Friday, August 29, 2014

I will be teaching at Absolutely Everything in September

It is official!  I will be teaching my "Powerful Words and Women" Class at Absolutely Everything in Topsfield, MA.  The class is taking place on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 10 am to 2:30 pm.  You can get the details at the website.  This is a mini accordion ATC book filled with 8 ATCs that students will create from Dina Wakley's "All the Gals" rubber stamps.  It will be a lot of fun, hope you can make it.

Hugs ~ Renee xx

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pocket Stencils Have Powerful Words!

I am using my Pocket Stencils today to create some impact on a canvas.  Artistcellar has tiny stencils called Pocket Stencils that measure 3 1/2" by 2 1/2".  The stencils I chose to use today are from two different packets of four called "Virtues Words" and "Creative Words".  Each stencil does fit perfectly on an ATC but in this project I'm using them on a canvas that measures 12" by 4".  Here is what my finished project looks like.

I began by applying a thin layer of gesso to the blank canvas with an old credit card, scraping off the excess.  When the gesso was completely dry I painted 2" lines of DWM acrylic paints.  I started with Ruby Red.

Then I added Tangerine Orange and Lemon Yellow lines.  With each color I tried to drag just a touch of the previous color down using a baby wipe.

I continued with Lime, Turquoise, Lapis and Lapis mixed with Berry Violet and White.

When the paint was dry I started applying the words using my stencils and some gesso.  I tried to apply the gesso carefully since I wanted the lines to be clean and legible.  I had to allow the gesso time to dry between each word so I didn't smudge my work along the way.

When all the words were dry I inked the edge of the canvas with StazOn Midnight Blue.  Now I just need to put a small metal hanger on the back and it is ready to go.

Thanks for joining me today.  I'll be back next Tuesday with more stenciling ideas to try.  In the meantime, enjoy what is left of summer.  I noticed today some of the local orchards have opened for apple picking.  Amazing!  Pie time.  Take care ~ Renee xx

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Unruly Paperarts Challenge with the theme "Take Flight"

The Reader Art Quest Challenge at Unruly PaperArts for August is about things that fly, with the theme Take Flight.  Well, that really covers a lot of flying things, doesn't it.  I decided to submit a tag I just completed.

I used a size #8 tag Ranger manila tag that measured 6 1/4" by 3 1/4".  I applied Distress Inks first in Rusty Hinge and Worn Lipstick and sprayed it with water to activate the inks.  When it was dry I stamped some Stampers Anonymous images on it with StazOn Black ink.  I was working on a different project at the same time so I wiped left over DWM Ruby Red acrylic paint onto the tag.  The image is cut out of Graphic 45 paper "Steampunk Spells" Collection. My lady in the image has wings so that is the Take Flight part of the challenge.  I stamped the word from PaperArtsy on scrap paper and then tore the edges and inked them.  A few cogs were glued in place with Beacon 3-in-1 glue.  I taped the piece at the bottom of the tag with some leftover Ranger Foil paper that had been embossed and then distressed the bottom with clear embossing powder and StazOn Jet Black ink.  To top it off I rubbed the same Distress Inks on some plain binding tape, sprayed it with water and let the colors mix up.  When dry I tied a big bow on the top.  My lady's face is covered with a thin sheet of Mica.

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave a comment if you have time, I love hearing from you. ~ Renee xx

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stencils and Stamps

I love to combine my products and techniques in projects.  The more products I can use the happier I am since I feel like I am getting more for my money.  Today I combined a canvas with stencils, stamps, inks and spray inks...oh, and pens, too!  I have over the past few weeks coincidentally created what appears to be a series of Dyan Reaveley stamped ladies on canvases.  So here is another with an attitude.

