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August 2013
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October 2013

Scrapbook Layout and a Golden Demo

This last week I had the urge to take a break from the arty stuff and do a scrapbook layout... it's definitely been a while! My printer is almost completely out of ink - to the point where I'm not sure I could print an entire photo. Being too lazy to edit and upload photos to get printed and too cheap (at present) to order more ink, I dug out some old Instagrams I had printed last year. These are from a night out for karaoke and dinner with the Peanut Gallery while I was still living in Utah.

Peanuts Night Out
I took bits and pieces of Studio Calico kits and combined them with stuff from my stash to do a quick layout. It's pretty eclectic, and I really like it. Here's a bit of a close-up:

Peanuts Night Out Close-up
Today I met up with Patty to head to West Hartford for a little shopping and exploration and then to go over to Jerry's Artarama for a Golden demo and, of course, more shopping. We went to a really fun store called Charming Charlie where we found some fun jewelry and accessories and then across the street to Munson's Chocolates for some locally made goodies. After that we went to Rizzuto's to have lunch - an amazing Carrot, Ginger and Apple soup and then some pizza that ended up going home for dinner. I would go back there again - delicious.

Then it was the main event - the Golden Demo at Jerry's.

Jerry's West Hartford
The demo was two hours and was taught by an artist named Roy Kinzer. He was entertaining and knowledgeable, and the time flew by.

Golden Demo 1
We got a really great packet of information and I took quite a few notes. I learned a lot about things I could do with the supplies I already have, as well as more about new and new to me products. It was really great. Very visual and super helpful.

Golden Demo 2
For a free demo, it was really pretty amazing. And to top it off, they even gave us a Golden goodie bag with samples of 4 different paints and small tubes of 2 different mediums. I'm feeling ready to try and branch out a bit more and keep improving what I'm doing. Hopefully they'll do some more of this type of things so I can keep learning.

It was a good day :)

More Frog Dog Studio Projects

Today the rest of my guest design projects for Frog Dog Studio are posted on the blog. There are two of them, and I did tutorials for both so head over to check it out if you want to see how I did any of it.

The first is an art journal spread:

FDS - Art Journal Spread v2

My second project was a set of Project Life (or ATC) cards made with the kit. I thought these could also be fun to put into the cardboard journal I made as my first project. (I think that's where these will end up.)

Thanks again to Tina at Frog Dog Studio for inviting me to join in as a guest designer this month. I hope everyone enjoys the projects... the kit was awesome and I had so much fun!

2 More Canvases

My quest to remake all of my old canvases continues... this time I did two of the smaller 8x10 canvas boards.

Here's the first one I did last weekend... playing off of a page that I really liked from my art journal:

Sunshine and Rain unframed - Gwen LafleurThe clouds are all printed acetate diecuts from a Studio Calico kit. I added some Stampendous Frantage embossing powder, dictionary pages, Basic Grey rubons, and Liquid Pearls (of course!)

Sunshine and Rain Canvas - Gwen Lafleur
I'm pleased with the shading on my little spherical flowers. Still learning, but definitely improving!

Speaking of improving... I almost didn't do this next project because when I first thought about doing it, I didn't think I'd be able to. But I decided to try just taking it one step at a time. I wanted to do it based off of this photo that I took of some giraffes when Nicole and I were on safari in South Africa a few years ago.

I was about half-way through when I looked at what I'd done and thought to myself... maybe I can actually do this painting thing.

I mean hey... they didn't even have their spots yet and they still pretty much look like giraffes! I still need to work on matching up the expression and features from the picture, but I did okay on positioning and perspective. So I kept going and finished it up.

3 Giraffes - Gwen Lafleur wC
I still look at it and see a lot of areas for improvement, but I also see how far I've already come. And that's a really good, big thing for me.

3 Giraffes close-up - Gwen Lafleur wC
That's my last canvas for now... I've been working on other projects and haven't started a new one yet, but I'm thinking I might do another one over the weekend. We'll see how it goes.

Canvas Remix No. 3

I finished remaking another of my 16x20" canvases this last week... I worked on it on and off throughout the week. I forgot to take a "before" photo, but the yellow with the stripes on the bottom left below is the one I used.


