Artist Trading Cards

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Welcome readers to your Monday blog spot! Today I am super amped to not only discuss something very cool, but also someone very talented! Hopefully, you recall my #3 blog about community, and if not… wink wink scroll down and read it 😉 anyways reiterating a bit, community for an artist is super important for many reasons. My community brought me together with Antonias_Heartistry. More than this brand, the artist behind it all, Tinna Marie, embodies the meaning of being part of a community. She has supported her community in many ways, such as hosting paint and sip parties, lol yes that is exactly as it sounds! She has hosted paint parties for youth, and supports other artists by attending their workshops and sharing their work. She is going to be a featured artist at a new sports stadium in her area, and perhaps my favorite fact about this wonderful artist is that she purposely abandons her artworks in places she is visiting to spread beauty and joy to unsuspecting strangers. Right!

This leads me to the title of my blog, Artist Trading Cards (ATC). When I first came across Antonias_Heartistry on Instagram, it was over a post to join an ATC group. I could not help it, I was curious and wanted to know more about what the heck an ATC is and how it works. So I expanded my community and joined her ATC group. An Artist Trading Card is just like a baseball card, same size and everything but instead of a player and their stats on it, its blank and the artist can create whatever they desire, then just like baseball cards, you trade them with other artists. I immediately loved this idea and was glad I joined. As I did more research into this newfound hobby, I learned this movement has been around since 1997! It was started in April 1997 by Swiss artist Vänçi Stirnemann, who called the project “A Collaborative Cultural Performance,” (Artist Trading Cards, 2020) I call it a movement! The idea around these mini tradeable pieces of art was to get people from all different backgrounds and demographics to participate in an art project, something that had nothing to do with the art market; buying and selling art (Wikipedia, 2019). The project may no longer be monitored but it is still going strong over 20 years later. If this intrigues you, I suggest you check out the official ATC website @

I was so surprised by how large the ATC community was, and immediately started to gather what I needed to make my first ATC. I was even more floored when I found that there are all sorts of blank ATC’s available for purchase, for some reason I thought I would need to cut down canvas or card stock to the proper size! There are different shapes, colors, and material types for ATC’s. Ok this is crazy, and how did I not know about this? My ATC mentor, Tinna Marie shared with me some of her collection from all over the world and it was inspiring. If this is something you may want to participate in check out the Facebook group Love of Art ATC Swap

Since I commonly use acrylic paint I bought Strathmore 400 series ATC’s for Acrylics, however there are many different kinds for different Medias, such as watercolor or oil paint. You can even buy mini envelopes for them! Ok allow me to tame my enthusiasm just a bit lol!

I write this blog to share a piece of my journey in the studio with you each week, and I often share experiences with you that are perhaps lessons learned. However, today I wanted to share an encounter on social media that led not only to a cherished addition to my community, but also  an entire new chapter in my book of art; ATC’s!       Christeen

Images Above from left to right: Christeen Street Studios first ATC, Tinna Marie, Favorite ATC Created by Antonias_ Heartistry


Artist Trading Cards, 2020.

Wikipedia, 2019. Artist Trading Cards.

Gold Baby!

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Welcome readers, and happy Monday to you. This week I want to talk about something specific, Gold. Well not just any thing Gold, but gilded. I hope that you recall last week’s post about a search for my personal style and after some contemplation; I realized Gilding is certainly a signature of mine. With such a realization I wanted to talk a bit more about Gilding and its long past.

Today we have more options when it comes to paint and media. Today we do not necessarily need gilding as Foiling and the use of foils have become increasingly popular and mainstream, and perhaps easier to use and more cost effective. However, Gilding paved the road for these other mediums. Let us not forget the trusty variations of gold colored pigments and paints we have available to us today that was not available when Gilding became known.

