Learn How To Use Magic Stamps And 5 Simple Steps For Creating Your Own Art Stamps

By Nicole Tinkham

magic-stamps

Have you ever seen those blue foam blocks near the stamps in your local art supply store and wonder what they were used for? These are known as Magic Stamps and they really are quite magical. We’ll explain what they are and how to use them so you can impress your friends (or just make some really cool art stamps). Read on for more info!

What are Magic Stamps?

Let us guess, your first question is most likely “what in the world are Magic Stamps and what makes them so magical?”  Magic Stamps are inexpensive ($0.99 each on our shelves right now) blue foam blocks. Don’t get them confused with the Magic Eraser though, although they kind of look similar in shape and size. These are way cooler though, for the artist anyway. Basically, a Magic Stamp allows you to leave an imprint in the foam block and use it as your own custom art stamp. Read on for how to do so in 5 simple steps. Oh and you’ll find something really cool in Step #5 🙂

 5 Simple Steps For Creating Your Own Art Stamps

1.    Choose a textured surface you’d like to create a stamp out of. It can be anything from rubber bands to buttons. Think outside the box and always keep an eye out for fun textures.

2.     Now you want to heat your Magic Stamp with a heat gun (crafting tool) or hair dryer. This will make your foam block moldable so you can leave an imprint in it.

3.    Once the foam block surface is heated, immediately press it into the textured surface you want to imprint. Hold the block down firmly for about 20 seconds.

4.    Congratulations, you have now created your very own custom art stamp! Roll on some water-based ink and stamp away!

5.    Now here’s the really cool part about Magic Stamps. You can’t make a mistake with them because you can simply reheat the foam block with your heat gun and the imprint will vanish before your eyes (hence the name Magic Stamp). The imprint will actually stay on the foam block until you reheat it too so if you like the stamp you can reuse it. To wash your stamp, just use some water and a little bit of soap.

Get excited because these Magic Stamps are so much fun to play with. They’re inexpensive and chances are, you already have the other tools (heat gun or hair dryer, paper, ink, textured surface) right at home so why not give these a try? Oh and if you want to see these in action or explained in more detail, just stop in to visit us and one of our art experts would be more than happy to help you out!

9 Ways YOU, The Artist Can Change The World

By Nicole Tinkham

change-the-world

Can we take a moment to show you some love? We feel that artists (like you) really don’t get the credit they deserve. You are absolutely incredible! Sometimes people who don’t fully understand the impact art makes on our lives, assume that being an artist isn’t a “real” job. This can get any artist down but our goal is to lift you back up and let you know how much of a difference you really do make. Your artwork isn’t just something pleasant to look at. Your artwork HEALS. It challenges and inspires us. It provides peace when everything else is in chaos. It’s truly incredible just how special your talents are! Read on for 9 ways that you, the artist can change the world.

1.    You inspire

You inspire more than just the artist. You inspire everyone to do something they’re passionate about. Others see you and your love for art. They see you having fun, enjoying what you do and they want to feel that way about something in their lives too. Your artwork can encourage them to take the leap and try something new.

2.    You make the world colorful

Literally! Can you imagine how dull the world would be without art? Even gorgeous buildings have a creative architect behind them. Art floods the streets in billboards, museums, graffiti, signs, fashion, and so much more. It’s something not everyone appreciates enough (being too busy in this hectic life) but if it weren’t there, we would all notice.

3.    You make people happy

It’s not just those crazy sand sculptures or chalk art events that make people happy. It’s anything that the viewer can relate to. It’s bright colors, something clever, something useful, something they just get. It doesn’t matter what type of art you do, you’ll always have the power to make others happy if you choose to.

4.    You heal

You may not have a doctor title but you’d be surprised by how much artwork can heal. We just mentioned that you make others smile. That alone has healing powers not to mention other emotions that artwork can bring up. When people are dealing with depression, your artwork can help them cope. Again, you are improving the lives of so many people.

5.    You make people think differently

Your artwork may portray your point of view and maybe the viewer is able to see that through your work. But maybe they see a different point of view and that’s ok too. No matter how it’s done, artwork that get’s people thinking differently is considered brilliant work in our books. It’s not always easy to do but it can be so powerful.

