DecoArt Media: My Top 5 Favorite Products

Mixed media is something that I have been really interested in since doing my sculpting course in University. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, we didn't have kilns or the ability to torch or fire anything, so we had to resort to using unconventional sculpting materials such as styrofoam, concrete and even cardboard.

Decoart recently came out with an artist grade Mixed Media line, so when the opportunity came up for me to test out some of the products, I jumped at the chance. Here are my top 5 favorite products from the Mixed Media line.

Texture Sand Paste and Modelling Paste

What I love most about these products is that they are buildable, yet really lightweight.

In the past when I have painted with plaster on wood, I loved being able to build out the texture and make a truly three dimensional piece of art. However, plaster breaks and the piece becomes incredibly fragile. With the Mixed Media products, I can get that same effect with both the modelling paste and the texture sand paste.



The Texture Sand Paste gives a really great fine sand effect to your piece. If you are working on adding any beach themed home decor pieces, this product would be a great addition to give dimension, depth and texture. I really liked pairing it with the Liquid Glass, for an unexpected texture pairing to give balance and also to ensure that the focus is on the gritty sand texture.

The Modelling Paste is really amazing. By using a palette knife, I was able to layer it on smooth in some areas, and thick in others to play with the different textures. While the Texture Sand Paste is gritty, the Modelling Paste is really smooth.


Crackle Paste

Similar to the texture sand and modelling pastes, the Crackle Paste goes on with a palette knife and provides thin or deep cracks, depending on how thick you put in on over your surface. I was curious as to what it would do over a medium like the Modelling Paste and was really pleased with the results. Sometimes mediums will resist one another, but that was not the case here!


Misters

I really wasn't expecting to like the misters as much as I do. With vibrant, yet transparent, color options, you can spray as little or as much as you would like. I chose to add carbon black over top of my crackle paste, to give a bit more dimension into the foreground of my abstract pieces.

Liquid Glass

I was so excited to test out the Liquid Glass. This product comes in a squeezable bottle with a very fine tip, so you can make the perfect little glass bubbles on your piece. What's even better is that those tiny glass bubbles dry three dimensionally, which makes for yet another layer of texture!

 
The results on all three pieces were fantastic, and I really love the black and white pairings, along with the layers of  texture. I definitely will be adding more one of a kind textured pieces like these to my Etsy shop, and think that they would look fantastic mounted on glass.


Disclaimer: I was provided the Mixed Media line by DecoArt for the purposes of this post. All opinions expressed are my own!


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Birthday #Coupon Code for September! #Etsy

Since it's birthday month, that means you can take advantage of 23% (see what I did there...I'm turning 32...but like the sounds of 23 better! ha!) off everything in the shop...including items that are already on sale (min. purchase $10).







Use coupon code HAPPYBDAY at checkout for 23% off your entire order from my Etsy shop!

Happy birthday to me, and you!
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Clay Feather Mobiles on Etsy #homedecor

This Spring, I was inspired to make a really gorgeous white and paint dipped clay feather mobile for our nursery and when I started...I couldn't stop.

Mobiles are now a fixture in my Etsy shop and have been getting a crazy amount of notice on Etsy and beyond!


I love them because they are so natural, yet versatile. No nursery? No worries!

These mobiles, all made to order by hand, are great for really any room and don't necessarily have to be hung from the ceiling. Consider a wall that is seemingly too narrow for a painting or photograph; what would you put there to spruce up your space?

Creating a dreamy master bedroom escape, but have two awkwardly positioned windows? Put a wall hanging mobile between them!

Mobiles are available in really any motif. I've done starfish and beach inspired, color themes with sculpted spheres, flowers, and rain drops. The possibilities are endless!
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Etsy Items ON SALE! #sale #etsy

Have you checked out my Etsy shop in a little while?

I am still adding new and fun designs for 2014, which means that most of the 2013 designs are on sale!!


Sculpture, paintings and wearable pieces are on sale at 25%-50% off regular prices, and they're in the shop until they're gone.

