Thursday, January 22, 2009

Claudine Hellmuth Studio Line

My husband was raised in a carpenter’s home and his father would always say that “a craftsman is only as good as his tools”.

The same holds true in the art world. When you walk the isles of an art supply store you see rows and rows of paint, canvas, and brushes, all claiming they are the “best tools”. But are they really the “best” tool?

When I received the new Claudine Hellmuth Studio products for this review I was very eager to test the quality.

The Claudine Hellmuth Studio Artist Brush set came packaged with 7 assorted brushes. The 4 round brushes range in size from No.2 – No. 9 and the 3 flat brushes are 3/8”, 1/2” & 3/4” giving the artist a very versatile set of brushes to work with. For the most part, all artist brushes have a wooden handle and bristles that are natural or synthetic fiber. The Claudine Hellmuth Studio Artist Brushes are made with soft synthetic bristles that maintained their shape well after many uses and cleanings. One bad habit that I have is leaving my brushes sit in water for extended periods of time. This can cause the glue to break down that holds the metal barrel to the wooden handle resulting in the need to repair the brush. Since I had these beautiful new brushes, I told myself I would not do this, but old habits are hard to break. Not only did I leave the brushes sitting in water for an extended period of time (i.e. 24 hours), but I did this many different times while working on my projects. Each time I just knew for sure that the brushes would be ruined but each time I took them out of the water, they looked just like new!

Another problem that I run into with brushes is that they leave little “hairs” behind. Usually my project is complete and then I notice it – a hair – and it has dried into the paint. Taking it out will mean leaving an impression behind and leaving it, well, it will always be noticeable. This is so frustrating! I am more than pleased to say that not once did any of the bristles from the Claudine Hellmuth Studio Artist Brushes get left behind on any of my projects!

Brushes are useless unless you have something to use them with. The Claudine Hellmuth Studio Acrylic Paint line is the perfect partner for the wonderful brushes. They are highly pigmented which means that when you dilute the acrylic paint you will not dilute the intensity of the color. The Studio Acrylic Paints are also acid-free, non-toxic, and archival quality so you know that your artwork will last for generations to come. Of the 15 colors in the Claudine Hellmuth Studio Acrylic line, I received Sky Blue, Classic Teal, Modern Red, Traditional Tan, Charcoal Black, and Blank Canvas. All 15 colors come in a 2 oz jar and can easily be mixed to create an endless palette of color. You can also find a Color Mixing chart Here on the Ranger website.

Gesso is a product that is very versatile, yet many crafters are unaware of its many uses. The Claudine Hellmuth Studio Gesso (4 oz. jar) is an artist quality primer for many surfaces such as canvas, wood, metal plastic, chipboard, paper, and fabric. By applying the Gesso first, you are giving your paint something to grab a hold of. The Gesso is thicker in consistency than most acrylic paints yet it remains flexible even on fabric. You can easily apply texture to the Gesso by stamping, writing, or drawing into the wet surface before it dries. The Gesso will dry to a chalky white finish.

The Claudine Hellmuth Multi-Medium is a gel medium that can be used for gluing, image transfers, sealing art, extending paint, and creating glazes. The Multi-Medium comes in either Matte or Gloss and is packaged in a 4 oz. jar. I was given the Matte to work with for this review and it is the perfect product to use as a glue, especially for bulky items. You can also mix the Matte Multi-Medium with a Gloss acrylic to create a Matte acrylic without losing quality or just mix it with your Matte Acrylics to make them go further. This Multi-Medium is just that, it has many different uses. You can also create image transfers using laser printed images; use it as a sealer for your finished work; or, create a beautiful glaze by mixing your acrylic paint with 2 parts of the Multi-Medium.

Sticky-Back Canvas is a brand new product to me. Up until now, I have only been familiar with canvas that is either on a roll or already stretched. The Claudine Hellmuth Studio Sticky-Back Canvas comes in two different sizes, 8.5 x 11 inch or 12 x 12 inch with 5 sheets in each package and a non-toxic self-adhesive backing. This product is acid-free and super easy to use making this a very unique item for use in your scrapbooks or altered arts projects. You can create embellishments, real canvas backgrounds, and one of a kind elements by decorating the canvas with inks, dyes, markers, paints or anything you desire. The Sticky-Back Canvas can be cut with scissors or die cut into shapes. I did find that when I used my guillotine paper cutter it was best to cut the canvas with the backing side up.

