Stroll Through The Hood

Stroll Through the Hood – June 2020

DISCLAIMER: This Blog Post contains images that will show you that I am a supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  Some might think of it as totally inappropriate to post, hate me for it, think this has no place on an art related blog or social media. If you have a problem with this, you might be better off looking at something else . Don’t email me to complain, don’t visit my blog or facebook anymore because I might post things like this again and that might get you in a grumpy mood..

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 – as New Jersey and New York are slowly going to Phase one and now to Phase 2 after the lockdown.

The first time I walked from uptown to downtown again after months of lockdown was weird and felt as if I would see things anew. I noticed all those “Give Up” graffitis and love how different versions of “never” appeared on top of them.

This spoke “untold story” to me.

I love all those little messages on the stoops – I wish we had a stoop – our house apparently used to have one as we could see from old tax pictures but in the 40s it was taken down from most of the houses in our streets.

On our bike rides during the lockdown my friends Cindy, Paula and I had discussed how going back to using the Path and Subway to go to NYC for work and other things made us quite nervous and so we decided to actually do it while things were still very quiet to ease ourselves back into it. It was good to figure out how much you actually touch etc. before everything is cramped again. It took about half an hour before I could find my subway card as I had totally forgotten which bag I had carried 3 months ago when I last rode the subway.

This is the WTC station – which is usually packed on a Monday at 10 am …pretty eerie. Now I am sure it is way fuller again as Phase 2 is of the reopening in NYC started and a lot of people from Jersey City as well are going back to work. I am not using the Path or subway unless I absolutely have to …like for a doctor’s appointment but at least I have thought about how to tackle this.

Just a couple days after the horrible the murder of George Floyd by Policemen this mural popped up in my neighborhood. It is really powerful.

I have thought long about breaking with the lockdown to go to the protests here in Jersey City, but I have made up my mind that and decided I would make sure to stay on the edges, distanced, with a mask and go if it would get too crowded.

After the protests I made sure to get tested each time and stay home until I received the test results.

The protests in Jersey City and all over New Jersey were peaceful and businesses would hand out masks, hand sanitizer and water. One of the protests to which 4000 people came, was organized by a local High School. It was amazing to hear the young organizers speak for hours about the issues. It made me hopeful for our future.

And they have a lot of humor too ;)

One of our little cafes , Crema, in the neighborhood created this clever booth in front of their window. It makes it easy to order and receive pastries, ice cream and coffee contactless . So clever. We are hoping that most of the small businesses here will make it …what a tough time this was and still is.

New Kicks – I thought I would have some custom made with my painting for my Stroll through the Hoods :)

Mingus has a new hangout spot …lol- he cracks us up.

Loved this message and the font on the plywood of a construction side.

Two beautiful houses – the one on the left beautifully restored, the one on the right falling apart and abandoned.

I love this building – it is also empty.

This is the original wallpaper in a dessert place that just opened up , all these storefronts that haven*t been used for ages, have amazing hidden treasures. I am so happy that the new place kept this.

Detail of a beautiful Art Deco Entrance – love the weathered colors that are still visible and isn’t it just amazing?

Little bike ride along this mural.

I hope you are all well – sending you Love!!! Until next month with hopefully more strolls through the hood.

Comments (5)

  • susan

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    Nathalie,
    i always enjoy your strolls and it is great that you share them with us. some of us don’t get much scenery on our own strolls. i adore your brutally honest disclaimer! the birthday balloons and flowers made me tear up … great grief comes from great love. i love the chalk messages on the steps. someone has chalked loving and supportive messages in our grocery store parking lot. i enjoy your architecture and kitty pictures. your shoes! your shoes!!! i do believe this is my favorite stroll yet.
    many thanks!!!

    Reply

  • Vee Zellers

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    I love your strolls through your hood. you have made me much more aware
    of the beautiful architecture around in ‘my hood’. Your view of the surrounding is
    so interesting and makes me THINK!

    LOVE you shoes!!

    Please continue being safe and keep STROLLING.