If you had your eye on something in the past, now is the time to scoop it up!

There are some changes coming for my Etsy shop this year. You've seen some of the beautiful sculpted mobiles, like the one I created for the nursery, and there will be more and more items added.

Sculpted tube sculpture
Hand rolled and pressed stones
Hand shaped spheres

Lots of sculpture coming to the shop, all made to order and to make your home beautiful!
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Celebrating 3 Years #etsy #handmade

Earlier this year, I celebrated 3 years on Etsy.

Three
Tres

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It seriously seemed kind of crazy to me, but then I thought about it and it sounded just about right. I opened my Etsy shop shortly after opening my business and my how it has grown! From handmade paper party supplies to paintings and now sculpted home decor...it has followed a path that I could never have ever imagined for it.


Let's keep the celebration going this summer! Scoop up ornaments for Christmas, sculpted home decor, get some pre-Christmas shopping done....and enjoy an additional 20% off already marked down prices on the 2013 collection!

Use coupon code CELEBRATE3YRS at checkout!

www.sweetstellas.etsy.com
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White Minimalist Art on Etsy #art #homedecor

I've been sculpting minimalist pieces now for a couple of years on Etsy, and find that they are such an awesome addition if you have a bunch of eclectic art pieces in your home and need something to neutralize a space.





Minimalist means just that.

Minimal
Neutral
Simple

Minimalist to me, means pure white clay. Whether they are in a tube construction, in naturally formed fluted bowls, or flowers.

It also may mean a whole new gallery exhibition for 2015!

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How to Decorate Your Nook, Niche or Small Space #homedecor

When selecting art pieces for a small space or nook like the one below, you have to think about scale and visual interest.



The collection above is pretty boring, so I'm looking to spruce it up and add some height. This nook is in our foyer, so it's usually the first thing that guests see upon arrival and the last thing they see when they leave.

I like it to have a candy dish of some sort, usually with lifesavers and mints, which seems to go over well with guests, but I want to get some new fresh elements for this small space.

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Art for a Niche or Nook




While a candy dish will likely have to stay, I want to add some height and soften the hard corner edge of the back of the nook.

When you are looking to create an art collection for a small space, choose items that are different in texture and height. Above I've selected a tall, black, smooth vase and paired it with smaller white bud vases that have some texture to them.

The mirror would go at the back of the nook, creating the illusion of more space and softening the back edge, as well as adding texture and warmth from the wooden frame.

The reed orb creates some interesting lines and is visually lighter than the other elements, so works to break up the space well.

Other things that I might add are fresh flowers in the vases, a stack of books propped on their side, and maybe something in leather.

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What's Next Out of My Studio? #art

So it's been a full month since my exhibition at Urban Gallery in Toronto, ON and I'm looking to what's next.

A new style of art?
Mixed media?
A new collection?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. I want to do a sculpted exhibition, at some point, with a focus on tube sculpture in small, medium and large configurations but I'm not sure that I'm ready.


I mean...I know that I am, but my life is about to change in a very big and beautiful way in just over a month. While part of me wants to throw myself, and all of these crazy emotions, into an exhibition and proposal to a gallery, another part of me wants to take the next month off and just be a mom to my son.

I'm being faced with some major decisions, and I don't want to lose sight of who I am either. That happened last time, and it was bad news bears.


For now, I think I will just keep coming up with concepts and research into where to submit proposals to but stay tuned; big things are ahead.

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On the Grayscale #art #homedecor

There is something to be said for both the simplicity and boldness of a monochromatic piece of home decor.


When you aren't certain what mood you want to create for a room, but you want to add some art, look for monochromatic gray scale pieces. While they may be subdued in color {or there lack thereof}, they can still pack a nice punch depending on the pieces that you select.

For small rooms, choose things like the sculpted piece above or small paintings.

For large rooms, go big or go home! Get a BIG canvas and have fun with black and gray paint.