Some of the earliest findings of Gilding come from ancient Greece and the Egyptian reign as early as 2000 B.C. E. (Walker, 2019) Incredible right! Yes, we can even see some of those gilded pieces on display in Museums around the world. Pieces such as tombs, coffins, and sarcophagi of wood and metal were popularly covered in gold leaf in ancient Egypt, and in Greece, carved ivory Statues were adorned with gilded pieces and precious gemstones (Walker, 2019). In Egypt, there are even hieroglyphics depicting Goldsmiths making the leaf (Walker, 2019). Ancient Rome used gilding to embellish architecture. Moreover, this labor intensive process of hammering gold down to where it’s as thin as a sheet of foil has with stood the test of time, and according to Richard Walker of WaterGild Studios, that process has in large part stayed the same.

After gilding found its way to Rome, it thankfully spread throughout the world. China and other ancient Asian cultures took hold and began to gild porcelain, which was adopted in Europe by artisans and potters (Walker, 2019). Today gilding is a niche art form, one that requires patience and attention to detail. Practicing gilding today is perhaps easier than it ever has been, and of course, imitation leaf exists for those on a budget and with little skill.

I believe that gilding is still around today as everyone wants to have beautiful and lavish things; Gilding makes that possible. With some gold leaf sheets, size (the adhesive required to adhere the leaf to the surface) and a few tools, one can turn anything into something stunning, lavish, gold! Today we can pretty much apply gold leaf to anything, paper, porcelain, glass, wood, metal. If one really wanted to, they could gold leaf a rock… and what a beautiful rock it would be! It’s almost like taking an object, say a picture frame, and turning it into a piece of jewelry to adorn a wall. Lastly, gilding is not just for gold, many precious metals are turned into leaf today such as silver, platinum, and copper.

One may ask, with all the gold pigment and paints available today, why anyone would go through such a time consuming and labor intensive process to apply gold leaf to something, just paint it instead. However, the reason is clear, at least for me. Gold paint and pigment is not real gold, well there are some pigments out there that have real gold powder in them, but are a rare find for the everyday artist in the real world. Gilding something, as long as you’re using real gold leaf, not imitation, is making whatever your object is, real gold, and is widely available. The shine is more prevalent, the luster is more vivid, and of course the color saturation is pure as it is real gold, not a color. So perhaps it’s simply authentic. You like real gold in your jewelry, thus having real gold leaf is the same thing.

This blog is but a quick synopsis of gilding and its history. There are multiple techniques and methods used in authentic gilding, and the history is much more detailed than what I have shared with you today. None-the-less I continue to be fascinated by this ancient method and need to share it. Sometimes things last forever because that is just how good it is. Gilding is no different. It has been around for thousands of years and counting because although many through history replicate gilding, there is no duplicating it. Until next week readers! Christeen

mini picture fames
vintage mini picture frames refurbished with gold leaf and pearl.


Walker, R. (2019). Gilding History.WaterGild Studios.

My Signature Style, blog #15

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Happy Monday readers, and since this is the first blog post of 2020, Happy New Year to you as well, I hope the New Year has treated you well thus far. All this rhetoric about New Year, New Me is a bit much, none-the-less it has got me thinking about well…me. Ok that and my therapist, but that is an entirely different story lol. Back on topic, I was thinking about what I excel at, so I can simply do more of that, which led me to ponder about different artists and their style, their niche, what they are known for. Van Gogh is so well remembered in part to his use of line. You can almost instantly point out a Van Gogh in a group of paintings by this. In part, it became his signature style so-to-speak.

So I had to ask myself; what is my signature style? I am a Maker at heart and always have been, I’m a fluid artist, and I’m an aspiring abstract artist. Ok so those are all titles, but really; what is my signature, my calling card, my niche? This took some thought, perhaps too much thought to be honest, but as I was pondering the answer to my own question, I decided to be productive and worked on a side project, which ended up inspiring me to create a full sized version of it.

It was in that work, when my mind if fully occupied by what is in front of me, I am clear in mind and spirit, and every part of my existence is entwined into what I am putting on that canvas when my best thoughts are born. I then realized I knew what my signature, my calling card, my niche is…at least for now, Gilding.

You may be asking what that is exactly. Gilding, leafing, and probably most popularly known as gold leafing. The very first project I did, the project that made me open my eyes to the possibility that I have a talent that I can and should peruse was gold leafed. In addition, some of my best and favorite pieces have involved Gilding. This enlightenment if-you-will has made me realize that what I am good at, like I said earlier, so I can do more of that, is mixed media. Combing different elements such as gold leaf and paint to create something unique and beautiful is certainly my lane. Moreover, taking something plain, old, and even tattered & torn and breathing new life into it is also my niche.