6.    You challenge others

As you get others to think differently, you’re also challenging them. The challenge could be finding a deep meaning in the artwork or relating it to each person’s individual life. Challenges are presented all around us. They allow us to learn and grow. If your artwork presents a challenge, it’s helping every single one of us.

7.    You share your story

The best way to connect and relate to someone else is to hear their story. You might not think your personal story is very exciting but you have no idea how much that story can change someone else’s life. When you open up to others and share personal things about yourself, others will realize they’re not alone. You’re proof to the viewers that they can make it through the tough times too. You are right there with them and when you can tell that story through your art, incredible things start to happen.

8.    You provide peace

Some artwork is peaceful and some aren’t but the really cool thing about being the artist is that you can decide what kind of emotions come through in your artwork. How incredible does it feel knowing that you can bring peace in someone’s life simply by creating? That just blows our minds every time we think about it!

9.    You give

When you produce your artwork, you’re not just giving to one person. You’re giving something of value to every single person who looks at it. People need what you have to offer! Stop hiding in the shadows and show your work off to the world. Not sharing it would only be selfish.

If you ever doubt yourself, which we all do at some point, grab this list of 9 ways you, the artist can change the world to remind yourself of the true power of your artwork. It’s so easy to forget these things and to forget why you’re an artist in the first place. You all have a huge heart and we believe that you create for others. You want to make a difference and you can do that through your art. You are capable of incredible things. Never give up on yourself.

You Can Be A World Famous Artist (or whatever else you want to be)

By Nicole Tinkham

be-what-you-want

I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that it took me a really long time to figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. In fact, I’m still trying to figure it out. When we’re young, we’re always asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and any answer you give is perfectly acceptable. You’re encouraged to dream big. But when reality sets in and you actually have to make this decision for real, you don’t get the same reaction when you respond with “To be a world famous artist traveling the world”. It’s not the norm and something that’s different scares most people. Maybe it’s the people around you trying to talk you out of doing something huge like that or maybe it’s you, not even allowing yourself to dream big simply because it sounds too crazy.

It’s simple to have the mindset of just surviving day by day, looking forward to the weekends when you get a short break and then getting right back into this routine of yours. By doing this you aren’t seeing the big picture though. You’re not really thinking about what this life has to offer or how you could make a huge difference in the world. You’re just putting your head down and trying to get by. Is that any way to live though? If you think about all the things you could possibly be doing right now, is doing this what you would choose if you didn’t have to worry about anything else? Listen, we all know life is way too short to not enjoy what we do but why aren’t most of us making any changes?

The big thing that comes into play here is fear. It’s the fear of failure, the fear of what others might say, the fear that you might actually succeed, and many more. But what if when you were born you were meant to do something very specific? Something that no one else could do quite like you. Something that you were destined to do and succeed in? It’s something you feel deep down in your gut but never considered (or are too afraid to) act on. You are robbing the world of your special skills by not stepping out to do it! You have the power to help so many people and actually enjoy and be happy in your life and you’re most likely doing nothing about it. You’re choosing to do things you don’t fully enjoy. Doesn’t that sound kind of silly?

If you never make the leap, you will never know what could have been in store for you. Even when all odds are against you, if you were meant to do a particular thing in your life it will somehow work out. You must have faith and believe in yourself. Think about it this way; if you were to wrap up life right now, would you be happy with what you left the world with? Would you be happy with your accomplishments? If not, you need to make a change. You need to feel proud of the life you have lived. And if you want people to remember you when you’re gone, you must make an impact in some way on someone. The best way to do that is to follow that gut feeling and just go after what feels right in your heart.

If you do one thing today, make this be it. This one way of thinking will open your eyes to the possibilities. It will have you believing in yourself like you never have before. Whatever it is you want to do in your life whether it be to become a famous artist, an actress, a business owner, a singer, or whatever is in your heart, ask yourself if anyone else is or has already done this thing. Doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Just think about whether it has been done before. Chances are it has and you know what that means? It means that you can do it too. It is not impossible. If someone else can do it, then why not you? Those people out there doing the things you want to do are no different than you. They don’t have anything special that you don’t have. They just went after what they wanted and they got there. Just like you can and will do.

