Previous month:
July 2015
Next month:
September 2015

Typepad on Pinterest: Gwen Lafleur

Wow... what a surprise! 

Typepad Blog Shout-out

Big thank you to Typepad for the shout out on their blog! I guess this is the part where I tell you to follow me on Pinterest ;)

Did you know Typepad is on Pinterest? It's true! We love pinning and repinning great content from Typepad blogs in every genre, and we're always looking for great, inspirational content. Are you on Pinterest? Drop your link in the comments, and don't forget to follow Typepad right here! If you're not on Pinterest yet, check it out - it's a great way to promote your blog and connect with others!


Making a Triptych with StencilGirl and VerDay Paints

Hi everyone, welcome to day 3 of our blog hop! The StencilGirl creative team has been playing with the fabulous VerDay Paint and Patina kits from TENseconds Studio, and this week we're sharing our projects.

For today's project, I wanted to do something with this cool wooden triptych that I had on hand from Paper Whimsy - I thought it would be a perfect substrate for adding a patina finish. Here's what I came up with, and below is a quick tutorial for those who want to see how to make it.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints Final - Gwen Lafleur

Before I got into the project itself, I made myself a little chart so that I could see how each of the paints in the kit would react with the patina spray (it was also great to get me used to working with it!)

VerDay Paint Reference Chart

Once that was done, I was able to pick out the paints I wanted to use for my project. To start, I gessoed all of the wooden pieces and then painted them with two coats of the VerDay copper paint, then let it dry. I added another coat in places and then sprayed with the patina spray and let that dry and change colors. Then I went in with some bronze paint and repeated the process so I'd get multiple colors of patina on my piece.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 2 - Gwen LafleurNext, I used a texture medium (Goosebumps from Imagine Crafts) and the Crackle stencil by Nathalie Kalbach to get a subtle raised crackle effect on my piece.

IMG_5360Once that was dry, I brought in a little copper paint to knock back some of the patina a bit. Then I got out a sheet of heavy vellum where I'd stenciled and colored some "stained glass" windows using the Church Window stencil by Margaret Applin and some irRESISTibles. I thought it would be fun to use pieces of this in the panels of my triptych.

IMG_5361I cut those out and adhered them (I used Helmar Quick Dry - the vellum wants to curl otherwise, and it's great for gluing the wood together as well.) Next I stamped a favorite quote into the center as the focal point of my piece.

IMG_5362The quote is by Gustave Flaubert and roughly translates as, "To travel makes one humble. One sees what a small place one occupies in the world." I absolutely love to travel and this really resonates with me!

Next, I needed to fancy it up a bit. I pulled out a bunch of different metal charms and flowers and started assembling them (or cutting in one case!) into little clusters to embellish my triptych. Once I got them the way I wanted them, I glued them together and then used the copper paint and patina spray to unify them (they were all different metals) and age them up a bit so they'd match my piece.

IMG_5363Voila! So cute!

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 8 - Gwen LafleurAs much as I loved it (I even got my dots in there!) I thought it still needed a little something. So I took a piece of cardboard, measured, cut, gessoed, painted, and stenciled (whew!) and then I decided to use some copper leaf with the Church Window stencil to bring that motif into the project again and kind of make it look like the windows were glowing.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 7 - Gwen LafleurI used some oil pastels to add a bit of shading and depth, then I adhered the center panel to the cardboard backing.

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints 9 - Gwen LafleurNow I just set the side panels at an angle so it would stand on its own, and it's finished! 

Triptych with Stencils and VerDay Paints Final 2 - Gwen LafleurI really like how it looks, and together the triptych and the background create a fun little scene that I can set out in my studio.

I hope you enjoyed today's project! Be sure to check out all of the blogs on this week's hop and leave comments, because there's a giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a 4-piece kit containing VerDay Reactive Metal Paints and Patina, and a $25 StencilGirl Gift Certificate! (Make sure you also visit Cheryl from TENseconds Studio for an extra little giveaway she's got going on!)

All comments left on the hop list participants' posts will be entered. One comment per person, per blog, please.

Comments close on August 21st at 11:59pm Central.

Here's today's lineup, and if you missed the other posts this week, you you can always go back to StencilGirl talk to catch up!

Thanks for stopping by!


