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“Albert’s Steampunk Dreams” 24″ x 24″ Mixed-Media Wood Panel. Permanent collection of Happy Basset Barrel House, Topeka KS.

2-23-21

Image of Sir Pugsly Pugsworth, Steampug Inventor extraordinare. He is a pug dog dressed up in clothing with a monocle, and top hat. The background is steampunk gears.
“Sir Pugsly Pugsworth” 10″ square cradled wood panel assemblage

I’d like to introduce you to Sir Pugsly Pugsworth, Steampug (Steampunk) inventor extraordinaire. Pugsly is a little bit snooty, despite his short pug snout, so you’ll have to excuse his monocled stare; just please be sure to compliment his fabulous outfit and you’ll become the very best of friends.

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

In a few weeks, I’m having a solo art show at the Happy Basset Barrel House here in Topeka, KS for the month of March. As part of my show, I’m featuring a mini series of dog portraits. The idea for Pugsly has been kicking around in the back of my mind for months now, and at last I got to create him for my upcoming show.

I began Pugsly’s portrait by using our fantastic Steampunk TCW262 Gears stencil. This is hands-down, my favorite stencil, in fact, you may have seen it used in my Otter portrait I completed last year called “Albert’s Steampunk Dreams”. (Albert is a steampunk aviator otter who is featured complete with an airship; see the photo in the header above, or below on this page).

For the background medium, I used TCW 9009 Black Modeling Paste with TCW9025 Plastic Palette Knife. The following photo image shows close-ups of the left and the right sides of the background so that you can see the yummy texture that was created using my heat gun after the modeling paste was applied. I also applied some mica ink sprays and finishing waxes to apply some color and make the raised parts stand out even more.

Next, it was time to create Pugsly’s face. For his fur, I first did some test strips to figure out which medium would be best to use. Based on my test results, I chose to use TCW9005 White Modeling Paste. After sketching Pugsly’s portrait onto the background, I then used TCW9025 Plastic Palette Knife to apply the white modeling paste to his face, ears, and neck. To get the realistic look of his fur, I used a needle tool to scrape the modeling paste into individual strands of his hair. I worked in small sections at a time so that the modeling paste would not dry before I had time to mold it into the individual hairs for his fur.

For Pugsly’s eyes, I used our TCW9052 Super Thick Gel which dries clear and shiny (perfect for eyes!). I left both of these mediums to dry fully overnight, before proceeding.

Close up image showing Pugsly's facial features, including hair/fur and eyes.
TCW9005 White Modeling Paste was used to create the fur. TCW9052 Super Thick Gel was used to create the eyes.

Next, it was time to dress Sir Pugsly. To stick with the Steampug theme, I really wanted him to have a period costume from the genre (of Victorian times or thereabouts) but with a modern twist of bright colors and materials that would not have been used at that time. When designing the costumes or outfits, I make paper templates of each clothing item, to ensure all the pieces and parts will fit together seamlessly (pardon the pun).

The following image shows Pugsly’s jacket and shirt cut out, but not yet attached to him. The pieces are laid on top of his figure to ensure that they will work with the next pieces to be cut, which were his top hat and cravat (neck tie).

Close up image showing the paper templates for the top hat and cravat (neck tie) laid on top of Pugsly's figure with the jacket and shirt fabric pieces also laid on his body.
Clothing paper templates and cut fabric pieces were laid on Pugsly’s body for scale while being designed.

I used TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to attach Pugsly’s clothes and hat. I also used the matte gel medium to affix the metal gear embellishments to his top hat and the background. The brim of Pugsly’s top hat is made of embossed aluminium foil that I hand painted to match the embossed and hand painted hat body foil, these were also adhered using the matte gel medium.

Close up of the right side of the finished work, showing the textural elements in detail.
Pugsly’s clothing was applied using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

I hand painted Pugsly’s features and fur using acrylic paints mixed with the TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to seal the modeling paste. Pugsly’s monocle was a necklace that I had purchased and cut apart to manufacture the monocle shape and chain. The ‘glass’ in the monocle is acetate packaging which I repurposed and cut to size to fit inside the monocle. Pugsly’s monocle was attached using our TCW9052 Super Thick Gel to ensure a strong, yet shiny hold over his eye and clothing. I added some finishing touches using acrylic paints and water soluble aquarelles sealed with our TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

Close up image showing Pugsly's completed monocle in detail.
The monocle was applied to Pugsly’s left eye using TCW9052 Super Thick Gel.

