Elephants Never Forget – Marsha Valk

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Creative Squad, Nat Elephant Design

CS May Elephants Never Forget

It’s Tuesday again so here is my Creative Squad with another fun project for you with this month’s theme: “Elephants Never Forget”. Throughout the month of May, the team will use my new Elephant Foam Stamp, Rubber Stamp and Stencil Set to interpret the theme. I asked them to draw from a childhood memory, and to use the elephant as a symbol of something that fascinated them as a child, inspired awe, or just got their little brain all wrapped up with wonder. And if you want to hear a little bit about my childhood, you can read about my personal connection to elephants here (just scroll down to “WHY an elephant…”)

Today we have a mixed media piece by Marsha Valk.  After persisting through a brief creative block (it happens to everyone!) she created this gorgeously layered piece using a fantastic combination of purple and orange.

Marsha May Headshot

It’s hard to choose just one childhood story or memory, so I concentrated on the elephants and tried to come up with as many elephants as I could remember from my childhood. The big one is that my little brother collected elephants when he was young. He had many, many elephant figurines. At least two of those came from my grandmother’s house and I remember that at one point they were in the guest bedroom. The room had a typical 70’s decor. It wasn’t psychedelic in any way, the walls where neutral, the furniture was white, but there was an orange washbasin and purple bed spreads with a fringe.  I loved those bed spreads! When we were very little, my sister and I used to play with them when we woke up early.
Anyway: the colour scheme for this project was set! It had to contain purple and orange. I struggled with what to do though. I tried some things first with no great success, until I decided to just have fun! I chose the back of a shallow round tray (28 cm) as a substrate. I love working on wood panels, so when I saw this at my local craft store, I knew I wanted to use it as a ‘canvas’!
The problem with ‘having fun’ is that I can’t exactly tell you what I did. I started to prepare the wood tray with two coats of gesso that I sanded smooth. Then I randomly applied soft body acrylic paint to the surface. Once that was dry I started painting, stenciling and stamping layers using soft body acrylic paint, paint markers and permanent stamping inks.
I tried to get the whole surface covered. Then I decided on my composition, stamped and embossed the Elephant cling rubber stamp image and painted the top layer. I also scratched into the surface and I added acrylic inks and black and white charcoal pencil.


I love Marsha’s circular design and I’m so glad that she decided to have fun with it! I think the results, and those super nice, 70’s inspired colors 🙂 speak for themselves. In addition to the supplies (some links are affliate links)  listed below, Marsha also used a wooden tray, black and white charcoal, and the stencils from the Urban Scribble, Bird, Mish Mesh, and Fashion Dame stamp sets.


Some links on this blog are affiliate links for which I receive a small percentage of any sales generated by the link.

And maybe you will even play along -we would love to see how you interpret the theme. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share what you did at the end of the month!

See you next Tuesday for the another project from the Creative Squad, with the theme Elephants Never Forget.



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Inspired by Melbourne, Australia

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in The Traveling Artist



Julie, my husband and I had such a fab time in Australia and we started off in Melbourne which I really loved. A very green and vibrant city, with a great public transportation system, wonderful houses, street art and good food. Paired with good company …it was a a good spot to be for a couple days before our Mixed Media Circus Workshop at Artified.


We stayed in a beautiful AirBnB with some great artwork located in Fitzroy.  We had  a nice roof terrace, which we couldn’t use too much because it is fall in Australia and it rained a lot. Mhhh – writing this my eyes drift through the window and I realize …it is spring here and it rains nonstop at the moment …



Below are the three of us on the right of the screen on our way to the National Gallery of Victoria (post coming soon).


As I mentioned in an earlier post there is a huge amount of street art in Melbourne, fun signs and a lot of grungy texture. For us it was a feast for the eyes.


Look at the texture and the color combination on this wall – yummy!


Where the garbage cans are:




And a feast for the belly – LOL. We ate so much …but since we walked a lot too we did pretty good.

We often started with a “healthy” breakfast …ahem…


And then we tested about every possible dumpling place in Melbourne and we actually rated our dumpling experiences. Below are the second best dumplings we had …and they were delicious.



We found a really nice Art Supply store in the city and went for a shopping day for our workshops and took another day to pick those supplies up.



Just to realize AFTER we did that, there was an art supply store RIGHT NEXT to our apartment – we just never noticed because we never went into that direction and the sign was hidden. If you know Julie and me, you might imagine the laughing fits we still get when we talk about the “art supply moment” . BTW – speaking of art supplies, I cannot believe how much more expensive art supplies were in comparison to here or Europe. It is insane and makes me appreciate even more the hoops my Australian students have to go through!


We loved the parks throughout the city and the amazing gigantic trees and flowers





Everything is just so green!


Oh and here is a gum tree with some gum nuts – I love those !


more street art …told you…it was everywhere






And of course there was lot’s of silly photo taking too 😉



We also met Kass Hall for lunch. It was great to see her again!  She has an awesome new book out – Amplified Art – Dynamic Techniques for High-Impact Pages –  check it out!


As you can see we had an amazing time in Melbourne and I would love to come back some time.


There are still way more pictures to come in the next weeks from the Australia trip – I am trying to spread it out a bit for you 🙂 Next up I take you on an Art Stroll again 😉 Have a wonderful day



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Comments (6)

  • Rachel Greig


    Love seeing your photos from melbourne!! It’s a fabulous city! 🙂


  • Mary


    Glad you guys loved Melbourne. Plenty of street art. Fitzroy is a great area to wander around in.


    • Profile photo of Nathalie Kalbach

      Nathalie Kalbach


      Indeed Mary- I loved Fitzroy- it reminded me a lot of parts of NYC and Jersey City – but then …of course it is yet so different 🙂


  • Joi@RR


    Always love seeing you and Julie together Nat – you guys make me laugh!! PLUS… I can only imagine the joy you bring to your students too!

    Loved seeing these pictures – dear me – they DO have giant trees and flowers!!!

    And what fun to see all the street artwork. XXj.


    • Profile photo of Nathalie Kalbach

      Nathalie Kalbach


      Thank you Joi- glad you enjoyed the photos and yes – ha those flowers and trees were pretty gigantic 🙂


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Artist Quote of the Week – Romare Bearden

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Artist Quotes / Artist Inspiration




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