Gray scale pieces are also a great option for transitional homes where you can't really paint the walls too easily. They bring a neutral feeling into the room, and allow for color to be added by way of textiles {think throw blankets, pillows, curtains}.


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Small Paintings can Pack a Punch #art #homedecor

Small paintings; have you ever considered them when you're planning out your home decor and accents? Probably not...they're small, usually forgotten, but if they feature enough interest, they can pack a visual punch for small rooms like powder rooms, nooks, bathrooms, and baby nurseries.


Would you believe that this painting is only 5"x7"? There is just so much going on in it.

The layers of paint create texture and dimension. I love painting with acrylics because when you mix the colors together, they blend to make new colors, but at the same time tend to resist one another which creates cracks in the paint. I apply mine in think fluid drips, then dry brush so they are true tones rather than watered down.

The marbled effect, along with the cracks, creates movement and allows your eye to flow freely throughout the painting.

Again...it's only 5"x7"!

Where would you put a painting of this size?
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Art Gallery Exhibition, Purpose, opens at Urban Gallery, Toronto #art #torontoart #toronto

My mind is still reeling from the opening reception for my collection Purpose at Urban Gallery in Toronto, Ontario so instead of a full recap, here are some photo highlights!

Photo Credit: Alan Buist
Photo Credit: Rebecca Nash Photography
Photo Credit: Rebecca Nash Photography

Photo Credit: Rebecca Nash Photography

Photo Credit: Rebecca Nash Photography

Photo Credit: Rebecca Nash Photography

You can check our Purpose at Urban Gallery all month!


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Pops of Color in Sculpted Artwork on Etsy

Looking to pull in a pop of color into your home decor this Spring?


White clay makes for a really amazing canvas for bod pops of acrylic paint to create a striking piece of sculpted art.

In this piece, I've used three really strong colors that are all next to one another on the color wheel. Purple, green and blue, but with a slight twist.

The key here is to choose unexpected tones with the paint colors.

Dark plum
Mint green
Turquoise blue


Dark
Light
Medium

It is perfectly balanced, and yet striking in its abstract application. Great colors for spring and summer!

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Choosing Art for your Dining Room, #homedecor

When it comes to choosing a piece of art for your dining room, my usual rules still apply.

Odd numbered groupings off the most visually balanced composition
Choose pieces that speak to you and tell a story

Currently, we have a couple of framed photos from our honeymoon to Malta, Greece, Spain and Istanbul. 
Check out the plaid curtains...yikes!

We also have this painting, which I love but is looking a little tired because of the current wall color. Everything just blends together and there's no real pop.



Since this piece needed to be removed from the babe's nursery, I thought it would be perfect in the dining room. It's a large piece, about half the size of a standard sheet of plywood, and is painted with the same light greys that will eventually be on our dining room walls. The fresh pop of green is a great accent color for all seasons, and will go well with the silver steel and white accents on the table.


So that piece on the largest wall, and then I'm thinking we will leave the two framed pieces from our honeymoon photography, and then instead of the mustard painting do some sort of installation...perhaps of white tube sculpture!

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Valentine's Gift Guide Feature: Budding Artists, #art #ldnont #creativity


Committed to the promoting creativity, Budding Artists is located in London, Ontario and offers a variety of school and group based art fundraisers, studio instruction and creating custom keepsakes.

For Valentine's Day, Budding Artists wants you to Share the Love. Simply send in your child's Heart Art for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!


As a extra special for Valentine's Day, Budding Artists is also offering 10% off travel mugs, coffee mugs and water bottles! A great gift for the kiddos to give mom or dad as a special keepsake!

I love the idea of turning your childrens artwork into keepsakes. It's such a sweet idea, and teaching them an appreciation for their art is something that I think is really important. Preserve those memories and their artwork with Budding Artists.


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Valentine's Gift Guide #valentine #giftsforher #giftguide

It's here! It's here!! It's finally here!

