Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fairy Adventure Camp

BZZZZZZZZZZZZ! That's me being a busy little bee. I'm in the middle of so many projects, I'm thrilled to just know I finished one! This is my very first Accordion book I made through a class taught by Zinnia over at Roses on my Table ning group.  I have to tell you guys, this group is fantastic! Zinnia offers several different paid workshops, like Stone Tile Art, and Mixed Media Bottles. There's a free journaling group with a new prompt twice a month, swap groups, and this totally awesome group called R.A.I.L. (Roses Art Information Library) It's a yearly subscription group, every month Zinnia comes up with a cool new project to teach that includes LOTS of video time (you can download and keep the videos!) and instructions. She's always available in the groups to answer questions and encourage students. Currently, we're doing a workshop on altering dominoes. So it's like I've taken two classes in the past month... and get this... the yearly subscription for this RAIL group is ONLY $35 a year! (Yes I said a year. Not a month) Let's do the math here... that's 12 workshops a year for $35.00.  That comes out to about $2.92 a workshop! How crazy is that? Geez, do I sound like a commercial? Sorry. I'm just in love with the group and want to share :-)

The Accordion book was the project that was up when I joined last month. I have tons of images of cute little vintage children from Lisa's Altered Art and Collage Visions. I wanted to use what I had so I went with a fairy theme. It evolved into a class or yearbook of sorts. I imagined the personalities of all these little fairies, all together at Fairy Camp. There were 15 sides to make plus a title page so I decided to make a slide show. Enjoy! 

Hopefully I'll finish up something else soon! For those of you who plan on celebrating Halloween, have fun and be safe! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GPP Street Team Crusade #44

I've always loved Michelle Ward's art and fondly peruse her "Street Team" blog and the monthly "Crusades" or challenges she posts there. Well this month, my hands were itching to do something different and this looked too cool to pass up. The challenge this month is "In a Scrape" -make a painting but NO brushes allowed! She shows tutorials and examples to help everyone along.

I started with a gessoed canvas (gesso applied with a palette knife of course!) to add a bit of texture to the base, then I just started scraping layers on. I grabbed my little bottles of Stewart Gill Colourise paints at first, to add matte base layers, then I came in after it was dry with my Byzantia colors to add a little shimmer. Then I took my palette knife and scraped a little bit of Black Soot Crackle paint by Ranger. After it cracked I came in as a last layer and added Metamica Silver to highlight some areas. It still didn't look "finished" (I doubt it ever will!) so I took an old credit card and with the edge made some lines. I can't say it's a "pretty" picture, LOL. It's grungy, and peeling and has so many layers I think it may have a personality disorder.  But you know what? I like it. And I actually completed my first challenge at GPP. I think after I post it to the group and it sits for awhile I might give it a focal point by adding some big stenciled numbers on it, spray paint style, to commemorate Crusade #44. 

Happy Autumn Equinox everyone! The Chicago area celebrated fall with 90 degree weather! BLECH.

Friday, September 10, 2010

When to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

I'm not a poker player but this came to mind. What to do with this 100/100 project? I'm having a really hard time keeping up. Actually I'm not keeping up. I'm about 15 days behind. Between taking care of the business and taking care of prior art commitments, I'm just wiped out. And of course that's all on top of taking care of the family and house... sigh. It seemed so easy at the beginning. Just a little index card a day. Doesn't take a lot of time. I think I'm making things too complicated. Well, I'm not giving up yet, but I'm thinking about it... do I need the stress? Maybe this is a lesson in letting go. Learning to say "no" or "I can't". Or can I? Originally I challenged myself to use products from Stewart Gill/ on each card. Most of my cards follow that rule but I decided I'm not going to beat myself up about it anymore. If it happens, it happens.

