Creative Squad: Another Door Opens – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have an art journal page from Maura Hibbitts that presents a really cool way to look at life’s challenges and changing circumstances. She’s using my new Triple Play foam stamp set and this month’s theme: Another Door Opens – There is this saying, “when one door closes, another door opens” that basically is an optimistic way of looking at change in your life. Create an art journal page with this in mind, however you’d like to express it, however the idea inspires you to create!


I have always been a firm believer in the adage “When one door closes, another door opens.” Maybe it is a part of my optimism, and maybe I have been lucky in this life, but even in the times I have struggled the most, whether physically, emotionally, or financially, new opportunities arose that led me forward. During my teaching career, I worked at opening doors for my students, so they could follow the path they chose. It has always been a joy to hear how they are doing, and which doors they have opened. Keep yourself open to the possibility of doors!

I started in my large art journal, layering paints. I started with my darkest green and blue, Prussian Blue Hue and Phthalo Green Yellow, and scraped the paint across in broad swathes with a silicon brush. I painted only on the right page, then closed the pages to spread to the other side. I repeated this step with Green Gold and Primary Cyan, then another layer with Turquoise Hue and Quinacridone Magenta. Final layer was more Magenta along with Titanium White and Gold.

After I heat set the painted layers, it was time to stamp with the oh, so awesome, Triple Play Art Foamies stamp set. I like to use my gel plate and a brayer when I am using foam stamps, it acts like a giant ink pad, and gives a nice layer of paint on the stamps. On the right side, I repeated the stamped pattern several times.

On the left side, I stamped the hexagon and the triangles on the outside this time. I first did it in black paint, but it didn’t show up well, so I went over it with white paint. Again, I added paint to the gel plate and smoothed it out with the brayer, then stamped into it, to transfer a nice image to the paper.

To create more of a focal point on the left side, I added some water to the white paint left on the gel plate, mixed it to create a whitewash, and brushed it around the design. Now it stands out more.

I also whitewashed around the design on the right, dried it completely, then added doodles and details with Posca paint pens. I also doodled a door, and added the words around the image on the right – “When one door closes, another door opens.” I also smudged Prussian Blue with fingers and a baby wipe around the edges of both pages to tie them together. I thought I was done.

I slept on it, and decided to make a different door for the left page, so I pulled out some leftover paper from last month’s project, and stamped the entire Triple Play with Moonlight Duo ink. I cut it out, cut it in half, drew on a door handle, and inked the edges with black ink. My original idea was to have the door open, but with the hexagon shape and the orientation I had, I decided against it and adhered it with adhesive tape.

All of those background colors pop through the designs, even in the whitewashed areas. I think sometimes toning down areas makes the rest of the page pop.

I realized at the end what I had been working toward on my pages…pulling out memories of beautiful and colorful doors I had seen in India. I remember ones with colorful columns of tiles, like the right page, and others with intricate mosaic-like designs, like the left page. Isn’t it interesting when you are creating that your muse knows where to take you, even when your brain does not? This year, I also feel that we think very differently about doors opening…waiting for the reopening of our special places once again. Be safe, stay healthy and open the doors!

– Maura


Thank you Maura – loved learning your process and how you came back to the page to add that amazing door. Beautiful spread and beautiful ideas to keep in mind :)

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

Don’t forget to check out Nat’s Creative Squad on Instagram too: Each week we post projects, ideas, and inspiration for mixed media art.

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Beyond the Paper has begun! Sale ends TODAY!

We’re thinking about surfaces and substrates in a new way in our Beyond the Paper workshop. Birgit Koopsen and Marsha Valk and I are at it again, teaching together and bringing you 3 different perspectives and styles. And guess what? Class is now in session!

I hope you are joining us in the classroom and if you haven’t signed up just yet, there is still time to get in with the Early Bird price (sale ends today, April 5 at 11:59pm EDT) – Sign up here: http://bit.ly/Beyondthepaper21

You can learn more about how the workshop works and what supplies we will be working with in the Beyond the Paper Live webinar that we recorded last week and posted HERE on the workshop page. Check it out and hope to see you soon in the classroom!

