Creative JumpStart with the Creative Squad – Jennifer Gallagher

Hello from my Creative Squad and today we are happy to have a post from Jennifer Gallagher to start us off this month. Jennifer is using her artistic Super Power – Layering, along with my new Space Age Modern stencil and this month’s theme: Super Power – this month we are joining Creative JumpStart 2020 and exploring our Artistic Super Powers. It could be your unique technique or style, the way you like to use a medium or tool, or maybe your way of approaching artmaking. What is yours and show us how you use it.

I  am so honored to kick off a new year of Creative Squad posts with this month’s theme, in honor of Creative JumpStart,with my artistic superpower – Layering! Understanding how to layer your paints, inks and sprays will help you create delicious texture and design that can be used in your art journals, card-making, and other mixed media projects. A lot of people are intimidated by layering and think there must be some magic formula, but I promise you it’s super easy. This tutorial will lead you through creating an art journal page with many layers of acrylic paint and art spray perfect for learning the basics of layering. Let’s get started.

In my small dylusions journal I started by laying down a thin layer of white gesso. You can work in your dylusions journal without this step, but I find that it adds a little bit of tooth and texture that I like. Once dry, I dipped a good size paint brush into water and dropped a very small drop of fluid acrylic paint in Diarylide Yellow onto the pages. Spread the paint around with your wet brush. 

While the paint was still wet, I gently rubbed a baby wipe across the surface to remove some of the depth of color.

Next, I dipped a large palette knife into white acrylic paint and scraped it across the pages. This step beats back some of the depth of color and gives us some of our white space back.

Another great way to add texture with layering is foam stamps. Here I’ve used Nat’s foam stamp Signals with Diarylide Yellow to add the dashed lines across the pages.

Next, I stepped up the size of the foam stamp design to a larger pattern. Using Nat’s foam stamp Far Out, I applied a darker yellow being sure to vary the pattern by turning the foam stamp in different directions.

So far we have a great textured background. This is when I add my main background design with a stencil. I’ve picked Nat’s new stencil release, Space Age Modern. Using a small blending tool, I applied LIquitex Basics Acrylic in Bright Aqua Green through the stencil. This color is the perfect compliment for our background. 

Looking at the page I decided that I should apply a light metallic to the page to push the green into the background a little more. I laid the Space Age Modern stencil back down and sprayed Marabu mixed media art spray in gold here and there.

I still had the hand made triangle stencil I used for last month’s Christmas card tutorial lying on my desk and decided it would be fun to integrate it into this art journal page. With a small blending tool I applied Liquitex Basics quinacridone magenta through the triangle stencil. I used a small amount of paint. I was not trying to totally cover the background but apply a thin coat of paint and allow the background to shine through.

I applied a black edge all around the art journal spread pages with black acrylic and then added some doodling around with a black gelly roll pen.

I stamped Nat’s Millie stamp on the right hand page in black ink.

Using a black fudeball pen I did some journaling around the triangles.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. It’s a new year that will be filled with tons of creative inspiraton from the Creative Squad so be sure to follow along and share what you create.

Thank you Jennifer – just love how the magenta is transparent and changes the colors underneath. Gorgeous page that really shows off your Super Power :)

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

Feel inspired? Playing along with Creative JumpStart and the Creative Squad? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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Sharing Space – Art Journal

“You don’t have to be the same to share a space.”

I stamped out a background pattern with my Fantastic Small, Small Circle Jumble, and Fanfare stamps. I used a pencil eraser for some dots in between.

I sketched the figure right on the page with ink and pencil and then filled in with gouache and watercolor.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Jumping with… Marsha Valk, Andrea Chebeleu, and Iris Fritschi-Cussens – A CJS Interview Series

So happy to share with you today some video interviews I did with some of our Creative JumpStart 2020 teachers: Marsha Valk, Andrea Chebeleu, and Iris Fritschi-Cussens.

First we have Marsha Valk who I have had the pleasure of working with for many years on different projects including online workshops and my Creative Squad. Marsha is from the Netherlands and she is an incredibly talented mixed media artist who always wows me with her work and her videos. In this interview we talk about the parallels between traditional printmaking techniques and modern ones that can be done in a home studio. She shares how she first learned about gelli printing. We also discuss how travel and visiting museums inspires our work.

