Quick Update!

I have a few projects and updates that I haven't gotten around to posting here yet, so I'm doing a very quick round-up post...

First up, a few art journal pages that I did last month. The smaller book is a vintage physics book I found at the used bookstore and I've been working on top of the pages. I used the September StencilGirl StencilClub stencils on this page. The page on the right uses the Moroccan Doily stencil, acrylic paint, and lots of Liquid Pearls.

Sept Art Journal PagesNext up, I got the chance to go to see the Black Keys in concert last month at the United Center with my friend Mary. It was SO amazing!!!

Black Keys in Concert

Then I got to play around a bit with some new stencils by Nathalie Kalbach - I used Elephant Parade and Art Deco Wallpaper to do a page in my planner / art journal.


This last weekend I got out my sewing machine to make a little travel paintbrush holder for my upcoming mixed media classes in Connecticut (there are still some openings in my classes for anyone who's interested and on the fence!) I really just wanted an excuse to buy this awesome Cloud9 dragon fabric. lol. No pattern - I made it up based on some that I've seen. It's not perfect, but it's functional!

IMG_3905A very cool and flattering thing... for those of you who don't already follow him, Seth Apter has a weekly blog series where he highlights various blog posts - it's called the Week Links. This week he featured my post on StencilGirl Talk making the coptic bound books we'll be doing in my class on the 18th. I'm so excited to be included! Awesome inspiration if you haven't checked it out...

Another art journal page... more playing with the October StencilClub stencils! Love them this month... (and if you aren't in the club, if you sign up before the 15th, this is the set you'll start with :D) I had a background of acrylic paint and then used molding paste for the large circles (shaded with PanPastels) and then Wendi Vecchi gold embossing paste for the small circles. Various letter stickers for the message in the center.

October Stencil Art Journal Page

I started a few new classes, including the Paint Mojo eCourse with Tracy Verdugo (I'm already more than 2 weeks behind. sigh.) and my beginning drawing class at SAIC started this week. I haven't been drawing or sketching lately, so this should be a good jump start!

And last but not least, for those who haven't heard but who have been asking about it, I opened a shop at Society6 where you can buy prints, phone cases, decals, totes, stationary cards, and other stuff made from some of my art. I only have some of my doodle / Zentangle pieces up right now, but I may add paintings or other things later if it goes well. For those who are interested, right now there's a free shipping promo that goes through Oct. 12th.

Gwen Lafleur - Society6 Shop Opening

Whew! It's been crazy lately... and that's not even getting into how busy things have been at work! But it's all good, and more fun times and projects on the horizon!

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!

May Tangles

I was just going through this month's photos to pull out the ones I needed for this post, and thought to myself... how on earth did I manage to do so much stuff in one month and still move on top of it all? It's been quite a month! And it's not over yet... I'm starting a new series of classes tomorrow... more to share after I start. It was a last minute decision - I just barely made it into the class! I can't wait, though :)

In the meantime, I have three new tangles that I've done this month. Again, all of them done during church (it helps me pay attention!) and then finished up at home.

May Zentangle 1 - Gwen Lafleur
May Zentangle 1 - Gwen LafleurThis last one is a stendoodle that I did using the very cool Doodle it Dahlia stencil by Maria McGuire at StencilGirl. I just got the other four small doodling stencils, and I can't wait to try those out as well!

May Zentangle 3 - Gwen LafleurAnd now I'm going back to watching hockey and crossing my fingers that the Blackhawks force a game 7 (if I'm going to live in Chicago and my other teams are out of the running, I'm going to be a homer!)

More peeks into my Moleskine

A few more pages I've done in my Moleskine over the last few weeks... the first one is a page of mandalas / zendalas. Still on a kick with these!

IMG_2950And this one is done based on a card I saw while I was browsing in Barnes and Noble between LDS General Conference sessions on Saturday... it was a peacock card, so you know I noticed it! I was in Chicago so I did this in my hotel room while listening to Sunday conference. This one is pen, Inktense pencils, and Tombow markers.

IMG_2967This last one is a stendoodle - I traced a stencil - the 6x6 Rose Window stencil from The Crafter's Workshop, and then tangled in the openings. I really liked this one.


I've been working in my art journal this week, enjoying the last days of having my full studio before I have to start packing it up! I'll post more of that soon.

