Fall Texture with Stencils, Molding Paste, and Acrylic Skins

Hi all! I'm up today on StencilGirl Talk with my quarterly blog column focused on paint and texture. This month I've taken inspiration from the fall season and made a mixed media panel with a tree bark-esque textured background, and fall leaves made from acrylic skins.

The-Dryad's-Tree---Mixed-Media-Artwork---Gwen-Lafleur

Of course, there's also a tutorial for both the background and the leaves, so make sure you head on over to check it out!

 


From the Artist Tribe - Boho Stenciled Clutch

Lynda Shoup from the Artist Tribe has a fun new project today that's going to make you want to run right out and make your own stenciled boho phone clutch!

Stenciled Boho Clutch - Lynda Shoup

Lynda used my Art Deco Borders stencil to create the pattern on the front of the clutch... make sure you head on over to her blog for more photos and details!


From the Artist Tribe - Rust, Embroidery, and Stencils

I'm excited about today's Artist Tribe project from Jill McDowell... she's combined two of my favorite things in this fabulous mixed media piece - rust and embroidery!

Rust and Embroidery - Jill McDowell

Here you can see where she's used my Decorative Folk Flower stencil as an embroidery pattern, along with a lot of other fabulous elements! Make sure to head over to Jill's blog so you can see the entire piece and read about all the details!


From the Artist Tribe - Art Journaling for the Soul

Happy Friday everyone! Today we have Linda Edkins Wyatt from the Artist Tribe sharing a new art journal spread that shows how she uses her journal when she wants to relax, regroup, and re-center.

BRAVE STRONG WORTHY FINAL

Linda used several of my stencils on this spread, including my July 2018 StencilClub collection, the Art Deco Floral Medallion, the Ornamental Compass Mask, and she used my Not Afraid to Try stencil to create her own words! Make sure you head over to her blog to see the full post with a step-by-step overview of her process.


From the Artist Tribe - Encaustic Painting with Stencils

Check out what Jill McDowell is sharing today from the Artist Tribe! She's done a gorgeous encaustic painting using several of my stencil designs:

Encaustic Butterfly Painting - Jill McDowell

Jill used my Boho Butterflies, Christmas Poinsettias, Decorative Filigree Ornament, and Not Afraid to Try stencils. Make sure you head over to her blog for more details and photos!


From the Artist Tribe - Art Journaling

Hi all, Jackie Neal is back today from the Artist Tribe with another art journal spread in her sari journal.

2 Sari JJ 8-18 (3)

Jackie used the Enchanting Elephants and Irresistible India collage cutouts and some of the embellished trim, a small Kuchi patch, as well as my Art Deco medallion and Collage Textures and Patterns, Circles stencils.

Make sure you head over to Jackie's blog for all of the details and lots more photos!


An Artist Book Cover with Stencils and Embossing Powder

Hi all, and welcome to my stop on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and Emerald Creek! At this point I don't think that it's really any secret that I love me some embossing powder. It's such a versatile medium, and you can use it in so many different ways! Of course, embossing powder also pairs perfectly with stencils, so I was thrilled to hear that StencilGirl and Emerald Creek were teaming up to do a second blog hop (we also did one in December of last year. If you missed it, make sure to check that out too for even more inspiration!)

This time around, I decided to decorate the cover of a handmade artist book that I've been working on. I wanted something that was extremely textured and grungy, and yet still fit with the overall theme of the book, which is courage.

Artist-Book-Cover---Stencils-and-Embossing---Gwen-Lafleur

Of course, I also put together a short tutorial so that you can see how to recreate these effects in your own projects. Ready?

To start, I coated the cover with black gesso, let it dry, then used a gold texture paste with my Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms stencil to get the flowers onto the background. You could do this with pigment or embossing ink and embossing powder, but I knew that I was going to do quite a bit of layering and melting in the vicinity of this design and I didn't want to lose the crisp lines, so I used the texture paste instead.

Textured-Embossed-Artist-Book-Cover---Step-1-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Once the texture paste was dry, I took out some scraps of tissue paper, matte medium, and a brush, and started laying the foundation of the texture in the background. It doesn't really matter what the pattern is on your paper, (or if there is one!) as it will all be covered up in the end. (Old sewing patterns also work great for this.) 

I coated the background in matte medium, scrunched up some tissue paper and then coated the back of that as well, and then laid it on the wet background, manipulating it with my fingers as I went so that I created lots of peaks and valleys with the paper. I kept doing this until most of the cover was coated, leaving the flowers peeking through.

I worked fairly quickly at this point - this was partly to keep myself from overthinking the positioning of the tissue paper, and partly because I needed the matte medium to be wet for the next step, which was the application of a lot of Baked Texture embossing powder.  I started with Rocky Road, sprinkling it around the edges and right along the areas next to the flowers - I wanted something very textured and crusty looking, and this was the perfect way to get that look. I tapped off the excess powder and returned it to the jar, then I used Dirty Sand, making sure to leave some areas open, then repeated one more time with Chunky Rust. I put the extra powder back in the jar each time so that I could use it again later.

Textured-Embossed-Artist-Book-Cover---Step-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Once the entire background had its first coat of powder, I pulled out my heat gun and went to work. I kept it pretty close to the surface so that the medium and powder would bubble as it melted. The effect you achieve with this is fabulous! (Just a note that you may have heard from me before, but because you're heating acrylic mediums here, you get fumes. I always cover my nose and mouth for this process - I even have a respirator in my studio for really extended embossing sessions!) 

