Monday, November 2, 2015

Art Journal Challenge week 5-Cartoon yourself and fun with watercolor!

Last week was nutzo so we didn't have an assignment but I have a really good one for you this week!

I am all about pushing us to try new things but I don't want anyone to have to go buy a bunch of stuff so this week I wanted to push the envelope the other to do the most with the least!

So....for this week's challenge we are going to use one color of paint ( your 'signature color') and water. Other tools are optional....paper towel, a straw, salt: sea salt, Epsom or table salt.

For our composition you will 'cartoon yourself'. This can be the simplest form of cartoon, just make sure your cartoon you has at least 3 of your unique qualities. For my cartoon, I included my cat eye glasses, my 'too much blush' (If I don' wears off by 10 am!), a simplified statement necklace and my bad case of resting bitch face. ( If you see me in public and I'm frowning at me I'm happy as a little clam on the inside!) I drew my cartoon me with plain black ball point pen (because I knew it wouldn't run with the amount of water I planned to be slinging around.) Make your own design decisions about how and where to put your cartoon you.

You can use a kids' watercolor set for this assignment, or you can just add a lot of water to any acrylic paint.  Use whatever you have around the house.

The following are some techniques you can try with your watercolor assignment.
*Splatter (darkest value of your color)
*Ombre wash (darkest to light or lightest to dark)
*Remove some areas with wadded up paper towel
*Apply some paint with wadded up paper towel
*Clean water splash
*Tilt (sideways drip)
*blow wet paint around through a straw
*clean water on a previously dried area
*pull up excess with dry brush
*sprinkle salt into wet area  (after it completely dries you can leave salt on, or brush it off)
*remove some areas with cotton swabs (make wiped out polka dots)

These techniques are sure to be subtle. Here are some blown up areas of my process.
I began by painting my cartoon first.  Then I splattered some blue around and let that dry.

I washed on a very wet area and then sprinkled on some salt. The salt draws up the water and you get a very unique look. As a side note I did my journaling last after everything was dry. I just did a stream of consciousness writing about how much I love blue, how it makes me feel and some of my favorite things that are blue! (Obviously this particular shade of blue is my signature color!)

 Area with pattern created by paper towel removal.

You really can't go wrong, if you don't like an area, just let it dry and add another technique over the top! Have fun with your watercolor/cartoon challenge!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Art Journal Challenge week 3 and 4 Fun with Words, Hidden Doors & Stencil Sandwich!

Last week one of our participants created a beautiful page with circles drawn on it and her words inside each circle. It inspired me to re-tool my idea for this week , which is to be about 'closure'. Her work made me think of 'stops' along life's path....or obstacles that might be tripping us up.

I knew that wanted to create little 'doors' that we will journal behind about issues in our lives that need closure and then close them up! (Moving on!!!!) I loved the look of the circles, so I made my doors 'portals' but for your assignment, your 'doors' can be any shape...rectangles, leaf shapes, whatever means something to you!

One of my favorite products we have discussed before, is Tumble Dye spray fabric dye. I love it, we use it in a lot of our canvases in our parties. I love that the colors stay separate, they dry quickly and you can cover a lot of area in a short amount of time. You can purchase this product at Hobby Lobby on the tie dye aisle. Each bottle is 2.99 and lasts a very long time. They do have a tendency to get clogged up, so I usually keep a little spray bottle of alcohol nearby that I can remove the sprayer, put into the alcohol and spray the alcohol through to unclog. It works every time.

I'm going to start pushing you guys to try some new techniques...this week we are going to work with a 'stencil sandwich'.  You don't have to use real stencils....any patterned things with punched out holes will work. IE: lace, shelf liner, doilies, sink mat, plastic canvas shapes, heavy paper with cut out or punched out designs, wooden or cardboard die cuts...whatever you can find!  This process will really only work with fabric dyes though, so you will need to choose 2 or 3 colors that work well together. I used teal, blue and hot pink. DO NOT USE COMPLIMENTARY COLORS, they will turn into brown.
Avoid these combinations
Green and Red
Orange and Blue
Yellow and Purple.

My process
I punched out 3 circles with a large punch and placed them on the work surface.
I layered stencils over the entire work surface, going right over the circles. I did not tack down the circles, because I am spraying over, they will not slide around like they would if I were brushing or pouncing over them.
Some of the stencils I used for my stencil can't see the plastic canvas circles and the doilies (they are underneath the other stencils).

