Announcing Gwen Lafleur's Artistic Tribe!
"Tree of Love" - An Artist Tribe Journal Page Beginning With Lightweight Lutradur

Mixed Media Journal Page - An Artist Tribe Project




Gwen and me at her Mixed Media Shadow Boxes and Shrines class last spring

Hi everybody.  Welcome to my first post as a member of Gwen Lafleur's Artist Tribe.  For those of you who may not know Gwen, she is a talented mixed media artist, an inspiring teacher, a popular stencil designer at StencilGirl Products, a mentor, and my friend, (oh, and then there's that silly day job of her's...).   Working with Gwen is a dream come true for me and it truly is an honor to be one of the ambassadors on her first design team.  Over the next six months, our Artist Tribe will be creating projects using Gwen's stencil designs, as well as some of the mixed media supplies and curated kits from her online store to share with you.  We're planning on having lots of fun.  So lets get this party started...

For my first Tribe project I created this fun mixed media art journal page.  It combines collaging, stenciling, and doodling with copper dry embossing topped off with a fun Lutradur Butterfly made with one of Gwen's Downloadable Collage Cutout Sheets


The inspiration for this page came directly from these beautiful Chiyogami Papers that I collaged onto a gessoed cotton rag page in my Dina Wakely Mixed Media Journal. These Japanese papers are absolutely gorgeous and are so much fun to work with.  They're colors are just spectacular.  

Is this not the most gorgeous paper? 
I cut the Chiyogami Papers into strips and glued them over the entire page and added some other colorful papers from my stash.

While my collage was still wet, I added a wash of watered down gesso all over the page to knock back the color a little. And then I used a baby wipe to put Cobalt Blue paint through Gwen's Art Deco Flower Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil. I used a baby wipe to apply the paint since I wasn't going for a clean/crisp effect.


Gwen has several versatile repeating stencils in her collections.  You can use them as corners in your journal pages or join multiples to create a circular design. IMG_3263

Next I did a little finger painting with a mix of Glazing Liquid and Teal, Transparent Yellow Oxide, and Titan Buff acrylic paint.  That color green makes me happy. 




Then I blended in a little Prussian Blue paint in a few places.  I just kept playing with the colors until I found my happy place.  I used my Pitt Pen Big Brush markers, (one of my very favorite go to art supplies) and some Staz On Solvent Ink in Orange Zest to add some intense color.  I also did a little doodling to bring some of the features of the beautiful Chiyogami Papers forward.


I decided to cut out the center and the background of my central flower so out came my X-Acto knife.  Make sure that you put a piece of cardboard or self healing mat under the page before you begin cutting.  (My brother actually forgot to do this when we were kids which resulted in a field trip to the emergency room...)  Work slowly and it will come out just fine.
Here's what my page looked like after it was cut.  I love that you can see the burlap page that lays behind my spread as well as the tattered threads hanging from the linen page before it.


At this point I was feeling sad about the loss of the Chiyogami Paper since I had covered most of it up with paint.  So I cut out a few of the flowers and leaves from my scraps and collaged them onto my page.  IMG_3121That brought a smile back to my face....  But a girl needs jewelry right?  And this page was missing hers.  So I adhered some flat bottom pearls, (a recent flea market find that came with a happy dance), around the flower with E6000.

While many probably would call it done here, I'm not most people. I wanted something special to go in the center of my flower.  Hmmm, butterflies are special....  And lucky for me Gwen has sheets and sheets of downloadable butterflies in her shop.  So off I went, downloaded them onto my computer, printed them out on Lutradur using my laser color printer.  I fussy cut out several of the butterflies and then intensified their color with my Pitt Pens and some Wink of Stella for sparkle. 

 I like this little guy the best for my piece.


I added a few beads on a headpin to give my butterfly a head and body and some wire for his antenna and he was done.


I still wanted a little more bling.  So I played around with dry embossing some copper using a few of Gwen's Stencils. Below is an example of the techniques I used to create these copper pieces.  I worked on a stack of felt scraps, (you need a soft surface to work on) with the back side of my copper a piece of copper facing up.  Gwen's Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen stencil went on top of that and then I pierced the copper around the stencil design with an etching tool.

 I used another type of etching tool, one with a smooth ball on the end, to push the copper forward and create depth.


Here are the pieces that I created using just these 2 techniques.  While beautiful, they are a little too shiny for my taste.  So I used some Patina Solution by Bead Buddy to add a quick patina.


    The two pieces on the left were left in the solution for less than 2 minutes.  The piece on the right had not gone in yet.  Now they are too dark.....


No worries.  It all comes out in the wash as my Mom used to say. After a little scrubbing with some steel wool and some polishing with a soft rag they are perfect. I etched patterns  from three different stencils from Gwen's collection: Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen, Ornamental Flower Stencil, and Decorative Curvy Ornament Stencil in these pieces.  I like to have choices...



In the end, I choose the piece that I fashioned from the Decorative Curvy Ornament Stencil pattern to be the center of my flower.  (To be fair, I did make it to fit perfectly in the hole so I'm really glad that it came out the way that I had planned.)  For now I pierced 4 holes into the copper piece and used a piece of embroidery floss to tie it into the burlap page behind my spread.  This gives me the flexibility to incorporate it into the burlap spread later without having to paint around it.


 And now when I close the page....



Thank  you so much for spending some time with me today.  I hope that you enjoyed my project and that I've inspired you to try some of the techniques. 

Toodles, Jill



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