Next is Andrea Chebeleu who runs A Work of Heart in San Jose (where I have taught workshops in the past) and is also a talented artist. In this interview she discusses ways to make time for art when you are juggling a busy schedule – which in her case includes not only running a business and family, but also fostering kittens who need homes. She champions the idea that you don’t need a lot of supplies to make art, it can happen almost anywhere with materials that you already have on hand. She also talks about a couple new materials that she has been playing with lately and her Etsy shop where you can find some of her creations.

Finally we have Iris Fritschi-Cussens who is with us for the second time for CJS this year and is an amazing expressive artists who I love to share with you. In this interview Iris talks about her personal motivations for creating art and the therapeutic benefits that she finds through creating and expressing her feelings in the safety of the creative space. She discusses authenticity, the not-so-nice feelings we all get sometimes, and allowing ourselves to be true to who we are. Iris also talks about what it means to call yourself an artist. She mentions Teresa Austin as in artist whose work she loves, as well as Egon Schiele and the Leopold Museum.

Be sure to sign up for Creative JumpStart if you haven’t already! The classroom is open and class began on January 1st. This year we have 31 amazing and diverse mixed media artists.

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Small World Painting

Today I wanted to share with you my first painting I made in my new studio and on my new easel. As I love our old 1884 house and we did a lot of research into the history of the house, I knew I wanted to paint it.

I was especially fascinated by the different people who lived in this house – for example one family lived in this house for 50 years but also finding old pictures that show some of the changes of the house ….there once was a stoop ! (I am totally for bringing back the stoop!)

I always found it fascinating to think of the stories that an old house could tell about the live of ordinary people. BTW one of a longtime tenants of the house lived in my studio and was a printmaker in NYC …that makes me feel there are special artsy vibes in my studio LOL.

For the painting I carved some stamps of architectural elements – like the cornice, windows and the architectural terracotta tiles that decorate our brick facade.

I loved playing with painting, stamping and stenciling.

As always I was building up a lot of layers – for me it is like the patina that is added throughout the years of stories contained in the building.

And then I hung it in the entry way of my studio on the brick wall – that was a ton of fun to paint.

As for the wall easel – I love it – it is so cool to have that much space and be able to do two paintings at once – not that I have done that yet …but we shall see as next I want to do some smaller paintings. Hope you enjoyed seeing the progress and details of my new painting.

Comments (5)

  • Heidi de Quincey


    Brilliant dear girl x


  • JoAnn


    Lovely story and painting. Enjoy your new home🌿


  • Kathy


    So beautiful!!


  • Pam Hansen


    Super cool Nathalie. I hope 2020 brings you lots of happiness in your new home and prosperity in your business. ❤️


  • Tracy


    I love it!


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Is it Worth it? – Art Journal

“Is is worth questioning yourself by comparing yourself to others?” Never! Such a hard lesson to learn that I continue to work on. How about you?

I used my Art Deco Summit Stencil and then painted my figure over it with acrylic paints and adding black gesso surrounding her.

My quote I did in gold and white acrylic markers.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year my friends!

I hope 2020 brings the best for you whatever your Vision 2020 may be! Thank you for all the ongoing support the last year – I hope I can bring you lots of creative joy for this year and we will be on this ride again together :)

Also, Happy Creative JumpStart :) – class starts today so I hope you will head over to the Creative JumpStart 2020 classroom and JUMP with us :)

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Happy Holidays – Judi Kauffman

We have one final Happy Holidays post from my Creative Squad. Our talented Judi Kauffman (learn more about her here) has a calendar project for us today to help usher in 2020 :) Our theme is: Happy Holidays – It is a time of year where we are celebrating and coming together and enjoying some merriment. Create something holiday related (whatever holiday you may be celebrating) and enjoy the season!

Happy New Year, everybody! My day for a Creative Squad project with a holiday theme falls late in the month so instead of cards and gifts I decided a calendar would be fun. And it’s a good way start the year off in a creative way. You can make all of the months at one time, or work on the calendar over the course of the year.


I chose to make the artwork for each month on a separate sheet of cardstock and then adhered them with low-tack tape. That way, as the months pass (or at the end of the year) the pieces can be easily removed and cut up for cards, bookmarks, tags, envelopes, die cuts and such. Or you can put them into an art journal or display in a frame.