I began by cutting a piece of watercolor paper to fit the 6" by 6" canvas; I will do all the work on the paper first and then glue it to the canvas.  I stamped a post card image from Stampers Anon first using Tsukineko Radiant Neon Electric Blue pigment ink.  When this was dry I placed an Artistcellar Julie Fei-Fan Balzer "Scripted Profile" stencil over the paper and sprayed Imagine Crafts irRESISTible textured spray in the Angel Pink color through the stencil.  I lifted this straight up so it wouldn't smear and then set it aside to dry.  This texture spray feels like a liquid plastic when it is dry and shines.  Now that I had my background I stamped Dina Wakley's Lonely Girl stamp using StazOn Jet Black ink and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder.

Looking for a little more character in her face, I stamped Dyan Reaveley's girls with attitude from the Dependable Dot Collection, colored it with Copics and then trimmed it out.  It fit perfectly glued onto her slender shoulders.

The phrase is also from Dyan's stamps and trimmed out.  I die cut a crown from scrap paper glued it to her head and added one word "me".  To distress the edges I used StazOn Midnight blue, direct to paper method.  Now to add it to the canvas, I glued the panel onto the canvas with Beacon 3-in-1 adhesive.

If this is all I wanted to do with the canvas I could have stopped here but I decided to add an antique crystal knob to the top with a bow.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Next Tuesday you will find me here again sharing tips on what to do with all those wonderful stencils!  I hope you're having a great summer.  Take care ~ Renee

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Stencils Provide Background Interest

It is Tuesday so it's Artistcellar Stencil day!  Today I made a small canvas that I will also be submitting to the Stampotique Challenge of the week....Bows.  Let's get started!

The Prom Queen Stampotique stamp has always been my favorite in their collection.  I've been using her for many years now the only difference today is she's doing the splits.  I couldn't fit her and the phrase from Stampers Anonymous on the 6" by 6" canvas without a little surgery.  I started the canvas by painting on some DWM acrylic paint in the Lemon color.

I added a tiny drop of DWM Umber to the yellow on my palette to get the shading on the edges.  Then I inked the edges of the canvas with Distress Ink Vintage Photo.  Now it was time to pull out the stencils.  I used Sea Fan from the Artistcellar Coral series.  I placed it on the canvas and then using a stencil brush, pounced white gesso on random areas; then carefully lifted up the stencil and allowed the canvas to dry.

While the gesso was drying I busied myself with stamping, coloring my image with Copics and then trimming her out.  I stamped the phrase, tore the edges and distressed them using a Copic pen.  I attached the stamped pieces to the canvas using Beacon 3-in-1 adhesive and applied some clear GooseBumps with a brush to a few areas to give them a little shine.

I attached a small antique knob to the top of the canvas.  The knob gives me something to tie the bow to.  I do this with a lot of small canvases since they look best placed on a stack of books or on a shelf.

This is a nod to all my online friends.  My husband calls them my "imaginary friends" since he has never met them.  I keep telling him they are as real as I am!

I hope you'll give stencils a try, they make such nice background textures.  We've had a lovely summer here in New England.  Take care ~ Renee

Friday, August 8, 2014

Craft Stamper Challenge::Favorite Technique Half-Way Point!

This is a reminder post that it is the half way point of the Craft Stamper Take It Make It Challenge.  The challenge is to make something using your favorite technique shown in the CS magazine over the course of this year.  Personally, I still love the embossing powder resist technique shown by Anna-Karin Evaldsson shown in the August 2014 issue of Craft Stamper.  I used it here with a Balzer Designs stencil called Mini Chunky Chevron.  I've included a tutorial to show how I made this 6" by 6" canvas.

I began by placing my stencil over a piece of 6" by 6" watercolor paper.  I used the direct to paper method of applying my VersaMark embossing ink.  After gently lifting the stencil straight up I applied clear embossing powder and melted the powder with my heat gun.  Then I applied Tsukineko Radiant Neon Electric inks in Pink, Purple and Blue.  I applied the inks direct to paper and then wiped them off with a baby wipe to expose the embossed chevron design.

It almost has the coloring of an opal!  I just kept applying and wiping it off until I liked the color.  I set that aside and stamped the Dyan Reavely image called Dependable Dotty on a separate sheet of paper.  I colored her in with Memento Markers and Copic pens, cut off her wings and cut her legs off since she was too tall to fit on the canvas.  I stamped and cut out one of Dyan's phrases and set that aside.