After the first layer was melted, I took out Ancient Amber, Deep Sea, and Patina Oxide and alternately re-melted the surface with the heat gun, sprinkled powder on the hot surface, and then heated to fuse it into the surface. The result is a gorgeous, mottled look that you really can't get any other way!

Once I'd gotten the texture I wanted in the background, I pulled out a blend of gold leafing flakes and applied some on the background, then used some gold wax from PaperArtsy and applied with my finger on the tops of the texture - it adds depth and shine, all at the same time.

Textured-Embossed-Artist-Book-Cover---Step-5-6---Gwen-Lafleur

Next I used Seth Apter's Never Again stencil along with clear embossing ink and Charred Gold embossing powder to add a few words into the openings of my flowers.

To this point, I'd done a pretty good job of adding the grunge factor, but I needed some boho - bright colors to the rescue! I used my Posca paint markers to color in the flowers. I like to add in a few shades of the same color or two similar colors and blend them with my finger while they're still wet.

Textured-Embossed-Artist-Book-Cover---Step-7-8---Gwen-Lafleur

I also pulled out my Marabu Art Crayons and added bits of color into the background, using my finger and a water brush to spread it out a bit.

Finally, I took some Emerald Creek Fleur brads, poked holes in the cover with an awl, and then inserted them to give a subtle, decorative touch to the cover. I used my finger to wipe a bit more of the gold PaperArtsy wax over the surface - the raised design on the brad really picked it up beautifully!

Textured-Embossed-Artist-Book-Cover---Step-9---Gwen-Lafleur

Voilà ! The finished cover!

Artist-Book-Cover---Stencils-and-Embossing---Book-Standing---Gwen-Lafleur

Here are a few close-ups so that you can get a good sense of the amazing texture you can get by using embossing powder in your mixed media work:

Artist-Book-Cover---Stencils-and-Embossing-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Artist-Book-Cover---Stencils-and-Embossing-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

I hope you enjoyed today's project... I know I did! Of course, now for the part you've all been waiting for!

GIVEAWAY
One lucky winner will receive $50 in Gift Certificates to Emerald Creek and StencilGirl® Products!

SG and EC blog hop GIVEAWAY image
Enter to win by leaving a comment below, then be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop and comment; the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
One winner will be chosen at random from all blog comments. (One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, August 21st at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
The winner will be announced on the StencilGirl® Products Facebook page and Emerald Creek’s Facebook page on Wednesday, August 22.

Make sure you check out all of today's posts for lots of fabulous inspiration!


From the Artist Tribe - Romantic Collage with Stencils

Hi all - Linda Edkins Wyatt is joining us today, showing a few beautiful examples featuring one of her favorite ways to unwind... collage.

IMG_2199 change crop
IMG_2199 change crop

Linda has layered a variety of papers and ephemera and then added journaling and stenciling on top. She used my "Not Afraid to Try," Art Deco Alphabet, Ornamental Compass Screen, and Art Deco Flower Medallion stencils.

Make sure you stop by her blog for more photos, and to hear more about her process for how she chooses the different papers and brings these lovely collages together!


My First Online Class - Boho Grunge!

I've had requests to do online classes for quite a while now, and I'm thrilled to share that it's finally become reality! Today I'm releasing my first online class, "Boho Grunge," with StencilGirl on their StencilGirl Studio website.

This course will walk through the creation of a mixed media panel, done in my signature Boho Grunge style, from start to finish . I didn't have the project pre-planned other than to bring some likely options to the shoot, so you get to see the organic process as it really happens in my studio!

Here's the project that I make in this class - it's called "Crossroads."

Boho Grunge Full Promo - Gwen Lafleur

In the workshop, I'll share the background technique that I used for this piece, as well as some stenciling tips, how I created the layers, and how I selected and assembled the elements of the focal point. I'll even show how I made different metals look the same and applied a faux rust effect! You can use these techniques to create a similar piece on your own, or apply them individually to your projects.

I'm very happy with how the class came out, and it was a lot of fun to film it... I hope you'll enjoy taking the workshop just as much! You can check out the introduction video and intros to each of the course chapters for free, or register now! I hope you'll join me!


From the Artist Tribe - Stenciled Mixed Media Portrait

Linda Edkins Wyatt is joining us from the Artist Tribe today with a stellar stenciled mixed media portrait!

Stenciled Mixed Media Portrait - Art Journaling - Linda Edkins Wyatt

For this piece, Linda used the stencils from my July 2018 Ceramic Tile collection for StencilClub (these have already shipped to members, but you can always order any of the older sets after joining the club!) She also used several other StencilGirl designs as well as the Ornate Border Dresden trim from the shop. Make sure you head over to Linda's blog to learn more about her beautiful art journal page!


From the Artist Tribe - Boho Embroidered Pincushions

Lynda Shoup is joining us from the Artist Tribe today with some gorgeous embroidered pincushions that she made using one of my stencils as a pattern!

Traditional vs. Bohemian pincushion

She used my Boho Star Circle stencil for these - personally, I think it looks pretty fabulous this way! Make sure you head over to Lynda's blog for all the details and lots more photos!