In addition, by working this way instead of directly onto the pages the calendar doesn’t get messy and the pages won’t ripple if you use sprays, heavy applications of paint or many layers of collage. And you can much more easily use a gel plate. (I’m a Virgo; I really like the pristine white borders. No need to follow my strategy if you prefer another way of working.)


Pick a theme that relates to the season, a holiday or other event, or simply work with stencils and stamps that make you happy. 

Use a limited palette if you like that approach. I worked with only three paint colors – Black Plum, Copper Metallic, Mustard Yellow.

Pick different stencils and stamps for each month or unify the calendar by repeating your favorites. I kept going with some of the stamps for several of the pages.



Blank calendar, the bigger the better! (purchased or make your own)
Cardstock in assorted solid colors (one sheet per month)
Lightweight mulberry paper and/or other handmade collage papers
Your favorite stamps and/or stencils by Nathalie Kalbach
  (StencilGirl, RubberMoon, ArtFoamies)
Acrylic paint in assorted colors
Brushes (stencil, flat paintbrush)
Gold paint pen (Pen-touch from Sakura of America)
Low-tack double-sided adhesive tape
Glue stick
Optional – Gel plate; Glitter dots (peel-offs)


1. Cut a square or rectangle from solid color cardstock for each calendar page. (Size: 1” smaller than the page on all sides. Shown: 11” squares for 13” calendar.)

2. Alter each piece of cardstock with torn pieces of lightweight mulberry paper or other handmade papers. (Use a glue stick to adhere the pieces.)

3. Paint, stencil, stamp onto the cardstock. Make gel prints to add to the pages or print straight onto the cardstock. Allow paint and/or inks to dry. Use peel-offs, pens, markers, pencils or more paint to accent and embellish the pages. 

4. Adhere the finished pieces to the calendar. Enjoy!

Thank you Judi – we hadn’t thought of making our own calendars but what a cool project idea! Want to give Judi’s project a try? You can find all my Stencils, Rubber Stamps, and Foam Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies she used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me or tag me #natkalbach how you used my stencils and stamps – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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New Lines – Art Journal

“She couldn’t keep her colors inside the lines, so she drew new lines.” This time of year always gets me thinking about new lines :)

I used my new Space Age Modern stencil in the background along with acrylic paint and the topper stamp from my Large Circle Jumble set.

Also a bit of collage in here with papers that I used with my Kyoto stencil, Signals stencil, my Numerals stamp, and my Brownstone stamp. Lots of layers and lots to look at.

My quote is also collaged in – mixed media tissue paper from Dina Wakley.

Here are some of the supplies I used.

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Stroll Through the Hood – December 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Our first tree in the new house – I am sad to see it go soon.

And I had to buy this stick of butter ornament- it made me laugh !

I know technically this is not yet a stroll through the hood but hey.. it is really cold outside. I love decorating in wintertime – I always wanted a garland down a stair case. Well – while I love how it looks like I learned my lesson – dries out super quick…and makes a real mess and attracts cats ;)

I love the different facades and materials of those buildings and while the balcony needs some love I find this stunning.

I walked by this house number on an art deco apartment complex a lot of time but just now realized the tiles – I love this!

And … meet Mingus- the newest addition to our family. He is adorable …and a handful!

He makes us laugh

and he and Pretzel became friends very quick. They both sleep on me at night …it is kind of nice and really uncomfortable hahahaha.

Yours truly played two songs at a Holiday party with her music school …very fun -well for us not the listeners hahahaha.

December is the month of holiday parties and this food spread at a friend’s house made me swoon – the colors, the decor- oh my. I think she should do this for my parties :)

Kind of crazy cool and opulent  the lamps around our main post office in JC. I hope you enjoyed this semi-stroll through my hood and glimpse into my home this month. Until next month – well if weather permits ;) 

Comments (2)

  • Jean Goza


    Always enjoy your strolls.


  • Rebecca Buchanan


    Beautiful photos! I meant to send, when I commented on yesterday’s (?) post,
    my condolensces for your loss of sweet Niles. It is so difficult to say goodbye to these furry members of our families. So very difficult. Minges and Pretzel will help to soothe your soul. Cheers to 2020!


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