Junque Journal Classes Part 2

Picking up where I left off yesterday, today I wanted to share a quick recap of the projects I did as part of the bundle of Junque Journal classes I took online with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. The second of the two classes is called "30 Days in your Junque Journal," and I did a pretty good job of keeping up, I think! Especially since I was traveling during the class.

So let's just dive right in, shall we? For most of the class, I didn't copy Julie's sample pages exactly (there was a video for every day of the 30 days,) but I tried to stick to similar theme and composition while I was getting the hang of this junque journaling thing.

First pages... Julie had a face, I had to have a face! Since I was still pretty new to faces at this point, I pulled out my "Eve, A Modern Woman" stencil by Andrea Matus deMeng and used that as the foundation for the page. Note my super fancy low-tech redaction technique here... I write a fair amount about work in my journal, but I want to make sure that doesn't get out in public, of course! (I blurred that stuff for the rest of them, as you'll see.)

Junque Journal Spread 1 - Gwen LafleurNext up, there was another face on Julie's, so I opted to try something different by using Jessica Sporn's Krishna Deity stencil in the background. (Julie's background papers in her book had lots of more interesting stuff on them - things she'd drawn, samples and stuff like that, whereas my pages were pretty plain. So in an attempt to make them even half as cool as hers were, I added all kinds of stuff before applying the techniques from the class. Extra work? YES! But I'm glad I did it... love the results.)

Junque Journal Spread 2 - Gwen LafleurThe third spread I kind of followed and kind of deviated... I loved the idea of adding the earth - that was my deviation. The lettering was pretty copy-cat of me. I drew the earth, the leaves were a hand-carved stamp, and the flowers were the Imaginary Bloom and Nonsensical Bloom stencil and mask sets by Rae Missigman.

Junque Journal Spread 3 - Gwen LafleurFun intermission spread! I followed Julie's instruction to use a reference photo and draw my own face with markers and paint pens. The quote on the right was an insert in a Studio Calico kit I got sometime last year.

Junque Journal Spread 4 - Gwen LafleurThis next spread is one where I started to deviate a bit more from what Julie was doing on her pages... and I love how it turned out! I started with a Dina Wakley stamp, along with some techniques that I'd learned in her classes last year. The light bulb is a stamp I made from a stencil in the April 2014 StencilClub kit.  On the right, I used a tag I'd made with the April 2015 StencilClub kit, as well as some hand-carved stamps. 

Junque Journal Spread 5 - Gwen LafleurThis next page was kind of fun, even though it's not much to look at... I used scraps of paper where I'd cleaned off extra paint and tested out some new pens. Also some test stamping with new hand-carved stamps.

Junque Journal Spread 6 - Gwen LafleurNext up... another slight deviation. Julie had a big face on her page, but I decided I really wanted to use this funky drawing. In one of my art classes at SAIC last year, we were working on our final piece based on inspiration from the museum. I'd sketched a very cool African tribal mask and wanted to kind of combine it with a Picasso painting I loved. This was a concept that I whipped out on the paper covering the table, and I loved it so much I cut it out and kept it.

Junque Journal Spread 7 - Gwen LafleurAnother face... I drew this one free-hand on some book paper. 

Junque Journal Spread 8 - Gwen LafleurAnd yet more following along closely with the lesson... I used purchased and hand-carved stamps along with some doodling. The arrows were from the Pointing it Out stencil/mask by Rae Missigman. You can also see lots of fun stuff peeking through from the base pages.

Junque Journal Spread 9 - Gwen LafleurYet another face as I followed along closely... hand-drawn from a reference photo:

Junque Journal Spread 10 - Gwen LafleurAlmost there! I started deviating again (I was watching lots of Teesha Moore videos on the Artstronauts site.) Lots of collage and the quote is another insert from a Studio Calico kit.

Junque Journal Spread 11 - Gwen LafleurLast but not least (okay, it's kind of least... lol) I followed along with Julie pretty closely on this one (shapes were all me, though.) I was traveling at the time so I didn't want to get too fancy!

Junque Journal Spread 12 - Gwen Lafleur

So there you go! 30 days in my Junque Journal... hope you enjoyed it! As I'm sure you've seen on Instagram, I've continued to work in here, so I'll have another update soon with more of the pages I've done since the class finished.

Junque Journal Classes Part 1

In my never ending quest to get somewhat caught up with the list of "posts I want to put up on my blog," I bring you part 1 of my Junque Journal classes recap! 