I had a question on Instagram about how I made this one, so here's in in-progress shot that kind of shows how I did it:

Birds on a Tree Canvas in Progress
The first thing I did was to put down the gesso, then I cut myself some templates for the leaves. I just used doubled-up cardstock and an x-acto knife along with molding paste. Then I put down the background, then the laves, then the stems, then the birds.

And, voila!

Birds on a Tree Canvas Finished - Gwen Lafleur
And then a framed version. I was able to get some pictures in better light so this is updated now:

Birds on a Tree Canvas Framed - Gwen Lafleur

And here are a few up close photos so you can see some of the detail better:

Birds on a Tree Canvas - Detail 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Birds on a Tree Canvas - Detail 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Birds on a Tree Canvas - Detail 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Coming soon, two of the 8x10 canvas boards, and a scrapbook layout that I did this weekend.

Dr. Seuss' Garden, Chicago, and Gelatos

Not that those three things are related... just that they all happened within the last week, so I'm posting about them together to catch up a bit :)

First, last Saturday Patty and I went up to The Inspiration Station in Stafford Springs to take a class called Dr. Seuss' Garden. It was taught by their Zentangle teacher, and we did do some drawing and tangling, but the main purpose was to learn how to use color with Tombow markers. We got several markers with the class, and learned about 18 techniques on how to use them. I had a good time drawing out samples on my notes page and then using my favorites in the project.

Here's my in progress shot from the class:

Dr Seuss' Garden - In Class

After class, we ran over to West Hartford for my first visit to Jerry's Artarama where we happened to catch their Back to School sale. It's been YEARS since I've been to a big art supply store like this (last time was Pearl Art in Virginia like 15 years ago) so this was like walking into my personal version of heaven. Especially since I was greeted with this:

Jerry's Golden Sale
I may have stocked up a bit. But I will say, in the last week, I've used everything that I bought, and found a new favorite paint brush - it's a Silver Ruby Satin #1 Round (I needed that size) and it's fabulous. I have a store credit for next week's Golden Acrylic Grounds demo, so I think I'll get some more since they'll still be on sale.

Then at home, I finished the class project. Fun! I'll have to use these techniques more.

Dr Seuss' Garden - Final Project
Then, mid-week I took a very quick trip out to our new Chicago office for our first America's eCommerce team summit. The new office happens to be in the Willis Tower (old Sears Tower).

Willis TowerAnd the view out toward Lake Michigan from our office:

View from the Office
And the view from where we ate lunch on Wednesday:

Chicago - Lunchtime view
The weather was beautiful, and I really liked the area where I stayed and around the office. I'm hoping to explore more on future visits. Possibly my favorite part of all? This was right around the corner (literally like 50 feet) from my hotel.

Blick - Chicago Loop
I promise, I did not know that was there when I booked the room. I just picked it because it was a half mile from the office and my boss was staying there - convenient and reasonably priced. But I can guarantee you that I'll be staying there again! I got to go into Blicks (again... my own heaven!) and browse after work on Tuesday. It was probably a good thing since I was traveling with just a carry-on, so it limited my ability to buy more paint (like I need any.) But I got a few tubes, a few more brushes, and a very nice set of pastels that were on sale - I've been itching to do more pastel work soon.

Anyway, Chicago was nice. Aside from the 3.5 hour delay from the thunderstorm. We were boarding the plane on time (unusual for O'Hare from what I've heard) and as we were getting on, we were watching lightening flash outside. So we knew we weren't going anywhere for a while. But I read a book and then the captain enabled free DirecTV for everyone... and since Economy Plus was the only option for my return flight, at least I had some leg room while we waited it out! I got home just before 3am, but I made it. At least it wasn't a blizzard (this time!)

Finally, Thursday night was our Mixed Media club at Papercraft Clubhouse. This month we were learning about Faber Castel Gelatos (unfortunately, no ice cream involved, but this was just as good.) We went through several techniques and got to play and try them out. I learned quite a bit which is good, since I have a lot of Gelatos that I don't use like I should!