A few new Tangles

So I'm slacking again... March ended up being a crazy month! (I'll join the choir of people stating that I can't believe it's April!) Lots going on right now... getting caught up at work, another trip to Chicago, lots of classes and other good stuff. I'm trying to get caught up on the artsy posting, starting with a few Zentangle pieces from the last month. If you follow me on Instagram, these are probably familiar, but I wanted to get them up here as well.

First, I actually started this one at the airport before my flight to Singapore, worked on it just once on the trip, and then finished it and added the color after I got home.

Colorful Swirled Zentangle - Gwen LafleurNext up is one I started at church and finished up at the hotel in Chicago - I was wanting to get back to circles again and had a lot of fun with this one.

Zentangle Circles 4 - Gwen LafleurFinally, one of my absolute favorites so far... a mandala / zendala that I started at church (I do them at church most of the time - I've found that it really helps me be able to focus more on the talks and lessons and I get a lot more out of the meetings!) and then I finished up and added in the gray (Copic Multiliner) at home. I decided to keep this one black and white.

Zendala 1 - Gwen LafleurI'm working on another page of zendalas - it's been in progress for the last few weeks and I'm hoping to finish it up during General Conference this weekend while I'm in Chicago again. So you know, that means I'll post it here in about 6 weeks, right? lol.

Recent Project Update

I thought I'd jump in quickly and post some of the recent projects that haven't made their way onto the blog yet... just one giant catch-up post!

First up, a bunch of Zentangle pieces / doodles that I've done over the last few weeks. I usually start these in church and then finish at home or I do them in my hotel room when I'm in Chicago. There are a few of those in this bunch...


Next up, a paper layout! I've had this one in progress for a few months and finally finished it up last week. This is from when Francesca and Roberto stopped by to visit me while they were touring the mid-atlantic region.

I have some better pictures on my camera, but if I wait around to do a post with those, this layout will never get shared :-P

Finally, I decided last minute to join Patty at a class up at The Inspiration Station where we learned how to make paper beads - we used Zentangle patterns on them and created a few necklaces. It was lots of fun! I'll have to make more of these.

Taking_another_class..._Making_tangled_paper_beads_to_make_necklaces._Fun___zentangleI'm really glad I decided to go to the class... we had a good time. I don't know if I'd wear these much, but the flag beads could make a really cool 3D collage piece!

Anyway, that's the latest... I have a few things in progress, but I don't think I'll get to them soon... big adventure to go on first! And with that, I'll get back to my mounds of laundry :)


Put a bird on it.

I've always like birds, as evidenced by some of my recent projects. And since I'm behind in my posting once again, I've got several things to post at once.

First up: an 8x10 canvas board that I painted after being inspired by some Papyrus greeting cards my sister bought... she and my mom both thought they looked like the stuff I do, so I thought it would be fun to do my own version. It's mixed media - some molding paste, lots of acrylic paint and Montana pens, and some phrase stickers tucked in there on the side. It's not my favorite project ever, but it's a ton better than what I had on that canvas before!

Bird on a Branch Mixed Media - Gwen Lafleur

Next up, a tangle that I did while I was in Chicago last week - I worked on it in my hotel room in the evenings after I got back from whatever I was doing that night (dinner with friends or a Christmas market! So fun... COLD!!! but fun.) Using my Faber Castell brush pens.

Colored Swirls Zentangle - Gwen Lafleur

Then, back to painting... our family took turns doing 25 days of Christmas for my Grandma K. with each of us sending her something along with a memory every day until Christmas. For my day, I did a pen and watercolor painting for her that I attached to a card. She loves birds (I think it's a genetic trait) and they always make me think of her. I drew this one based on a stamp I'd seen online using Micron pens and then filled in with my Angora watercolors.

Christmas Birds Pen Sketch - Gwen Lafleur
Christmas Birds Pen Sketch - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, another tangle. I drew this one during church on Sunday and then colored it while watching a hockey game. Again with the Faber Castell brush pens.

Hanging Tangles - Gwen Lafleur

I have been working on my December Daily and I'm actually not too far behind considering being out of town. I need to add a lot of journaling, so I'll probably finish it up and photograph and post it after Christmas. It's just not going to happen before then, but I'm okay with that.

Anyway... that's it! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Recent Artsy Classes

I've taken a lot of classes lately... and done a little teaching too!

