It's Time for an Artful Adventure!

Hi all, I'm super excited to share that I'm a surprise guest instructor today in Nathalie Kalbach's FREE online class, Artful Adventures! We're celebrating the release of her new book and taking a Stroll through the Hood where we find inspiration based on fun prompts to help you look at your surroundings in a new way and interpret them in your art.

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My prompt was "cracks" and I've put together a 20ish minute video tutorial showing you how I interpreted my inspiration for the day and turned it into a fun piece of abstract art.

Here's just a little peek at my project:

Cracked Pavement - Mixed Media Sneak Peek - Gwen Lafleur

I don't do pure abstract pieces a lot, but I really had a lot of fun playing with different products and techniques for this one, including a  few that might surprise you! Head on over and check it out! If you're not registered for the class, jump in and sign up - it's free! There's already a ton of great inspiration and lots of fabulous tutorials, with more to come. Hope you enjoy it!

 


Creative JumpStart and My New Website!

Hi everyone! Just popping in with a few quick updates. If we're friends or you follow me on Facebook, you've probably already seen these, but just in case you missed them I wanted to post here as well.

First up, yesterday was the second-to-last workshop / video for Creative JumpStart 2017 and it was me!

My Day on CJS2017 - Gwen Lafleur

Yes, today was the last day of new videos, but you can still sign up through October of this year, and you can still download all of the videos through November. Bonus, now you can get feedback from the people who are already in it so you know how awesome it's been! I've been super inspired as I'm watching the videos and have lots of new ideas and techniques to try!

Second, and I'm pretty excited about this... I finally got around to launching my website where I can host my portfolio, an online store (coming soon,) and also where I can get all of my tutorials in one place so you can see the projects without lots of searching and scrolling and then link directly to the tutorial.

Blog Banner - Gwen's Mixed Media Tutorials

I've also added a little banner to the sidebar on the right and in my menu (look for the hamburger icon in the navigation) so you can jump there quickly from my blog.

There are over 60 tutorials already (I was pretty shocked at how many there are!) and I'll continue to add as new ones are posted here on the blog and elsewhere on the web.

Of course, an artist website means that I needed to create an Artist Page on Facebook (you can't connect a website to a personal profile,) so if you want to follow me there, I'll be posting all kinds of artsy goodness :)

Gwen Lafleur Studios Facebook Page

I'll post updates when I add any major changes - there should be an online store coming soon with original art and jewelry, probably some collage packs, a few homemade art journals, and eventually I'm hoping to get some of my own rubber stamp designs available for sale... but more on all of that later. For now, I'm just excited that this is up!

That's it for today... hope you're feeling inspired and ready to make some art!

 


Top 5 favorite things from my Creative JumpStart project

I was lucky enough to be included, for the 2nd year in a row, amongst the amazing talent that Nathalie has lined up for Creative JumpStart 2017! I can't share my actual project with you - you can only see the whole thing if you sign up, but I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things about the process so you could get a peek (or better yet, decide to sign up and join us!)

1. I got to use my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil from StencilGirl. You know the saying "put a bird on it?" For me, it's "put a peacock on it!" (Or at least a feather.) I may have also experimented a little with embossing powder for this bit.

CJS2017 Project - Peacock Feathers Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

2. Clay! and beads! and gold! and more beads! The main tutorial video shows the process of making these guys... one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. Plus, a little vintage applique never hurts ;)

CJS2017 Sneek Peek 2 - Gwen Lafleur

3. Assemblage (pronounced like Collage, a la Michael deMeng.) Wood, resin, sculpture, more wood, bling, paint... I seriously had so much fun making this project.

CJS2017 Sneek Peek - Gwen Lafleur

4. Sculpture! I couldn't resist adding two bonus videos showing my entire start-to-finish process for making the beaded sculpture that becomes the centerpiece of my project. Huge thanks to Nathalie who offered to add them as a bonus to my workshop and make them downloadable!

CJS2017 Project - Beaded Sculpture Centerpiece - Gwen Lafleur

5. All of the other artists! So many wonderful and inspiring teachers... one of my favorite things about being a participating artist is that I also get to be a student... Dina Wakley, Michelle Ward, Rae Missigman, Mary Beth Shaw, Jodi Ohl, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Andy Skinner, Nathalie Kalbach (of course!) In all there are 27 amazing teachers (I wish I had space to list them all! but that would be a very long paragraph,) and I'm excited to learn from each and every one of them! (Make sure you check out all of the artist interviews on the CJS site.)

Hopefully I'll see you there, but if not... I hope you enjoyed the sneaks of my project! 

  


Adventure Themed Art Journal Spread

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that today I have a new art journal spread and tutorial up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog! This month the team is working with the theme, "say yes to adventures!" Not something I usually have a problem with... lol. I used stencils, stamps, paints, and a photo I took in Cambodia a few years ago to make my adventure-themed spread.

