ART SUPPLIES THAT ARE SPARKING JOY!

There is a lot of talk going around about what is sparking joy in your life. I thought I’d share what art supplies make me happy and that I enjoy using. Please leave comments about what is sparking joy for you! 

Note – I have no affiliations with these products.

Painting –

Brushes – I’ve never spent much on paint brushes and bought whatever was cheap and available. As I’ve taken my art more seriously, I have been trying different products. I bought Simply Simmons round point and flat brushes for both acrylic and watercoloring. I do have a set dedicated to acrylics and WC, since acrylics are very hard on the bristles. For about $2 a brush from, Dick Blickwww.dickblick.com, give them a try. If you want to up the game, try the Escoda Versatil brushes also available at Blick.

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Acrylic Paints – Again, I have tried many brands over the years and I love my Golden Acrylics, but my new favorites are Paper Artsy acrylic paints from the UK. The pigmentation is outstanding and they dry with a bit of a chalky finish. Paints come in opaque, semi transparent and transparent. I found mine at, Ephemera – www.ephemererapaducah.com, in Paducah, KY.  The owner, Kristen is happy to ship.

While on the topic of acrylic paints, I can’t say enough good things about, Masterson Sta-Wet Palette. Typically, I mixed my acrylics on a paper plate. More often than not, they would dry out during a session. The Sta-Wet Palette has a special paper and sponge system to keep the paints wet for at least a week #moneysaver! Available at Blick.

Watercolors – Gansai watercolors from Japan have been a staple and are good quality watercolors. What’s igniting joy are watercolors from Daniel Smith and the German brand Schmincke (professional grade Horadam Aquarell). I am really finding that investing in supplies makes a big difference when it comes to pigmentation and mixing colors. You don’t have to go whole hog, just pick up one tube or pan and give them a try. Available on the web.

If you love metallic watercolors, a must have are watercolors from Coliro or Fine Tec both are made in Germany. Colors are simply amazing! Available from Amazon – www.amazon.com, or Blick.

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Pens

Fountain Pens – Either for writing letters or adding detail to watercolors, fountain pens are a must have. A great entry level pen is the Platinum Carbon pen for about $9 and found on Amazon. They come with ink cartridges, but you can buy a converter and buy bottle inks. Step it up a bit and get a TWSBI ECO or a Lamy, both at about $29. I love the Lamy AL Joy with a 1.9 stub. This pen makes my penmanship look great. Both pens are available from Goulet Pen Company – www.gouletpens.com. Intimidated by fountain pens? Goulet has a fabulous library of short videos on fountain pens and maintenance. 

Storage

Washi Tape – I have too much washi tape and seldom used it as it was stored willy nilly. I found a storage container at Michaels designed just for washi tape with multiple bins to separate colors and themes. Score one for Joy!

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Handmade Paper – Through my travels and gifts from friends and family I had tubes of beautiful papers that were stored at the top of the closet. Not likely for me to use them there! I did have to cut them down, but they are now stored flat (key!) in an Itoya 13”x19” porfolio. Genius! 

Ephemera – I am a paperholic and I love all kinds of paper. I have a stash of ephemera and wasn’t using it. Stay tuned! I will be posting examples of how I store it and how I am incorporating it into my artwork! 

Learning

Podcasts on Art, Crafting and Pens – I am a lifelong learner and I enjoy online classes and YouTube, but there is something about listening to the radio that I like. I can now combine listening and learning while creating by listening to podcasts. There are many podcasts out there, but here are a few that I have found, Art Supply Posse, Erasable, RSVP, and The Pen Addict.

It’s the Little Things –

Eraser – Hard to believe that I would find joy in an eraser, but I do! My Moo Eraser was only $2.99 and it takes up even the darkest lines and doesn’t leave marks or tear the paper. Available on Amazon.

Teflon Bone Folder – Seriously, is there a difference?? There is and for about $12 this large flat teflon bone folder is triggering joy. Available on Amazon.

Chop Stick Holder – What? How did that end up on the list? Pens and brushes roll off the table all the time. Using a chop stick holder to rest the pen or brush ends that frustration! Shop local to find one!

Soap – Yes, soap. My hands are always full of paint, inks, gesso, etc. and I have tried so many soaps with limited success. I stumbled upon, “The Masters” Artist Soap, and now have clean hands – ah the little things!

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Luna – My cat Luna, my constant companion in the studio. She brings me joy each day!

What’s sparking your joy? Please share!

Spark more joy for me by commenting, liking and sharing this post!

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USING BLACK GESSO IN MIXED MEDIA

Starting with a background that is all black seems quite strange, after all, where is the white space?!? I did just that when I used black gesso on an entire deck of playing cards. The adventure began during a class with Seth Apter www.sethapter.com, US based mixed media artist, instructor designer and author.  I joined Seth for his, Fifty-Two Card Pick-Up class, at Valley Stamp and Scrap www.valleystampandscrapllc.com.  Using mixed media techniques we created a unique mixed media journal with a deck of playing cards. Techniques included paints, inks, stencils, pencils, stamps and ephemera. 

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APRIL IS NATIONAL WRITE A LETTER MONTH – WRITE ON!

