Tuesday, June 7, 2016


It's a new month and time for a new art adventure at Creative Carte Blanche to stretch those imaginations and your creative spirit.

This month, Susan Mostek is hosting a wide open to interpretation theme "Winged Things".  I wanted to get out of my comfort zone with the obvious birds, butterflies and fairies.  So, I jumped on the steampunk express and decided to create a Finnabair style 8x10 canvas. 

This was SO MUCH fun to do and I absolutely LOVE the results!  This canvas has a home on my bedroom wall in the center of a wrought iron piece that needed an update. I am redoing the room with teal accents and I think it's very cool when you can incorporate your own art into your home!

I do not have any of the new Finnabair art products (other than some of her Prima Vintage Trinkets and Junkyard Findings metal pieces).  I am sure they are amazing as Finnabair is SUCH a talent and a very knowledgeable artist.  I substituted products that I have and they worked perfectly.  What you use is totally up to you as we try hard not to push any one brand over another.   

To begin this process, I went into my stash of all sorts of texture items: laces, metals, chipboard, etc.  I had a little paper mache dress form that I bought at Michaels for $1.00 but I did not have wings big enough for it.  So, I die cut a pair using Tim Holtz' Layered Angel Wings die cut and plain Grunge Board.  Then I embossed them using TIm's Iron Gate Texture Fade embossing folder.  NOW I had the perfect size wings for my "Winged Things" canvas!

I first painted over a blue denim 8x10 canvas that I got from Michaels on a clearance sale for $1.25. ( I love bargains and making art our of practically nothing!)  I painted over the canvas using DecoArt Black Gesso.  Once dry ...

I added randomly cut sizes of old cardstock and book text that I have saved forever.  I brushed Golden's Extra Heavy Gloss Gel onto the canvas and then pressed the various cardstock pieces in place.  Since this was a "Winged Things" theme, I tried to add a few winged images in the background.  I brushed over the cardstock with the gloss gel to seal it.  Then I gently heat set it.

Next I added a floral design using a full stencil and Golden Extra Heavy Gloss Gel over the entire surface of the canvas.  I let it dry naturally although you could gently heat set it.  Be sure to clean your stencil immediately after using.

Here is what the canvas looked like at this point.  I did go back and add a few more stenciled flowers in areas that seemed bare; like the corners.

While the gel was still wet, I sprinkled a few of Martha Stewart's glass micro beads randomly on the surface of the canvas; primarily around the exterior of the canvas.  Then I let everything air dry.  I did this for the texture and to add dimension to the background. 

I glued the Layered Angel Wings together using Golden's Extra Heavy Gloss Gel and also brushed over the tops of the wings.  I gently heat set them; in preparation for gluing them onto the canvas.

Now it was time to begin gluing all of my pieces in place, creating a design and dimension.  Don't worry about the colors of any of the objects you are adding.  They will all be covered up with black gesso and acrylic paint.  Just look for dimension, different patterns, detail and textures. 

 Arrange your pieces to create a nice design that your eye will follow.  In this case, the eye should follow from the upper left to the lower right once everything is glued in place.  I started with the laces and chipboard pieces, then the large metal door plate in the center, next the wings and dress form and then all of the surrounding elements.  These were all glued in place using the Extra Heavy Gloss Gel.  Then I brushed over the elements to seal them with the same gel.  Just keep layering and adding healthy amounts of gel to hold everything together.  Let this dry naturally overnight.

Here is my canvas after gluing almost all of my elements in place.  Again, the colors of the objects make absolutely no difference.  Just look at the dimension, detail and design of your canvas.

Let's talk about detail.  Here is my winged dress form that is the FOCAL POINT of my canvas.  At this point, it is very plain.  I have all sorts of elements glued around it but in comparison, the dress form is boring.  Add some elements to really create a lot of detail and interest to the dress form and make your eye go to it first.

Again, the colors don't matter.  Just the design and details!  See the difference between the above dress form and this one?  I have added lots of details that will really show up once I begin to paint and then dry brush this piece.  I added clothes to the dress form using Dresden metal trim I have had forever.  I first put the pieces in place using 1/8" Scor Tape (double sided tape).  Once in place, I gently brushed over and under the trim with Golden Soft Gloss Gel to seal it.  I added the crown at the top using Glossy Accents to hold it in place then brushed over it with the soft gel to seal it.  I added the metal accents to the neck and wings to the shoulders with Glossy Accents and brushed over them with soft gel to seal them. Finally, I brushed soft gel over the plain torso of the dress form and sprinkled on more micro beads.  TEXTURE!!!  Later I had a plan to add a metal butterfly and small door knocker onto the dress form but that would be the very last thing I would do.

Now here is the canvas with all of my details and ready for the next step!

I used the Black Gesso and painted all of the elements and unevenly around the edges of the canvas black!  Yes, PAINT IT ALL BLACK!  Scary but trust me, soon you will be dry brushing and all of those details of all of your elements will begin to reappear and it will be AMAZING!

Next step ... use some shimmery color spray and spray around the outside of your canvas to bring out the colors of your cardstock that is still visible through the Extra Heavy Gloss Gel.  I used these Heidi Swapp's Color Shine colors.  If a little gets onto the black, don't worry.  You will be dry brushing over the black elements.  I added a couple of layers of the color spray because it is semi transparent and I wanted my colors to be a little deeper.  Gently heat set.

Now the magic begins!  Begin DRY BRUSHING (emphasis on DRY) over all of the elements with acrylic paint.  I used DecoArt's Dazzling Metallics and began with a gold tone.  Then dry brush over the gold with a silver tone.  Go back over the silver randomly with a bit of the gold to really blend the metallic look.  Next to really pop the metallic look, randomly dry brush some of the elements with a copper paint.  I used an antique copper look with Worn Penny.  Just keep dry brushing with the paint colors until you achieve the metallic look you desire.