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April ArtFoamies Challenge – Day 03 & 04

We’re recapping Day 03 and Day 04 of Nat and Sarah’s April ArtFoamies Challenge today! You can follow along on my Instagram daily with videos and photos, and I will post updates here on the blog too from time to time throughout the month. 

April 3: Jump – Still timid in my ledger but getting used to the thought of printing right into it -using my Buenos Aires and Mini Toledo stamp both inspired by traveling to those cities (Toledo Spain) I thought having the tilted stamp in the end adds the jump effect. Hey a challenge is a prompt …I do not have to make this literally jumpy!

Here is a look at the April 03 page:

And then April 04: Inspired – The Triple Play stamp is actually a stamp created by my friends Birgit Koopsen, Marsha Valk and me specifically for our Beyond the Paper workshop which starts today. You can sign up any time but it is on Sale right now- so if you want a good deal and get inspired …come and check it out. The stamp is so inspiring to me because it contains designs by my friends and mixing the designs or using each by itself is really a lot of fun. Inspiration is often time found in playing with other people! 

And a look at April 04:

Follow along with the challenge on instagram  and post your artwork too with the hashtag #artcollabChallengeAccepted

Everyone approaches Challenges differently. This ArtFoamies Challenge that Sarah Matthews and I came up with has had me thinking about how I want to approach it. In the past my Foam Stamplifier Challenge #foamstamplifierchallenge I used all kinds of different media, so I didn’t want to repeat myself. I also thought about how Sarah usually uses ArtFoamies with ink pads, while I use acrylic paints and the first parameter became clear: I will only use ink pads for the challenge. The other challenge is that I purchased an old ledger journal and I want to turn it into a pattern book. I usually make my own pattern books by binding loose printed papers into a book. This method has the advantage that if a print doesn’t turn out too great it can be discarded. By printing directly into this 125 year old ledger I have no out. So using my foam stamp designs to create patterns into a ledger book with ink pads is my challenge for this month.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 24 – Challenges

A Look Back – This time I’m looking at different Challenges I’ve created. On April 1st I started Nat and Sarah’s April ArtFoamies Challenge so I hope you check that out on Instagram and here on the blog too throughout April, but that’s not the only challenge I’ve ever dreamed up. Read on for more!

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)


Deck of Cards Challenge – In November 2019 I created a challenge to explore 30 different card making ideas. I focused on different themes: Holiday, Thank You, Just Because etc. and also different design motifs like patterns, lines, shapes and others. I made enough to have a Deck of Cards, ready to go to whenever I needed to reach out to someone with a little note. You can see the posts here on the blog.

 

Stencilbop Challenge – In August 2019 I came up with a challenge to really push the way I thought about using my stencils. Different paint and markers and pens of course but I also went in some new directions like woodburning and even an ice cream cake! You can check that out here on the website.

 

Foam Stamplifier Challenge – In March 2019 it was all about foam stamps and 31 ways to use those. I’m really passionate about my ArtFoamies stamp designs and as they are a relatively new type of product, I thought it would be fun to figure out different ways to use them in my artmaking and art journaling. See what I came up with here on the website.

 

Nat’s April Patterns – In April 2019 I created a book full of patterns using my rubber stamps. I didn’t use prompts, but each day I created a new pattern for the book and then in the end I posted a flip through video too. Check out all those April Patterns here.

Challenges are the perfect fix if you need some inspiration or new ideas. I hope this Look Back inspired you and I hope you join us for Nat and Sarah’s April ArtFoamies Challenge #artcollabchallengeaccepted

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April ArtFoamies Challenge – Day 02

We’re on Day 02 of Nat and Sarah’s April ArtFoamies Challenge today! You can follow along on my Instagram feed daily with videos and photos, and I will post updates here on the blog too from time to time throughout the month. 

Day 02 and our prompt is Punch – I love my Fairview Fan positive and negative stamps – doesn’t it look in the beginning as if there is a punch out?