I brushed TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium over the entire background to seal the pieces, mica ink sprays, and finishing waxes.

Close up image showing the left side of the completed work and textural element details.
TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium was used to seal the background elements.

Here is Pugsly’s completed Steampug portrait.

Sir Pugsly Pugsworth's completed Steampug portrait.
Sir Pugsly Pugsworth, completed Steampug portrait.

If you’d like to see my other portraits and works, please hop on over to my Instagram account and follow me as I’m sharing sneak peeks of the twenty plus artworks that will be featured in my upcoming show! Thanks for reading!

2-11-21

Image showing the completed Dandelion Dreams 8" square box canvas with mixed media assemblage.
“Dandelion Dreams” 8″ square box canvas assemblage

When was the last time you picked a wish filled dandelion, and blew on it to send your wishes in the wind? Did your wishes come true? I sure hope they did! I think of wishes and dreams as similar. They are each hopes we send out, with the expectation of receiving them back. So today, my wish for you is that you will learn something from this post, and maybe try it too.

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

Recently, I took a class with Shay Michelle during our Wanderlust 2021 year long online art journaling class. Shay’s class inspired me to step out of my journal onto a canvas, to create this dandelion dreams work.

I began the project by using our new TCW929 Felicia Daisy stencil with a variety of our cool colored ColorSparx watercolor powders. I laid the stencil directly on top of the 8″ square box canvas, sprinkled the ColorSparx powders randomly and lightly over the stencil, then lightly sprayed it with water using our Spritz bottle on a fine mist.

Here’s a fun technique to try: Did you know that putting dry salt on wet watercolor will make the salt absorb the water and color, which will leave a really cool textural effect in the watercolor?

I sprinkled kosher salt over the entire stencil and Colorsparx powders while they were wet. I left the salt to sit on the watercolor and stencil overnight to ensure everything was completely dry. The next day, I lifted the stencil off, and brushed the kosher salt grains off the canvas using a dry stiff paintbrush.
Note: It’s best to rinse a stencil after using it with our Colorsparx powders, to prevent those color powders from potentially straying into your next project!

Close up image showing kosher salt sprinkled randomly over the wet TCW929 Felicia Daisy stencil and the ColorSparx watercolor powders activated with water.
Kosher salt was sprinkled over the wet TCW929 Felicia Daisy stencil and ColorSparx watercolor powders.
This close up image shows the grains of kosher salt absorbing the water and the ColorSparx colors.
Notice how the kosher salt grains are attracting the wet ColorSparx watercolor powders to them?

Next, with the TCW929 Felicia Daisy stencil dried, and lined up again on the canvas, I used my white uni-posca paint pen to outline the stencil. I then cut and glued yarn/twine (ivory with metallic silver thread) from 49 and Market to some of the stencil outlines to form the shaft of each dandelion seed.

I used our TCW9025 plastic palette knife to apply a thin layer of our new TCW9062 Lime Green Stencil Butter to form the inner circle of the dandelion head. Around the outside of the dandelion head and randomly in the middle, (and also to help hold the yarn in place), I applied granite chunky embossing powder for the seed bases to be attached to the dandelion head.

Next, a tore a cotton ball (from the medicine cabinet) into little pieces and glued them randomly around the dandelion to form the fluffy seed heads. I attached these with TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to the canvas.

Close up image showing the torn cotton ball pieces applied randomly around the dandelion seed shafts to form the fluffy dandelion seed heads.
A cotton ball was torn up and applied to the canvas using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

To add a little extra contrast, I outlined the TCW929 Felicia Daisy stencil using a black uni-posca paint pen, and I stenciled the word DREAM on a piece of rice paper using the TCW585 Inspired Words stencil. I attached the rice paper sentiment using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

The DREAM rice paper sentiment was applied to the canvas using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

To add a little extra bling to the dandelion head, I used TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to apply some aurora borealis finish, clear glass seed beads in a ring around the dandelion’s center. I also added a little black stabilo all aquarelle pencil to give depth and dimension.

Aurora Borealis finish clear glass seed beads were applied to the canvas using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

And there you have it. The TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium isn’t quite dry yet, but I couldn’t resist taking pictures to show you right now!