Sometimes, the answers we seek are right in front of us, we just have to look harder. This week I realized I do in fact have a niche as an artist that makes me unique, and someday I hope someone can look at multiple pieces of art and say, “I can tell that one is a Christeen!” Have a great week everyone now go create something! Christeen

It’s All Elementary, blog #14

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Hello and happy Monday readers! I hope your Christmas was joyous and full of love this year. With Christmas being over, we can reflect back on our holiday season, the gifts, the love, and the experiences we all had. I want to share a very fond experience I had in the studio back in November when I had just started making some gifts and decorations; insert my husband into the mix and a fond memory was born.

This year, for the first time I bought glass Christmas tree bulbs to finish. I bought some to make as a gift set, but I also bought a few just to play with, again, as I have never worked with blubs before. Since they came in a pack of two, I had one to spare so-to-speak. I thought it would be fun to have another join in with me so naturally, my hubby wanted to participate, and I was so glad for it, as playing is always better with a friend!

So began the preparation; setting out paints, brushes, rags, a water well to clean brushes, and of course glitter at the ready. Setting up workstations at the table so we each had everything we would need within hands reach. With both of us ready to let our inner child run wild, and anticipating just what we will create, we get set at the table and dive in. First, starting off with some very deep thought as to what each of us will create, when we each had an idea on what we wanted, we began with childlike glee! My husband decided he wanted to paint a forest filled with snow, a full moon, and sparkling stars. I decided to go with snowflakes of all different designs.

As we begin, both deep in concentration to make our first paint marks perfect, we start to share ideas of our pieces, and explain what we are doing. Then that childlike giddy kicked in high gear for my husband. He shakes his leg, which shakes the table. He is fidgety and every time he reaches for something, anything, he hits the table, bump here bump there, everywhere a bump bump! Reaching for the water well to clean off his paintbrush he spills the water. Then his indecisiveness for which color to use causes the water to clean your brush with to become so dirty, it is no longer doing what it was intended for.

Talk about an amateur! LOL! This made me realize a few things about my husband and myself. First, as if I needed any more proof, my husband is just a big kid, which I adore and keeps us a balanced pair, as he is still very much a kid, and I am very much not. Second, for the first time in a while I really felt like a professional. Perhaps more like a grade school art teacher, but none-the-less, it was a good feeling. It forced me to reflect on how far I have come with my art. Now I will admit, a few times I got frustrated with all the bumping, but I quickly realized that this is what it’s all about! After that, I was able to laugh at my husband for his quirks and adolescent heart. Eventually the bulbs we made will break, or get damaged and thrown away or even lost, but it is the memory I will have forever!

All too often we forget about the journey and solely focus on the destination. However, it is the journey that we remember; the destination is just a side note, a point B, an ending. Be careful not to miss the journey, or you will miss out on life! After all, that old saying has withstood the test of time for a reason; Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Until next week, I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe New Year’s celebration! Christeen

It’s Christmas Time! blog #13

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Happy Monday everyone, can you believe its two days before Christmas! I want to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and happy New Year! I am hoping you all are done with your shopping and last minute decorating needs before all the festivities begin, because it is intense out there!

This week is a pivotal week for me, as in blog #12 I talked about being so very busy with Christmas decorating and making gifts, and now that is all over I can start to work on other projects…not holiday related. I find this transition somewhat difficult however, as although I am done with all the things I wanted make and decorate before Christmas, it is still the holiday season in my house until the New Year. Therefore, I find it somewhat strange that I want to paint something very…dark and emotional. Perhaps it’s because I have been painting peppermints for the past month, but I find it odd as this is a time of year when the houses are lit up with beautiful colors and happy swag, all the children are excited for Santa to arrive, and from a glance the world is happy and cheerful this time of year.