I'd been eyeing these online Junque Journal classes by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer since she first put them up on her site, but I was hemming and hawing a bit over the price so I hadn't yet jumped in. Then, I went and spent a weekend taking in-person classes from her at the Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut, which I LOVED, and decided after seeing her journals in person that I had to take these classes. I signed up immediately after getting home.

I went with the Junque Journal bundle, and I'm really glad I did! The first of the two classes was one where we made our journals from scratch. Since I love making my own books, this was lots of fun! We started by making our own covers from 9x12 canvas panels, then created the inside pages and bound it all together. Here's how my book looked when I was done:

Junque Journal Cover 1 - Gwen LafleurFor my front cover, I used a few different stencils... the Aztec Sun Large Stencil by Lizzie Mayne for the background, then on the smaller panel I put on the front I used the Angel Circle stencil by Kate Thompson. I had fun using dimensional paints, embossing paste, and beads to get lots of texture. The whole thing is sealed with tar gel. On the spine, I used the Numbers stencil by Seth Apter.

Junque Journal Cover 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's my back cover, which I really like!

Junque Journal Back Cover - Gwen LafleurI used gelli prints, tissue paper, and the center is from a vintage French comic book. It's kind of a cool poem! I added some fun sticker words and again, sealed the whole thing with tar gel.

Here are the end papers - these were just made from gelli prints on deli paper left over from my classes with Julie.

Junque Journal Front End Papers - Gwen Lafleurand the back...

Junque Journal Back End Papers - Gwen LafleurI had received a package of washi tape I'd ordered on Etsy and it came from Hong Kong covered with the cutest stamps! I peeled them all off and collaged them inside the back cover of my book.

The inside pages were really fun to make - this is the "junque" part of the journal. They were made from lots of scrapbook paper, gelli prints, magazine pages, and lots of washi tape! I didn't take pictures of all of them, but here are several of the inside pages before working on them so that you can get an idea for what all of my base pages were like.

Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I travel as much as I can, so when I get home I like to take the luggage tags off of my suitcases and add those (along with the baggage claim stickers) onto the empty pages. There are quite a few scattered through the book!

Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur

On the one above, you can see where I've got an art journal page tipped into the book - this will obviously not get covered over! I have a few of these throughout the book, and I've added some decorated tags as well.

Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Junque Journal Inside Pages 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I've taken this book with me on several trips (at least three that I can think of off hand,) and it's holding up really well! It's pretty sturdy, and I've loved working in it. I'm getting close to finishing this one off (as I'm finally posting the beginning of it... ha!) and I can't wait to make another one!

Coming tomorrow... part 2 - the journal pages from the "30 Days in your Junque Journal" class.

August StencilClub Inspiration

Hi everyone, just popping in quickly to let you know that I have a project in today's August StencilClub Inspiration post over on StencilGirl Talk. Here are some quick peeks at my projects:

Aug2015 StencilClub Fan Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Aug2015 StencilClub Tags - Gwen LafleurMake sure you click over to see the whole post... I have a few step-outs so you can see how I painted the fan, and there are also two other projects from the creative team!

Portrait Drawing at SAIC

In May and June, I had the chance to take a portrait drawing class at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago - (my photo is even part of the rotating carousel up top!) I've taken several of their continuing studies classes over the last year, and it's really helped me make some good progress with my drawing skills.

I missed the last day of class - I was in Williamsburg with my family, and since that class was the critique, I thought I'd do my own online critique.

FYI, for this class, the teacher didn't use any kind of face mapping - it was all about drawing strictly from observation and relative placement (she said that face mapping tends to lead to faces that look stylized - I hadn't thought about it, but I guess that's true! Not that I still won't be using it as a tool from time to time.) So for this class, no face mapping!

In chronological order, here are seven photos of some of my work throughout the five weeks.

First: charcoal on regular drawing paper, 10-minute pose. My critique: not bad for a first week - I did okay with the angle, gestures could use a little work, but overall okay.

Portrait Drawing 1 - Gwen LafleurSecond: Charcoal on Rives BFK, 5-15 minute poses, focus on gesture and value drawing. Critique: already better than last week. Focusing on values really helped me get a better grip on defining features and getting it to look right.

Portrait Drawing 2 - Gwen LafleurThird: graphite on Rives BFK, 10-15 minute poses, emphasis on mark making. Critique: one of my favorite pieces of work from the class. Fun technique, I really started getting the hang of it, continued improvement, and it looked like the model!