"Dandelion Dreams" 8" square box canvas assemblage
“Dandelion Dreams” 8″ square box canvas assemblage

Want to see more? Hop on over and watch my 31 second quick fly-by video on my YouTube Channel.

If you decide to try the salt technique, I’d love to hear how it goes! Leave me a comment.

1-28-21

Together is the best place to be, don't you think? My wish is for this global pandemic to end. Happy Valentine's Day!
“Together” 8″ square cradled wood panel

Together is the best place to be, don’t you think?

I’m looking forward with hope to the end of this global pandemic. In anticipation of a less than usual Valentine’s Day, I’ll be hoping that all our wishes upon stars make our dreams come true. Go ahead and make some wishes with me, while we walk through this project, together.

With the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I wanted to celebrate something that we all could do together, safely. Just think, all of us can star and moon gaze, safely, together. That’s what inspired me to make this piece, in the hopes that we can all soon be together again, safely.

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I’ve had these heart cuts outs that I’ve just been waiting to use on the right project. Here is my chance! I glued the hearts directly onto the 8″ square cradled wood panel and waited for the glue to dry. I then painted our TCW9002 Black Gesso over the entire front and sides and waited for it to dry.

Close up image showing the wood panel with heart embellishments, painted with black gesso.
TCW9002 Black Gesso was painted over the wood panel and heart embellishments as a base.

I then added some patterned tissue paper that I love (also related to my theme) over part of the front of the design. I used TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to apply the tissue paper.

Solar tissue paper by Finnabair is being applied to part of the wood panel front using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.
Tissue paper being applied with TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

Next, I used colorful water based mica spray inks to add pink, blue, lilac, and teal to the embellished wood panel. The tissue paper really soaks up the ink and holds the colors in place quite well. Once dry, I then used our TCW9001 White gesso and using a very stiff bristled brush, I dry brushed the heart embellishments very lightly to bring out the details and make them appear to pop off the panel.

The wood panel embellished with hearts and tissue paper is sprayed with colorful mica inks, then dry brushed with white gesso to make the details stand out.
Heart embellishments were dry brushed with TCW9001 White Gesso to make them stand out

The tissue dried far more colorfully than I intended, so I sprayed black water based ink over the bright colors to tone them down. When the ink dried, I used the same stiff bristled brush to lightly dab our TCW9006 Gloss Gel Medium over the embellishments to make them appear to shine against the matte background of the black gesso. I also applied some silver finishing wax to help the shine and make it a little brighter.

Gloss gel medium jar is shown next to the wood panel. The gel has been applied to the embellishments.
TCW9006 Gloss Gel Medium was dabbed onto the embellishments for additional shine

Have you met our TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness yet? Have you tried it? This stuff is moon dust and magic in a jar, I swear. I’m in love with this product! Which probably explains why I have created multiple moon pieces of late. Shimmery goodness is a paint consistency product with the most glorious pearlized metallic sheen to it, which suits moons and stars perfectly! Here’s a close up of the moon’s face which I painted with Shimmery Goodness and then hand colored with uni posca pens, signo uni ball pens, and colored pencils.

Close up of the moon face which has been painted with TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness for shine.
TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness was painted on the moon’s face for shine

I also glued on, then painted the metal star embellishments and their halos with the glorious shimmery goodness.

Close up showing the metal star embellishments that were hand painted with the shimmery goodness.
The metal star embellishments were hand painted with Shimmery Goodness for shine

Want to see more? Hop on over and watch my quick fly-by video on my YouTube Channel.

Let it Snow Sign

Image showing the completed Let It Snow artwork.
Let it Snow Sign Mixed Media Sign Board 6″ x 16″

Happy New Year!

Well we didn’t get a white Christmas this year, but we did wake up to a winter wonderland on the first day of the year! What a way to start out. It’s so pretty and peaceful (and let’s be honest, even better to be on vacation so I didn’t have to venture out into it very far!).

I also received my box of new design team goodies from TCW. Boy are we spoiled! The most exciting part for me was the new stencil butters and the new stamps and stencils, not to mention more matte medium gel which I have used more of this past year than ever!

To celebrate the new supplies, of course I had to dive right in. The irony is that several of us chose the same stencil using our new stencil butters, so I realized I had to do something different.