In October Patty and I got to go up to Mass. to spend a weekend taking classes from Dyan Reavley. It was so much fun, and I learned a ton! We took Writing in your Journal, Stamping in your Journal, and Art Journal Extravaganza.

Dyan Reavely Weekend 1
Dyan Reavely Weekend 1
Dyan Reavely Weekend 1
Dyan Reavely Weekend 1
Dyan Reavely Weekend 1
Dyan Reavely Weekend 1I'm so glad I got the chance to do that!

Then we had our October mixed media club where Debbie Mac taught us about doing faces.

October Mixed Media Club 1

We started out drawing, working on the different proportions. Mine looks okay, except for the fact that she looks like she's stuck up and bored.

October Mixed Media Club 2We also worked with acrylic paint and some of Donna Downey's new face stamps:

October Mixed Media Club 3

Then at the end of October, I taught my cardboard art journal class. We had a great group and I think everyone had a good time. I've heard about a few people still working on those, and Sue showed me what she had done at our club meeting this last week - they all turned out great!

Cardboard Art Journal Class 1
Cardboard Art Journal Class 1So that was October... then into November. I was in Chicago for the first week, and then the following weekend I met Patty at The Inspiration Station up in Stafford Springs for a day of advanced Zentangle classes. We took tangling in color, where we learned about drawing and coloring as well as using colored backgrounds.

Tangling in Color Class - 1And that afternoon we took a class on organic tangles on toned paper. That was also super fun.

Organic Tangling ClassAfter classes, Patty took me to Stew Leonard's - it's a grocery store, but a very cool one. Probably as close as I've come to finding something similar to a Wegman's... not quite, but still pretty good. They sell a really good boulognese sauce and they had these killer corn popper thingies on their hot bar... lots of fun! Close enough that I'd go back, but not so close that I'd be there a lot. Which is a good thing!

Finally, this last week we had our November mixed media club - Mac and I taught water soluble crayons - Lyra and Neocolor II. It was a smaller group, but that made it so we did lots of techniques and projects. I think the real hit of the night was using them with gesso and stamping with them.

November Mixed Media Club 1
November Mixed Media Club 1

Here are some of the projects we did... I had made a sample coloring and then using water to make the circle design, so a lot of people did something similar in their books.

November Mixed Media Club 1Whew! That's it for the classes... big update, but lots of fun over the last 6 weeks or so.

Two new Tangles

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

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

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

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

Decorative Doodling with Joanne Sharpe

On Saturday afternoon two weeks ago, I got a text from my friend Patty letting me know she'd found out that Joanne Sharpe was going to be teaching at a store in Massachusetts (Absolutely Everything.) There were two spots left in one of the classes and she wanted to know if I was interested in making a day of it. Of course! I've followed Joanne online for a few years now (I'm signed up for one of her online classes, but typical me, I haven't made it past the 2nd lesson yet) so I was excited to get to take a class with her.

So, last Saturday, Patty and I met up and drove up to the store. It was a bit short of a 3 hour drive - it's a little south of the New Hampshire border.

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - Almost there
Neither of us had ever been there before, but wow. What a store! The owner showed us around and let us know what everyone was buying from the previous classes so we would know what to look for and of course, so we could see if we wanted anything before-hand. I could seriously get lost in that place... they had so much! It was like a piece of nirvana for my artsy, mixed-media loving heart. Next time I'm there, I'll have to take pictures. Sigh.

But on to the class...

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - Supplies at the ready
Patty and I weren't sure what to expect... I'd found a class description and supply list online, so we came with bags of markers and pens and watercolors. We got the Strathmore Visual Journal watercolor notebook with the class. As it turns out, we barely touched our pens and markers! (That freaked me out a lot at first. lol.)

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - Initial demo
Joanne started out with some general doodling concepts and rules of thumb... you can tell she's a teacher by trade. She did a lot of demonstration. I was super impressed by the fact that she had a handout numbered with the 12 concepts for the class, and then samples for each of them that were also numbered so we could take pictures and then match them up to the handout when we got home. On top of that, she demonstrated each of them for us.

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - Paint Doodling Demo
We were doodling with watercolors and acrylic paints and Viva Silks... the pens and markers were more for accents! This class was WAY outside of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I started almost all of the assignments in the class, took notes, took LOTS of photos, and decided to withhold judgment on what looked like a bunch of blobby crap until I'd finished them all at home.