You are never too old, the timing is never too late, and you are never too inexperienced to make things happen in your life.  What you need to do is consider the possibilities, set a goal for yourself, take action, become focused, and never give up. If it’s in your heart, keep going even through the difficult times. You will get there regardless of age or where you’re at in life right now. You CAN be that world famous artist or whatever else it is you want to be.

4 Important Things To Consider When Choosing An Art Workshop

By Nicole Tinkham
art-workshop
If you’ve ever looked into taking an art workshop, you know how many different options are out there. So many in fact that if you’re not careful, your head may start spinning.  There are all sorts of types, experience levels, length of time, price, instructors, and more. And choosing the wrong workshop for you and your needs is just a waste of time. Read on for four important things to consider when choosing an art workshop. We’ll talk about your goals, where you’re skills are lacking, your level of commitment, and your level of experience to help you choose the perfect workshop.

1.    Your interests and goals

The first thing you must consider when choosing an art workshop is what you get excited over. What are you interested in learning more about? Does watercolor light your fire or are you more into mixed media? It may sound like a no brainer but many times we take up whatever workshops are available or what our friends are taking. Trust us when we say it’s worth waiting for your ideal workshop to open up if nothing is available at the moment. It’s always fun to attend workshops with your friends but just not worth it if it’s not something you’re interested in. It should also align with your art goals. Where do you want to be in the next 90 days or the next year? Always be moving forward!

2.    Where you need to improve

While it’s important to choose an art workshop in an area you enjoy, you shouldn’t get too comfortable in your comfort zone. Incredible things start to happen in life when you do things a little bit different. With that being said, think about areas in your art that you wish you were better in and find a workshop that will help you with it. This will be a challenge but it’ll help you improve as an artist and expand your skills.

3.    Your commitment level

Art workshops range in price, supplies needed, and time required. This means you must consider your commitment level to whatever area of art you’re looking into taking up. For example, if you only want to dabble in oil painting, taking a long three day workshop with several supplies required may not be the best option (unless of course you’re serious about taking it up). Same thing goes if you’re committed to calligraphy. You probably wouldn’t get as much out of a short intro workshop. Really think about your commitment level before signing up for a new art workshop so you get the most out of your time and money.

4.    Your experience

You’re most likely taking an art workshop to improve your skills and that’s excellent. Just keep in mind the workshops do vary on skill level. Certain classes are for beginners and others are designed for more experienced artists. Know where you’re at and look for this before signing up!

There are so many incredible art workshops available to you and it’s so important to understand what you personally need in your life at that moment. Consider your passions and those big goals you set for yourself, which skills you need to improve on, how much time and money you want to put into it and your experience level. Asking yourself these questions is sure to help you determine the best workshop for you.

Tell us, what type of art workshop will you be taking next?

Selecting The Right Color: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know And More

color
By Nicole Tinkham

Ever find yourself staring at a blank canvas even though you have a complete composition already laid out in in your mind? The hard part is over; you have all the ideas but can’t seem to actually get started. Here’s why: you’re having a difficult time selecting your color palette. If you ever find yourself so unsure of which color to select that it prevents you from starting a painting altogether, you need to read this blog. We’ll dive into everything you ever wanted to know about selecting the right color and more. This will help you get started right away on your projects because you’ll already have it in your mind what colors you want to work with.

Color palette

The first thing you’ll want to do before starting a painting is determine your color palette. This is usually a main color with a few supporting colors that go along with it. When it comes to realistic paintings, you’ll want to choose colors that match your subject as closely as possible. Otherwise you’re totally open to selecting whichever colors you want. Having so many options is typically where the trouble lies though. Every color portrays a certain feel so let’s begin there. Think about how you want the viewer to feel and what message you want to get across then determine which color below aligns with that best.