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I always have gloves, but I don’t have any mittens. However, when I saw the new TCW2193 Snowy Mittens Sign Stencil, I just knew I had to use it. In addition to the adorable mittens, I knew I wanted more snowflakes in the background, so I also used our TCW720 Snowflakes stencil.

To start, I used clear embossing fluid with a dauber bottle for the snowflakes stencil. I applied white embossing powder and heat set it using my heat gun. This formed a resist of snowflakes in white on the white mixed media board.

Next, I sprinked Colorsparx powders in Cerulean blue, turquoise, and orchid randomly all over the board, then spritzed it with my Ken Oliver Spritz bottle. Just look at all these beautiful, deeply pigmented powders all mingling together in the water spritz. Yummo! Again, I dried it with my heat gun.

Close up image showing embossed snowflakes with multiple colors of ColorSparx powders sprayed with water.
ColorSparx powders activated with water spritzer over embossed snowflakes

Here’s a close up image of the dried ColorSparx powders over the white embossed snowflake background. I really love the effect it gave to both the snowflakes and the background, definitely a technique I will be using again!

Close up image showing the white embossed snowflakes on the mixed media board, with the ColorSparx powders dried by the heat gun.
Close up image showing the dried ColorSparx powders over the embossed snowflake background.

In order to be able to apply the mitten stencil over the ColorSparx powders, I knew I had to seal them somehow. The snow we had was a very wet and heavy snow, which made me think of replicating a ‘wet look’ somehow. TCW9006 Gloss Gel Medium was the perfect solution.
Recently, I learned that you can apply mediums to a gel plate, then lay it face down with the medium onto the substrate. This enables you to apply the medium without smudging or reactivating and moving the water soluble product below. In the following photo, it shows my catalyst spreader being used to apply the gloss gel medium to my Gel Press six inch square Gel Plate.

Close up image showing the mixed media board in the background, with the gloss gel medium, catalyst spreader, and 6 inch gel plate ready to be placed onto the board.
A 4mm catalyst spreader was used to apply gloss gel medium to the gel plate.

I repeated the gel plate process until the entire mixed media board was covered with the gloss gel. I dried the gloss gel medium with my heat gun to set it, then let it cool a while before I continued.

Now, it was time to add my adorable knitted mittens to the sign. Using a cosmetic sponge, I pounced vertically up and down to lightly apply the TCW9001 White Gesso through the TCW2193 Snowy Mittens Sign Stencil. I used my heat gun to dry the gesso, being careful not to overheat the gloss gel medium so that it did not bubble up.

Close up image showing the snowy mittens stencil applied with white gesso and a cosmetic sponge to the mixed media board.
TCW9001 White Gesso was pounced through the stencil using a cosmetic sponge.

And now for the gloriously creamy, incredibly smooth, easy to use stencil butter. You guys have to try these, they are so easy to use and the vibrant colors are just amazing! I decided to use the Fuschia Stencil Butter with a palette knife held at a 45 degree angle. Working slowly and smoothly, I applied the Fuschia stencil butter to the mixed media board over the stenciled mittens and snowflakes. Just look at that gorgeous deep pink color, isn’t it fabulous?

Close up image showing the Fuschia Stencil Butter applied to the stencil using a palette knife.
I attached permanent botanical foliage to the grapevine wreath around the wired stag’s head.

My friends call me the “Texture Queen”, because I love to manipulate mediums to see what I can get them to do. One of the techniques I love to get into my works is 3D dimension. If you use a heat gun to dry modeling paste, you can experiment with how close you hold the heat gun to the modeling paste. Holding my heat gun about 2″ from the modeling paste allows me to get it to dry, then bubble and puff up, giving a raised, bumpy effect, kind of like puffy paint.

I often use this technique to introduce a 3D aspect into many of my works. So of course I wanted to try it with the new stencil butter, to see how it would perform. As you can see in the following image, it performed absolutely perfectly, giving me a bubbly look, as though someone had thrown wet snow onto the letters.

Close up image show 'it' and 'S' dried and puffy.
Some of the leaves on the wreath were also dry brushed with TCW9001 White Gesso.