I glued all of my elements to the water color panel and distressed the edges with Jet Black StazOn ink to frame it.  I highlighted certain parts like the phrase, her hat, shoes, tie, etc. with GooseBumps and a paint brush.  When this is dry it leaves a high gloss finish behind and adds more texture to the piece.

I let the panel sit until it was completely dry and then glued it on to a 6" by 6" plain white canvas that I bought on sale at my local craft store.

Just put this little canvas in your office cubicle or your work area at home and that is the end of the discussion, right?

  If you can I would encourage you to visit the Take It Make It challenge and share your submission of your favorite technique shown in the magazine over the past eight months.  There are a lot of inspirational projects made by the design team in the event that you can't choose just one technique.  There are some great prizes to be won, as usual.  Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visits.  I hope you're having a great summer!  Hugs ~ Renee xxx

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stencils, stencils, stencils

I love using Artistcellar stencils for my Tuesday blog.  I start with one and just keep on layering for my backgrounds.  I've heard it said that you can't fake layers and guess what?  It's true.  This is a short tutorial with lots of photos showing how to get those layers in your work.  Here's my finished canvas.

I start with a gessoed small canvas, 6" by 6".  I just slather the gesso on with an old hotel key or credit card and allow it to dry.  Next I wiped off some excess Turquoise paint from my brush that I was using on a different project and set it aside to dry.

To add interest to the background I stamped Dyan Reaveley's Basic Background numbers and alphabet with StazOn Jet Black ink.  I needed more layers so I began by placing a stencil on top of the canvas from the Coral Series (ACSET006) and applied more gesso through it.

The background needed a little boost at this point so I pulled out another stencil and added some more Turquoise with an applicator.  I used the Balzer Designs stencil made by TCW called Pattern Strips.

Now it needed a pop of a contrasting color so I used DWM Tangerine and another stencil called Halftone Circles (TCW418).

While all the background elements were completely drying I started working on my subject matter.
I decided to use Dyan Reaveley's stamp called "Pondering Petunia" as my main character and one of Dyan's phrases.  I stamped these with StazOn Jet Black ink and heat embossed it with clear powder.  I colored these with Copic pens and cut them out.

Petunia is a tad too tall for the canvas that's why I chose that phrase and cut her legs off, now she can sit down and relax.  To finish it I inked the canvas edges with StazOn Midnight Blue.

Stencils to me are like shoes.....I don't think a girl can have too many!  Thanks for stopping by today, I'll have another tutorial on how to use your stencils next Tuesday.  I hope to see you then!  ~Hugs~ Renee xxx

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Special Kind of Blog Post::My Art Journey

An Art Journal Page Mapping my Artistic Journey Since 2001

This is a special kind of blog post today ( also, long winded).  I was asked by my friend Corinne Rollet better known as Coco to join in with a group of other online artist to share a little about myself and my creative process as an artist.  Art seems to have no boundaries and this is certainly shown to be true in this particular blog hop as the artists live all over the world.

I met Coco by visiting her blog at through the challenges at Stampotique.  We commented back and forth on each others submissions and before long a friendship was forged.  I especially admire her ability to write in her native tongue, French, and English perfectly.  I do speak and read French, very poorly compared Coco but her blog does help me to keep up with my French and learn new words when I read it.  Her art work is full of color and joy, a real pleasure to look at!

For the purpose of this blog hop I'm going to answer four questions about what I'm currently working on, my creative style, why I create and what my creative process is.