Everyone approaches Challenges differently. This ArtFoamies Challenge that Sarah Matthews and I came up with has had me thinking about how I want to approach it. In the past my Foam Stamplifier Challenge #foamstamplifierchallenge I used all kinds of different media, so I didn’t want to repeat myself. I also thought about how Sarah usually uses ArtFoamies with ink pads, while I use acrylic paints and the first parameter became clear: I will only use ink pads for the challenge. The other challenge is that I purchased an old ledger journal and I want to turn it into a pattern book. I usually make my own pattern books by binding loose printed papers into a book. This method has the advantage that if a print doesn’t turn out too great it can be discarded. By printing directly into this 125 year old ledger I have no out. So using my foam stamp designs to create patterns into a ledger book with ink pads is my challenge for this month.

Here is a look at that page too:

Follow along with the challenge on instagram  and post your artwork too with the hashtag #artcollabChallengeAccepted

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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April ArtFoamies Challenge – Day 01

We’re kicking off Nat and Sarah’s April ArtFoamies Challenge today! You can follow along on my Instagram daily with videos and photos, and I will post updates here on the blog too from time to time throughout the month. 

Everyone approaches Challenges differently. This ArtFoamies Challenge that Sarah Matthews and I came up with has had me thinking about how I want to approach it. In the past my Foam Stamplifier Challenge #foamstamplifierchallenge I used all kinds of different media, so I didn’t want to repeat myself. I also thought about how Sarah usually uses ArtFoamies with ink pads, while I use acrylic paints and the first parameter became clear: I will only use ink pads for the challenge. The other challenge is that I purchased an old ledger journal and I want to turn it into a pattern book. I usually make my own pattern books by binding loose printed papers into a book. This method has the advantage that if a print doesn’t turn out too great it can be discarded. By printing directly into this 125 year old ledger I have no out. So using my foam stamp designs to create patterns into a ledger book with ink pads is my challenge for this month.

Well here we go – the moment of truth and that shall be the name of the pattern …first one using my Broadway Fan positive and negative stamps in my ledger. Love using the solid back of my foam stamps as well – which basically in this case gives you three different options.

 

Here is a look at that page too:

Follow along with the challenge on instagram  and post your artwork too with the hashtag #artcollabChallengeAccepted

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Nat’s Creative Squad – Introducing Riikka Kovasin

Hello my friends – today we have some exciting news: we have a new Creative Squad member! Riikka Kovasin is joining our team of talented artists and we are so happy to welcome her to the group.

You may know Riikka from her lesson on Creative JumpStart this year (and in past years), and also her recent Guest Posts here on the blog like her Henrietta Maria Art Journal Page and her Shrink Film Earrings

 

Also her lovely Sunny Home Card post too:

Well now we are honored to call her a member of the Creative Squad and see some more of her creativity in action.

Here is a little bit about Riikka: “Heippa! My name is Riikka Kovasin and I am a mixed media crafter from Finland. I live in Helsinki with my darling husband and our two sweet daughters. Creating is my passion and a way of self-care. Besides family and crafts, my weeks are filled with a full-time job.

I have been doing all sorts of crafts my whole life. I really got into papercrafts after I found scrapbooking when my older daughter was about 6 months old – that’s over 10 years ago. Since then my style has evolved to more and more mixed media direction and nowadays, I tend to go dimensional and do more altered and mixed media pieces than regular layouts.

I absolutely adore getting my hands into paints and mediums! To me the process of creating is equally important than the finished project.”

Nat’s Creative Squad

Learn about all our Creative Squad members (current and past) on the Creative Squad page here. You can read their bios, check out their links, and see every project they have created so far as squad members. Here is the current squad:

 

Also be sure to follow the Creative Squad on Instagram. We post a few times a week: current projects, technique tips, and inspiring peeks at the squad members’ methods and style. It’s a lot of fun to see what this talented group is up to!