However, the truth is that there is a lot of darkness for many people around the holidays. This time of year brings up memories of lost loved ones, days gone by, and perhaps even loneliness, and if your experiences have been anything like mine, you have encountered some, probably too many rude people. Rush here, rush there, cut people off, steal parking spaces, drive like a crazy person, and simply on their worst behavior. One’s natural reaction, I know mine is, is to react in some way, honk your car horn, flip them off, curse at them. But this year lets change that, let’s be the ones who understand that this time of year is not all peppermints and candy canes, but more so a time of chaos and frustration for many.

Also, let us be mindful that mental health takes a back seat this time of year for many as well, which no doubt bleeds into other areas of a person’s life. Mental health is a big issue, this time of year especially, and people walk around with their minds in the fog of all the things troubling them, the things they cannot escape, and thus they become so caught up in their own mind it reflects in their actions.

Now I am not saying it is ok for people to walk around being rude and on their worst behavior out in public, but what I am saying is this is supposed to be the season of understanding. Yeah yeah, I know it’s supposed to be the season of giving but were not going to walk around town giving gifts to strangers. Although that would probably help a lot of people’s mental state, it’s not realistic. But what we can give, that costs nothing at all is understanding. So when that person cuts you off to sneak your parking space, let them have it and move on. Clearly, they are going through something we cannot see, and rest assured if they really are just being a jerk, then karma will get them. SO in honor of the giving spirit, give understanding. It goes farther than you will ever know. Merry Christmas, Christeen

Back in the Saddle Again, blog #12

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Good day readers, and happy Monday to you all! Last week I shared how things were slow going in the studio and that I was finally getting back to work after some health issues set me back. Today I am happy to report that I am back in full swing and getting things made, and beautiful things they are. I would love to share what I have created with you all however, what I made is a Christmas gift for someone who is also an avid reader of my blog so mums the word for now.

Back to the topic at hand, it feels so good to be creating again, even better doing something I have never done before, and even better still, what I did create came out stunning! It is all soo pretty, part of me wants to keep it for myself lol. That is a good feeling for me, not just admiring what I created, but also working and being productive, especially when making something for someone I love. In fact, I have so many projects I need to focus on simultaneously, that I have to play project manager so I am working on the right projects in the right order at the right time. Love it! In blog #10, I discussed lacking motivation. Currently, I am completely opposite that, I am over-motivated. I have all these ideas floating around in my head, I feel I need to start writing them down so I do not forget something brilliant! I have been using Pinterest to keep things at hand when I need inspiration, but that does not help when I have an original idea or concept.

Being back in the saddle again (thank you Aerosmith) is great, ok I know I said that already, and I am looking forward to the busy months ahead with the holidays fast approaching. Furthermore, with the holidays in mind, I am looking forward to working on multiple projects for loved ones. I feel that is when I do the best work, when it is for someone I love, it makes me grateful I get to do what I do. It gives me many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving, and even though turkey day will be over along with your leftovers when you read this, I hope you had much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Before I leave you this week, I have to add the reason I felt a blog about getting back to work and feeling good about it was important because it does really feel good to be doing what I do best, so I encourage you all to get out there and do what you do best and get creating. Furthermore, I am a firm believer that positive energy brings positive results. Therefore, I decided to put this post out there, sending positive vibes your way today and all week long, until next week! Christeen

Slow Going, blog #11

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Hello all, and happy Monday.

As the title describes, things have been slow going in the studio the past month or so. I have been dealing with some health issues and that has really slowed me down, I would say my creating is moving as slow as molasses on a cold winters nigh. Ok I love saying that lol! But really, the slow going is frustrating, and although I am just starting to get back into my groove again, this super slow down period has made me think about others out there that always have to be slow going. People with disabilities or physical limitations may go through this daily, and it’s not just for a short period of time. So how do they deal, how do they get past the frustration of their mind moving faster than their body? Or how about when we get older and inevitably, we slow down, but remembering when we were younger and how much more we were able to accomplish.

I have pondered those thoughts to myself over these past several weeks and I realized that I should not be frustrated, but thankful that it’s not something more serious, that I am and will be able to get back to my normal speed in the studio eventually. Still, it leaves me wondering how others do it; cope with their limitations, especially those with permanent limitations. I try to imagine how you feel and I can understand, as these past two weeks have opened my eyes to it.