Well, I have a few more to show you anyway. Who knows what'll happen in the next 50 days? Here's number 10, done on canvas, graffiti style with different colors of Stewart Gill True Colour paints.
 Number 11 is also SG paint on canvas but I used the Mini Cosmic Bubbles Stencil to make the pattern. 
Another painted canvas base for number 12 but this time I used a brass tree stencil over the SG painted background. I bought the stencil at the CHA craft supershow. I used dimensional glue and glitter to glitz it up. Yes, those blobs are really sparkly!
I was feeling good when I made number 13. I was caught up and decided to tell the world! Painted canvas background but I used another brass stencil with Stewart Gill Galactica glitter paint for the design. These really don't photograph well. It's really pretty and sparkly, I promise!
I went back to paper with number 14. I think I was working on a Marie Antoinette project at the time and had some leftover scrap paper. I dribbled Fresco Flakes on the background.
Number 15 has NOTHING to do with using my store products. My friend Arlene was drawing all these fabulous faces and I was inspired to try to draw a face from a picture. This is what happened. Drawing faces is not a strength of mine. It's an act of desperation to actually use this as a page and show you. A prize goes out to the person who can tell me who this is supposed to be a picture of! 
Numbers 16 and 17 are experiments in felting. My daughter got bit by the wool felting bug and showed me how to do it. Number 16 is an under the sea theme, I used some Glitterati fibers in there, and some hand beading. Number 17 is an abstract. 
I found a foam kitty stamp at the resale shop and tested it out for number 18. I normally don't do "cute" but I was feeling fond of "Skitters" the neighbors kitten that came to visit and catch gophers. I think the background is a wash of Pearlise paint while the cat is stamped with Byzantia.
For number 19 I wanted to try something different. I started out with a Byzantia, which is shimmery and wanted to drip some matte True Colour paint over it to get some visual texture.  I like the way it turned out.
Numbers 20 and 21 are simple collages using magazine images. Backgrounds are painted with my SG piants. I love the fish image. Number 21's background I used an old security envelope painted with a wash of color. You know those envelopes with the interesting patterns inside? I figured there must be a use for those somewhere!

That's enough for now. I've got about 10 more done but have to add numbers to some of them. But by the time I actually get around to photographing them and posting them I might have another 30 done and be completely caught up. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.

Monday, August 9, 2010

100 Pages Experiment

Once again, these dog days of summer have me neglecting my blog. The days are winding down though and soon it will be back to school and the colors of fall will emerge. Soon I hope. This summer has been miserable. Between the super hot Chicago temperatures, the nearly daily rain storms, the suffocating humidity and the blood sucking mosquitoes swarming us, we have pretty much locked ourselves in our air conditioned house and we're all going stir crazy. Even the dog is miserable. I pay homage to the beautiful dragonfly that sat still long enough to allow me a photograph. They eat mosquitoes you know. That's why I love dragonflies.

I have been busy with the business, trying the products, experimenting some. I needed some motivation to do something on a regular basis so I joined a challenge hosted by Leilani Pierson over at the Cloth Paper Scissors forum. We make 100 little pieces of art in 100 days. We can skip a few days and make up for it, but we can't work ahead. Most people are using 3 1/2" x 5" index cards.  I've decided to stick to that size, but I'm using a variety of "canvases" including watercolor paper, fabric, canvas, felt, etc. In addition to that, I've challenged myself to use at least one Stewart Gill product (or anything from the Artistcellar store) on every card. I'm up to day 20 and I think there's only 3 cards where I did NOT use a SG product. I've photographed days 1-9 so far so I'll start with those. Each card also has the number incorporated in it in some way.
When I started the 100/100 project I hadn't challenged myself to use the Stewart Gill products yet so I went back and added some Galactica Glitter paint to the peach and an Alchemy wash over Page No. 1. Can't really see it in the picture! Below is the back of No. 1, I used Pearlise paint for the background.
Page No. 2 I used scrapbook paper and stamped the Fleur de Lis on with Illuminata Byzantia paint.
Page No. 3 above is a painted dryer sheet base with Bijoux Blends Stone chips flowing across the bottom. The polymer clay heart is painted with Byzantia paints in Seraphym and glued over a nest of loose threads.
For page No. 4 I got out the iron and played with the Glitterati Fibers and Angelina Film. I was heating the film and happened to melt a hole the shape of a heart. Serendipity? Page No. 5 below uses handmade papers and scrapbook papers. The flower was overpainted with Byzantia Excelsius.
I tore into a vintage children's reader for page No. 6. I believe it was a Colourise glaze (rust?) I washed over the picture. The numbers at the bottom are stamped with a cardboard tube using True Colour Opaque White. Opaque even went over the dark orange color. Fabulous! Page No. 7 uses the same color scheme (I was getting rid of excess paint on my brush!) and painted the background the same orangey color and wiped the opaque white over it with chopsticks. I captured some loose fibers under black netting and stapled it closed. This was an ultra quickie!
Page No. 8 was collaged and then painted over with a Colourise Chocolate Glaze, smooshed around for depth and texture and laid on thick at the edges. A piece of canvas was attached with a brad and a secret message underneath. 
And finally, page No. 9. The base is a handmade paper with little leaves occluded within and I stamped the leaf with a foam stamp and True Colour Lime. Simple.