Textured Abstract Art with Paint, Stencils, and Embossing Powder

I'm up today with my first quarterly column on the StencilGirl blog, focusing on paint and texture. Today I'm sharing a tutorial for this abstract mixed media piece called "Sands of Time."

Sands-of-Time---Mixed-Media-Abstract---Gwen-Lafleur

Sands-of-Time---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

I've used stencils along with a few different acrylic mediums and paints, collage, embossing powder, and a few other fun dimensional elements. Make sure to head over and check out the step-by-step tutorial and lots more photos!


From the Artist Tribe - Turmeric Flip Journal, & A Stencil Sale!

Today Lynda Edkins Wyatt from the Artist Tribe is kicking off July with this fabulous turmeric flip journal:

Stenciled Turmeric Flip Journal - Linda Edkins Wyatt

Linda used my new Boho Striped Circle stencil along with some our our Tribe favorites, the ever-popular Turkmen jewelry parts. Make sure you stop by her blog to see lots more photos and details about this fabulous journal!

And... I'm excited to share that it's time for Mary Beth's Birthday Sale over at StencilGirl!

Stencil sale stencilgirl gwen lafleur
 

Receive 14% OFF all my StencilGirl stencil designs! Make sure to use code MBS14 at checkout.

  • $100+ orders** CHOOSE 1 FREE Large STENCIL***
    • ***You MUST put the L### in the comment box at checkout. Sorry, no exceptions.
  • **6 of the same size 10% discount is applied first! $100+ orders post-discount.
  • *Sale does not apply to wholesale accounts or StencilClub membership.
  • The stencil sale begins July 6th and ends July 8th at 11:59 p.m. CST 

Introducing... Ceramic Tiles!

Surprise! I bet you thought that with last month's stencil release that I was done for a while, right? Nope! I'm thrilled to share that I'm the StencilClub designer for July! This month's collection is called Ceramic Tiles - I think you can see why. Here's a little peek at the stencils that will ship to members on July 15th:

July-2018-stencilclub-gwen-lafleur-ceramic-tiles-stencilgirl-1080-x-1080

I also filmed a quick introduction where I share the background on the design inspiration as well as a few fun little tips and tricks about how the stencils can work together:

Of course, I also have few samples using this months designs... (and seriously, now that the cat is out of the bag, I'm going to be using these all over the place!) First up, I've started yet another new artist book, and the first two spreads both use these new stencils. This is a handmade book, and the pages are a bit under 8" x 8." On the opening page, I used the 6" x 6" Fleur de Lys tile and cut out the center - that's backed with a vintage letter written in a beautiful Slavic script, and then I used the center of the 4" x 4" design in the middle.

July-2018-StencilClub---Art-Journaling-Angled-View---Gwen-Lafleur

On this second spread, you can see where I used one of the medallions from the 9" x 12" repeating Circle Tile stencil as part of the focal point:


July-2018-StencilClub---Art-Journaling-Angled-View---Gwen-Lafleur

One of the perks of StencilClub is that each month's collection comes with a mini online class... you get a sneak peek in the video above, but here are a few photos of the project we'll make in the class, which is a mini art journal made from a single sheet of paper.

July 2018 StencilClub - Mini Art Journal Closeup - Gwen Lafleur

In the close-up here, you get a better idea of what the 4" x 4" stencil looks like when you repeat it to create a full medallion:

July 2018 StencilClub - Mini Art Journal Closeup - Gwen Lafleur

During the video, I also create one of my collage papers as part of the process:

July-2018-StencilClub---Collage-Paper---Gwen-Lafleur

These stencils are exclusively available to StencilClub members, but it's only $25 a month and there's no commitment. You get all three stencils, plus the online class and downloadable PDF! Not to mention the fabulous and supportive Facebook group and a monthly coupon. If you're interested and you aren't already a StencilClub member, you can sign up before July 15th and this will be your first kit. (Plus, club members can order any previous StencilClub collection, including my December 2016 collection, Heraldry.) So what are you waiting for?


From the Artist Tribe - Translucent Art Journal

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to teach a few classes at Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut, and Artist Tribe member Jill McDowell was there to join in the fun. Today she's sharing the translucent art journal that she made in class and then finished up at home (we only did the backgrounds and the front side of the accordion journal in class, so she added a lot!)

Here are a few peeks at her journal:

Translucent Art Journal 1 - Jill McDowell
Translucent Art Journal 1 - Jill McDowell

Jill used several of my stencils, including the Decorative Stamen Medallion and Boho Birds stencils seen here, as well as some Mahjong Tiles washi tape from the shop.

Make sure you head over to her blog to see the whole thing, including a video flip-through!


From the Artist Tribe - Textured & Stenciled Art Journaling

Today I'm excited to share a post by Jackie Neal from the Artist Tribe... she's been using a few of my stencil designs in her art journal to make some gorgeous pages!

Art-Journaling-with-Stencils-and-Butterflies---Jackie-Neal

In today's pages, Jackie used my brand new Collage Textures and Patterns, Circles stencil along with some favorites from my Decorative stencil collection. She also added some embellished sari scraps and some collage images from my downloadable butterflies collage sheets. Make sure you head over to Jackie's blog to see lots more photos and details!

 


From the Artist Tribe - 9 Patch Paper Quilt

Hi all! Linda Edkins Wyatt is joining us today with a fabulous nine-patch art quilt made from paper!