Reds = Passion, Explosive
Blues = Bold, Clean, Intelligent
Greens = Simple, New
Purples = Elegant, Smooth
Yellows = Joy, Bliss
Pinks = Power, Glamorous
Orange = Energy, Creativity

Hue vs Tint vs Shade

When selecting colors, it’s also important to understand the difference between hue, tint, and shade. This will give you different variations of a color. Hue is the pure color without anything mixed in with it. Tint on the other hand, is a lighter version of the original color as it’s mixed with white. Shade is then the opposite. It’s darker than the original color and mixed with black.

The Color Wheel

A color wheel is an excellent tool for any artist whether you’re a total newbie or experienced. We always recommend having a color wheel on hand. This tool will lay out your color options and help you pair colors up to form your color palette. On your color wheel, you’ll find the following colors.

Primary Colors = Blue, Yellow and Red

Secondary Colors = Green, Orange, and Purple

Tertiary Colors = Amber, Chartreuse, Teal, Violet, Magenta, Vermilion

Color Schemes

Once you have that main color selected, it’s time to think about your supporting colors. This is where using your color wheel really becomes helpful. Use the following color schemes to help you determine your supporting colors. They are proven colors to work well together.

Monochromatic = These are colors within the same section of the color wheel. They will be the same color but in different tints and shades.

Analogous = These are colors that can be found on either side of your main chosen color on the color wheel, one on the right and one on the left.

Complimentary = These are two colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel.

This simple guide for choose the perfect colors can be used for more than just your painting project. It can be used to help you find a frame for your project, determining what color to paint the walls in your home, decorating, and just about anything else that involves color choices. Investing in a color wheel will be the key to success especially if you’re a beginner artist but it’s also a great way to think up fresh color combinations that you may not have thought of before. Save this guide and use it whenever you get stuck choosing the perfect color for your project. No longer will color choices hold you back!

How To Stop Being Your Own Worst Critic Once And For All

By Nicole Tinkham

critic

We asked what your biggest struggle as an artist was and it was surprising how much you all agreed on what the top struggles were, one of them being your own worst critic. You don’t have to be an artist for this one though, so many of us get in our own way when trying to accomplish something big in our lives. The sad thing is, just when everything is going well for us it feels unreal and then that inner critic comes in and brings us back down from our happiness high. It all starts with one simple mistake, something every single one of us does. We say some negative words to ourselves (or someone we’re close to says them to us) and those words stick in our minds and we replay them over and over. The more down we feel, the more those words echo in our heads. You could feel stuck, depressed and unworthy of anything great. All of these are so far from the truth though. What you need to do is rid these thoughts from your head and realize just how amazing you are. Read on for how to stop being your own worst critic once and for all.

Stop what you’re doing!

Next time you find yourself saying “idiot” or “dummy” or anything else negative toward yourself, stop immediately. Is this really you? Of course not! It’s just that old playback from a past mistake that keeps repeating back to you. Start talking back to this little voice in your head. Counter the negative with some positive words (they always win the battle).

Here’s what I do: Write down any negative thoughts about yourself that are running through your mind. Cross it out and switch that phrase to something positive. For example, your first thoughts may be “My paintings are terrible and I will never sell any of them”. To flip it, say “My paintings are unique and there are so many people looking for exactly what I have to offer”. Now read that new positive phrase over and over until it replaces that negative voice in your head.

Another thing to do: Write yourself love notes on all your positive qualities. Keep reading those to yourself every single day until your mindset starts to shift and you believe in your good qualities over the bad.

Spend time with the right people

When improving your self-image, it goes beyond the thoughts in your head and in to the people around you and what they’re saying to you. There’s a chance that these negative words that pop up actually come from other people. Maybe it’s something you were told as a kid. Or maybe it’s more recent and there are people in your life who are constantly putting you down. Regardless of the case, that kind of thing sticks with you. Good news is, the opposite is also true. So spending more time with people who compliment your good qualities will lift you up and put those good words in your mind instead.

Here’s what I’ve done: I formed a new group of people who encourage me rather than put me down. I had to take a break with some of the people in my life (even family) so I could focus on my own goals and move forward. From experience, it really is incredible what can happen when you start being selective with who you spend your time with.