To begin with many people have wondered why my blog is called "Bolton House".  My husband and I moved here to New England (Bolton, MA) from Southern California in September of 2001 because of his job.  Joe is a computer geek and a Project Manager by profession.  I had had a career in Finance for nearly twenty years at that time and this was my big chance to retire and do all the things I'd been dreaming of doing!  When we first arrived here he traveled almost weekly.  Our family is all on the west coast so I needed to make new friends and build a life here quickly.  I was alone most of the time and decided it was a great opportunity for me to catch up on my scrapbooking.  I was using Creative Memories products so I decided to sell and teach for them.  Another thing I had always wanted to do was enter things at a Fair so I began perfecting my pies for competitions.  I won a couple of ribbons and next thing I knew I was writing a food column for a the local newspaper showcasing my recipes.  I started my blog to share photos and recipes with my daughter, Holland, who was still in college in Calif.  I called my blog "Bolton House" so I could keep track of where I lived when I developed my recipes, etc.  My daughter and her friends were my first followers.

As you can expect my relationship with Creative Memories didn't last too long.  I took classes every chance I got at scrapbooking conventions and CM frowned upon their reps using materials and techniques that weren't theirs so I decided just to do my own thing; I didn't want any restrictions on me or my students.  The more I took classes the more I wanted to use my products and tools in different ways.  The card making started when I was watching a Carol Duval show on DIY Network and she had this young guy named Tim Holtz demonstrating how to use a rubber stamp, ink and embossing powder.  I went out and bought my first stamp, which I still have, and some embossing powder along with a heat gun.  I purchased Tim's first video and started trying all the techniques he was doing at the time.  I entered one of my cards at a local scrapbooking store and won a contest.  Well, of course, I thought this meant I should start submitting cards to magazines like Stampington's Take Ten and The Stampers' Sampler to see if they would publish them.  I was literally floored when they published my cards!  Now they have published my work in 6 of their magazines over the years.  I am very grateful to them for their constant encouragement.

A face inspired by Britto

So....Question #1 ~ What am I working on now?

I am currently obsessed with painting, drawing and making collages with faces.  I try to do a couple of faces every week.  I did send some of these into Stampington and they will be featuring part of what I sent them in the Art Journaling magazine that will be released on Oct. 1, 2014.  I wrote an article for them last year and another for this magazine so I am currently working on developing my skills as a writer.  I'll be the first person to say that I am not a writer and never have been so this is a stretch for me and a challenge.  I continue to be on two design teams, Artistcellar stencils and the Craft Stamper magazine's online DT, so I blog about one of them on Tuesdays and the other on Fridays.  There is also a company that sends me developing products from time to time.  They allow me to play with their products, sometimes without directions on how they're used, I make things and then tell them what I think.  It is really fun and freeing.

Wild Woman in Paris made for a friend visiting Paris for the first time

Question #2 ~ How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I always tell people that I don't do "pretty".  I love looking at the exquisitely beautiful things that others create but that is just not my style.  My style is eclectic, whimsical and quirky.  That's pretty much how my brain works too.  I don't use many products in the traditional way which gives me unusual textures, this also makes my art different from others.

Zettiology card using scraps and a potato for a background stamp

Question #3 ~ Why do I write/create what I do?

I do not claim to be a writer.  The things I write in my blog and in articles are usually to explain where an idea came from and how it was executed.  I love to teach people the things I've learned in classes to encourage them to take classes when these artists come to their area.  In the event that they don't have that opportunity they can at least see what some of these techniques are and how they can do them themselves at home.  My favorite thing to do is to teach people how to do things that they previously thought were too hard.  None of my information is my own, I learned everything from someone else and I'm eager to share and acknowledge where it came from.  Like King Solomon said in the Bible "There is nothing new under the sun".  I wish everyone could find an artistic ability within themselves that brings them joy.  I create things because it brings me joy and provides joy for others.  Sometimes I am in my studio just laughing out loud at my "whimsical" art work, I'm putting in print what most of us are already thinking.

One of my Master boards and the cards made from it featured in Take Ten magazine

Question #4 ~ How does my writing/creating process work?