I'm going to try to photograph the rest of my pages until I'm caught up. If you don't hear from me in a few days, the blood sucking vampire mosquitoes probably got me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going Green!

I really wish I could take credit for this drawing but I can't. I can only take credit for birthing the child (9 year ago!) who made the drawing. Who made the drawing while sitting in the back seat of the car while driving to a meeting. Who kept drawing during the meeting while her mom and dad talked boring stuff like packaging and shipping and business. But what a beautiful drawing it turned out to be. And a wonderful introduction to this blog post, which is all about GOING GREEN! 

I am so thrilled to announce that we (meaning artistcellar - it still sounds a little weird to the ears!) have found some packaging solutions that are a bit more earth-friendly than what we started out with. The main thing that bothered me was all that plastic bubble wrap I was wrapping around the jars of paint. Well, I don't have a lot of cushioning choices, if I want to protect the glass jars, bubbles are the best way to go. BUT... I discovered Globe Guard products and locally, Salazar Packaging, who sell eco-friendly packaging products. They came out with a great new product, biodegradable bubble wrap. WOOOT! It's even tinted green to remind you that it's "green".  It degrades in a landfill in 12-24 months and cushions my little jars of paint beautifully. 
 I also purchased boxes made from 100% post consumer waste. This means they were made from 100% recycled materials and they are 100% recyclable. (But I fully expect them be passed on a few times first!) The jars fit in the box perfectly, wrapped in bubbles, nice and secure. I REFUSE to send you a box within a bigger box like some companies do. What a waste!

We were a bit torn about the mailers. We had a choice between recyclable plastic mailers and heavy paper mailers. We went with the plastic mailers because they were so much lighter than the paper ones. We're also looking for ways to reduce shipping costs for you, so the plastic ones were the way to go. Just throw them in the recycling bin or bring them with your plastic grocery sacks to the recycling bins in the stores.

I'm happy I can do my little bit in being "green" and it WAS easy! If everybody did a little bit, it would make a BIG difference.