I had placed a plastic canvas disc over each of the punched out circles. Because they will become my 'doors', they needed to have some fun pattern on them too!

Here is my completed background. It still needed something so I laid down a wooden word by Heidi Swapp (scrapbooking aisle at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby)  and sprayed over that too across the right bottom corner.

Now I was ready to begin my journal entries.....I wrote about each of the 3 things in my life that need some closure...because these topics are likely to be super private for each of us, we won't share photos of those journal writings (unless you just really want to.)

I laid my circular 'doors' back over their spots and then sprayed some black 'Spray Webbing' all over the place. I love black spray webbing, it gives a look that you can't get with any other product.

Finally, I attached my 'doors' over my secret journal writings and created a little hinge with some washi tape. You could use any kind of tape or glue, just make sure you allow room for the door to open to reveal your entire journal entry!

Have fun with your stencil sandwich and creating doors for hidden writings!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Art Journal Challenge Week 2

For this week's challenge I knew that I wanted to have us write a letter to our past selves, from the perspective of today!
Reflecting on what you have overcome, and ways in which you have grown is an important factor in staying positive and forward motion (at least for me...) Plus it's always nice to give ourselves a warm hug and a proverbial pat on the back about our progress and challenges we've overcome.

As far as fun techniques, I thought about 'making your  mark'....
What ways have I made my mark in the last 10 years or so? Obviously, I have started a new business in an area I never thought I'd venture in to and it is going amazingly well...but not only that, I've had a lot of personal challenges in the last 10 years.....(the last few years of my first marriage and subsequent contentious divorce, being a single/struggling mom,  financial challenges of single parenthood with an uninvolved co-parent, dating again and being in love with someone who lived in a different town....)
I think I've done pretty well, these last 10 years despite the fact that at times, I have really sucked! (just ask my kids :)

So as far as fun techniques go for this week's challenge, I want you to look for 'mark making tools' outside of the obvious.
For my mark making tools, I used
*the triangular side of a makeup wedge
*a nacho cup lid (we go through 1000s of these in the studio and I HATE to throw them away so therefore I have a bumper crop of nacho cup lids)
*a 1x1 inch tile with a bullseye design
*a wine bottle cork

The other technique I want you to employ, is to write words that mean something to the woman you are today, write them big and bold and black! ( I painted mine...but you can use a sharpie or cut words out of a  magazine or whatever!)

My process
I first sprayed the background with hot pink fabric dye through a honeycomb stencil. Because I am a busy bee! Once that was dry, I used a black ink pad and a 'scribble text' stamp to randomly stamp into the background.

I then 'stamped' on red paint with the nacho cup lid, in an interlocking ring design  which I decided represented monkey bar rings (cause what is more challenging than monkey bars?)

I stamped on the white triangles from the make up wedge radiating out from the red rings. I snuggled in some aqua blue dots (again, my favorite color besides pink!)
and stamped on red bullseyes. This symbol for me was a no brainer, I constantly feel like I am fending off competition.
I added some dots of varying sizes with white paint and black paint.
I let all of this dry and then mod podged down some pretty punched out flower designs (just to add some pattern and color and balance out my design).

I started thinking about words that mean something to where I am NOW and painted them on, caligraphy style all over the surface.  I let them dry and then painted a white 'journaling area' onto the page, partially covering up some of the words, because my 10 year ago self wouldn't have fully understood those words yet.
Once this white surface was completely dry, I wrote my letter to myself with regular ink pen!

To reiterate this weeks challenge,
You will
*Write a letter to yourself from 10 years ago, with the perspective of today.
*Make your mark with unconventional stamps and tools
*Use meaningful words, big and bold!

I hope you enjoy this challenge, this one was very meaningful for me!
Paint Happy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Art Journal Challenge----week 1

Good morning!
I am so excited about our Art Journal Challenge--"Paint your Truth"! I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time and I thought long and hard about what our overall theme should be.
"Paint Your Truth" is something that I have kept in the forefront of my mind every time I create a canvas for Paint Like Me!   I have to offer a quality product that is true to who I am as an artist....I promised this challenge would not be about selling art parties though, so I won't expand on that further except to say that I thought it would make a great overall theme for our journals! Over the next many weeks, we will discover truths about ourselves and our artistic abilities and gifts.