Adventure Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you hop over to Nat's blog to see more photos and the tutorial. Enjoy!
 


n*Studio - Mini Art Journal - Advice to My Future Self

Hi All! Just popping in to let you know that today I'm up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog sharing a project featuring several of Nathalie's stamps and stencils. Our theme  for this month centered on a letter to our future selves (like 10 years from now selves.) I thought it would be fun to make a little mini art journal where I could write out advice to myself. It's 2"x3" and I picked 5 pieces of advice to include:

Letter-to-Future-Self---Mini-Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to see the full post - there are pictures of all of the inside pages as well as a little tutorial for how I made the entire thing. Enjoy!

 

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All Occasion Handmade Cards with n*Studio Stamps

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on today's blog hop with Stampendous and n*Studio! I'm excited to be able to participate today in sharing some fun project inspiration using Nathalie's Stampendous stamp sets.

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For today's post, I decided to use the Elephant Foam Stamp, Cling Rubber, and Stencil Set to make some handmade cards. I can always use some fun all occasion cards; I like to keep a little stash of them in case I need a card quickly, and the elephants seemed like such a fun motif to use for these. Who doesn't love elephants?

All Occasion Elephant Handmade Cards - Gwen Lafleur

I put together a quick little overview of how I made each of these cards, along with a few more photos so you can see some of the details.

First up, I really wanted to make some kind of a window card. To start, I made my own card base from cardstock and sized it to work with the stamps. I took the stencil from the kit and inked through it with gold pigment ink, then I heat embossed with Aged Gold Frantage Embossing Enamel.

Elephant Window Card Steps 1-4 - Gwen LafleurNext, I used some gold paint in a dauber bottle to paint the solid side of the foam stamp - I centered that on the embossed area and stamped it. I wasn't worried about precision; I just wanted the outline so that I could use my x-acto blade to cut out the elephant shape.

Once I had my window, I used some gold foil washi tape to add a frame around the edge of the card.

Elephant Window Card Steps 5-7 - Gwen LafleurI found a fun printed transparency with purple foil polka dots, so I cut a piece of that to back the window. Then on the front, I outlined the cut-out area with gold dimensional paint. Once that was dry, I stamped the rubber stamp elephant on the inside, lining it up with the opening on the front. I painted around the elephant with gold matte paint, then added a sketchy outline around the image and a border around the edges.

To finish it off, I decided to add a little nod to India with some sequined trim and a fun sari applique. The perfect touch, don't you think?

A few more photos of how this card turned out - I think it's kind of fun, elegant, and eclectic all at once!

Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur
Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur
Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the second card... this one is actually reversible! I used the detailed side of the foam stamp plus the rubber stamp - they face opposite ways, so it makes it perfect for this type of card.

Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Top View - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a quick overview of how I made this one.

First, I lined up the two stamps on the cardstock, then stamped each one of them in black. I cut around one of the elephants, leaving about a 1/4" border. When I got to the point where the images met, I folded it in half (carefully - it takes a bit of checking to make sure they line up) then I used the first cut elephant as a guide to outline the second one so the edges would all line up. (I don't usually have much luck folding it in half and cutting both at once - it's almost always wonky!)

Reversible Elephant Card Steps 1-2 - Gwen LafleurNext up, I pulled out a gouache palette and added some watercolor to the stamped images. I used complementary colors to reinforce the reverse / opposites theme.

Once the watercolor was dry, I used glitter glue to add some fun sparkle and detail.

Reversible Elephant Card Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

To finish off this card, I mounted it on another piece of cardstock to add some more stability, then punched some holes and threaded ribbon through the top. Here you can see each of the sides:

Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
That's it! I hope you enjoyed today's projects, and that you're feeling inspired with new ways to use Nathalie's awesome stamp and stencil sets.

Before you go... make sure you comment below and stop at all of the blogs on this week's hop for even more chances to win one of three awesome prize packages from Stampendous!

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Here are all of the blogs on today's portion of the hop... make sure you check in on the Stampendous blog each day so you can be sure and catch all of the fabulous inspiration this week.

 Until next time... happy stamping!

 

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Art Journaling with nStudio - My Own Drum

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I have a post up on the nStudio blog today featuring Nathalie Kalbach's Fashion Dame stamp set. Our theme for this month's creative squad posts was "my own drum." I did my own interpretation of the theme with a page in my art journal:

My Own Drum Art Journal Page - Final - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to Nathalie's blog to see the story behind this month's page, as well as a tutorial for how it came together.


n*Studio - A Childhood Memory in my Art Journal

Hi everyone, I'm up on the n*Studio (Nathalie Kalbach) blog today with this month's project using her awesome stamps and stencils. Our theme this month was to represent a childhood memory using the Elephant Stamp and Stencil Set to represent the memory (because an elephant never forgets, right?) This was fun to do...

Never Forget - Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur - wm

Make sure you head over to Nathalie's blog to read about the memory that inspired this page and also get an overview of how I made this art journal spread - there are more photos and a few step-outs. Enjoy!

 


Making Bird Sculptures with n*Studio Foam Stamps

Hi everyone, I'm excited to be joining in on this week's blog hop featuring Nathalie's stamps from Stampendous!