Wyatt-9-patch-final

She's using my "Not Afraid to Try" and Art Deco Sun Medallion stencils, along with a few others from StencilGirl. Make sure you stop by her blog to see her whole process as well as lots more photos!


From the Artist Tribe - Stenciled & Embroidered Tote Bag

I'm just loving this stenciled and embroidered tote bag that Jill McDowell is sharing today... I had the chance to see it in person last weekend and I have to say, it's even more awesome up close!

Stenciled Embroidered Tote Bag - Jill McDowell

Jill used my "Not Afraid to Try" and Art Deco Peacock Feathers stencils as the patterns for her embroidery. Here are a few close-ups so you can see some of the amazing details:

Stenciled Embroidered Tote Bag Close-up 2 - Jill McDowell
Stenciled Embroidered Tote Bag Close-up 2 - Jill McDowell

Make sure you stop by her blog to see lots of photos and to get more details on how this gorgeous bag was made!


From the Artist Tribe - A Mixed Media Journal Cover

Jackie Neal is joining us from the Artist Tribe today with a truly mixed media creation! She's combined lots of different types of products and techniques to make a journal cover full of fabulous details!

Mixed-Media-Journal-Cover---Jackie-Neal

Jackie has used embellished sari scraps, my Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion stencil, block-printed elephants from my Enchanting Elephants Collage & Embellishment Packs, and some Chiyogami papers. Make sure you head over to her blog to see all of the details and lots more photos!

 


My New Boho Bird, Butterfly, and Fish Stencils

Welcome to part two of my posts highlighting my latest release from StencilGirl... my Boho Collection! (If you missed part 1, you can check that out here.)

Boho-Stencil-Collection---Gwen-Lafleur

Today I'm sharing more details and examples using the three Boho animal designs: fish, birds, and butterflies. I'll start with the original Boho design... the fish. This actually came about more than 10 years ago when I was trying to find a way to fill space on the huge walls in the stairway of the townhouse I lived in at the time. I was still pretty much a mixed media novice, but I had an idea to make a series of 16" x 20" canvases and cover the background with textured shapes and patterns and then put collaged animals on top. Heading down the stairs was all cool colors and I used fish, collaged in paper. Heading up the stairs was all warm colors, and I used birds collaged from fabric. It actually turned out really cool, and I kept those installations in place for years, even after moving to Connecticut!

Fast forward to about a year ago... I still have the original collaged fish, and I took one and traced it to make an updated version - my handmade collaged Boho fish. (My original design was a basic hand-drawn shape made from cardstock and I carried that over.) 

Stupendous-Sea-Life---Boho-Collaged-Fish---Gwen-Lafleur-Studios

I was really surprised out how popular these little guys ended up becoming! I continued to make and even teach similar versions of these fish, and then this last January it evolved into what I call my 3D Boho Collage technique. I hand-drew a new fish design for one of my early versions of this technique, named him Gus, and instantly fell in love. That exact drawing was then scanned and became one of the fish patterns on my new Boho Fish stencil.

Boho Fish Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

You may have seen it, but in case you missed him, here's Gus:

3D-Boho-Collage---Gus---Boho-Fish-Stencil---Gwen-Lafleur

I also used the new middle fish design as a beaded embroidery pattern for one of the pages in a new artist book I've started... it's on a transparent page that layers on top of a paper page that has a collage version of the fish on it - they line up so that when you layer them, it looks like this:

Beaded-Boho-Fish---Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

(You can also see where I used my new Collage Textures and Patterns, Circles stencil in the background.) Here you can see the separate pages:

Beaded-Boho-Fish---Art-Journal-Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

The third fish on this stencil is actually the exact same body as my original pattern, and then I added fins and some other details.

Of course, if I did fish, there had to be birds as well (had to close the loop on that original concept from more than a decade ago!)

Boho Birds Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

While I was playing around with the Boho collaged fish, I also drew a stylized bird pattern and made a collage of that:

Collaged-Boho-Bird---Gwen-Lafleur

Like the fish, this guy was traced and scanned and became the first of the birds on my Boho Birds stencil.  Of course, I had to try out my 3D Boho Collage with the birds as well, so he also became Rusty:

Rusty-the-Boho-Bird---Gwen-Lafleur

Rusty-the-Boho-Bird---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Rusty needed some friends, so I drew two more less stylized birds to keep him company and added a few words and phrases to the design. One of them cried out to become another 3D collage, so this one is the "Queen of Her Nest."

Queen-of-Her-Nest---3D-Boho-Collage-Sample---Gwen-Lafleur

Queen-of-Her-Nest---Closeup-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Queen-of-Her-Nest---Closeup-6---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, I wanted to branch out to something new for the third stencil. Butterflies are a motif that I use frequently; for me they symbolize change and transformation. I drew three designs, including a Peacock butterfly, of course! and added those words to this stencil:

Boho Butterflies Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I pulled out my art journal to work with these, starting with the largest butterfly and some soft pastels on top of a collaged background:

Transform-Art-Journal-Page---Gwen-Lafleur

On another page, I stenciled the other two butterflies and the word "change" and then used watercolors to fill in the designs.

Change-Art-Journal-Page---Gwen-Lafleur

Here are a few closeups:

Change-Art-Journal-Page-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Change-Art-Journal-Page-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Here again, you can see where I used the Collage Textures and Patterns, Circles stencil in the background.