Portrait Drawing 3 - Gwen LafleurFourth: charcoal on Rives BFK, 10 minute poses, focus on gesture, line, value (this week the model didn't show up so we all took turns posing. These are of another student and the professor.) Critique: the one on the left especially shows continued improvement (looked almost just like her!) In the second one, also a good resemblance, and I got the feeling of the gesture, even if the hair needs serious work.

Portrait Drawing 4 - Gwen LafleurFifth: Charcoal on Rives BFK, 15-20 minute pose(?) Critique: proportions still need a bit of work, but the eyes came out pretty well.

Portrait Drawing 5 - Gwen LafleurSixth: charcoal and hard pastels on Rives BFK - 50 minute pose. Critique: huge improvement! I think the shading and proportions are all good, eye and ear especially came out well.

Portrait Drawing 6 - Gwen LafleurSeventh: soft pastels on Rives BFK, 50 minute pose (and yes, he was laying down.) Critique: the professor gave me a 5 minute demo on pastels, and I (she agreed) did a pretty darn good job of following the instruction. This was all done by using colors to build up values and definition - almost no line. I think proportion, features, shading all came out great.

Portrait Drawing 7 - Gwen LafleurAll in all, good class. It pushed me, and it was not always comfortable or fun (I hate blind contour drawing! We did at least 5 of them every night.)

Pros of the class: it forced me to practice and do things I wouldn't do on my own and go outside of my comfort zone. I got to work with live models, and of course the benefit of a professional artist helping give you pointers is a good thing.

Cons: Two nights a week (3 hour sessions) after work for 5 weeks was too much! I don't know if I'll do that again. Not any time soon, at least.

So there you go! And now it's time for me to try and finish one of the multiple online classes I'm enrolled in :-P

Inspiration Wednesday Weeks 9-15

I'm WAY behind in catching up... if that makes sense! But I thought I may as well start somewhere... this will be a bit of a big post, but I wanted to make sure I got it all updated.

I've done seven Inspiration Wednesday challenges since the last time I posted an IW update, so without further ado, here they are!

Week 9 - I loved playing with color and mark making on this one... the face is the Yearning Desire stencil by Andrea Matus deMeng, the words in molding paste are from the Picasso's Words stencil by Carolyn Dube. That fluorescent pink is one of my favorite colors to use lately.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 9 Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Inspiration Wednesday Week 9 Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Week 10, a bit more minimalist with yet more bright pink. I liked this one - bonus, I got to use up some random bits of stuff from my junk drawers.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 10 Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Inspiration Wednesday Week 10 Side 1 - Gwen LafleurWeek 11, one of my least favorites so far. I really liked the technique of using the Caran d'Ache Neocolor IIs with wet media, and the softness was a nice change, but it's a bit too sparse for me. Nice future background technique, though.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 11 Side 1 - Gwen LafleurWeek 12: Love this one! We used the VerDay patina paints to get the aged metal look. I got a big plastic house number and glued it in there... it's pretty light so it doesn't way down the book as much as you'd think (I refused to get a metal one for that reason!) Looking forward to playing with these paints some more.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 12 - Gwen LafleurWeek 13: Another week where it was fun to play but I like it better as a background technique than a page in and of itself. I do like this, though. I used both store-bought and hand-carved stamps on this one, plus Carolyn Dube's Rembrandt's Words stencil in the background.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 13 - Gwen LafleurWeek 14 - This one was lots of fun. I used some old scrapbook paper in the background, then blew up an image from the Tim Holtz Crazy Birds stamps, colored with markers, and collaged it onto the page. I did random molding paste letters in two sizes - both using stencils by Carolyn Dube. The larger letters are from her Vintage Typewriter Alphabet stencil and the smaller ones are from the April 2014 StencilClub set.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 14 Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Inspiration Wednesday Week 14 Side 1 - Gwen LafleurFinally, week 15: another spread that I don't really love. It was fun to make and I got some good ideas from it, and that's all that matters, right? That's pretty much the point of the whole thing, I think. I used a few different scraps of handmade papers, a page from a vintage cookbook, and a swirl stencil by Jessica Sporn from the January 2014 StencilClub kit.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 15 Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Inspiration Wednesday Week 15 Side 1 - Gwen LafleurWhew! Now I'm all caught up on Inspiration Wednesday for approximately 36 more hours... lol.

Want to keep up with what I'm working on? Make sure to follow me on Instagram! I usually post there a few times a week.