As a last step, I really wanted more contrast around the letters to make them stand out more on the sign. Using black water-based ink and a paintbrush, I washed the ink over and around the letters. The ink sinks down into the valleys of the letters and around the edges, helping the letters really pop out against the background. If you accidentally apply too much ink, you can remove it very lightly with a damp paintbrush. The mountains of bubbles in the modeling paste are very fragile as they are hollow. If you touch them too hard, they will collapse down, and it is almost impossible to get them to rise again because the modeling paste has already been dried.

The finished "Let it Snow" sign board displayed so that the whole completed sign is visible.
The completed “Let it Snow” sign.

Want to see a quick video? Hop on over and watch my quick fly-by video on my YouTube Channel.

Until next time, happy experimenting and happy day!

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

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Celestial Stag

Image of foliage wreath containing a papier mache head of a stag covered with stars and a moon.
Celestial Stag Wreath 20″ x 20″

12-24-20

Happy Christmas Eve to those of you who celebrate Christmas.

Did you get to see the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on the evening of December 21, 2020? I was watching it happen over the course of that entire week. Yep, I’m a romantic star gazer. I’m fascinated by astronomy, planets, galaxies, nebulas, and more; are you? I totally geeked out over the recent ISS and Dragon X docking too. I loved it when baby yoda was released into the ISS by the Japanese astronaut, what a hoot!

OK, back to earth…. Do you celebrate the winter solstice? I like to turn inward and reflect on the past year. What worked, what didn’t work, dreams, feelings, plans, ideas, and so much more. It’s the time of year where I like to slow down, rest, contemplate life, and think about what my word of intention and focus will be for the following year. It’s become an annual tradition for me, to take a break from life, take a step back, slow down and stop to listen to my inner wisdom and dreams.

To celebrate the winter solstice, the conjunction, and the night sky, I decided to create a wreath to decorate my home for the winter. Being isolated due to the global pandemic since March, and doing so much art this year, has finally given me the confidence to actually hang my own art in my own home! Please, come celebrate with me, as we journey across the winter night skies in celebration of the stars, moon, and once in a lifetime conjunction experience!

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I bought this little stag several years ago. I always wanted to use him on a wreath, but I never knew what theme I wanted to do until now. The idea came to me during my weekly video chat with my parents back home in Australia. We were discussing the upcoming conjunction and solstice, and that’s what sparked the inspiration to create this magical winter solstice wreath.

Image of the wreath featuring the papier mache stag head decorated in celebration of the winter night sky.
Papier mache stag head on foliage wreath.

To begin, I added some patterned tissue paper that I love (also related to my theme) to the papier mache stag head. I used TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to apply the tissue paper over the entire stag head.

Close up image showing the papier mache antler being covered with TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium and tissue paper.
Tissue paper being applied with TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

Next, I used the TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to add the moon to the stag’s forehead, and to add some wooden stars to the stag’s face and antlers. I allowed these to dry overnight, so that they would be fully dry and adhered completely.

Close up images of the stag head showing the tissue paper applied. Now, I am adding the moon and wood stars to the face and antlers of the stag using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.
Wooden stars and metal moon embellishments added with TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium

The tissue dried far more colorfully than I thought it would, so I decided to give the stag’s head a coat of stiff dry brushed TCW9001 White Gesso, mixed with a little water to make it somewhat translucent. I did this so that the initial design from the tissue paper would still be slightly visible yet far less colorful, with the added advantage of adding texture and a distressed, shabby chic, rustic finish.

Close up showing the stag head with moon and stars dry brushed in TCW9001 white gesso mixed with a little water to give it a shabby chic, distressed paint, rustic finish.
TCW9001 White Gesso was dry brushed onto the stag’s head for a distressed, rustic effect.

Now, I was done creating the base for the stag’s head. Next, I wired the stag head to an unadorned grapevine wreath; which I then decorated with permanent botanical foliage. Full disclosure: I am an accredited florist by the Nebraska Academy of Floral Designers. A skill set that has served me well and is great to have for the creation of home decor and much more!

Using glue, I attached the permanent botanicals and foliage to the grapevine wreath surrounding the stag's head (which was wired to the wreath base).
I attached permanent botanical foliage to the grapevine wreath around the wired stag’s head.

Some of the leaves on the wreath were also dry brushed with TCW9001 White Gesso to provide unity in design between the wreath and the stag’s head, by providing repetition and similarity to tie the elements together.

