Creative Squad: I am a Collage – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Maura Hibbitts using my Circle Jumble Large, Hex Set Large, Floral Tile Large, and Fan-Tastic Large rubber stamp sets and our newest theme: I am a Collage – We are all complex beings with many different facets. Create a “self portrait” piece using collage to represent parts of yourself, either literally or in an abstract way.

I am a collage of thoughts, ideas, feelings and colors. The patchwork of my life has shaped who I am today. The experiences I’ve had, the highs and lows, the people I’ve met and shared my life with, adventures, work, laughing, crying, stopping in my tracks to take in a gorgeous sunset…all of these make up the layers of me that are expressed in my collage. Some are hidden, some in plain sight…these are the things that color my world.

The collage technique I used, I learned from artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire. I began with the gel plate, lighter hued paints and a brayer to create the background papers. Add a small amount of paint to the gel plate, brayer it smooth, then press the white cardstock onto it and lightly rub then lift off. Using a 5×7” gel plate, you can get two impressions onto one sheet. Make a batch of background papers in different colors. Set aside to dry or use a heat tool.

Next, brayer a dark or contrasting color onto the gel plate, and stamp into it with Nathalie’s Park Blvd stamp. Now, stamp the image repeatedly onto your background sheet in one section. Brayer the paint on the gel plate again and stamp repeating images on the plate, then place the other background section over it and lightly rub and lift. Basically, you are creating a positive and a negative print.  Let dry or use heat tool.

Repeat using the Lily Fan stamp and a different paint color.

Repeat using the Space Oddity stamp and a different paint color.

Repeat using the Maze Hex stamp and a different paint color.

Repeat using the Hamilton Positive stamp and a different paint color.

Repeat using the Versailles Positive stamp and a different paint color.

Now for the final repeat of this step – use the Fairview Fan stamp and a different paint color. Let all papers dry thoroughly.

At this point, you will have a selection of papers in several colors and designs to use for the project.

Now, the fun begins! Sketch a face on your page. Use the same paint colors here as you used to make the papers. Paint a mix of dark colors around the face to make a background. (I used Lapis and Blackberry) I wanted to use non traditional colors for my face and lots of variety… it might look a bit psychedelic to you, but I love the freedom of play here.

I used warm colors on one side of the face, and cool colors on the other. (When I look at the one side, I’m getting “She Hulk” vibes, lol!) And just go into a color frenzy with the hair! I tried to paint with big, loose strokes.

Rip out small pieces of paper from your background papers, matching the paint colors. Note – if you rip the paper towards you, it will eliminate a white edge. Adhere to the background with collage medium. I like to add the medium to the back of the piece, press it down with the brush, then go over it with more medium, pressing down.

Next, move to the face, and continue collaging paper pieces over your painted image. Match the paper bits to the paint color.

Cut words out of a magazine, or write them and collage onto the hair. Then, collage paper bits onto the hair and around the words, leaving them mostly visible.

When you look at the details in your project, you will see the layers of paper, color and stamped images. When you step back and look at it, you see the face, albeit a very colorful one.

How fun is it to think of yourself as a collage, and create a wild and colorful image? I found the collaging to be a very meditative process, giving me lots of time to think about what makes me unique. I hope you have as much fun with creating your own collage as I did. Happy creating! – Maura

Thank you Maura! Watching this process come together was very cool and I absolutely love the result – it’s complex, emotional, and such a wonderful way to approach self portraiture!

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to her word clippings, here are some of the supplies Maura used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

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They Know – Art Journal

I was listening to a playlist Basquiat’s family put together sharing what he used to listen to when he was out partying and of course there were a lot of memories of the 80’s connected with it. (Check out my Art Stroll of the Basquiat: King Pleasure exhibit here and also give a listen to the playlist here.)

I was just doodling around and those colors (surprise LOL) were what I gravitated to.

Again, I just used a pencil playfully in one continuous line over the page and then painted in the shapes with different acrylic paints. For the mark making and pattern making I used Posca and Liquitex markers.

“Children know something that most people have forgotten.” – Keith Haring

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Million Different Things – Art Journal

I had some fun just scribbling with a pencil and then filling in the different areas with different bodied acrylic paints – from fluid Golden, to soft body Liquitex, to heavy body Liquitex acrylic paint. I made marks with a brush but also used Posca and Liquitex markers.

I loved how for me this kind of dude started to show up – tongue, nose, eyes and a funny hat included :) What do you see?