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - Patty and I with Joanne
Joanne was super nice, and flattered that we'd driven all that way just for a single class. We just wished we'd known about it sooner so we could have made a weekend of it! (We're on the newsletter list now!) Granted, we were there for less time than we were driving... lol, but between the class and the store itself, it was more than worth it.

We got back late, but even though it was well after midnight, I unpacked all my stuff and set it up to be ready to play after church on Sunday. Then Sunday, I proceeded to work through the assignments.

It blew.my.mind. Those blobby pieces of crap turned out really nicely! I was totally shocked to realize that I could do something that looked even similar to her samples. Here are two of the pages from my book showing some of the 12 techniques:

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - Finishing Assignments
I can't claim credit for the designs - I was working based off of her samples to see if I could do the techniques. But now that I've done these, I can definitely apply them to my own drawings! The left is using Twinkling H2Os as an accent to watercolored doodling, and the right is pen, marker, and watercolor.

And here's a doodle I did that was inspired by one of hers - I wanted to try something Zentangle but in a looser style than usual. I love this one!

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe - After Class Feather Doodle

The class was only a week ago, but I've been in a creative frenzy ever since. This class, combined with what I learned in Donna Downey's workshops, and other videos, browsing, classes, etc... have all started to gel in my mind and I've got so much adrenaline pumping lately!

Next post... some of the fun stuff I've been doing in my art journal as I play with all these techniques.

What have I been up to?

I knew it had been a while since I last posted, but when I looked at the date I figured I'd better get something up here before so much time goes by that I don't want to try and get caught up!

First up, last month I went down to NYC to meet up with Angela and some of her friends for a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair. Super fun! Hot, though. We finished it up with some delicious Chinese food in Flushing. Yum.

Next up, I'm still tangling... a few more of the projects I've worked on over the last few weeks.

Zentangle Colored Rays - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Leaves 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Leaves 1 - Gwen Lafleur
I was going to fill in all of the hexagons on that last one, but I liked the look and the vote on Instagram was unanimous to keep some spaces empty. So there it is!

I also went down to DC to see my family over the 4th. Many photos to edit... I'm feeling good that I got them off of my camera! We went to the pancake breakfast and parade at the church, played in the water at home, took Eraleigh to see Despicable Me 2 for her 5th birthday, grilled and had fireworks, a day at King's Dominion, and then just relaxing at my parents' house. It was a much needed break and so good to see everyone.

Then most recently, our Mixed Media Meet-up at the Papercraft Clubhouse was learning to use the Melting Pot. This was my favorite project - we took patterned tissue, stained it, and then dipped it in UTEE (ultra-thick embossing enamel) to make these really cool leaf embellishments. I need to make more!

Melt Art Project 1
Then this last week, I took a day off and Angela came up so we could go to ConnectiCon in Hartford. We felt a little old, and a bit out of place (I didn't really notice, though...) but we were there to see Brandon Sanderson (fellow BYU Alum! We were there at the same time, actually.) We got to meet him at his booth doing autographs and again that evening at a Q&A (we may have been in the front row. Nerds!) We also browsed the shopping floor and some of the different rooms to see what they had. Needless to say, the people watching was fabulous! We spent the entire day trying to guess who people were dressed up as. We didn't recognize very many costumes - lots of anime and game characters. But still fun.

Here's me with Brandon Sanderson - I got to wear a mist cloak too (goes with his Mistborn series of books, which is seriously brilliant.)

Wearing a Mistcloak - Meeting Brandon Sanderson
The day was lots of fun, and inspired me to finally read the last book in the Wheel of Time series, which Brandon finished writing. I just finished it today - I couldn't stop reading. It was excellent but at the same time, I'm finally glad to have reached the ending! 14 books, most over 800 pages. Good stuff. But now I can move on to read the rest of Brandon's books - several of which I already own and are sitting in that to-read pile. And since it's so hot lately, reading is about all I have the energy to do after work, so I'm starting to make a dent in said pile!

Anyway, that's what's been up... and now I'm off to bed!

More Zentangle & Father's Day Pie

Just popping in on this lovely Father's Day with a few more zentangle projects to share. Here are a few of the bigger pieces I've done over the last month or so.