Now, who wants a beautiful, smart, creative, but GOOFY nine year old for a week? She's booored.
My new saying "Give a child a toy and she'll play with it for a week. Give a child a box and her imagination will soar for months to come!" Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I am so sorry for neglecting my blog the past few weeks.  I feel terrible about it, but I do have an excuse. I've been very busy setting up my new business venture! My husband and I are the new owners of !!!! The past month was filled with emails, talks, contracts, anxiety, number crunching, ordering, stocking, anxiety, organizing, and playing with the inventory. My husband, I don't know how he did it, redesigned the entire website in about two weeks. I've got shelves and shelves of gorgeous Stewart Gill paints, imported from Scotland. Including that yummy line called Byzantia, used by Suzi Blu in her Goddess and the Poet class. (That's when I first heard about it!) The jewel toned metallics are amazing! and I am highly impressed with the Meta-mica and Pearlise lines too. Such gorgeous shimmer and shine and color. The Alchemy line is iridescent like dragonfly wings, Colourise is like a transparent glaze, and the True Colour is opaque and solid. All the paint lines are super high quality. I wanted to order every single color in every single line, but alas, my bank account wouldn't allow it. Over time I will add more colors. I'm also stocking some very cool stencils and a few neat rubber stamps, some additives like extenders and glue/adhesive but you have to check out the Special effects page. Some cool things I've never seen before in the USA...  Fresco Flakes, are actual paint peelings that simulate distressed walls and surfaces, shiny glitzy Gilding Chips will add super shine to anything,  Bijoux Blends are crushed glass and stone glitter (when these are gone, they're gone! They are not being manufactured anymore!) and some pretty fusible fibers and film that will add iridescent sparkle to your projects. 

And check out the gallery page. I've got some beautiful work up there by some awesome artists. I want to add more; I want people to send their creations to me when they've made something using Stewart Gill paints - or anything from the store. My pocket scroll at the top of the page was made with my new paints. The Fleur de Lis were stamped with Pearlise paint and the inside pages were painted with the Pearlise and Metamica paints, some with a shimmer of Alchemy glaze over the top. Below are the inside pages and the front page flattened out. 
The Scroll project is based on the article in the most recent Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine by Leilani Pierson of Studio Gypsy. Over at the CPS forums she posed a challenge for us to make our own pocket scrolls. It was so much fun and it was a great excuse to use some of the samples of paints I got. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not using all the paints in my store. I wish, hehe. I have a few colors in each paint line for my own stash, to play with, experiment with, be tempted by... like a kid in a candy store! 

Well, enough ramblings... I hope you'll stop by my new website and say hi, tell me what you think. If you're on Facebook, I set up an artistcellar "page" where I hope to get people chatting about art. The website has links to everything too, including a newletter that goes out every once in awhile. I have big plans for it in the near future! 

Welcome to my new adventure!! 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

May I brag a little?

I don't have any new artwork to publish this week, I've been busy doing some other Very Important Things, so I thought I would take the opportunity to brag a little bit. The artwork above is my daughter's work. She was chosen by her art teacher to be among a few handfuls of artists out of her whole school to display her artwork in a restaurant in downtown Glen Ellyn, called Bells and Whistles Snackery. I am so proud of her. Congratulations to my little artist! 

This is her second public showing of her artwork - at the beginning of the school year she was chosen to display her artwork at the district office public meeting room. I'm hoping that it will eventually get back to me because my house sorely needs quality artwork on the walls!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

MixedMediaMonday (last week!)

So I'm only 6 days late for Mixed Media Monday! Last weeks theme was "Vintage Ads/Labels". I made this little tag out of those surface samples you get at Home Depot. You know when you're picking your counter top material? It's very sturdy and comes with a hole already in it and the backside is a pretty ivory colored fake marble veneer. (No, I never actually considered this for my counter tops!) Added some glitz and bling and there you have it.

My favorite vintage ads? Have got to be the bra ads. I love looking at the old bra/lingerie advertisements. That's what kind of sense of humor I have :-) 

On a different note, I took some pretty cool photos this weekend while I was at the farm. It never fails, there's always something to photograph. Most people would think I'm nuts (and some would be right) but there is a certain beauty is a rusted barbed wire fence or hanging S hook. 
Or a spiked rusty farm equipment thingy. (Meaning: I have NO idea what it is!) 
How about some rusted bed springs? It's used to grade the gravel driveway when things get rough. But look at the lines. Kind of like a mechanical spider web.
No one can argue that the day lilies aren't beautiful. Or the purple thistles. But what about the grasses waving in the wind? 
The beauty is in the details, my friends. Look around you, it surrounds you. You just have to open your eyes and open your mind. 