I believe everything in life is a process, including dealing with our own limitations, physical or otherwise. How we keep our spaces organized, how we work, how we will accomplish a project is all considered beforehand. It all becomes premeditated; everything must be considered before it is actually done. This premeditation, the forethought is exhausting, and for those of you out there that have never had to consider this, you are lucky as your mind does not have to constantly think about all these things, you just do it, without thought, without the effort it takes to preplan your every move and possible need. I have found this takes up so much space in my mind, and again I think how blessed I am that this is just temporary for me.

So in light of these new revelations of mine, I ask my readers to engage this post and share your stories of your limitations, if you have any, and how you cope. How do you still manage to get things done, to continue your craft? I would love each of you to share your story in a comment so we can all help one another. As I said last week, sharing is caring! Until next week, Christeen  

Lacking Motivation, blog # 10

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Welcome readers to your Monday’s blog post. I hope the past week was a productive one for you. I would like to say it was for me as well. However, dealing with some health issues has slowed me down to say the least, and now you guessed it, I am lacking motivation. Being tired and feeling off has certainly affected my art, and my motivation to create it.

However, today I was speaking with a friend through Facebook and it was so wonderful to have someone to relate to, and talking to someone with such drive and passion for creating inspired me. This instantly picked my spirit up and I found some motivation to get my butt in gear. It also motivated me to do a blog post, so double bonus. I have discussed before the importance of a community for an artist, and this is a perfect example.Many things can help get our motivation up and creative energies flowing. Sometimes having a conversation with a friend is all you need. Sometimes it will take a bit more, but the important thing is that we try to find what motivates us so we can get back to creating. Some amazing ways to get motivated and or find inspiration is to look through the endless photos and paintings available online. If you do not know where to begin to look, check me out on Twitter, as I post, and repost daily some amazing pieces of art and photography @ChristeenStStu ( ). Other ways to find inspiration is to try a new technique, something you have never done before yet always wanted to. Go for it, try it, see how you like it, how does your first attempt turn out? This will surly give you motivation to try the technique again, and see how you can improve. This will also get your hands dirty so to speak, and when that happens, it tends to get creative juices flowing and one thing leads to another. I have also found Pinterest to be a great place to find inspiration and new ideas to try, and if you were wondering, is Christeen on there, well yes I am @ChristeenStreetStudios ( ). I have a ton of boards with a wide range of things that will definitely get you going. If your on Instagram check me out @Christeen St Studios ( )

Just in case you’re thinking it, this is not a plug to get you to follow me on various social media sites, well perhaps just a little hehe, but really, it’s more about an artist trying to lift up and support other artists and crafters. I am not paid from any social media sites or advisers; I am just trying to share with you various methods, simple as that.

So until next week, please please do what you can to find motivation to create, seek out and find what inspires you, then run with it. Do not hold back, you owe it to yourself and to those who believe in you! Lastly, always remember, I believe in you. Christeen

Save your Dollars$$, blog #9

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Hello readers, happy Monday! I know the title of today’s blog is a bit, obvious. Something we all do is try to save our money. But when you are an artist, maker, or crafter you constantly find tools and other things you really need in order to create. But do we really to need buy those things just yet? That is a question I have asked myself repeatedly, and not that surprising, the answer is usually no.

Let me be more specific, starting out as an artist, maker or just those who are crafty you find you need some things to aid you in your work, like a mechanic needs his wrench set. But with creativity you can skip purchasing some of those things until you can actually afford them and no, buying these things does not make you more of a professional, it just gives you less money to put towards the things you absolutely have to buy, like paint. I for one prefer to save my very limited dollars for those things, and instead spend my creativity making things that can hold me over, or completely replace the actual item.

For instance, I have a small paint pallet I use. I purchased it at my local craft store for a dollar. However, as I paint more and more, the paintings get bigger and I use more colors. Therefore, I need a bigger pallet to mix my paint. However, to buy a decent sized one can cost over $20. Now you may think, ok $20 is not that much, and it’s not really. But when you are in a position where you have to choose between the paint you desperately need, or a pallet to mix them on, the choice is clear; paint it is. Nevertheless, this still leaves you with the need to be able to mix your colors somewhere.  I also needed an easel to paint on, but then one of those, even a decent tabletop version can be over $50. So again, I charged my creativity card and made one.

