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June 2014
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StencilGirl Blog Hop: PanPastels!

This week we're showing how cool it is to use PanPastels with stencils... I love PanPastels - there are so many different ways to use them. I had a few different ideas that I wanted to try, but I decided to keep it fairly simple. I love all the work with faces that I've seen online lately, but I haven't really tried it myself... I decided this was a great way to start doing some of my own since PanPastels blend so well and work perfectly for this type of thing. Here's my final art journal page for this project:

Timeless Woman 5 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog HopI thought about going realistic with the skin tones, but in the end I really wanted to use more of the fabulous colors they have... because I LOVE lots of color!

Here's how I did this one...

Timeless Woman 1 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog HopFirst, I laid down a layer of Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels. I wanted to get a bit of texture on the paper (I'm using a Dylusions 9x12 journal) - you can see it in the finished product - the brush strokes from the application, and I really like the look.

Next, I laid down the Stitch a Circle stencil by Maria McGuire and pounced through the openings with a VersaMark pad. I pulled off the stencil (I wipe it off with a baby wipe as it's a bit sticky) and then used a Sofft sponge to apply gold PanPastels - the VersaMark grabs the pastel so that it's darker than the other areas where it's applied. (I gunked it up a bit in places, but I knew this was going to be in the background so I wasn't too precise.)

Timeless Woman 2 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog HopNext, I laid the Abigail, a Timeless Woman stencil on top and used PanPastels and a Sofft sponge and knife applicators to apply the pastels through the openings. I used different colors and blended them with the applicators. I love how sharp the lines were! (and the cool thing about PanPastels, they're erasable if you do happen to smudge or want to make changes.)

IMG_9111Next I took off the stencil and used my Sofft knives to apply the various colors to the face.

IMG_9113I wanted the design underneath to show through and give a bit of texture - the VersaMark picked up some of the new color which I loved.

Finally, I used just a touch of white acrylic paint in a fine tip bottle to add some highlighting and my Stabilo All Marks pencil to outline the eyes (you could do this with PanPastels too, but I need to practice more before I can do work that fine :) I sprayed the page with a fixative, then I added a strip of washi tape and some journaling - I added that before the gel medium (it seals the tape) so that it would smear a bit - I didn't want it to be legible. And it's done!

Timeless Woman 5 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog HopAnd a few close-ups so you can see the PanPastels more up close:

Timeless Woman 6 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog Hop
Timeless Woman 6 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog Hop
Timeless Woman 6 - Gwen Lafleur - StencilGirl-PanPastel Blog HopThat's it for the project!

Make sure you hop through all of this week's blogs and comment in order to be eligible for this week's giveaway! Here are the blogs to visit:

Monday
 
Tuesday
 
Wednesday
 
Thursday

Giveaway!

All comments on all 4 days of posts will be eligible for an awesome grand prize! Have you ever used PanPastels with stencils? If so, tell us your favorite ways to use them... if not, tell us what techniques you'd like to try if you win!

PanPastel Prize

 Edited to add the winner - Congrats to Dana!

SG-PanPastel Winner

If you're inspired to shop for some stencils this week, be sure to check out the Sofft sponges now on sale - they're awesome for stenciling and, of course, working with PanPastels (or both!) There's a variety pack of 4 small Sofft sponges as well as a package of 2 larger sponges great for doing large areas.

Finally, a super huge THANK YOU! to the wonderful people at PanPastel - they were incredibly generous in giving us some of their amazing products to work with this week. Check them out on the PanPastel website and on their Facebook page for more about their fabulous products.


A peek inside my sketchbook | Sketchbook Skool

I've mentioned before that I'm taking an online "kourse" from Sketchbook Skool, and now that the semester is half over, I thought I'd share some of my work from the first half of the kourse. I'm taking the "Beginnings" klass, which has been pretty good so far. If nothing else, it's gotten me to pick up my sketchbook a few days a week. I try to do something creative every day so even if I don't sketch I'm doing something, but since I want to build my drawing skills I really wanted to do more, and now I am! If anyone is interested, I'm using a Fabriano "Venice" sketchbook that I got with a coupon at Michael's. The pages are nice and thick with a bit of tooth, so they hold up to watercolor if I want but also for colored pencils and pen or pencil sketching and it's easy to carry around.

The first klass was taught by Danny Gregory, and we had two homework assignments. One using specific techniques and then sketching something meaningful to us. I drew my new ring that I got shopping with my mom on the wharf in Monterey.

Sketchbook - p1The second was to sketch something every day of the week... and I sketched something for every day of the week, but since I was in Monterey when the klass started I got a bit behind but caught up before the first week was over.

Sketchbook - pp2-3Lesson 2 was taught by Koosje Koene and we learned about drawing an object by layering with colored pencils (I drew Ranier cherries) and also going out and drawing in public (I went to Millennium Park after work last week, which took much more effort on my part than I originally wanted to put in, but it ended up being a relaxing, beautiful, and fun evening.) You can see another sketch I did in here of my awesome new Uppercase magazines.