Close up of the completed botanical foliage added to the wreath. Some of the leaves were also dry brushed with TCW9001 White Gesso to provide unity between the wreath and the stag's head.
Some of the leaves on the wreath were also dry brushed with TCW9001 White Gesso.

Next, I really wanted to add stars to the stag’s head, but with the curves and shapes, the stencil wouldn’t bend around it properly and lay flat to allow crisp stenciling. I contemplated for a while, then came up with an idea. I used TCW9004 Light & Fluffy Modeling paste through TCW5004 Star Shower stencil onto a 1 ply white paper napkin (serviette). I dried this immediately with my heat gun.

Using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium, I tore the napkin into small pieces and attached it over the stag’s head and antlers with a brush. This gave me exactly the effect I wanted. The napkin blended in perfectly with the white gesso background, leaving the light & fluffy stars to stand out with a 3D effect!

TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium was used to adhere the paper napkin to the stag’s head.
Close up images showing the stag's head with 3D effect stars on decoupaged paper napkin.
The finished stag’s head, showing the 3D effect stars

Now, I needed to decide if I wanted to add colour to the stag head. In trying different colour themes and ideas, I was able to take the progression of four different finishes. I took a photo of each option to show you what they looked like, until I settled on the final combination.

This first finish shows the stag’s head as is. This shabby chic, white distressed finish is the perfect neutral finish that would suit any home decor color palette.

Image of the finished wreath with the white distressed, shabby chic rustic finish. A very neutral color palette.
Stag’s head with white, distressed rustic finish. Also known as “shabby chic”.

Next, I wanted to try a blue color to reflect the twilight sky, just after sunset. I settled on a deep blue water based ink, mixed with water, and applied liberally with a brush over the entire head. I really love the watercolor effect this achieved.

Close up images showing the stag's head with blue watercolor applied in a mottled finish, giving a slightly rustic yet modern twist.
Water based dark blue ink applied in washes with a brush and water.

I decided the blue was a little too light in color. I really wanted more intensity of color to accurately reflect the darkness of the night sky, and to make the stars really stand out, so I added some additional water color washes with a dark brown and a black water based ink that had blue mica powder mixed into it.

Image showing two close up photos of the stag's head with the two darker water color washes applied.
Water based ink washes in dark brown and black with blue mica powder were applied with a brush and water.

I feel like Goldilocks! Now I decided the stag was too dark! I really wanted it to shine more. I had literally just watched a video of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). That gave me the idea to try a peacock blue finishing wax over the dark finish. Voila! The perfect shining night sky was achieved!

Close up images of the stag's head showing the gorgeous peacock blue/green metallic wax finish.
Gorgeous peacock blue metallic finishing wax created the perfect Aurora Borealis finish!

And for the finishing touch, some sumptuous TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness was added to the crescent moon and wood stars to really shine. And with that, the Celestial Stag was now complete!

Close up image of stag head showing TCW9012 Shimmery goodness applied to the stars and moon.
TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness was hand painted onto the moon and stars with a brush
Close up of stag antlers showing foliage and bird's nest on left antler.
Look at that cute little bird’s nest perched in the left antler!
Image showing the completed wreath hanging on my wall.
The completed Celestial Stag 20″ wreath hanging proudly in my home!

Want to see more? Hop on over and watch my quick fly-by video on my YouTube Channel.

Peace on Earth

Image showing the 9" x 12" mixed media art journal page on 140lb watercolor paper.
Peace On Earth Art Journal page 9″ x 12″ 140lb watercolor paper

12-10-20

Happy Holidays! My new blog post is up today over on The Crafter’s Workshop blog site.

There’s no doubt about it, 2020 has been quite the year, for so many reasons, not least a global pandemic.

I like to take the month of December to reflect inwardly about the past year and all of it’s happenings. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting period of reflection so far considering the amount of lifestyle changes and ongoing changes we have all had to make. I began to realize just how important inner peace is for all of us; to find our center and balance, no matter our outside circumstances. That’s what prompted me to make this Peace on Earth art journal page.

There is a wonderful phrase in the Japanese culture and language called “Shirin-yoku”, which literally means “forest bathing”. This is a crucial part of my daily practice to maintain my own centeredness and balance, and that’s what I decided to portray for myself to keep my internal peace and while keeping the negativity at bay.