Let me go over some of the supplies you will need. I don't want this to cause any kind of economic hardship, so please do not go crazy buying supplies. For each prompt I will suggest some products, but you will ALWAYS be free to use whatever you have laying around the house.
The main thing you will need is a journal.  It can be anything, a deck of cards (if you like working in a tiny scale), an altered book (in which you have glued pages together to create a harder surface), or if you are like me,  a mixed media 'sketchbook'  shown here. It can be any size, but I like to work on a largish scale so my book is 11 x 14.

OUR FIRST PROMPT is simple...I want you to write down on a separate sheet of paper, "I am...."
and then jot down the first things that come to mind.
For me, it was  'trying so hard', 'starting again, again' and 'brand new'.  I have recently gotten remarried, moved into a new house, in a new town and am a new step mom.
For each word or phrase you write down, think of and jot down some correlating images. For me it was butterfly, mountain climber, compass, and a duck (paddling like crazy underneath the water's surface).

For our first journal page, I want you to
1.   Choose 3 colors of paint  only. I used Viridian, Bright Blue and White.
2.  Use  a minimum of 2 other products or tools besides paint and paintbrush.  ( I used stencils, washi tape, chipboard letters and a stamp roller)
3 Place the words 'i am'  and one of your ideas into the artwork by any means you choose (handwriting, collage, stamping...)
4.The final requirement for this challenge is to incorporate an unconventional collage element into the work. I used a cupcake liner.

Here is the process I took,and I am so excited to see what you come up with!

I began by applying a base coat of acrylic paint by troweling it around with an expired gift card.
I then stenciled some arrows and wings with white acrylic paint, and once that was dry I stuck down some hunks of black and white washi tape.   I then glued on some chipboard letters to spell out 'i am' and painted over them.

At this point I wasn't sure which of those images (duck, mountain climber, butterfly) that I would use, but the painting was beginning to take on a look that I felt worked best with mountains. So I painted on a mountain range going through the center of my painting. I just used a crappy (old,scraggly) artist brush and stippled on white in the shape of a mountain range.

                                            My Mountain Range of  challenging 'newness'.

After that I dripped on some bright blue india ink. India ink is one of my most favorite products of all times and ever!!! If you have never played with any colored India ink, I  highly suggest it. The color is sooo saturated and goes so far. In my painting I dripped it on, then rubbed it out with a paper towel.

I started thinking about images I relate to being a perfect mother (which I am far from...) and decided on a cupcake liner cause perfect moms bake cupcakes all day long, right?  Snort!!!!
Also, I just really like to use cupcake liners whenever I want a perfect yet imperfect circle. I wrote the words 'brand new' on it and then adhered to my artwork with Mod Podge. I applied some what paint over the top of it to obscure the whole thing.

 I have a huge collection of rubber stamps and I went looking for any that had an arrow-y look to it and found an old stamp roller that looks like arrows, and also tire tracks, which represented forward motion to me.  I applied the dark blue paint to that and rolled it over my artwork in between my India ink smears.  I then added some dots to the edge of the cupcake liner and smeared on some pink and blue glitter, to represent the flock of children Mike and I are raising  (well, 7.)

At this point I stepped back and realized I was done. I didn't want to do too much, which also felt symbolic to me. As you are working, you will realize there are parallels between your thoughts about your topic and your  work process.
Please request to join this closed facebook page if you would like to be actively involved in this process, however I know there are many who will just want to work quietly by themselves. Happy Painting!

Can't wait to meet you and share this journey of discovery!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

You may have noticed....

When I started this business 3 years ago, I had no idea what it would eventually become....I started out wanting to teach people to make really abstract works of art that they would love to hang over their sofa in the living room.....what it has evolved into is entirely different! About a year in to the process, I introduced 4-8x10 size paintings and then my phone started ringing off the hook for private party requests. I had to pull my then fiance in to help me manage registrations and he created a beautiful website for me (thanks dear, love you!!!). Now you can purchase your ticket directly from our website which is so great, but I digress....
A few months after launching the 8x10 size canvas, the bars started reaching out to us an now we have really found our niche. We love to teach TONS of people at once, in a bar or restaurant or winery! 

But I am still an artist at heart and I hold myself to a really high standard so I HAVE* HAVE* HAVE to still teach you how to create something you would be proud to hang (or lean...I'm really in to leaning canvases instead of hanging them...)