Whew! That's it for my introduction to this new stencil release! I just love all of these designs, and I hope you do too! I took pictures of the process for several of my samples, so watch for some tutorials in the near future. In the meantime, all of my stencils (including the new ones) are available in my shop, and of course they're also available from StencilGirl.

 


From the Artist Tribe - Not Afraid to Try Art Journaling

Today we're taking a brief break from the new stencil love to showcase one of the designs from my last release in this powerful art journal page by Linda Edkins Wyatt.

IMG_1873 final twk lg

Linda used my Not Afraid to Try stencil along with recycled paint skins from her craft mat. In her post she discusses both the idea fear as well as overcoming it, and she's also sharing several other art journal pages with this stencil. Make sure you stop by her blog to read more and see all of the details!

 


Introducing... My Boho Stencil Collection!

I'm thrilled to share that I have seven new stencils releasing today from StencilGirl!Boho-Stencil-Collection---Gwen-Lafleur

This release includes six "Boho" stencils (hopefully there will be more, but we'll see!) as well as the first of what I hope will be many in my new Collage Textures & Patterns collection. I've been working hard to create samples for these new designs and there's a lot to share, so I'm going to break it into two posts so they don't get too long. Today I want to focus on the circle stencils.

First up, the Collage Textures and Patterns, Circles stencil. The inspiration for this collection came while I was making collage papers in my studio. I started thinking that it would be great to have stencils that had been specifically designed with the idea of making the types of collage papers that I use most frequently, so why not design some? I hope there will be many more, but I wanted to start with my favorite motif - circles.

Collage Textures and Patterns Circles Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

The top section was designed to create random areas of texture and pattern - large or small, and it's great for filling in spaces. The middle can obviously be used as a border, or you can mask off specific areas to use them on their own. The bottom was tricky to design, but I'm so thrilled with how it came out! You can repeat this both horizontally and vertically to make borders and backgrounds, or just use part of it for a section of pattern. The whole stencil works beautifully with molding and texture pastes as well (just make sure to clean it thoroughly so the pastes don't gunk up the openings.)

I've used this stencil on several of my samples, starting with this one - "Crossing Paths," which also features my Boho Striped Circle stencil (more on that one in a minute.)

Crossing-Paths---Mixed-Media-Artwork---Gwen-Lafleur

This piece is 16" x 12" x 2" on canvas and has lots of layers of collage and paint. You can see where I used the top section of the stencil for random pattern, and then the border design was used to decorate and emphasize the lines in the cross behind the focal point.

Crossing-Paths---mixed-Media-Artwork---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur
Crossing-Paths---mixed-Media-Artwork---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

The focal point of this piece is an assemblage of found metal objects and jewelry parts all layered on top of the Boho Striped Circle stencil. This design was inspired by a hand-carved woodblock I found in India last year.

Boho Striped Circle Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I used gold texture paste through the stencil onto some painted deli paper and then tore it out and collaged it onto the canvas. You can also see how I've used it on the top and bottom of the "Ornery Ostrich" mixed media piece below:

Ornery-Ostrich---Mixed-Media-Artwork---Gwen-LafleurOf course, this piece also showcases another design; the Boho Star Circle stencil, again inspired by a woodblock from India.

Boho Star Circle Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a closeup of "Ornery Ostrich" so you can see some of the details:

Ornery-Ostrich---Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

The ostrich is a digital sketch I did on my iPad that I printed out and accented with colored pencil and an acrylic glaze. The stenciling was done with molding paste on cotton rag paper, then I cut out the star-shaped center of the design and used it as a frame, surrounded by beaded embellishment.

Ornery-Ostrich---Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

The last stencil I'm featuring today is my Boho Mandala Circle stencil. Again, inspired by a woodblock from India as well as traditional mandala designs.

Boho Mandala Circle Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

On this piece, entitled "Stolen," I once more used the stencil as the base for layering various dimensional elements, then repeated it around the sides of the wooden panel.

Stolen---Mixed-Media-Artwork---Gwen-Lafleur

Stolen---Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-4---Gwen-Lafleur

You can also see where I used the top and bottom sections of the Collage Textures and Patterns, Circles stencil to add to the background:

Stolen---Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur
Stolen---Mixed-Media-Artwork-Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

For a different look with the Boho Mandala Circle stencil, I used it to create a layered and collaged focal point on this art journal page:

Away-Art-Journal-Page---Gwen-Lafleur

Away-Art-Journal-Page---Closeup-3---Gwen-Lafleur

Also, the title of this page - "Away," was done by rearranging the letters from a phrase on the Boho Fish stencil. I stenciled them onto the fabric background with black StazOn ink and then stitched over top with gold thread.

Away-Art-Journal-Page---Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

That's it for today... I hope you love these new designs as much as I do! Check back on Saturday for a more in-depth look at the new Boho Fish, Birds, and Butterfly stencils. Of course, the whole collection (along with all of my other stencils) is available now in my shop as well as at StencilGirl.

(Part 2, featuring the Boho Birds, Butterflies, and Fish is here.)


Stenciled & Collaged Art Cards

I started a project almost two years ago... making small pieces of stenciled & collaged artwork on oversized playing cards. I had originally planned to continue and make lots of small pieces that would be available for sale, but then never made the time to get back to working on them. This week I pulled those cards out again and started reviving that series, and the first three new cards are now done. It was fun... fulfilling, even, to work on these!

