release your creativity with each new recipe, it is just the thing to lift my spirits. As we trudge through more cold and snowy winter weather, the smiling woman in the vintage magazine ad carrying home her paper bag of Campbell’s soup and an article in a local magazine inspired me.

I have taken part in a particular charity postcard exchange for the last several years. For this submission, my mind was set on the image I wanted to use. I then needed to decide on how to create the design I had in mind. If you are like me, you know when an art supply is “just right”. The incredible range of Artistcellar stencils always help me find precisely what I am looking for in minutes. Spreading out my stencils, my eye was drawn to the Quasicrystals and Blocks Series. Yes…they were “just right”.

The card came together fairly quickly. I lightly coated a postcard size piece of cover stock with gesso. Choosing my sponge with the most texture, I applied several shades of Dylusion Paint. Working wet on wet I sponged the wonderful Bubble Gum Dylusion Ink Spray to build the background. I wanted to create a sensation of warmth and happiness. Using Dylusion products never disappoint. The colours are as rich and vibrant dry as they are wet. Again…they were “just right”.

Cutting out the image of the woman from the ad, I glued it to the card. A local monthly magazine runs the most amazing food column. The recipes are carefully thought out which makes them easy to successfully replicate. This month paid homage to a rich and robust Minestrone, one of my all-time favourites. Reading through the ingredients, an old song came to mind…"Life is a Minestrone". I cut out sections of the recipe to surround our shopper. I completed the postcard with a spray of colour in the shape of Quasicrystals Infra. Adding balance to the design, I stencilled Open Work Blocks in metallic gold.
Returning to my inspiration, I believe our lives always revolve around choosing a little bit of this, maybe a tad of that. We make the best of mixing what we have on hand. But I am convinced that with a dollop of creativity and a dash of invention our lives can be as truly nourishing as a simmering Minestrone.


MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: QUASICRYSTALS (Infra), BLOCKS (Open Work)
  • LIQUITEX WHITE ACRYLIC GESSO
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • SCOTCH SCRAPBOOKERS GLUE
  • DYLUSION PAINT: Squeezed Orange, Bubble Gum, Vibrant Turquoise, Fresh Lime
  • DYLUSION INK SPRAY: Bubble Gum
  • DINA WAKLEY MEDIA: Blushing
  • PLAID: Sunflower
  • DECO ART: Blue Harbor
  • REEVES: Gold                                                                        
  • PRO ART BRUSH: 1” Bristle
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • 130 LB COVER STOCK
  • VINTAGE ADVERTISEMENT IMAGE
  • RECIPE FROM A MAGAZINE

Friday, 5 January 2018

If You Are Reading This...

If You Are Reading This - Collage
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
There is wisdom in the saying “One person’s trash is another’s treasure”. For a collage artist, the aftermath of the Holidays brings with it the immense potential of discarded materials.  There’s a lot to be said for scavenging through the rubbish to find an inspirational gem or two. It was there I found the start of my next Artistcellar Design Team project.

My substrate is a piece of thin corrugated board that surrounded a picture frame. Using an inexpensive one inch brush I applied gesso with a light touch. I liked patchiness and bristles left behind as the gesso dried. You can still see a little of it through the brushed and sponged acrylics. 

My stencil choice this time was Open Work from the Blocks Series. Rather than spray, I used a wet sponge to dab on Bubble Gum Dylusion Ink Spray. I liked the watery finish as it bled under the stencil.
Greeting cards are a wealth of ephemera. The gold foil was peeled from the inside of an envelope. Next to it I layered sewing pattern paper, a price sticker, a stamp and a line found in a magazine: “If You Are Reading This”. My final bit collage work included a clipping from a book page that I infused with beeswax some time ago. Many of us have hailed the end of 2017. With the start of the New Year, my waxed paper seems timely…quotes about the qualities of the word “smile”.
My continued goal for 2018 is to live mindfully, to slow down, and to enjoy the wonder that surrounds me. This is the reason I inverted the waxed paper quote. If anyone is reading, perhaps they will pause and enjoy the moment…and hopefully it will encourage them to smile as well. The Quasicrystals’ Infra stencil applied in a variety of contrasting Dylusion Paint colours completed the work. 