Add another metallic color of choice to pop some of your cardstock background colors.  In this case, I wanted to pop the teal so I chose DecoArt's Peacock Pearl.  I also love the patina effect it provides.

To really give a sense of depth, I combined DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black which is a matte acrylic paint with DecoArt's Dazzling Metallics Rich Espresso, a very deep, rich shimmery brown.  These two colors combined and a detail paint brush allowed me to go around my elements and add shadows and depth and dimension to my canvas.

Finally, I wanted to add my last two metallic pieces to the dress form to really pop it's detail and dimension!  I first rubbed some of the DecoArt Peacock Pearl color over the already antique bronze finish of the pieces.  Then I attached the chains to the lion's head door knocker and hot glued it in place.  I hot glued the butterfly in place and added the chains to the upper wings using jump rings.  Last, I added tiny pearls to the spaces in the butterfly using Glossy Accents.

This is why all of the details and textures you add in the very beginning are so important! Just LOOK at all of the details that come out after you dry brush in various acrylic paint colors.  Beautiful!

I LOVE the dimension and depth these simple pieces give to the entire canvas!

Don't be afraid to experiment and get out of your comfort zone with new products, new styles and something you've never tried before!  That is how you learn, how your grow and how you really do get a sense of what appeals to your artistic eye.

I hope you'll join us at Creative Carte Blanche by creating something using the "Winged Things" theme.  Then link up to our community and share your art and your creative process with others.  There is so much we can share and learn from each other.


Monday, June 6, 2016


It's the start of a new week and I wanted to share some art journal pages I recently finished.

I am loving my Wanderlust 2016 year long art journal.  We are given prompts approximately every other week.  They are thought provoking and sometimes a real challenge to put my feelings down on paper in art form.  But I love doing it!  For me, it's a very introspective and creative process.

"What I am most grateful for ..."  Just think about that for a few minutes.  SO MANY things come to mind ... what I am I THE MOST grateful for?  

It took a while for me to really consider ALL of my blessings and I came upon the one thing that I think is at the root of all other things that make me grateful.


I created this simple tree of life covered in hearts.  Life and love are so intertwined.  I cannot separate the two.

At the center of my tree is a cross with a heart in the center representing my faith in God and my belief that from Him, all things are created, given and blessed.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 is a beautiful scripture often referred so as "The Love Chapter" in the Bible.  I thought these words were so appropriate for these pages.  They truly express what unconditional love is all about.

It begins with my Heavenly Father: the creator of life and was then passed onto me through my loving parents.  What a gift!

I pray that I have been able to share this type of love with my family and friends.  

So what I am MOST grateful for is the unconditional love that is at the foundation of everything:  happiness, harmony, understanding, joy, compassion and so forth.

I began these pages by covering my art journal pages with some different Tim Holtz' Tissue Wrap papers.  I glued them in place using DecoArt's Media Matte Medium.  Then I brushed over the pages to seal them.

Next I added some torn cardstock, book text, portions of a doily and some corrugated paper to the pages.  I glued them in place using DecoArt Media Matte Medium and then brushed over them to seal them.

Once dry, I began adding DecoArt Media White Gesso on top of the pages in random strokes ... not covering up all of the colors, pattern and textures of the papers below.  Let dry or gently heat set.

I added more texture to the pages by using some DecoArt Media Modeling Paste through Tim Holtz' Bricked and Bubble Stencils.  I randomly added the bubbles towards the top of the pages and the bricks across the bottom to create a wall effect on either side of the pages.  Let dry and immediately clean your stencils.

When the Modeling Paste was dry, I began to add color to my pages.  I started with the corrugated paper that was going to represent the Earth and grass and the brick walls.  I experimented with a combination of DecoArt's Media Fluid Acrylics and Dr. Ph Martin's Concentrated Water Colors.  After I had colored my bricks, I added depth to the mortar with a Stabilo black pencil and a Detailer Water Brush.

Now ti was time to add some color to the sky.  I experimented with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White and Dr. Ph Martin's Turquoise Blue to create a wispy blue sky.  I did not want to cover up the musical notes and other images below so the water color was a wonderful semi transparent blue.  I dabbed some solid Titanium White to add a cloudlike texture along with the stenciled bubbles.  I loved the varying hues of the blue sky!

Then I sketched my Tree of Life onto the pages.  I off set the tree to the left of center so that I could add my scripture to the right of the tree.

The tree began to take shape as I used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics to paint it.  These colors are more opaque and really made the tree stand out against the wispy sky.

The tree was painted using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics: Burnt Umber for the tree bark, Pyrolle Red for the hearts, Hansa Yellow Medium for the cross, a combination of Blue Green  Light and Yellow Green Light for the leaves.  I then added a black line around the tree and the hearts.  

A little trick ... I sized the scripture to fit in my space on the right side of my page.  I then attached a piece of plain tissue paper to a piece of copy paper by taping it around all of the edges using 1/4" Scor Tape.  Then I ran the tissue paper taped to my copy paper through my printer and it worked perfectly!

I then tore the tissue paper around the edges of the scripture because the edges of torn tissue paper melts better into the background than does cut paper edges.  I brushed DecoArt Media Matte Medium over the area where I would be laying down my tissue paper.  Then I laid the tissue paper in place, made sure there were no wrinkles over the letters and then brushed over the top of the tissue paper with Matte Medium to seal it in place.

Here is a closeup of the left side of the pages.  You can see alot more detail in the background in this picture and also the depth that the corrugated paper and stabilo pencil shading add.  I also added a dry brush effect of DecoArt Gold Metallic paint around the cross.

I hope that you are having a lovely day and you are finding some time to create!