NStudio and Stampendous Blog Hop

Today I actually have two projects to share... I used the Bird Foam Stamp and Stencil Set for both.

First up, for the last year or so I've really gotten into making little sculptures. Usually I make them using stencils for my base shape, but the foam stamps worked perfectly in this case. Here's the final project - I have a little tutorial below if you're interested.

3 Bird Sculptures from Foam Stamp 1 - Gwen Lafleur

While I was at it, I couldn't resist using the detailed side of the foam stamp to make a card.

Handmade Card with Bird Foam Stamp Set - Gwen Lafleur

For the card, I stamped the bird, heat embossed with gold, and colored it with watercolor pencils, and then cut it out. I also used the Marks Cling Rubber Stamp Set in the background along with a large diecut frame from Spellbinders. I added some glitter glue and trim with lots of rhinestones, and I used the stencil from the Bird Foam Stamp and Stencil Set to make the little branch in the bird's mouth (I just cut off some of the petals.)

Now for a quick little tutorial on how I made the bird sculptures, along with more pictures of the three birds I made.

First up, I stamped the solid side of the foam stamp onto some cardboard three times - this is the base of my armature.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I cut out those shapes and then used them as a pattern to build out the armature with more cardboard. You can also see where I drew and cut out wing shapes since I was taking the 2D image and making it 3D.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I seem to have lost the picture I took of the next step, but I wrapped the cardboard bird with masking tape, then coated the whole thing with a light-weight epoxy clay. This takes a while because the best way to do it without making a huge mess is to coat one side of the bird, let it cure for 3+ hours, then go back and do the other side of the bird and let that cure. I knew that these were going to hang, so I also made sure to put the wire through the middle while the clay was wet. Once the clay was completely cured and dry and hard to the touch, I went in with a coat of gesso to prep the surface for painting.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Then it was time to paint! For each bird, I took a few shades of a color and brushed it on, then added embossing powder on top and heat embossed to get some shine and texture on the bird. For the orange one, I used Frantage Aged Scarlet embossing enamel.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I took the cling rubber stamp from the set and randomly stamped just part of the image onto the bird to get some texture:

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

On this particular bird, I added my signature dots with dimensional fabric paint - I did this on all of them in some way, but this one went a little nuts... lol.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I had deliberately left the wire long on each bird so that I could add some beads to the bottom - I tried to do it in a contrasting color so they'd stand out.

Sculpture from Foam Stamp Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I wrapped ribbons around the wire loop at the top and then tied some extras on top just for fun. I used either sari fabric yarn or Snug Hug ribbon.

Orange Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Each of them is a little different... the purple bird got his stamped texture from one of the stamps in the Marks Cling Rubber Stamp Set, and he used Frantage Aged Spice Embossing Enamel.

Purple Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, my gold bird sculpture was stamped with one of the images in the NK Studio Grunge cling stamp set, and I used the Frantage Aged Marine embossing enamel.

Gold Bird Sculpture from Foam Stamp 1 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for my projects today... thanks for stopping by! Make sure you check out all of the links on the blog hop for lots more awesome inspiration! Don't forget to comment on each blog so you can be entered for a chance to win one of THREE generous prizes from Stampendous! 

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Each of the prize packages  includes all three of Nathalie Kalbach’s Foam Stamp, Cling Stamp and Stencil Sets. Leave a comment on each blog and make sure to include where you're from. The giveaway is open everyone domestic and international!

Deadline to comment is Sunday, May 1st at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (Monday, May 2nd 6:59 AM UTC).

Today's blog lineup is:

 Make sure to check in on the Stampendous blog so you can see all of the posts this week!

 

 


Playing with Urban Scribble Stamps from n*Studio

This month, the n*Studio Creative Squad is playing with the new Urban Scribble Stamp and Stencil set and I had so much fun putting together my project! We were challenged to work with the topic of Our City - textures, colors, culture, etc...  I knew immediately that I wanted to represent Salt Lake with a city surrounded by mountains, of course! You can head on over to Nathalie's blog to see the full post with a write-up of the process and what I used to make it, but in the meantime, here's a view of my final project:

Salt Lake City Mixed Media Painting Top View - Gwen Lafleur - WM

Make sure you go check out the full post, and don't forget to check back each Tuesday for more awesome projects from the Creative Squad!

 


n*Studio Project - Opposites Attract

Hi everyone! Today I'm super excited to share my first project as a member of the Creative Squad for Nathalie Kalbach / n*Studio! This month the team is working with the new Bird Stamp and Stencil set from Stampendous. These sets are so cool... you get a 2-sided foam stamp, a rubber stamp, and a coordinating stencil all in one! We're also working with the theme "opposites attract" this month.

NStudio Creative Squad - Opposites Attract

I focused on new / bright / shiny vs. old / rusty / brown for my project. Here's a little peek of what I did this month:

Opposites - Bird Stamp Art Journal Page Teaser - Gwen Lafleur

To see the full page, a few close-ups, and a little write-up of how I made it, make sure to pop over to Nathalie's blog. Be sure to check back every week to see what the rest of the team does with this month's featured theme and products as well!