Sketchbook - pp6-7and here you can see the scene / angle I was looking at as I drew "the bean":

Sketchbook Skool Beginnings Lesson 2 - Drawing Outside - Gwen LafleurThis current week (new weeks start on Fridays) has been taught by Prashant Miranda and we learned more about seeing the colors in our surroundings, and taking note of the little things going on in our lives every day. Also using watercolors. So during lunch I did a quick sketch of what was on my desk - it was a good snapshot of what I was doing at work. Then I worked on watercolor washes and sketching by doing a scene through the window of my house. I did the watercolor first and added a bit of ink on top.

Sketchbook - pp8-9-webSo that's it so far... I'm caught up on my koursework, and waiting for the next lesson to start on Friday.

I also have a few other sketches... some random ones that I drew a week ago in my living room while I was trying to practice perspective... I need more practice. lol.

Sketchbook - pp4-5-web
And this one I did in my other sketchbook from my SAIC class while I was in Monterey for the 4th - it's of one of my favorite staircases down from the road to Asilomar State Beach:

Sketchbook - Asilomar BeachPerspective still needs work, but I'm getting better.

In the meantime, the 2nd half of Sketchbook Skool awaits, and this Saturday is my 3rd week of my Beginning Figure Drawing class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The first week was intro, slides, supplies, and some basic introductory techniques which involved lots of stick figures while we worked on visualizing the positioning of the models' spines, shoulders, etc... it was one of those frustrating things that you don't really enjoy, but you know you need to suck it up because it's going to make it so you get so much better than you would otherwise be. So I sucked it up. Last week we were able to move forward a lot and I saw so much progress in 2 weeks! Here's a peek from after the first session finished:

IMG_3580We're saving work from each week to put together a portfolio for critique on the last day of class. I may or may not share some... we'll see. Since it's figure drawing I want to be careful about what I post since my 6-year old niece frequently sees my blog over her mom's shoulder :) But I'll maybe share a bit if I have some that will be okay. But I'm super excited to be seeing success, and I think it will help my overall drawing skills.

So with that, I'm off! It was an early day at work today (although not nearly as early as some!) and I'm beat!


Catch-up post: Random arty stuff

If you're stopping by for the Traci Bautista / StencilGirl blog hop, scroll on down to the next post!

And now, I'm just doing a little catch-up post with some random projects I've done over the last 6 weeks or so that haven't been posted here yet.

First up, an online mixed media class that I did in early June... I overdid the texture on the underpainting, but I do like it and I learned a lot.

Mixed Media Flower Painting - Gwen LafleurNext up, I downloaded the Art Journaling LIVE courses and went through the one by Dina Wakley. I ended up going with really dark colors - must have been in a mood, and I don't exactly love the right side, but it was a good exercise.

Art Journaling Live Art Journal Pages - Gwen LafleurAnd then, I had an idea for something I wanted to try that ended up turning into something completely different. And I love it!

Clown Fish Art Journal Page - Gwen LafleurThen... I got the new Paint Mojo book by Tracy Verdugo and went through one of the exercises and I also love this page. There's journaling on it, but it's in the base layer so you can't see it which I love :D

Paint Mojo Peacock Art Journal Page - Gwen LafleurThen, after working on this one on and off for weeks, I actually finished another Zentangle piece.

Zentangle Circles 5 - Gwen LafleurAnd... last week I discovered a new-to-me magazine. I'd heard of it, but never really explored or appreciated it until now... Uppercase Magazine - I explored, drooled, subscribed, and picked up a few back issues at the same time. It's not a cheap magazine, but it's beautiful, inspiring, and very well designed and produced. I was pretty excited when my issues came - and so quickly! No six week wait for a new magazine sub to kick in. Nice. I'm trying to sketch more, so after going through my new goodies, I sketched these too. They're just so pretty! Inside and out.

Uppercase Magazines and Sketches - Gwen LafleurAnd speaking of sketching, I'm currently working my way through the Sketchbook Skool Beginnings class (are you sensing that I like to take classes? lol. Just a bit ;) I've been keeping up pretty well on my homework and I'll do a post on that eventually as well. In the meantime, I've got another fun project to do, so I'm off to play with paint and stencils! Later!


StencilGirl Blog Hop: New Traci Bautista Stencils!

I'm so excited about today's blog hop! I love Traci's work and I was pretty psyched when I found out she had stencils coming out. For today's project, I received Circles Circles to play with. If you know me at all, you know I love me some circles! So I couldn't wait to use this. And I used it a lot!

Traci Bautista Circles Circles Stencil - StencilGirlIf you follow Traci's work, you know she has a new book that just came out called Printmaking Unleashed so, inspired by the idea of printmaking, I used this stencil to make a mini art journal with background pages full of lots of prints and mark making using this awesome stencil.