The quote reads – “I’m a million different things every day of the week.” – Cecelia Ahern

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    He looks like a party animal that is part lizard plus???


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Matisse Workshop – Class Begins Today!

My new online workshop Artful Adventures with Henri Matisse begins TODAY, September 29 with the first technique lesson. (It’s also the LAST DAY of the $39 Early Bird Sale* price).

Would you like to go on a little Artful Adventure with inspiring project ideas, art journaling, mixed media techniques and beyond? My Artful Adventure workshops explore how we can draw inspiration and technique ideas from master artists and this time we’re looking at a favorite artist of mine, Henri Matisse. We will touch on pattern, color, shape, and more, all based on the art of Matisse, but in a way that YOU can adapt to YOUR style of making art.

Learn more and Sign Up HERE

Get a sneak peek at what the workshop covers:

See you in the classroom!

*Early Bird ends September 29, 2022 at 11:59pm EDT (NYC time).

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Creative Squad: Favorite Art – My Way – Jordan Hill

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Jordan Hill who is working with gouache this month along with my ATC Mixup stencil, Triangle Love rubber stamp set, and our theme: Favorite Art – My Way – Look at a favorite work of art and create something inspired by it, drawing from the colors, shapes, subject matter, feeling etc. that strikes you most when you look at it.

Hello everyone! I’m excited to be back for the month of September to share another art journal page with all of you. For this month’s theme of “Favorite Art – My Way”, I thought it might be fun to do a master study of a painting by copying one directly into my art journal. I’ve been wanting to play around with gouache for a while now (its been quite a few years since I last used it), and I decided to use the painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, painted by Johannes Vermeer as my inspiration. Let’s get into it!

The first step was to select a page to work on. Since I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted to paint, I chose a page that I thought the illustration would look good next to. 

Once I had determined which page I was going to use, I decided to create the background first. In the original “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting, the background is quite dark. I added some green and black paint directly onto my page, then moved it around with a paintbrush. Once it had been spread out, I blotted a crumpled up paper towel over the surface to give it a mottled texture.

Once the background had dried, I used a white colored pencil to lightly block in the shapes of the painting. I copied directly from a photo of the original and tried to focus on getting the general idea of the painting down on paper, since I knew I was going to cover it up anyways.

Next, I prepared my palette. Like I mentioned before, I knew that I wanted to use gouache, so I selected some colors of paint that matched the tones in the original painting. Though I didn’t have the perfect assortment of colors, I knew that I would be able to mix them in order to get the colors I wanted.

I then worked on building up the painting itself. I worked with the gouache in layers, starting out by applying a thin layer to each section of the sketch. This first layer was mostly about blocking in the colors. I then let that dry, and added another layer on top. In the second layer, I focused on the shadows. While working on this painting, I continued to cross reference my painting with the original, observing where the colors and shadows were placed and trying my best to replicate that.

This is where I deviated from a typical study. Since the shirt consisted of such a large empty block of color, I thought it was the perfect place to add in a pattern. Using one of the patterns from Nathalie’s “ATC Mixup Stencil” and some light pink acrylic paint on a makeup sponge, I applied a pattern across the surface of the shirt. I then went in with a Prismacolor colored pencil and started to add lines to the piece, defining some of the areas that I lost while using the paint. 

At this point, I wanted to add some subtle texture to the background, so I used Nathalie’s “Empire Triangle” and a black ink pad to create a pattern over the dark green color. Since the background was almost black, there wasn’t a lot of contrast between the pattern and the background, which is exactly the kind of subtlety I was looking for.

Finally, I added a quote to my page with a white gel pen. This quote seemed fitting considering the subject of the page, and it was a nice reminder to myself that everyone goes through struggles with their artwork, but that’s just part of the process!

I hope you enjoyed following along with the process of creating this page and that you consider doing a master study of your own! They’re a great way to learn and grow as an artist.

Thank you Jordan – wonderful idea to practice by copying a master and then putting your stamp (or stencil lol) on it. Looks awesome!!!

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils and Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Jordan used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

Comments (1)

  • Robin


    Always love your work Jordon! This quote is really wonderful too! Thanks so much!


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This ME – Art Journal

“This ME

made whole by combining countless fragments

could not live in any one part with complete ease.”

– Suman Pokhrel

I added some leftover greens and yellow acrylic paints to the background, then brayered white acrylic paint over it. I used a pencil to scribble some neighborhood names into the still wet paint, layered my Art Deco Summit stencil over and used a cosmetic sponge and teal acrylic paint over it. The scribbles are still showing and I love the texture.