Mixed Media Night - Gelatos
So that's it... I do have a few new canvases to post, so that will come soon.

And for anyone interested (and local!) I'm actually going to get back into teaching... just a bit. I'll be doing my cardboard journal at Papercraft Clubhouse on October 26th. Watch for more info on that!

A few art journal pages

Whoops! Meant to post these a few days ago and then headed off for a quick business trip to our new office in Chicago. That was pretty fun... except for the rain delay getting back home. But it's all good.

A few more art journal pages from the last week or so:

Life Moves Fast Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

This was mostly experimentation - lots of layers. The journaling is a stamp from Studio Calico with a quote from Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

The second is another play page - using pieces of leftover dried paint that I pulled off of my palette (thanks to one of Donna Downey's Inspiration Wednesday videos for the idea.)

I Love Paint - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur
The last is the favorite of my recent pages - I used a quote I saw on Pinterest (from memory, so probably paraphrased) as the journaling. "Flowers have to grow through dirt before they bloom." (I think this will be another canvas at some point... love the flowers and colors!)

Flowers Grow Through Dirt Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur
That's it for now... next up, I'll share the results of the class I took last weekend and maybe a bit from the Chicago trip :)

Two new Tangles

Just popping in to post two new tangles... I worked on these on and off over the last few weeks between other projects.

Branching out into squares (this was fun - I need to do it more):

Zentangle Squares 1 - Gwen Lafleur
And then back to circles again:

Zentangle Circles 3 - Gwen Lafleur
I'll be back later to post the results from my doodling / color Zentangle class this weekend and also a few art journal pages. In the meantime, I've got a new canvas and some paint calling my name!

Hello Sunshine

Um... have I actually posted every day this week? It's a miracle! I'd like to say I'll keep it up, but likey not. lol.

Today, however, Gennifer Bursett released a great new kit over at Pixels & Company called Indian Summer. I wanted to do something with it so I opened up my folder of pictures from vacation. These are the first pictures I saw, and the colors matched the kit perfectly. This is Adorable-Niece-Aubrey, being quite particular about her fashion choices.

It was funny because Nicole said they have a hard time getting her to smile for pictures. I found the solution! I used my phone to take pictures and flipped the camera so she could see herself. It was cheese city after that! She is one funny little girl.

Well. I'm off to take a new class tomorrow at a store I haven't been to yet up near the MA border. I'm super excited about it... it's a doodling / Zentangle class called Dr. Seuss' Garden. Should be fun! I'm hoping to sneak in a trip to Jerry's Artorama on my way back home... never been there, but I keep hearing good things about it and it's kind of on the way. Sounds like a great Saturday to me!

Guesting for Frog Dog Studio!

I've been keeping a little secret... a little while ago, I was asked to be the September Guest designer for Frog Dog Studio - a very fun and relatively new kit club for mixed media. I was so thrilled and flattered to be asked, and I had a such great time making my projects!

Check out the awesome kit I got to work with:

Frog Dog Studio - September kit
Stamps... markers... mist... and dimensional pearls with a detail tip! So much to play with.

Anyway... my first project with a tutorial is up on the Frog Dog Studio blog today... it's a cardboard art journal made completely from the kit - no extra supplies (except adhesive, of course!) I even used the cardboard from the shipping box to make the book :)

FDS - Cardboard Journal Outside 2
So hop on over and check it out! I'll be back again later in the month with more fun projects to share from this month's kit.

Funky Little Cityscape Canvas

Last week I signed up for a mini online workshop with Jodi Ohl - it's a Funky Little Cityscape class. I had so much fun doing my first canvas! For this one, I redid another of the old canvases I showed in my last post. Here's what I started with:

Funky Cityscape - Before
You can't see it too well above, but all of those red swirls are pretty dimensional - very highly textured. I picked this one on purpose because I thought that texture would work well with the new scene I had in mind.

I read through the PDF a few times and watched the beginning videos, then I pulled out a notebook and sketched out a rough concept of what I was thinking. I kind of based it on the town where I'm living now - the beach and beach houses, the river, then the town green with one of the churches and the town hall, then more houses.