The New Year is finally here. I am filled with hope. And is there any better way to make the world a beautiful place than with a smile?

MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: QUASICRYSTALS (Infra), BLOCKS (Open Work)
  • LIQUITEX WHITE ACRYLIC GESSO
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • SCOTCH SCRAPBOOKERS GLUE
  • DYLUSION PAINT: Squeezed Orange, Bubble Gum, Vibrant Turquoise, Fresh Lime
  • DYLUSION INK SPRAY: Bubble Gum
  • DINA WAKLEY MEDIA: Blushing
  • PLAID: Sunflower
  • DECO ART: Sky Blue, Blue Harbour, Sea Glass
  • RUBBER STAMP                                                                    
  • PRO ART BRUSH: 1” Bristle
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • CORRUGATED BOARD
  • WAX INFUSED BOOK PAGE
  • VINTAGE POSTAGE STAMP, PRICE STICKER, DRESS PATTERN PAPER, MAGAZINE CLIPPING, GOLD FOIL

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Creating the World You Imagine!

“Hold the Vision. Trust the Process.”
The final days of preparation for gift giving are upon us! Is there a person in your life that needs a little boost to their creativity? I love to purchase blank Journals. I have faith they will find a home at just the right time, for the just right person. And in my collection was a little dusky blue book. This could be that special place for a friend to keep her hopes, visions…and gardening notes.

After giving the journal a light sanding, I brushed on several layers of gesso. I wanted a base of white with a bit of the dusky blue cover showing through. My next step when dry was to squeeze Rubber Cement through the “Create” Creative Words Pocket Stencil. I have found that using a scrap of illustration board gives the best coverage…smooth, few bubbles, and little bleeding under the stencil.
 Building up the layers of acrylic paint was fun. I usually use a Natural Sponge when I work. I have several in different sizes and textures. I love the ease of application they provide. It’s always great to see how various acrylics react when encountering the roughness of the sponge.

I started by removing the “Create” stencil and lightly applying a coat of Dylusion Vibrant Turquoise over the rubber cement. Giving the paint time to dry, I looked through my stencils and chose the Playful Pods Series. The book will serve as a gardening creative journal, so the pods rolling across the cover was perfect.

I am in love with the Dylusion Spray Ink. Bubble Gum shade is the best around…vibrant and rich. I sprayed the front and back covers with the ink and continued building layers with complimentary acrylic colours. The next addition to the design was the Playful Pods stencils and another Creative Word: “Trust”. There are many reasons to love Artistcellar stencils, but for me it’s the flexibility. With so many sizes to choose from, you will always find the perfect stencil to allow your creativity to soar.
Because the journal will be thrown into a handbag or the back pocket of a pair of jeans, I wanted to keep the surface as flat as possible. The final addition was an image of the Mona Lisa. I covered it in matte medium and dropped in slivers of copper threads while it was still wet. The edges are concealed with Artistcellar-inspired handmade Washi Tape. The result was just as I had hope…a bit of texture, but not the bulk.

And finally, my moment of truth…the removal of the rubber cement. Although the waiting tests my patience, I am happy to say it was worth it…”Create” looks every bit as inspiring as the peaceful smile of Mona Lisa.
Be it with stencils and paint or the cultivation of blooming plants, trusting and enjoying the process is the first step in holding on to our artistic vision and creating the world we imagine.

All the best to you and yours for the Holidays and the New Year!

MATERIALS USED:

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Just For Today...

At this time of year our thoughts naturally gravitate to those we care about and how we can make the Holidays sparkle just for them. And there is no better gift, in my opinion, than one you make yourself. I recently picked up a lovely white silk scarf and took design inspiration from the Artistcellar Chakra Pocket stencils for my next Design Team project.

A close friend has been attending an annual women’s retreat for the last twenty-five years. For her, it is a time to reflect and rejuvenate. As they have the numerous opportunities to meditate throughout the weekend, I wanted to give her something special to take along the next time she attends.