Note: All the pictures are taken with my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 point and shoot digital camera, which I LOVE. It has a super zoom (10X) and great macro capabilities. I give it two thumbs up, three if I had an extra hand!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Days 22-30 of 30/30 project

Wooohoooo! Project 30/30 is DONE! I think I can call it a success. I created, I cranked, I completed. Here are days 22-30. This was probably my hardest batch to deal with because there were other things going on in my life and some days I just didn't have time or energy to complete a project. But I did anyway. So there.

Day 22 was a spread for Carol's Marie Antoinette's Round Robin. Her theme is "Sensual Pleasures". Besides a bubble bath (which I already did for Lorena's spread) I thought of the Garden's of Versailles. 
Day 23 was a quick and dirty mini fabric book. The cover is a pounded flower on muslin my daughter made at a workshop (her book fell apart and she said I could use the flower). There's about 8 pages inside with various stamps and words. I hand stitched the binding.
Day 24 was a sketch of a Suzi Blu type face. I need to practice my faces so I don't forget how to draw them. Arlene is taking the class now and inspired me, hers are looking fabulous! Instead of hair I decided to put her in a head scarf. If I ever turn her into a painting I am going to make the scarf red with a wild pattern. That's what's in my head when I think of my girl in color.
Day 25 was a quickie. I was crunching numbers all day and would turn to the side of my desk and glue some text down. Crunch some more and glue some birds down. And so on. It was a desperate act of creativity. It's not easy switching sides of the brain back and forth, but I think it turned out well.
Day 26 I tried something different. I think it was Janet who started the jewelry thread on my group list... with a button bracelet someone made. Then Sox made her own button bracelet. I decided to use some charms I made a long time ago with vintage storybook characters in them. The charms are two pieces of glass with pictures between then wrapped in copper foil and soldered. I added some glass beads in between to give it some jangle. I really like the look of it, but realistically, I'll probably never wear it. It jangles too much for me and I rarely wear bracelets.
Day 27 was something very different. A year or so ago Kelli Perkins had an article in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine about how to make poetry spoons or spoon "books". She drilled holes in the ends and linked 4-6 spoons together. I only had two spoons in my stash. I gave one to my daughter and we did the project together. Mine is on the left, hers is on the right. I think they turned out excellently, if I may say so myself.
Day 28 was carving a stamp. I saw this design on Alisa Burke's blog about a stamp carving class. I drew it straight on the block and carved away. My very first hand made stamp. It was fun and might turn out to be slightly addicting. (I've already made another one...) I've had a handful of those rubber carving blocks and a carving tool in my stash for a few years now, I figured it was time to cut it up. The actual stamp is in the middle, with prints on white paper on the left and on a vintage text on the right.
Day 29 I made a page using the stamp. I had gotten the Creative Impulse Newsletter that day and loved the color combination of the project of the week. So I took it from there, adding my own carved stamp on dictionary text. I just taped it down (but not really, it's glued first) and added a small quote. A very quick page if you don't count all the drying time for the paint.
Day 30 (dun dun dun DUN as my daughter would say...) is a spread in my watercolor journal. I challenged myself by telling myself I had to use these two photo collage images I got from CollageVisions. Once I stamped the typewriter on the lady's side and the pen and ink on the man's side the words popped into my head. Eunice is ahead of her time. What a scandal to use a typewriter to write her love letters! Joseph prefers the safety of pen and ink.

So what am I going to do now? Well for starters I have another Marie Antoinette RR spread to finish in the next few days. Then before the end of the month (where DID June go??) I have another RR journal to finish. Theme is "In My Zen Garden". I have an Altoid tin swap due at the end of month over at MMartFriends. Maybe the charm swap at FiberArtTraders. I want to get back to Mixed Media Mondays. And I want to try some of Michelle Ward's challenges over at Green Pepper Press. And I'm SURE that my sketchbook group will come up with something new VERY soon. They always do! (Crazy ladies, but I love you anyway!) Wow. Did I just really list all that stuff I wanted to do? Am I nuts??