Stenciled-and-Collaged-Cards-1-3---Gwen-Lafleur

I started by sanding the glossy surface of the back of each card so that my mediums and paints would stick well. I decided to leave the suits visible as the back of the piece. Each card was then coated with colored gesso, then I layered collage elements on top - Japanese and Florentine papers, vintage book pages from France and Germany... old typed ledger pages... and, of course, my own hand-painted and hand-printed papers. 

Stenciled-and-Collaged-Cards-1-3b---Gwen-Lafleur

I added layers of paint and stenciling on top of that (stenciling was also done with acrylic paint,) and then some rub-on letters and numbers. I followed that with painted elements and emblems, some asemic writing, and some actual writing and mark-making with a black graphite pencil. I finished each piece with a small scrap of sari fabric or trim, attached with six mini staples shaped into Xs. I also added a few stenciled words for the titles and a few splatters of paint to finish things off.

Here are the individual pieces, starting with "Positive Change:"

Stenciled-and-Collaged-Card-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Next is called "In Disguise"

Stenciled-and-Collaged-Card-2---Gwen-Lafleur

The last one (for now!) is called "Warning."

Stenciled-and-Collaged-Card-3---Gwen-Lafleur

I'm looking forward to getting back to this series a little more frequently, I hope! These were so much fun to make, and I really love how they turned out. All three of these are also now available in my shop, just in case anyone is interested.


Mixed Media with Relics & Artifacts

I'm thrilled to share that I'm the Guest Ambassador this month for Relics & Artifacts! I've been a fan of Sandra's line since it first launched, so I was excited to have this opportunity to put together a project using a variety of the awesome products available. Here's what I made:

Ancient-Energy-Mixed-Media-Canvas---Gwen-LafleurI used resin blanks, wood shapes, Bohemian jewels, Dresden trim, and one of Sandra's rubber stamp designs along with my Art Deco Bookplates stencil, sari yarn and a large Kuchi patch from the shop, and lots of paint and collage. Of course, there's a tutorial to go with it, so make sure you head over to the Relics & Artifacts blog to see my full post with lots more photos and step-by-step instructions.


June Workshops at Papercraft Clubhouse!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching two all new workshops at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT next month - June 8th and 9th (Friday and Saturday.) Both classes center around fun, technique-driven projects and I'll be sharing lots of new tips and tricks throughout both days. Registration is now open! You can call or visit the store to sign up (860-399-4443.)

First up, Friday June 8th we'll be Getting Abstract with Crunchy Collage...

Crunchy-Collage-Class-Sample---Gwen-Lafleur

Class is $105 and goes from 10am to 5pm with an hour break for lunch (bring a lunch or plan to order from one of the local restaurants.)

Crunch-Collage-Class-Sample----Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

In this class, we'll work on an 11x14 canvas panel to build a background using paints, stencils, stamps, and collage. Then we'll use my "crunchy collage" technique to add some really cool texture. You'll also have the option to add in some dimensional pieces. You don't have to do circles or flowers - I'll show you how to use this technique to create pretty much any shape, and colors, motifs, etc... are all up to you!

Crunch-Collage-Class-Sample----Closeup-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Check out the class page on my website for more photos, class details, and supply lists, or you can call the store to register (860-399-4443.)

_______________________________________________________________________

On Saturday, June 9th, we'll be making my Translucent Art Journal - a 5"x7" accordion style art journal with watercolor paper, and of course, a few cool translucent pages.

Translucent-Art-Journal-11---Gwen-Lafleur

I'll show you my "faux resin paper" technique, and we'll make some translucent papers to use in our journals. You'll have the option to add in skeleton leaves or dried flowers, or bring something from home! (It needs to be quite thin, though.)

Translucent-Art-Journal-2---Gwen-Lafleur

I'll also show you some fun background techniques and we'll use paint, stencils, stamps, and collage to prep some backgrounds in your new journal, and then we'll assemble it so that it's ready to work in when you get home!

Translucent-Art-Journal-9---Gwen-Lafleur

You can see more project photos as well as class details and supply lists on the class page on my website. The class will go from 10am-5pm with a one hour break for lunch (bring a lunch or order from a local restaurant,) and the class fee is $105. I'll be providing the paper for your journal and supplies for your translucent papers. Interested? Spots are limited, so make sure you call and sign up soon! (860-399-4433.)

Any questions? Feel free to shoot me an email or message me on Facebook.

Hope to see you there!

 

 


From the Artist Tribe - Springtime Art Journaling

The Artist Tribe and I are excitedly welcoming Spring with open arms, and today Jackie Neal is sharing a gorgeous spring-inspired art journal spread!

Sari Journey Springtime (23)

Jackie used some of the embellished sari scraps from the shop along with lots of beautiful papers, beads, and my new Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms stencil. Make sure you head over to her blog for lots more photos and details!


From the Artist Tribe - Art Journaling with Teabags and Stencils

Jill McDowell from the Artist Tribe is jumping in today with a new art journal page done with teabags and some of my newest stencil designs.

Art Journaling with a Tea Bag and Stencils - Jill McDowell

Jill used my new "Not Afraid to Try" stencil as well as my Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms stencil to make this gorgeous art journal page. Make sure you stop by her blog for more photos and details on how this page came together!