I upcycled an old cardboard box I had been using to spray paint on, along with a few other things I already had and I made myself a pallet and easel. Now let me say these are not the most pretty things, but they get the job done, and for now, they hold me over just fine. For the color pallet I took part of that old box, cut an oval where my thumb goes, covered it in aluminum foil, put some cling wrap around that and bam! I’m good to mix my paints. When I’m done, I simply take off the cling wrap and I have a fresh pallet to cover and use again, this also works great for wet pallet needs, and if you are careful, you can just rinse the paint off and not waste the plastic wrap. 

The easel is not as functional as the pallet is, but it does what I need it to do for now. I took more of that old cardboard box, cut small squares and glued them together as to raise it off the table surface so I could stick thumbtacks into it to hold my canvas pad. Yes you read the right, a canvas pad. Although I am a seasoned fluid artist, I am still refining my painting skills so I use a canvas pad instead of actual stretched canvases to practice on, its much cheaper. These are like a piece of paper, but made from canvas and great to practice on or to make an artist journal. Now when I am confident enough to paint on an actual canvas this easel will not work. It also lays flat on the table so those who really need their canvas to be upright or at a tilt may not like this creative approach, but again its working for my needs for the time being.

These are only two examples of how I put my creativity to the test to help make some of the tools I need in order to create my art, but there are many others. What I hope you take away from this post is that even though charging your creativity credit card takes more energy, effort, and time, it still allows you to save your money for what is most important for you right now. So until next week, put some of that bountiful creativity you have into other things around you, and save your dollars! Christeen

Time, blog #8

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

No this is not a nod to the Pink Floyd song we all know and love, I need more time dedicated to create! Yes, getting right to the point today, it is frustrating when you are being pulled in every direction, and time to yourself is well non-existent. I am sure most of you have been there as well, we all have families and lives and when your job is to create but not an actual 9 to 5 paying job, your work comes last. It actually comes in beyond last honestly; every little thing is supposed to take precedence over your art. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, the animals and or kids if you have them, your spouse’s needs, quality time with the family, your over emotional mother that cares not about what you have going on, but more so about you entertaining her talking about her day… again.

Yes, you should put aside what you are trying to accomplish to listen and deal with everyone else’s day and problems, and of course cater to their needs. Then when a week or so goes by without you being able to find the time to create, everyone asks the question why haven’t you painted? They act completely surprised that you have not been able to produce painting after painting like a factory since your home all day, doing nothing.

Nothing… that is a big word isn’t it, and yes it may appear you do nothing but sit at home and eat your bon bons and drink wine, but really you are rushing around to get everything done so when the family does get home you can sit and spend that ever precious quality time with them. Wow, now I feel like my Grandmother!

So where is the balance? Do you get up at five in the morning to try to get something done for yourself before everyone else is up pulling at you? Do you stay up late after everyone has gone to bed? Perhaps when you wake at 2 a.m. to pee you should get up and try to knock out a painting then.

It’s bad enough you feel, well I feel less than for not having that 9 to 5 job, for not bringing home that paycheck. But then to be treated as though what you do that could make you money is so unimportant that watering the plants is supposed to be higher on your priority list then your art is a pretty hard pill to swallow, depressing, and well just plain pisses me off. So what to do, what to do?

I don’t know what will work for you, nor do I have a definitive answer to help you in a similar situation. However, I can tell you what I did. I made it clear that my art is a priority, not dusting or vacuuming the house again this week, my job is my art, period. Yes, I am also a homemaker, but that is not the reason for my existence, nor will my day revolve around that like my Grandmothers days used to. I made this decision to peruse being an artist and I will be damned if anyone tells me, or even treats me otherwise. Therefore, I leave you with this: if you find yourself in a similar situation, stand your up for yourself and make your craft, whatever it is a priority. Once you show everyone that it is a priority to you, they will fall in line. Christeen