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Anyone that knows me know that I love to write letters and of course receive them. I have a deep love of stationary and that’s probably what lead me to creating cards. I found a great way to combine my creative side and upcycle by using wallpaper remnants from discarded wallpaper books. While I was at it, I also used some of the handmade papers and even blueprints I’d been hoarding to create additional stationary. 

I created matching note cards by adding a strip of paper either horizontally or diagonally to coordinating card stock. Each envelope has two note cards.

Supplies

  • Wallpaper book or discarded rolls
  • Ruler
  • Paper trimmer – my favorite is, Fiskars 12” ProCision Rotary Bypass Trimmer – www.fiskars.com. 
  • Envelope punch – We R Memory Keepers Punch – www.amazon.com 
  • Two sided tape – sookwang tape – www.scor-pal.com. 
  • Bone folder – my new favorite is a large flat teflon bone folder – www.amazon.com. 
  • Coordinating color card stock 80 lb. – The Paper Cut – www.thepapercut.com
  • PVA glue – Books by Hand – www.booksbyhand.com.

Optional Supply

  • Corner rounder – Fiskars – www.fiskars.com. 
  • Book press to flatten envelopes and cards

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Think Spring!!

Here are two quick cards that took less than ten minutes to make. I hope that they inspire you to think that Spring is right around the corner.

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The butterflies were die cut from alcohol inked Yupo paper, by Legion Paper, which can be found on Amazon, www.amazon.com.  Alcohol inks used were Rangers, Tim Holtz inks, Ranger – www.rangerink.com or Tim Holtz – www.timholtz.com. The two smaller butterflies are Sizzix, Thinlits, Tim Holtz – 661802 – www.sizzix.com and the big butterfly is from Gina Marie Designs. The Hello stamp is from Studio 18 and the Thank You is a PSX stamp.

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* Let it Snow * * *

We are having record cold in the Midwest this week, but alas, no snow. Here is a card I made that reflects my love of both snow and skating.

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Supplies

  • 80# paper in white, pink and brown. I prefer paper from The Paper Cut – www.thepapercut.com. 
  • Pink envelope
  • Clear acetate. I used acetate from The Paper Cut – www.thepapercut.com. 
  • Pink glitter paper
  • Bone folder – my favorite is Martha Stewart’s
  • Paper trimmer – my favorite is, Fiskars 12” ProCision Rotary Bypass Trimmer – www.fiskars.com. 
  • Spellbinder 3.25” circle die
  • Lawn Fawn, Let it Snow die. Lawn Fawn – www.lawnfawn.com. 
  • Die cutting machine. I prefer Tim Holtz Vagabond 2 die machine. Tim Holtz – www.timholtz.com. 
  • Impression Obsession, Skaters Silhouette. Impression Obsession – www.iostamps.com. 
  • Pink Ink Stamps, Pair of Ice Skates. Pink Ink Stamp Company – www.pinkinkstamps.com. 
  • Snow stamp by StampinUp. StampinUp – www.stampinup.com.  
  • Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Inks – Spiced Marmalade, Warm Lipstick, and Peeled Paint. I also did some backgrounds in Warm Lipstick and Broken China. Tim Holtz – www.timholtz.com or Amazon – www.amazon.com. 
  • Tim Holtz blending tool and separate foam pads for each Oxide color. Tim Holtz – www.timholtz.com. 
  • StazOn black ink. Tsukineko – www.tsukineko.com or Amazon – www.amazon.com.
  • Memonto Luxe ink in Wedding Dress. Tsukineko – www.tsukineko.com. 
  • Misti Stamp Positioner – www.mysweetpetunia.com. 
  • Stampendous, Shaved Ice glitter. Stampendous – www.stampendous.com. 
  • Adhesives – Towbow adhesive runner – www.tombowusa.com, double sided foam adhesive and Tombow liquid glue – www.tombowusa.com. 
  • Fan brush
  • White acrylic paint
  • Water
  • Small white cotton ball 
  • StazOn All Purpose Stamp Cleaner
  • Swifer

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Steps

  • Cut white, pink and brown papers and acetate to size. White base cut to A2, pink 4” x 5.25”, brown 3.75” x 5” and another white 3.5” x 4.75”. Clear acetate cut to 3.50” x 4.75” .
  • Die cut circle on brown paper and cut out Let it Snow on pink glitter paper.
  • On smaller cut white paper, create a sunset by blending Tim Holtz, Oxide Inks. 
  • Stamp Skaters using StazOn ink. A stamp positioner is very helpful to get a crisp and dark image. Stamp snowflakes on acetate with white ink. Stamp skates on pink envelope. I used Tim Holtz, Walnut Distress Ink for the skates, but you can use any color.
  • Adhere pink layer to white base and skaters to the pink layer.
  • Outline the edges of the skater paper with double sided tape. I used a sheet of double sided adhesive and cut 1/4” strips on my paper cutter.
  • Adhere snowflake stamped acetate to back of brown paper.
  • Sprinkle Stampendous Shaved Ice glitter on top of skaters. Place brown paper with acetate on top of double sided adhesive. Make sure that there are no gaps at the corners.
  • Adhere, Let it Snow die with Tombow liquid glue to front. Adhere cotton ball.
  • To create snow on the pink envelope (the Memonto ink did not show), dilute white acrylic paint with water and flick on the with a fan brush.