 


From the Artist Tribe - Boro Meets Boho Stenciled Handbag

The weekend brings another fabulous project from the Artist Tribe as Lynda Shoup shows how she used some of my stencil designs to bring boro stitching and boho style together in this fun and functional handbag!

Stenciled-and-Boro-Stitched-Handbag---Lynda-Shoup

Lynda used designs from my Decorative Medallion stencil as well as my "Not Afraid to Try" stencil to decorate this bag, then added all of that lovely boro stitch work and some fun beading! Make sure you head over to her blog to get all of the detail and lots more photos.


From the Artist Tribe - Boho Collaged Flowers

The Artist Tribe never stops creating inspiring work, and today Jill McDowell is sharing a stunning piece of mixed media artwork she made in my "All Mixed Up" workshop at Mary Beth Shaw's studio in St. Louis two weeks ago, along with a workshop summary. Here's a little peek at her finished artwork:

Boho Collaged Floral Canvas by Jill McDowell

Jill used Dresden trim, a bunch of my stencils - including the new Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion stencil (and you may also see one here that's going to be released in June that was handed out to workshop attendees as a special surprise!) Make sure to head over to Jill's blog to see the entire piece and get all the details on her class experience!


Mini Stenciled Handmade Art Journal - StencilGirl & Lindy's Stamp Gang

Welcome to day one of a fabulous, inspiration packed blog hop with StencilGirl and Lindy's Stamp Gang! I've been excited to participate in this collaboration because Lindy's has some wonderful products that work perfectly with stencils and they'd been on my "to-try" list for ages! 

For my project, I decided to make a handmade mini art journal; I thought it would be a great way to showcase several fun techniques in a single project. Here you can see the outside of the book as well as the inside of the front cover and the first page:

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

  Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside---Gwen-Lafleur

Of course, I put together some tutorials as well so that you can see how I used the different products. I really loved the effects I was able to get as I experimented!

I made the book using Indian cotton rag paper and bound it with the pamphlet stitch. In the past when I've used this binding I've had lots of requests for a tutorial, so this time I took pictures of the process so that you can see how to bind your own book. It's fast and easy!

To start, I took some very heavy-weight cotton rag paper (640 gsm, but you could also use chipboard) and measured and then folded so I'd have creases for my "cut" lines. (I took a class at SAIC in Chicago from a printmaker who impressed upon us that one should never cut the papers... you always tear them with a bone folder. Sometimes I ignore that advice, but because the paper had deckled edges, I tore so that it would match all the way around.)

I left it a few inches longer than I wanted the book to be so that I could fold up the flap to make pockets on the inside covers. Then I tore and folded five sheets of paper to make my book block, making sure to crease each one with my bone folder. (I don't generally like to do more than five sheets in a signature, especially with this kind of binding and the thickness of the paper I used - otherwise it doesn't lay as flat as I want it.)

Pamphlet-Bound-Art-Journal-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Next, I made a jig - I just took scrap paper and cut it to the height of my book pages, folded it in half, and marked where the holes were going to be. This is the template you use to make sure that your holes are always in the same place. Technically you don't really need to do this with a single signature like this, but force of habit, I guess! I nested the folded papers, lined up the jig inside, and used my awl to poke the holes. (A traditional pamphlet binding has an odd number of holes, and this one just had three.) I generally place the awl and then let the pages fall so they're laying over my hand before pushing it through; this helps ensure that the tip of the awl will come out in the crease... if you poke the holes with the pages open, it's more likely that the awl will come out to one side of the crease instead. (Hopefully that makes sense!) 

Then it was time to start binding. I took waxed linen thread and cut the length to about 2-1/2" to 3 times the height of my book and then threaded it onto a tapestry needle. For this method, I start in the center hole and stitch from the outside in, leaving a tail of about 3-4" hanging out of the hole. (Bottom-right photo above.)

Stitch 2, go from the inside out (top left photo below,) then on the outside, bring your needle across to the other hole and go back inside (top-right photo below.)

Pamphlet-Bound-Art-Journal-Step-5-8---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, on the inside you go back out through the center hole (bottom-left above,) and then tie it off on the outside... this way you don't have any gaps in the thread on the inside or the outside so it looks nice and clean. That's all there is to making your own art journal with a pamphlet stitch... I did say it was easy, right?

Now, on to the techniques with stencils, powders, and sprays!

For the covers, I used one of my favorite techniques - embossing powder resist. To do this, I took my Art Deco Peacock Feathers stencil and stenciled with clear embossing ink all across the covers (the stencil repeats so you get a seamless pattern!) Then I heat embossed with Lindy's Midnight Teal embossing powder. Then I used the Dark Chocolate Truffle shimmer spray with a dauber cap to add color in spots around the covers... the melted embossing powder will naturally resist the dye so you only stain the paper.

Mini-Art-Journal-Covers---EP-Resist-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

I followed up by spritzing with Mystic Malachite vintage spray, and then sprinkled some powder from the Oktoberfest Orange Magical Shaker and spritzed that with water to activate it. I added enough water that it would spread, but not so much that it would completely dissolve all of the powder - I wanted a bit of texture on the surface.

When everything was dry, I sprayed the cover with Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic coating and left it to dry overnight. This sealed anything that was water reactive so that I could work on top with wet mediums if I wanted to add more layers, and also ensured that great texture from the Magical Shaker wouldn't rub off.