Another thing to keep in mind: Compliment and lift others up as well. It works both ways!

Value yourself

When you’re constantly putting yourself down and being too hard on yourself, you’re not being very nice to you which only promotes more negative self talk. But when you start loving and respecting yourself, you totally change your perspective of who you are. You see yourself in a new light. You realize how incredible you really are.

What you should do: Spoil yourself! It doesn’t have to be anything big and expensive, just do at least one thing every day that makes you happy. Enjoy those little moments that make you smile and remind yourself to take time out of your busy day to do them. Every morning I jot down a few things that I know will put me in a good mood. Sometimes it’s doing my hair differently or starting the day by listening to my favorite song. Those little things don’t seem like much but over time they add up and make a huge impact on how you feel about yourself. Remember, you deserve the best.

Being your own worst critic can hold you back from accomplishing so many things. With that sort of limiting belief, you won’t even allow yourself to dream big because you figure “what’s the point?” Now you’re even unhappier because you’re not where you want to be in life and you don’t think you’re good enough for anything better. These little negative words can quickly turn into a downward spiral. When they creep in, the first thing you need to do is stop that train of thought in its tracks and remind yourself of your amazing qualities. You can start doing these things right away. Give it time and you’ll begin seeing the shift.

Tell us, what other things are you struggling with as an artist? Leave a comment below!

8 Fun Ways To Celebrate Valentines Day (For Artists)

By Nicole Tinkham

valentines-day

We love celebrating all holidays because it’s an excuse to get creative and make gifts!! The big holidays may be over but we get just as excited over Valentine’s Day and we have some really clever ideas for you. If you aren’t too pumped up about it this year, you have got to read these 8 fun ways to celebrate the day of love. We wrote this list with the artist in mind so open up to the creative possibilities and choose to do something special this year.

1.    Handmade cards

Grab some fun paper, stamps, glitter, buttons, colorful pens, and your creative mind. Show some love to the ones you care about in a handmade card, one that won’t immediately get thrown out! These mean so much more than store bought cards. Put the time, effort and thought into it and make it really special for the recipient.

2.    Homemade sweet treats

Bring your creative skills into the kitchen and bake up some fun and yummy treats. Cookies and cakes are always fun to decorate. Package them up in festive containers and bags to make a nice gift for your friends. Or you can serve them on heart shaped plates and bowls for your dinner party (see below).

3.    Themed dinner with friends

Valentine decorations, creative invitations, sweet treats, fun games, great friends, and lots of love and fun times. We love themed dinners and parties with friends! There are so many different ways you can use your artistic skills and who doesn’t love getting together with friends over food?

4.    Crafty Party

Here’s another party idea. We mentioned how to host a crafty party in a previous blog post and any holiday is a great excuse to host one. Think up some different Valentine’s craft ideas and get creative with your artsy friends.

5.    Handmade jewelry

Jewelry is a great Valentine’s gift but it’s so often overdone. One way to put your own twist on it is to create your own jewelry. Even if you’ve never gotten into jewelry making, there are super simple patterns anyone can pick up (just Google it!). Once again, anything handmade has more meaning behind it than store bought 🙂

6.    Notes of appreciation

Remind someone how much they mean to you by writing a thoughtful note. Let them know how much you appreciate their friendship and all that they do for you. This note can go right into your handmade card or you can leave them little Post-it Note surprises. Remember, it’s your words that matter!

7.    Framed memories

We admit, after seeing the incredible projects our professional framer Mark creates, we’re just a little obsessed with framed gifts. There are so many different things you can do. Of course, a framed painting or photo make excellent gifts but think outside the box and consider these other framed ideas.

8.    Learn together

Quality time together is another great gift and we think the best way to do that is by taking a class together. You can learn something new, spend the day with friends, practice your art and improve your skills. If you don’t go together, the gift of a workshop is always a thoughtful idea too.

Forget the romantic dinner, aren’t these 8 fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day so much more fun? You get to spend time with your closest friends, create, give, and just enjoy yourself. You don’t have to do much but we do want you to have fun. That’s the most important part! Tell us, which one of these 8 ideas will you be trying this year?