Zentangle Peacock Feather - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Flowers 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Flowers 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Flowers 1 - Gwen Lafleur
I got a little crazier than planned with the color on that last one, but aside from the spot where my Copic burped a bit, I really like it.

And today for the first time, I got to take part of a tradition in my ward. Right after church on Father's Day, the ladies bring in pies. They set up everything in the gym and the men come in and get first dibs, but then everyone else gets to go through and have some too. I made a pie and brought it in, but I probably didn't need to!

Sea of Pie - Father's DAy
Here's mine - it's a vanilla dreamboat pie, adapted from this recipe on Pinterest. It made enough for me to make two pies, but I'm glad I only took one to church - it would have been a waste with so much already there.

Vanilla Dreamboat Father's Day Pie
And some of the setup - they did a cute job with the room - and I love the can of whipping cream on every table.

Father's Day Setup
It was fun to just hang out, chat, and eat pie! Now I'm just waiting until my family is home from their church so I can call my dad.

And I'm excited because yesterday, I met up with a new friend that I met in some of the classes I've been taking at the scrapbook store. We went in to sign up for the Donna Downey workshops next month - we wanted to be there right when registration opened, because we knew the classes we wanted were going to go fast, and we weren't wrong! I'm only taking the Saturday classes. One called The Big 4-0 that has 40 mixed media techniques, and one called Paint Like an Artist that will show you how to paint using stencils on a canvas. I'm super excited! I took classes with Donna years ago at a convention in Paris, and she's such a fun teacher. And now I have people to meet up with so it's going to be twice as fun!

Zentangle Diva Challenge: Bales

I thought that since I'm having so much fun with Zentangle lately, that I'd try my hand at a weekly challenge - the Diva Challenge. I've seen lots of work floating around the web from these challenges and they're super inspiring! This week's challenge was just to use the pattern Bales and its variations. So I went back to my trusty circles and filled each one with a different variation, starting with the original pattern up front.

Zentangle Diva Challenge 120 - Bales
It was fun to try and come up with different varieties - especially for a beginner! I think I might start taking on more of these challenges... I really enjoyed this one.

All tangled up

I've been a little absent lately... getting totally "tangled" up in a new obsession... Zentangle! It's something I'd seen and tried about 2 years ago and never really got too far. But then I saw that they were offering a beginner class at my local scrapbook store with a CZT (certified Zentangle teacher) so, since I've been trying to get out of the house more, I signed up.

What a difference a class makes!

Beginning Zentangle Class
I learned why I wasn't successful my first time around... my impatience was making it so that I didn't take the time to approach the patterns correctly. Our teacher, Lori, taught us 8 different patterns to get us started. We did some practice tiles for those, and then we used the patterns to tangle on 2 "real" tiles.

Beginning Zentangle Class Practice Tiles
I was hooked!

I had a few books already at home from my previous foray into Zentangle, and then ordered a few more including one called One Zentangle a Day that gives you daily exercises and teaches you new patterns and ideas on how to incorporate them into tiles and ZIA (Zentangle inspired art.) I've been doing that pretty much daily since I got it and I'm really having fun. In between those exercises, I've also started doing some ZIA in my sketchbook. It's a total 180 from my attempts two years ago, and I'm loving it!

Here's the first one I did:

Zentangle Inspired Art 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Then, after going a little nuts pinning stuff to my Zentangle Pinterest boards, I decided to get a circle template to use in my designs. (Of course, the size of the piece plus the use of a template and colored pens is part of what makes this ZIA instead of a true Zentangle tile. I learned all the lingo in my little class. lol.)

Zentangle Circles 1 - Gwen Lafleur
I also decided that I'd like to do a really large-scale piece to eventually frame and hang somewhere. I thought I'd do a practice run for one of the main elements to see how it would turn out - I love it! As you can tell from my friend the sea dragon here, I'm thinking of an underwater theme. (I sketched him and then tangled inside of the sketch.)

Zentangle Leafy Sea Dragon - Gwen Lafleur
Then this last weekend I went back to circles again. I think this one is my favorite so far:

Zentangle Circles 2 - Gwen Lafleur
And that's what I've been up to in my spare time recently! I've got a few other things to share, so hopefully I'll be back to update again soon. In the meantime, it's time for my Tangle a Day :)