We are blessed to live with a large green space surrounding us and we love to take daily jaunts up to the apple orchard, around it, and back again. We are so fortunate to have this daily opportunity to observe all the minute and big changes, wildlife, seasons, and the cycle of life. Second only to my daily art practice, this is one of the biggest joys and peace creators in my life.

To reflect the blue sky, I began with laying down TCW9001 White gesso, and mixed a little permanent light blue acrylic paint in. I love to use an old hotel key card to spread the gesso and paint over the page. I remember the first time I saw this done, and was amazed at how quick it was to cover the entire page (as opposed to using a brush which is what I used to do!).

Images showing TCW9001 White gesso, mixed on the page with light blue acrylic paint, both applied together with an old hotel key card.
TCW9001 White gesso and light blue acrylic paint applied with old hotel key card.

In the second step, I used raw umber acrylic paint on a cosmetic sponge and dabbed it through stencil TCW252 Aspen Trees to create the woods we walk through daily. I created the bottom half of the trees lighter in color as they will have additional layers added over them.

Image showing the stenciled page of aspen trees over the blue sky.
Raw umber acrylic paint applied with a cosmetic sponge through stencil TCW252 Aspen Trees.

Next, I wanted to create a feeling of an under canopy, all the plants that grow around the base of the trees that we walk through. For this, I selected two different stencils, TCW243 Ferns and TCW862 Maidenhair Fern. I applied the maidenhair fern stencil first using yellow ochre acrylic paint, then I applied the ferns using sap green acrylic paint. Both these layers used a cosmetic sponge to dab the paint through the stencils onto the page.

Image showing maidenhair fern and fern fronds stenciled over the aspen tree background as the under canopy of the forest.
TCW243 Ferns and TCW862 Maidenhair Fern stenciled using acrylic paint on a cosmetic sponge.

I really wanted the viewer to have the feeling of being immersed in the forest and trees, so I used the reverse side of stencil TCW870 Fir branch to add an overhanging branch in the top left corner of the page. Again, I used a cosmetic sponge to apply the paint colors, this time using Payne’s Grey and Sap Green for the needles, and Burnt Sienna and Payne’s Grey for the pine cones.

TCW870 Fir branch was stenciled in the top left corner of the page to help the viewer feel immersed in and surrounded by the forest and trees.
TCW870 Fir branch stenciled in the upper left corner of the page.

Now, I was done adding all of the background elements. Next, I wanted to create a mandala background for my seated figure. I began by dry brushing in a circular motion TCW9001 White gesso lightly in a large sphere on the right side of the page as a placeholder for the mandala to be stenciled on to.

TCW9001 white gesso dry brushed in a circular pattern over the right side of the page to form the place holder for the mandala and seated figure.
TCW9001 White gesso dry brushed to create the background for the mandala.

I used stencil TCW905 Leaf emblem mandala stencil to create the mandala background for the seated figure. I applied Cadmium Yellow Medium hue acrylic paint with a cosmetic sponge and dabbed the paint through the stencil onto the white gesso sphere. I kept the edges of the sphere showing around the edges of the mandala stencil to give it a glow effect against the darker background colors.

Stencil TCW905 Leaf emblem mandala was stenciled over the top of the white gesso sphere on the right side of the page.
TCW905 Leaf emblem mandala stencil to create the mandala background for the seated figure.

I really wanted the mandala to have an esoteric feel to it, so I decided to use ColorSparx powders in green shades to reflect the background greenery, and also to provide depth and interest within the mandala design, showcasing the leaf emblems. I first applied a thin layer of TCW9011 matte gel medium over the stenciled design. I then laid the stencil down, sprinkled the ColorSparx powders over the stencil, and spritzed them with water to activate the powders.

Stencil TCW905 Leaf emblem in two images. The left image shows the green ColorSparx powders sprinkled. The right image shows the ColorSparx powders spritzed with water which has activated the colors and effects.
ColorSparx powders in shades of green were sprinkled, then spritzed with water.

I had found an image in a magazine and cut it out to create a mask for my seated figure. I laid the mask down onto the page, then sponged TCW9001 White gesso and TCW9002 Black gesso around the outlines of the figure to create a shadow and a glow. I added a stamped image with dark green embossing powder over the seated figure.

TCW9001 White gesso and TCW9002 Black gesso were sponged around the outlines of the seated figure.