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Creative Squad: Life in Bloom – Judi Kauffman

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have some gorgeous tote bags from Judi Kauffman using my Amsterdam and Hamilton stencils and this month’s theme: Life in Bloom – It’s been a long winter where we are and I’m dreaming of flowers and gardens and spring. Indulge us all in a project that focuses on one of Mother Nature’s most exuberant symbols of life: flowers flowers flowers!


I completed my “Life In Bloom” theme projects in late February, a week after getting my first covid vaccine shot. I will have been home for a full year as of March 18, but by the time you read these words I will have had my second shot and will be able to double-mask and head back out into the world – just in time to greet the new season. Spring!

I can’t wait… I can’t wait to see the iris, peonies, begonias, and other hearty perennials peeking up, ready to put in an appearance. And I can’t wait to go to Costco to buy some annuals to fill in the empty spaces. And a rotisserie chicken for dinner…I can almost smell the aroma of that aisle. Gee, I think I missed those trips to Costco more than almost anything else during my time at home.

Meanwhile, like many of you I have spent many hours cleaning closets and going through supplies. I found a trio of simple denim totes, two with flawed spots, and thought they’d be a great surface for a stencils-only project. Here’s how they looked when I started:

My concept was to create a flower pot/vase on one of the totes for a literal interpretation of the theme but stenciling the other two with more wonky shapes for a more abstract approach.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Using torn strips of newsprint, mask around the areas earmarked for painting and stenciling.

Using gold metallic or other light color acrylic paint and a wide brush fill the area to be stenciled. Optional: Mix paint with fabric medium.

Using a mix of stencils (I used Nat’s Amsterdam and Hamilton stencils) and two darker paints (shown: red and metallic teal) add pattern to the gold areas. Overlap stencils here and there. Allow paint to dry for distinct patterns, work wet-on-wet for less distinct designs (smudge paint at edges to add dimension – note right side of flower pot).

Embellish stenciled totes with knitted, crocheted, and/or frayed fabric flowers. Pleated hem tape makes an interesting stem for a single blossom. Sew in place or use fabric glue to adhere.  

NOTE: Embellishments shown are positioned for photography and are being ‘auditioned’ – nothing finalized yet! I plan on adding beads, embroidery, charms and more.


Thank you Judi – absolutely love the idea of bringing these totes to the farmer’s market or garden center!

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and in addition to various beads and embellishments, here are some of the supplies Judi used:

Don’t forget to check out Nat’s Creative Squad on Instagram too: Each week we post projects, ideas, and inspiration for mixed media art.

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ArtCollab – Next Monthly Zoomcast with Sarah Matthews

Join us for the next ArtCollab LIVE zoomcast with artists Nathalie Kalbach and Sarah Matthews on Tuesday, April 6 at 12noon EDT (NYC time). Register to attend. 

ArtCollab Episode 2: Challenge Accepted – In this second episode we will focus our conversation on the topic of challenges.

Tune in for the live zoomcast as we discuss why we do challenges and all the benefits we get out of them as artists. We’ll share our latest collaboration – our April ArtFoamies Challenge that we designed and are each participating in for the month of April. We’ll show you our artwork so far, explain some of our creative choices, and talk about why we wanted to collaborate on a challenge in the first place.

We would love to have you collaborate with us too with questions or by adding to our conversation – register here to attend. If you cannot make the live event, a recording will be available for viewing HERE afterwards.

ArtCollab is a monthly zoomcast with the two of us: Sarah Matthews and Nathalie Kalbach (and occasionally other special guests too). Each episode we get together, collaborate on all sorts of unique artsy projects, share our process and offer updates and sneak peeks along the way, and of course we chat about all stuff art-related (and topics that go way beyond that too). ArtCollab is a real life look into the process of creating, collaborating, and the ins and outs of living an artistic life that is touched by others.

New ArtCollab zoomcasts will be live and happen every first Tuesday of the month. Sign up for my newsletter HERE or Sarah’s newsletter HERE to get all the details for upcoming zoomcasts.

Join in for an entertaining and inspiring interlude into the world of two artists who are working together in conversation and practice!

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