Printed Mini Art Journal by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopThe finished book measures 5.5" tall by 4.25" wide, and there are 40 pages packed in there! There's a thumbnail gallery of all of the inside pages at the bottom of the post if you want to see the whole thing. In the meantime, here's a peek into the process of creating it, along with some of the different techniques I used.

First, I got 11 sheets of paper roughly the same size (one will be the inside cover.) I had cardstock, deli paper, cut up manila folders, and some Rives BFK printmaking paper that I cut from scraps from another project. I also pulled out my Gelli Plate and brayer since I knew I wanted to do gelli printing as the basis of most of the pages.

Printed Mini 1 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopNext, I got out three colors of paint and started rolling them out on my plate. (Remember to make them colors that blend well together - complimentary colors make mud!)

Printed Mini 2 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopHere's where you want to have all of your paper handy ahead of time. I put the stencil down on the painted plate and then used a sheet of paper to print through it, and was able to pull a second print as well.

Printed Mini 3 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopThen you lift off the stencil and put another sheet on the plate to print the reverse of the stencil with the paint that was under it. Sometimes you can also get a print off of the stencil itself. I got some faint ones that I built on top of. I repeated this several times, and changed my color palette halfway through to add some variety. On some of the papers, I didn't print, but instead cleaned my brayer on them to just lay down a wash of color... you'll see how I used that further down.

Printed Mini 4 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopOnce the pages are printed, it's time to start adding more layers! I put away my gelli plate and got out stamps, inks, rubons, and more stencils. I'll share just a few of my favorite ways that I layered on top of my prints.

First up, part of why I love circles is because they create these happy little spaces just waiting to be filled. For this one, I used the Hunab Ku stencil by Mary Beth Shaw along with a foam stamp that I made out of it to fill in some of the circles.

Printed Mini 5-6 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopNext, one of the options for how to use the papers that just have paint straight from the brayer. I layed the stencil on top of the painted surface and then used my blending tool to ink over it so that the color showed through.

Printed Mini 7 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopAnother fun way to layer... I got my Circles Circles stencil back out as well as the Runes stencil by Jessica Sporn and layed the circles on top with the Runes underneath and then inked through them (being careful to keep the circle stencil in place as I moved the smaller one underneath.) Then I went back over with my blending tool and ink to add a bit more color to some of the areas that needed definition.

Printed Mini 8 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopAbove is one reason why it's cool that these stencils are so thin, and below is another! This time I used one of Traci's stamps to stamp through the openings in the stencil (I lined it up with the print underneath.)

Printed Mini 9 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopAnd one more layering photo... in this one I just used paint and a sponge to daub through one stencil directly onto the page. I just watched the lines to keep it within the circles, but you could also layer the stencils like I did with the Runes stencil above.

Printed Mini 10 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopThe other layering I did was stamping, more stenciling, paint (and some reduction stenciling,) inking, and adding rubons which you can see in the finished book.

Once all the pages are done and dry, you can do a quick and easy binding technique to make a little pamphlet book. I fold all of the pages individually with a bone folder, stack them inside each other, and then use an awl to make the holes going through all the pages at once. I used binder clips to hold my pages together while I did this.

Printed Mini 11-12 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopThen you make the cover. I took a piece of thin chipboard (I save the pieces that I get in the mail if I order paper or anything. The envelopes you get when you order from StencilGirl work well too - just sayin' ;) and cut it so it was about 1/4" larger than the pages on all sides. Then I fold it in half and center the paper that I've chosen for the inside cover and adhere it with gel medium.

Once that's done, find a piece of decorative paper or another print for the outside - it should be about 1/2" bigger on all sides than the cover. Center the cover and adhere with gel medium, and then clip the corners as you see in the photo below so that you don't get lumps of paper in the corners when you fold the flaps around. Once that's done, center the inside pages and use them as a guide to poke holes in the cover, and then tie it all together. I used a piece of waxed linen thread.

Printed Mini 13 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl Blog HopThat's it! Now I have a great little mini art journal with lots of pages that have completed backgrounds ready for me to build on.

The other stencils used in the book not yet linked up are:

Here's the thumbnail gallery, and make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for the next blogs on the list and a giveaway!

  • Mini Printed Art Journal 1 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 2 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 2a by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 2b by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 3 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 4 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 5 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 6 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 7 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 8 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 9 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 10 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 11 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 12 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 13 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 14 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 14a by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 15 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 16 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 17 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 17a by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 18 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 19 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 20 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
  • Mini Printed Art Journal 21 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl
Mini Printed Art Journal 21 by Gwen Lafleur - Traci Bautista-StencilGirl

Links for today's blog hop:

And... of course, it's not a blog hop without a giveaway!

Update! The winners for the blog hop prize have been announced... congrats to the winners!

StencilGirl - Traci Bautista Blog Hop Winners