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Mixed Media Treasure Box

I had an opportunity last summer to take two classes from, Andy Skinner www.andyskinnercrafts.com, an international mixed media artist from the UK at, Valley Stamp and Scrap LLC in Neenah, Wisconsin www.valleystampandscrap.com. The focus of the class was to create a book box using mixed media techniques. During the class we used DecoArt www.decoart.com products including fluid acrylics in a variety of colors, crackle medium and media ultra-matte varnish and Andy Skinner’s stamps, Fossils and Birds and Bones by Stampendous www.stampendous.com with Memento tuxedo black ink www.tsukineko.com.

Here are photos of the finished box. Mixed 

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Outside top and front
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Top of the box
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Side of the box
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Back of the box
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Side of the box
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Inside of the box

 

Mixing it Up with Powdered Pigment!

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I love playing with dried paint pigment and my favorites are Bisters, Brushos and Color Burst; although, there are other brands available. This techniques uses a stencil to create a very unique image.

Supplies

Directions

  • Tape down stencil to watercolor paper. You don’t want the water to seep under the stencil, so make sure the stencil is flat.
  • Sprinkle Brusho’s (or other dried paint pigment) over the stencil.
  • Spritz the open areas of stencil with water. Blot with paper towel if too wet. I use the actual paper towel roll to roll over stencil to blot. (Save the paper towels. I will show you how to use them in backgrounds in another post).
  • Repeat until desired color is achieved.
  • Blot stencil with paper towel and remove it.
  • Cut image and mount on card base.

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StencilGirl Products – Dragon Stencil

Art Profolio holder.

Tip – As you can see the stencil is quite large and bigger than a card size. Cut the rest of the stencil up to make great card or ATC backgrounds.

Storage Tip – I have many stencils and I have found a wonderful storage solution, I use a 14″ x 11″ Art Profolio by Itoya available at Dick Blick – www.dickblick.com.

More Info on Dried Paint Pigments – If you want to see more examples, I have a Facebook group – Bister, Brusho, and Color Burst Enthusiasts, check it out!

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Mail Call! Oh, the cards that I’ve sent…

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I recently posted a video from a little girl who received one of my cards and her adorable reaction. I started to think about all of the hundreds of cards that I have sent and if anyone kept them. I actually have been sending a card to each of my three children since they went off to college. All three have kept EVERY card that I have sent! I asked my friends and other family members if they kept my cards and the photos started coming in. Here are just a few of their favorites! Please comment if you want me to provide details on any one.

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Black Ice Technique

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Rubbernecker Stamps – www.rubbernecker.comOpen Range

The Black Ice technique is a great way to use mirror papers in a whole new way.  It’s easy and looks great.

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Supplies

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This was one of the cards I developed for the article written about me in the Featured Artist,  “Reinker Favorite Techniques”, RubberStampMadness, Issue 202, Holidays 2018.

Steps

Cut mirror paper to size of stamp with desired boarder/space around the image. Place cut paper on the craft mat. Tip – I found that taping the paper down with removable tape prevented the paper from moving. Cover half the paper with scrap paper. With one hand hold down the paper on the covered half. With your other hand start by holding the black Stazon ink pad at a 30 degree angle, use the EDGE of the ink pad and start dragging the pad on the  craft mat and then the top of the paper, and drag the ink pad down the paper. Based on the amount of ink and your preference of dark ink at the top and bottom of the paper you can run the black ink on the paper again. Swap the scrap paper to the other side and do the same procedure.  Dry the mirror paper with the heat gun.

The next step is to stamp the image on the streaked mirror paper.  I strongly recommend the use of a stamp positioner for this technique fo two reasons. First mirror  paper is very slippery and when stamping the stamp tends to slip and move. Second, you want to have a good crisp image and a positioner allows you to stamp multiple times in the same place.  Dry the image with the heat gun.

Using VersaMark, follow the same steps that were used with the black Stazon, streak the mirror paper.  Do not use ultra fine embossing powder as you will not get the desired “ice” look.  Cover the streaked VersaMark paper with embossing powder.  Tip – do not touch the paper with your fingers, as the VersaMark will not stick and cover where you touched. Heat the powdered image. If you want more of an “icicle” look, use more of the corner of the VersaMark pad when dragging down the paper. 

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Stamp by Recollections.

This was one of the cards I developed for the article written about me in the Featured Artist,  “Reinker Favorite Techniques”, RubberStampMadness, Issue 202, Holidays 2018.

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Stacy Stamps – www.stacystamps.com, Woodpecker.

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2018 Review – My Favorites!

Thanks for coming with me on my artful journey in 2018. I appreciate the feedback, kind words and encouragement that I have received. With just a few months in, the site has had over 3,000 views, over 1,100 visitors and 200 followers from over 31 countries. I have lots of ideas and creations that I want to share with you in 2019, so please make sure to like, share and follow.

Here are my favorite cards and projects created in 2018!