Now, I was ready to add the remaining foreground elements, consisting of forest floor mushrooms, a flower, and the sentiment. TCW9001 White gesso was sponged through stencils TCW578 Mini Whimsical Shrooms (Alas! This stencil is now retired, but you could easily substitute another stencil) and TCW585 Inspired Words to complete the foreground elements.

Forest floor mushrooms were added using white gesso over the background images.
Foreground elements were added using white gesso sponged through the stencils.

I then hand painted and colored the foreground elements.

Image showing the hand painted mushrooms, flowers, and grass in the foreground.
Hand painted mushrooms, flowers, and foliage in the foreground.
Image showing hand painted mandala details, fir branches and pine cones.
Hand painted mandala background, outlined figure and sentiment, and fir branch with pine cones.

I’ve included a few close up shots for you to see the details more easily.

Close up images of hand painted mushrooms, flower, and seated figure with mandala background.
Close up images of hand painted mushrooms, flower, and seated figure details.
Two images showing the completed fir branch with pine cones, outlined sentiment, and mandala details.
Close up images of fir branch with pine cones, sentiment, and mandala details.
Image showing the completed Peace on Earth art journal page.
The completed Peace on Earth art journal page, 9″ x 12″ on 140lb watercolor paper.

To see more, hop on over and watch my quick fly-by video on my YouTube Channel.

Sunflower Garden Keeper SOLD
12″ Mixed Media Board

9-10-20

Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the beautiful Sunflower Keeper who is tending her garden and thinking about what to plant next. This project was inspired by the Montage Moments class I took from Kate Morgan on Ivy Newport’s site.

This project is a 12″ x 12″ mixed media board featuring modeling paste, gel medium, lots of ColorSparx watercolor powders, stenciling, painting, collage, and assemblage. And yes, those are real cicada wings (from an already deceased one), and her skirt features turkey feathers which I find a ton of daily while I walk Miss Maggie.

To watch my two part video tutorial about how the garden was created, hop on over to my YouTube channel.

Explore Multi-Layered Mixed Media Artwork Page

8-27-20

Today’s project over on the TCW Blog and my YouTube channel features a yummy 12 layered gelli plate printed and stenciled mixed media artwork page.

Explore Multi-Layered Mixed Media Artwork page

To watch my video tutorial about how this artwork was created, hop on over to my YouTube channel.

To read my blog post about this artwork, head on over to the TCW Blog post page.



Steampunk Junk
Mini Journal – SOLD

8-13-20

For my first project as a Design Team Member for The Crafter’s Workshop (TCW), I decided to use my all time favorite TCW stencil, Steampunk Gears (TCW262s) to hand craft a custom mini journal. This journal is 4″ square, features 24 hand painted pages, a custom colored cotton canvas cover, and steampunk gear charms.

To see more, check out my blog post over on the TCW blog and watch my process video over on my YouTube Channel.

Hand made Steampunk Junk mini journal

The Crafter’s Workshop
Design Team Member
2020-21

8-1-20

Today, it was announced that I was selected to be on the 2020-21 Design Team for TCW, The Crafter’s Workshop.

Every other week I’ll be creating a new project or artwork, featuring TCW stencils and products, and writing a blog post for the TCW blog, so hop on over and check out our amazing daily projects by our fabulous design team. 12 incredibly talented artists from all over the world will be posting their works, process photos & videos, and tips for creating your own mixed media projects.

Don’t worry, I’ll also be posting my projects here on my blog too!

TCW Design Team Badge GIF

Hand crafted nature journal

Tonight, I completed my Wanderlust 2020, Week 20, Nature Journal class with Christine Karpiak from Canada.

Christine’s class taught us how to gut an old book, and give it new life with new pages, signatures, and covers. I rediscovered how much I enjoy hand making journals! Very enjoyable.

Wanderlust 2020 – Week 20 – Hand crafted nature journal

Albert’s Steampunk Dreams earns top dollar billing – SOLD

April 25, 2020

Tonight was the Facebook Live Art Auction for the Friends of Topeka Zoo fundraiser. Tonight, Albert was auctioned off for $1,550 with full proceeds benefiting The Friends Of The Topeka Zoo non-profit organization. In addition, I also donated my Zoo Membership which raised an additional $100. A great event, and I’m delighted to hear that they reached their event goal amount. Grateful for a wonderful opportunity to give back to our community, especially in these times.



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