I recently had the pleasure of taking an online class with Claudine Hellmuth but at the time I did not have any of her products. Shortly after this I found out I would be reviewing her new Studio line so I decided to use some of the techniques she taught in that class on my first project. I covered 4 different 2 x 2 inch pieces of cardboard with the Studio Sticky-Back Canvas before beginning a few of the techniques that were outlined in Claudine’s class.


  • 1) I painted the canvas with Sky Blue and adhered buttons to the dried canvas using Multi-Medium on the back of the buttons.
  • 2) Using an image from Claudine’s online class, I traced the flowers onto a piece of watercolor paper. I then diluted Sky Blue, Classic Teal, and Landscape Green with water to create a watercolor consistency. I used the Studio Round Brushes to paint in the image. Once dry, I adhered the image to the canvas using Multi-Medium.
  • 3) Using the Studio Gesso, I painted a thick coating onto the Sticky-Back canvas. While the Gesso was still wet, I used a toothpick to draw in my images, then I set it aside to dry. Once it was dry I used a diluted mixture of water and Landscape Green to paint my textured background.
  • 4) The green silk flowers were not the right color for this layout so I painted over them with Landscape Green and stamped a word image using Classic Teal.
  • 5) I first stamped an image onto cardstock using VersaMark then embossed it with clear embossing powder. I then painted the cardstock, covering the embossed image, with Sky Blue and wiped away the excess leaving this beautiful tone on tone image.
  • 6) The clear acrylic flowers have etched areas on them that grabbed the Yellow Pastel acrylic paint.

Once all of my painted embellishments were dry I added a touch of Stickles and some rhinestones to add a bit of shimmer. I adhered my embellishments using the Claudine Hellmuth Studio Multi-Medium.
Title: Sweet & Sour
Products used: Cardstock (Prism Prismatics)
Patterned Paper (My Minds Eye)
Acrylic Paint (Claudine Hellmuth)
Sticky-Back Canvas (Claudine Hellmuth)
Paint Brushes (Claudine Hellmuth)
Gesso (Claudine Hellmuth)
Multi Medium (Claudine Hellmuth)
Stamps (Tinkering Ink, Inksenssials & Inque Boutique)
Acrylic Flowers (Go West)
Silk Flowers (Paper Studio)
Ink (Whispers & VersaMark)
Embossing Powder (Stampendous)
Stickles (Ranger)
Adhesive (Adhesive Tech, Permanent Bond Glue Runner)

Since I am not an accomplished artist, I figured the next best thing to painting a portrait on the Sticky-Back canvas would be to print photographs onto it. Once I had my photographs printed onto the canvas, I then used Traditional Tan, Modern Red, and Blank Canvas Studio Acrylic paint to create a distressed edge on the canvas photographs. I also used a small amount of Multi-Medium onto the background of the main photograph to give it more of a distressed look and a feeling of an actual painting.

Tammy_CHStudio3 Tammy_CHStudio4  

Once all of my pieces were dry, I removed the backing from the canvas and placed it on my layout.

Title: Happy Birthday To Me!
Products used: Cardstock (Prism Prismatics)
Patterned Cardstock (Basic Grey)
Paint (Claudine Hellmuth)
Multi Medium (Claudine Helluth)
Sticky Back Canvas (Claudine Hellmuth)
Letter Stickers (Basic Grey)
Black pen (Micron)
Adhesive (Adhesive Tech, Permanent Bond Glue Runner)

One of my favorite techniques from the online class I took with Claudine Hellmuth was creating a textured background using masking tape. I had done this years ago but I was so glad that she has revived this easy to do technique. Once my chipboard was covered with the masking tape I painted my covers with a slightly diluted mixture of water and Classic Teal. Using my finger I added a little more undiluted Classic Teal around the edges on the outside and inside covers. Once my background was dry I used a stencil and Blank Canvas acrylic to make the flowers on the cover. As a final touch, I used Charcoal Black lightly around the entire edge of the covers to add contrast.

Title: Goals Book
Products used: Patterned Paper (My Minds Eye)
Paint (Claudine Hellmuth)
Stencil (Tessler Stamps/Stencils)
Bind-it All (Zutter Innovative )
Foam Letters (Misc)
Masking Tape
Index Cards

The Claudine Hellmuth Studio line of artist products are easy to work with and made me feel like a real artist. You will never want to revert back to rummaging through the children’s toy box looking for paints and paint brushes once you get the “right tools” in your hands!

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