Funky Little Cityscape Sketch
Then I set to work on the canvas. This one took a few coats of gesso, and then I laid out the background (skipping lots of steps here since those were part of the class content.)

Funky Little Cityscape - Background
In the shot above, you can see the texture I was talking about much better. But you can already see how well it was going to blend in with the new painting.

And here's how it looked when I finished:

Funky Little Cityscape Canvas - Gwen Lafleur
I just love all the color!

Funky Little Cityscape - Close-up 1
Funky Little Cityscape - Close-up 1
Funky Little Cityscape - Close-up 1
And I do love the texture, even though it made things a lot harder. But in the end, totally worth it. I think I need to do another one. But not until after my anti-fatigue mat is delivered. lol.

Peacock Mixed Media Canvas

The other day I mentioned a canvas I'd finished last week... you may have seen a peek on Instagram, but I wanted to share the full thing here with decent photos.

Peacock Mixed Media Canvas - After 1This is a redo of an old canvas... I have 6 that I did not long after I moved into my place in Utah to try and fill some of the space on the enormous walls in my stairwell. Here's one of them:

P7150002And the other before I took off the cardstock circles and framed them (which helped a lot!)

They did the job, and I really liked them. But as time has gone on and my style has changed (not to mention skill level, patience, and a better understanding of the importance of quality materials) so it's time to move on to something new. That one on the bottom left is the one I picked to start with as I redo all of them.

Peacock Mixed Media Canvas - Before Redo
I pulled off the fish (I may use them again somehow, so I'm saving them for now) and then I put down a good coat of gesso. From there I started in with paint and some scraps of paper that had Indian prints in the colors I wanted.

Peacock Mixed Media Canvas - In progress
You can kind of see a bit of the process here... the feathers are all done with modeling paste using 12x12 and 6x6 peacock feather templates from Balzer Designs. I used Pan Pastels to color those, then added bits of paint and liquid pearls. Most of the rest is acrylic paint.

And the final canvas:

Peacock Mixed Media Canvas - Final
It's not perfect, but I really love it. A few close-ups:

Peacock Mixed Media Canvas - Final Close-up 1
Peacock Mixed Media Canvas - Final Close-up 1
And that's it! I did another canvas over the weekend for an online class I took... it's pretty different, although I think you can still tell I did it. I'll post that in the next few days.


Getting back in the groove

Got home from vacation on Monday morning... sickness from a few weeks of not enough sleep was setting in before the plane even landed. So, I've been sick all week as I got back into the swing of things with work and around the house (and the first time Mucinex D has ever failed me!) but I'm managing. I got right back in my studio Monday evening with a new mixed media canvas, but I'll share that project in my next post. While I was waiting for layers to dry on my canvas, I worked on a page in my art journal:

Ruby Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur
The red just came out of nowhere, but I went with it. As I was getting ready to figure out what to call it, "Ruby" by the Kaiser Chiefs came up on my playlist. Ruby and a red page? I went with it, and wrote the journaing about the memories that song brings up of when my sister and I drove from Johannesburg about 6 hours north to a little place called Hoedspruit where we stayed at a game reserve for our safari. This song came on the radio at least once an hour for the entire trip, so it's totally mentally associated with that vacation now.

The last few days I've been feeling that crisp Fall feeling in the air, so when I went to get groceries this week, I went to Bishop's Orchards in Guilford instead of my usual store to get a few fun fall comfort foods. I've been enjoying them all weekend! (Especially that Butternut Squash & Apple soup with some fresh french bread! And those Molasses Gingersnap cookies are to.die.for.)

And yesterday when I went out to make a gesso run to Hobby Lobby (yeah... like I managed to keep it to just a bottle of gesso! Sigh...) I noticed that the light on the trees was just gorgeous. Probably doesn't show up well here, but sharing anyway :) Soon those leaves are going to start changing! I can't wait, even though it means winter is imminent.

Beautiful Early Fall Light
Next up, I've completed two full canvases in the last week that I'll share. I also managed to do most of a scrapbook on the road on my trip to Williamsburg, so I'm hoping to finish that up this week and maybe even get going on August's Project Life! We'll see... I might be still rolling with the painting vibe. But whatever works!