There is a 'formula' to what we do, which of course I am not going to reveal here but you may have noticed that our backgrounds are always unique and different and layered.  Our newest canvas "Happy Fall Y'all" has a new background we have never done before and I am super excited to teach it! This canvas is a limited edition, meaning it will only be taught to 70 people total because of the burlap chevron element (there are only 70 of them!). It also features a collaged sunflower center, which has several techniques on top of it.  In fact, for the first half of this party, you will rotate between your canvas and your sunflower center. If you participate in this party, you will learn how to create other beautiful layered artworks on your own!  As a decorative artist for the last 18 years, I can tell you my motto was 'there is safety in layers'. If you paint only a flat element on a flat surface every 'oops' is going to jump out and announce itself. Layers =interest and depth and beauty and safety!  Flat =booooring.  (in my humble opinion).  When you are working on your own art, don't be afraid to layer it up! Paint happy! 
"Happy Fall, Y'all"

To register for this, or any of our classes,  visit
Looking forward to seeing you, XO Elizabeth

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Drink up, Witches!!

I am madly in love with our newest canvas.....
Drink up, Witches is our Halloween canvas for 2015!

We will be painting this one at Sliderz in Decatur, and at Fat City (City Center) in Champaign--it is also available for private parties.  This canvas is an 8x10, as are all of our 'party' canvases. You will learn easy ways to shade and shadow...I love how it appears she is leaning over her cauldron!
register online at  on the 'sign up now' page!

Monday, September 14, 2015

All You Need is Love - Mini Canvas Free Instructions

All you need is love, a little paint and a few unconventional tools to create this darling mini canvas, that's a perfect gift or tribute to every one's favorite band, The Beatles!  To purchase this kit from etsy, follow this link

One of the things that makes our 'wine and paint' parties unique is the use of our unconventional tools. For this canvas you will need the following:  (or you can purchase our 'favorite tools' kit here)

* Yellow heavy bodied acrylic paint
*White heavy bodies acrylic paint
*Orange fabric dye or ink in a spray bottle
*Mod Podge, matte
*assorted paper ephemera ( included in favorite tools kit), we used vintage sheet music,  multi colored and black scrapbooking  paper , 2 'love' words cut from a punch, triangles cut from black and white paper.

*1 plastic canvas disc
*1 small plastic tile trowel
*1 small doily
*1 foam circle bead
*black charcoal pencil, crayon or pastel
* bubble wrap
*makeup sponges
*hair dryer or fan
*painting surface. I recommend something with some body, be it a canvas, hardboard or matte board.

Gather your supplies and let's go!

1. Apply a semi heavy coat of yellow paint to entire canvas, it's ok to have a few areas of the paint surface showing through. Use tile trowel to create ridges and movement in your paint.

2.  Dry yellow layer with a hairdryer or fan.  Lay plastic canvas disc over the canvas and spray orange fabric dye through it. Just spritz, don't saturate or the dye will bleed together behind the disc and you will have lost your pretty pattern. Do this same step with the doily to create interesting patterns in the background.  Let dry.

3. Set canvas upright (you can lean it against something heavy or just hold it up) and spray orange fabric dye from the top and let drip down. You can leave drips as is, or you can use a wadded up paper towel to move around....just do whatever you think looks best, you can always add more! 

Once dry, spray through your plastic canvas and/or doily as desired.

4. Using makeup sponge, apply white acrylic paint to bubble side of bubble wrap piece. Flip over and 'stamp' bubbles onto your background.

Make sure you use a thin coat of paint, to overload your bubbles will leave you with blobs and not bubbles. Let dry.

5. Begin to lay our your paper elements.  If you are purchasing our kit, all the elements needed for this canvas will be included. If not, you can just create and cut your own.

Once you have settled on your layout, mod podge your elements down.  As I always say in our classes, 'Mod Podge' is fancified must be UNDERNEATH what you are gluing down, cannot just go over the top!"  (not sure where that rumor got started...)

6. Using a circular piece of foam ( we like foam beads available in packages in the kids' crafts aisle)
'stamp' a circle of white into the middle of your flower elements. Let the stamp create some peaks as you pull it away from the paint.   Dry with a hair dryer.

7. Dip a small artist brush into orange fabric dye and apply to flower centers, over the white 'love' paper element and any other areas you  want to stain. Let dry.

Once painting is completely dry, draw around elements with charcoal, black crayon or pastel to add some more details. I added details to both the butterfly, and the flowers....but let your creativity run free with this, it's one of my favorite ways to 'tie up' a painting!  

Voila!!! You are done!  xo, Elizabeth