We all have our own style and habits in the studio.  My biggest creative habit that might differ from most is to work on a large sheet of water color paper and then use the "messed up" paper as the base of other projects later.  I like the randomness of using whatever appears on that paper and then building something on top of it with whatever I have on hand.  I call them "Master boards".  Most of my projects are challenge driven.  Either online challenges on the sites that I follow or magazine challenges with deadlines; if I don't have a deadline who knows when it will get finished.  Very few of my projects are planned out, most develop as I go along.  I do try to create something every day in my studio.  Any "mistakes" are placed in my color coded recycle boxes to be re-used as a flower or a gessoed background later.  My writing process is just to respond to whatever is needed to impart an idea.  If it is for a magazine they tell me what they want and how many words they want and I just follow their guidelines.

A tag made for a Craft Stamper Challenge

I would like to encourage everyone to take a chance with their art work.  I have a sign in my studio that says "Do. The. Work."  If you want to have your art published, send it in.  If you want to sell it, put a price on it and open an Etsy shop.  You have to take a leap of faith.  Jump and build your wings on the way down.  You never know what it will lead to and what doors will open for you without even asking.  Just try.

My sincere thanks to Coco for this opportunity to express myself.  Now I am supposed to tag one of my favorite artists whose work I admire and I know just the person!  She'll be sharing her story and art next Monday, August 11th.  I am tagging my friend and fellow Design Teammate at Artistcellar, Jackie P Neal.  Jackie's blog is called Creatingwithoutcrayons.  Pop on over to be inspired by her joyful use of colors and stencils.  While you're there take a look at the produce from her gardening efforts.....absolutely amazing!

 I apologize for such a long and rambling post.  Thanks for your visit.  I'd love to hear from you.

 Hugs ~ Renee

Friday, August 1, 2014

Favorite Techniques for Take It Make It Challenge

For the Take It Make It Challenge this month we were asked to choose our favorite technique featured in the Craft Stamper magazine over the course of this year.  My favorite technique is the embossing powder resist.  It always takes me back to when I first began rubber stamping and is usually my go-to technique for backgrounds.  This technique, along with others, was featured in the August 2014 issue by Anna-Karin Evaldsson.  I decided to make a card featuring this technique in the background with one of Dyan Reaveley's girls glued on top of it.  Here is my card, a short tutorial will follow.

I began with a piece of 140# water color paper.  I use this type of paper quite often since I'm going to soak it with inks and distress it in other ways so I need a piece of paper that can stand up to this kind of treatment without falling apart.  I cut the paper to measure 5" by 7" so it will fit on the face of a blank white card.  I stamped my image, a Stampers Anonymous post card stamp, with embossing ink and followed it with Detail White embossing powder.  Then I watched the powder melt under the heat of my heat gun.

When the melted powder had cooled I sprayed Dylusions Spray Inks in different colors all over the paper.  For this I used Calypso Teal, Cut Grass and Lemon Zest.  I blotted this with a paper towel roll, allowed it to dry and then did a ghosting effect with Dina Wakley's word stencil and a spritz of water.  When this was completely dry I started gluing on my image and words.

I stamped Pondering Petunia on a separate piece of lovely (translates "pricey") Hot Press Finish 140# water color paper using StazOn Jet Black ink.  I stamped the word phrase from Dyan's Dylusions "Say It How It Is" on the same sheet of  water color paper and then trimmed them out.

I wanted to give her funky hair so I turned the octopus from Dyan's "Under the Sea" collection upside down, stamped it and then trimmed off the part that didn't fit on her head.  Since I had such lovely paper to work on I decided to use my DERWENT watercolour pencils.  They don't get out to play near often enough and they were perfect for this little lady; the colors stayed very intense.

I used the pencils to color the word phrase, too, and then cut it into sections to break it up and spread it out on the page.  I glued everything in place with a strong adhesive, Beacon 3-in-1 works well for me when using heavy papers.

After I inked the edges of the panel with Jet Black ink I adhered it to a blank white 5" by 7" card.

That was my favorite technique from the recent Craft Stamper magazine.  How about you?  Don't forget that this is an ongoing challenge on the Take It Make It Challenge site.  Show us your favorite technique and enter the challenge with the opportunity to win prizes and the possibility of  your work being displayed in an upcoming issue of the Craft Stamper magazine.  I hope to see your project there!  Have a great weekend. ~ Hugs~ Renee xxx