I added the different almanac pieces (from the sold out 2022 Artist Almanac Calendar) which were taken from a big painting I once made about Jersey City. Some of the images are of buildings or sights that either do not exist anymore or have changed significantly over the last couple of years since I painted the original painting, titled 99 Cent Dream.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Ready for an Artful Adventure?

My Artful Adventures with Henri Matisse online workshop begins next week and we are excited to invite you to the class! We’ll be looking at one of my all time favorite artists for inspiration this time – the amazing Henri Matisse. His use of color, his love of combining different patterns, his unique paper cut outs, and more will all be explored.

Are YOU ready for an Artful Adventure? Learn more here.

Still wondering if an Artful Adventure is right for you? Here are what some students have said in the past about some of my other Artful Adventures:

If this sounds like what you’ve been looking for, join us and learn how to take some Matisse inspired techniques and style into your own artwork too. Right now we have an Early Bird sale for just $39 through September 29, when the workshop begins! Learn more and sign up.

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Arrival and Departure – Art Journal

I included in this art journal spread one of the Artist Almanac Calendar pages featuring my Two Tallest painting of both the Jersey City and New York City skylines. Although the calendar and original painting are no longer available, you can still pick up a giclee print of the work and enjoy the scene :)

The background here was just some loose layering of leftover acrylic paints with a brayer. Then I used a pencil into the wet paint to create some intersecting scribbles. I used the same colors again to fill in some of those shapes that appeared, with a brush and with a finger- it was a fun and freeing to play.

“The truth of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.” – David Bowie

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Creative Squad: Favorite Art – My Way – Robin Seiz

Hello from my Creative Squad. Today we have a post from Robin Seiz who is sharing her beautiful and final project with us today! We have been so lucky to have Robin with us on the Squad and have always appreciated her thoughtful takes on our themes and also her skill at combining colors and elements within her compositions. She will be missed and we wish her all the best as she continues on her art journey!

Today she shares a repurposed bag project with us, using my Star Struck, Central Ave, Grove Street, and Park Blvd stencils and our theme: Favorite Art – My Way – Look at a favorite work of art and create something inspired by it, drawing from the colors, shapes, subject matter, feeling etc. that strikes you most when you look at it.

Hello friends. This month’s theme is Favorite Art – My Way. My partner gave me a painting on canvas for an engagement present. It’s a realistic painting of glass jars in the most beautiful shades of blue. By far, it’s my most favorite piece of art in our home. This painting was what I thought about when I started this project. While I didn’t use shades of blue, I did start with teal as the basis for my project this month. 

My studio is being renovated, as is much of our home. I have a tiny little space right now to create with most of my supplies packed up in boxes in the basement, so using recycled materials seems to make sense right now. I recently got a shipment of art supplies in glassine bags and decided to use one of those bags for my substrate. This finished bag will make a terrific hostess gift bag. 

Since the glassine bags are quite shiny and smooth, I started by adding a layer of white gesso to give it some tooth. Once the gesso was on, I realized the teal paint would look better on a black background; so I put down a layer of black gesso. (One of the things I love about  mixed media is more layers often make the piece more interesting).

Next I drew a butterfly on a post-it note and cut it out. Once I was satisfied with it, I cut out 8 more butterflies. I placed these down on the black glassine to act as masks before I put down Nathalie’s Star Struck stencil. I used Golden Teal paint with a sponge and “pounced” the paint through the stencil. I removed the stencil and the masks which left black butterflies on the page. I thought I wanted to make the butterflies stand out, so I used a white Posca Pen to outline each butterfly.  

I wanted some “Bling” on the page. With a small paint brush, I applied gold gesso to the dots in the Star Struck stencil. See the lower left bottom corner to see how I filled in the gold dots. 

Next I used Natalie’s Grove Street stencil, Central Ave Stencil, and Park Blvd stencil and a makeup sponge to lay down a design on each butterfly. 

After the designs were on each butterfly, I realized I didn’t like the white outline, so I covered it up with gold paint and then applied a black micron #8 to outline the gold providing more depth to the butterflies. 

Thank you Robin for this fun project idea that could be used to repurpose lots of different types of bags! Also thank you for participating in the Creative Squad for the past 2 years – it has been a pleasure working with you!

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and in addition to her upcycled glassine bag, here are some of the supplies Robin used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

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