I started the project by spraying repositionable adhesive on to a piece of poster board. When sufficiently tacky, I carefully unrolled the scarf. I have found that this is a great method of keeping fabric in position, allowing you to work without worry.
The Artistcellar pocket stencils are the perfect size for so many projects. The Chakra stencils performed perfectly. I placed each one under the other in the correct position. I was delighted that this formation easily covered half of the scarf, just as I intended. I applied the associated colours to the correct Chakra from violet to red.

My friend is crazy about colour...appreciating it in everything from rows of yarn in a shop to the dancing dispersion of light through a prism. Keeping this in mind, once each colour dried I stencilled the Halftone Dots with abandon in an array of acrylic colours moving from cool purples to fiery scarlets and every shade in-between. Adding sparkle and magic I sponged on gold and bronze dots down the length of the scarf.
Once complete, I slowly peeled the scarf from the poster board. I was happy to see the acrylics bled through leaving each side equally bright and visually pleasing. The scarf still maintained a soft and airy feel to the touch, a quality I love about silk.

While creating the scarf, the Chakras allowed my senses to experience the beauty of serenity and peace. This is the gift I wish to offer my friend…even just for today.

MATERIALS USED:

Monday, 27 November 2017

The Magical Sparkle of "Thank You"

If the only prayer you ever say is ‘Thank You’ that will be enough.” – Eckhart Tolle
 
Looking out over our frost kissed lawn has been a not so gentle reminder that Winter is on the way. But rather than curse the cold, I embraced the sparkle and shine as inspiration for my next Artistcellar Design Team project.

Working with my favourite substrate, Illustration Board, I covered the surface with a smooth coat of gesso. The next layer added was an article about the Dada Movement printed on slightly yellowed newsprint paper. There was a little bit of bleed when I covered the print with Matte Medium. I liked the way the ink became bolder in certain areas as it dried. Looking for a bit of texture, I mopped on white gesso with a rough natural sponge. My board took on a white, frosty appearance … exactly as I had hoped it would. Slow to dry completely, I left it out overnight and in the morning I was ready to begin.

I wanted the look of lace for my background. Artistcellar’s Quasicrystal stencil Quasi, was perfect. I applied the pattern with Champagne metallic acrylic. Combined with the white gesso, it gave me the nostalgic effect I was after.

I’ve had the image of the two women kicking around my scrap box for some time, and I knew this was the perfect setting for them. I only wish I knew who they were and the reason for the photo. They do look happy to be sharing time together. Perhaps I could create an interesting history for them with the elements I had at hand.

I have been winterising the flower beds around the house and salvaged a few dried hydrangea blossoms. The colour was perfect and the petals held up well when glued to the board. My finishing touch was the series of jewelry tags, covered in liquid acrylic and a few Halftone Dots.
As the seasons blend one into the other, I know I am guilty of allowing the daily mechanics of existence to dull the sparkle and shine of living life mindfully. With the celebration of Thanksgiving I am reminded that a simple “Thank You” has the all the magical sparkle we need.

MATERIALS USED:
  • ARTISTCELLAR STENCILS: QUASICRYSTALS (Quasi & Infra), HALFTONE DOTS
  • INKADINKADO RUBBER STAMP: Moth
  • LIQUITEX WHITE ACRYLIC GESSO
  • LIQUITEX MATTE MEDIUM
  • MEMENTO DYE INK: Tuxedo Black
  • DYLUSION PAINT: Squeezed Orange
  • PLAID: Champagne, Sahara Gold                                      
  • DALER-ROMNEY: Acrylic Ink Velvet Violet
  • DALER-ROMNEY: Liquid Acrylic Galactic Blue
  • NATURAL SPONGE
  • JEWELRY TAGS
  • BEES WAX INFUSED BROWN, ART PAPER, & DOILY
  • COFFEE STAINED GAUZE
  • SURGICAL TAPE
  • DRIED HYDRANGEA PETALS
  • STORE TRADING STAMP
  • VINTAGE IMAGE
  • ILLUSTRATION BOARD

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.

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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?
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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?

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