Mini-Art-Journal-Covers---EP-Resist-Step-5---Gwen-Lafleur

I added some washi tape on the spine and a bit on the edges for a decorative touch, and the covers were done!

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Covers---Gwen-Lafleur

While I was in the groove, I decided to go ahead and start working on the inside pages of the book. I thought it would be fun to add some stitching and maybe custom dye my thread while I was at it! I started that step first and poured some of the Buccaneer Bay Blue vintage spray into a small paper cup, then added a few yards of regular 6-strand white DMC embroidery floss. I made sure it was totally submerged, then let it soak for a bit. After the color was strong enough, I pulled out the dyed thread and spread it on a paper towel, then used my Guten Tag Teal magical shaker to get a little more color in spots... I spritzed that with water to activate it.

Embroidering-with-Stencils-and-Lindy's---Thread-Dying-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

Voilà! Custom dyed thread! With that done, I was ready to prep the shape I was going to embroider, so I took out my Ornamental Embroidery stencil and used the Mystic Malachite vintage spray to get the pattern onto the paper. Then I mixed up my own fluid acrylic paint using Shabby Turbine Teal and Rusty Lantern Lime from the Industrial Chic Shimmer Magicals set along with some fluid matte medium.

Embroidering-with-Stencils-and-Lindy's---Pattern-Prep-Step-1-4---Gwen-Lafleur

I painted the center of my stenciled design with my custom color, then used the Dark Chocolate Truffle shimmer spray as a paint to add the details. Finally, I took my dyed thread and just back-stitched around my design and then added some gold seed beads.

Embroidering-with-Stencils-and-Lindy's---Stitching---Gwen-Lafleur

My embroidered embellishment was done, so on to the background! I took my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil and then stenciled with the Dark Chocolate Truffle shimmer spray and a sponge so that it wouldn't be quite as dark and I could get crisper lines.

Sprayed-and-Stenciled-Art-Journal-Page-Background---Gwen-Lafleur

Next, I found some collage paper in my stash that was the perfect shade of green and already had my Art Deco Medallion stencil applied on top with gold texture paste, so I tore that out and adhered it to the background, then tore out my embroidered embellishment, inked the edges with brown and black ink, and glued that on top. I also sprinkled some more Oktoberfest Orange Magicals on the background and spritzed with water - love that color!

Remember that paper towel I used earlier to lay out my dyed thread? There was no way I was throwing that out... it was too cool looking! So I took a large shipping tag (the perfect size for the pocket on the inside of my cover,) and used some matte medium to adhere the paper towel to the tag. I scrunched it up in places so I'd get some nice texture.

Sprayed-and-Stenciled-Tag---Step-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

From there I brushed on some gold paint to highlight the texture and integrate the paper towel into the background, then stenciled parts of my Art Deco Sun Medallion Repeating Corner stencil onto the tag with black ink.

I wanted a focal point on the tag, so I took the Retreat Circle stencil by Seth Apter and stenciled that, again with black ink, and then stenciled the word "Lost" from Seth's Text and Texture Transform stencil in the center of the circle. (I want to use "found" as the word on a tag in the back pocket.)

To make the word stand out a bit more, I traced over it with a water pen, and then sprinkled pigment powder with the Black Forest Black Magical Shaker, then flipped the tag over and tapped off the excess. I was worried that it would bleed a lot, but it worked really well!

Sprayed-and-Stenciled-Tag---Step-3-4---Gwen-Lafleur

For the finishing touches, I used my custom fluid acrylic paint to paint the inside cover above the pocket, then used the same technique from the covers along with my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil to embellish the pocket.

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside-Cover---Gwen-Lafleur

Finally, I mixed some of the Steel Shimmer and Steampunk Sepia powders from the Industrial Chic Shimmer Magic set with some sand texture paste to make my own grungy finish to put on the edges of my tag and on the covers.

  Magical-Powder-Texture-Paste---Gwen-Lafleur

Whew... that's it for today! I'm looking forward to continuing to work in my new journal, but in the meantime, here you can see how the tag and first page turned out:

Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside-2---Gwen-Lafleur
Stenciled-and-Sprayed-Mini-Art-Journal-Inside-2---Gwen-Lafleur

 

Now for the part you've all been waiting for... 

GIVEAWAY!


One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to Lindy’s Gang AND a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products!

Lindy's Gang Blog Hop Giveaway
Enter to win by leaving a comment below, then be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop and comment to win... the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN! One winner will be chosen at random from all blog comments!
(One comment per person, per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, April 24th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
The winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and Lindy’s Gang’s Facebook page on Wednesday, April 25.

 

Today's Blog Hop Order:

Mary Beth Shaw
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Mary C. Nasser
Debi Adams
Tina Walker
Kate Palmer
Cindy Wille
Natalie May
Pascale Bernard
Anat Weksler
Bertheas Peggy aka Nirvana
Elena Martynova


From the Artist Tribe - Art Deco Portal

Linda Edkins Wyatt from the Artist Tribe is jumping in today to share an absolutely fabulous Art Deco inspired mixed media project! I absolutely love the quote by Rumi that she used - it really resonates with me!

 

IMG_1402 final portal

For her piece, Linda used my Art Deco Bookplates stencil, along with some Turkmen jewelry parts, plus some brads and other metal findings and accents. Make sure you head over to her blog for all of the details and lots more photos!