The Valentine's Gift Guide is here, and there are so many great promos, discounts and deals from really beautiful companies in it, that you won't want to miss a page!


Over the next couple of weeks, I will be featuring some of the amazing companies in the Gift Guide, talking about their products, services and why they are so amazing.

Need to send it to your honey and tell him which page your gift is on? Here's the direct link.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Exhibition Announcement!

If you've been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you know that this Spring is going to be a very exciting time for my artistic career. I am thrilled to be having a solo exhibition, my first since 2006, at a chic gallery in Toronto, Ontario.


Urban Gallery is located in the distillery district of Toronto, a really cool, hip and artsy type community. Their space is absolutely gorgeous, and I cannot wait to fill it with my Purpose collection.


My collection, which will be shown for the entire month of April, is centered around the notion of Purpose.

What is our purpose here? To live? Breathe? Die? Bring life into the world? Inspire? Destroy? Each of the 18 (or so) pieces will explore this theme, and leave the ultimate decision up for interpretation.

The pieces that I have finished so far are stunning. I haven't ever created a cohesive collection quite like this. Each piece has a splash of purple, blue or red, then is accented by a metallic or two. As light catches the drips, rolls,  and cracks in the paint, movement is found.

I am so excited to share this exhibition with you in a few months, and will update you monthly until April about the planning phases!!


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Rolled Tube Sculpture on Etsy

One collection that I will be developing this year in my Etsy shop are my rolled tube sculptures. Currently, I have them offered in small hand held configurations but I want to do them in medium (11"x14") and large wall installations.


The one above graced the front page of Etsy this past September and it has really inspired me to make something of this collection.

The tubes themselves are small; approximately the size of a nickle or quarter. Some of them are as small as a dime. I have them in neutrals like above, and in minimalist white.

What colors should they be offered in?
Would you put them into definite shapes or keep them abstract?


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January Etsy Find - Bird Feeders

Form meets function with this eye catching steel bird feeder, found on Etsy and created by Joe Papendick.


As we start dreaming of our outdoor spaces and getting into the warmer temperatures, don't forget that design is all in the details. Many more homes are incorporating outdoor living spaces into their overall home decor, so why not add a funky bird feeder like the Charm Modern Bird Feeder by Joe Papendick?

Orange not your color? Not to worry! Joe has a variety offered in his shop that are sure to compliment your garden and style.

What type of Etsy find would YOU be interested in seeing here on the blog? Leave me a note in the comments section and I will search for ideas!

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Selecting a new Piece of Art for your Home

There are loads of guides out there on how to select a piece of art, and I've talked about proportion here on the blog a couple of months ago, so when it came time to create a new piece for my home art studio, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I LOVE the oversized piece that is in our guest room currently, so part of me wanted to paint over it (oh the horror!) and move it into my studio.

Credit: Hanlon Lain Photography

However, there's something really amazing to me about creating a new piece of art. I have a plain 24"x28" piece of canvas that will go above my seating area, and between the quotes on my wall that inspire me every day.

Credit: Hanlon Lain Photography

Credit: Hanlon Lain Photography

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Painting with Bubbles

It's time to get a little nostalgic here at Sweet Stella's!

Do you remember creating paintings in grade school with bubbles and watered down paint?

There are a few different methods for creating these unique bubble paintings. First, you can blow bubbles {or let your children as long as you are sure that they will not suck up the liquid} into a cup or shallow dish and let them overflow onto your canvas or paper. Allow them to settle and pop themselves, and leave interesting marks on the surface.

Alternatively, you can gently pour some of the liquid onto your surface and use a straw to blow bubbles. This will give more color saturation than the first method, but it is harder to blow a good amount of bubbles and really you will end up just moving the liquid around on the surface.


Personally, I like the first method better. It might be a bit messier, but I love the look.

Try it out with your kids, and post a link to a photo of your finished product! I'd love to see them!


Tip: Make sure to not water down your paint too much. The more water, the less color for your painting! Add in a few drops of dish soap to make big, big bubbles!


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