    Reply

  • Rebecca

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    I always enjoy your ‘stroll through the hood’ photos, but today’s post really touched my heart. Thank you for marching! And thank you for your care to test, etc. after each one (a testament to your care for others)–it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, too, for sharing about the UnMuted series on Instagram–still checking out all of those amazing artists. Last, but not least, always love seeing pictures of sweet Mingus. Wishing you many, many more happy and safe strolls!

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Great new kicks!
    The “we can’t breathe” is incredible and beyond sad into angry for sure!
    The pics of the two houses is sad, yet hopeful. I wish that the house on the right would get redone as well.
    I wonder if it was hard for the owners of the house on
    the left to make the decision to fix their home when the one next door is falling down? I wonder if that reflects on humankind.
    Peace and wishing you well Nat.

    Reply

  • Deb

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    Loved your post. Really poignant. Really enjoyed the photos. Loved Mingus and your new shoes are Amazing! Enjoy many more strolls in them!
    Deb

    Reply

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Swapped – Painting

A new finished painting which I call Swapped. I was intrigued by the story of the Morton F. Plant House, located on the prestigious Fifth Avenue in NYC.

Apparently Cartier wanted the building, and Plant exchanged it in 1917 for 100 Dollars and a double stranded pearl necklace worth about 1,000,000 Dollars at the time. Then the necklace “only” made 151,000 USD in 1957 at an auction, so I guess that swap didn’t really work out. And so there is a jeweler and watch store up to this day in the building. There are quite some weird real estate exchange stories in NYC …this is certainly one of them. I imagined the building being just an “ordinary” apartment building -it is still so beautiful and one could only guess at how many necklaces would be needed for such a swap today! These are the things that went through my head when I painted Swapped.

The painting is 24″x18″ in size, acrylic paint, spray paint and marker on canvas.

It is available in the store here and meanwhile waits for a new home on my living room wall.

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Art Stroll: Modern Art at the Met, NYC

Loved strolling a bit around to see some of the Modern Art displayed at the Met a couple weeks ago while I was there. I just recently saw a documentary about one of my favorite illustrators Christoph Niemann – follow his instagram feed, it is brilliant and makes me laugh! – and he said that “experiencing art is the gateway drug”. I agree – and here is some of fine substance ;)

Henri Matisse, Seated Odalisque, 1926

I have said so much about my love for Matisse’s pattern play …there …once again …swoon

Rufino Tamayo, Children’s Games, 1959

Love looking at this and discovering the shapes and scene.

Kouros, Isamu Noguchi, 1945 – Marble

Marc Rothko, No 16, 1960

Color inspiration anyone? Love it!

Willem de Kooning, Easter Monday, 1955-56

Texture Galore and collage elements – swoon

Joan Mitchell, Sunflower, 1969

I love the texture rich and voluminous flower painting – so gorgeous!

Alma Thomas, Red Roses Sonata, 1972 – Acrylic on canvas

This was so intriguing ! Speaking of making colors sing!

Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged.
-Alma Thomas, 1970

Spectrum V, Ellsworth Kelly, 1969

LOVE!

Claes Oldenburg, Soft Calendar for the Month of August, 1962

Canvas filled with shredded foam rubber, painted with Liquitex and enamel – I thought that was interesting – painted with “Liquitex” . But then I remembered that Liquitex was the first water-based acrylic paint created in 1955 – the name deriving from liquid texture hence the name of the company later. I have never seen a painting stating the material instead of acrylic paint with Liquitex – I guess having worked with them made me stumble upon this.

Jim Dine, Two Palettes, 1963

Oil, acrylic, enamel and charcoal on primed canvas

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, 1915

It was especially great to see this painting as I was reading Matisse and Picasso: The Story of their Rivalry and Friendship and this painting plays a little “story” in the book. The book is interesting btw but not extremely great.

I love the Met but it is just such a hike to get there and it is always so crowded. Strolling through the Modern Art Galleries at the end fo the visit was a wonderful way to catch some breath after an insanely crowded stroll through the Hockney and Cornell exhibition. The next art stroll will probably come from a Museum in Japan …we will see ;) I hope you will join me!

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Art Stroll: Joseph Cornell at the Met, NYC

A couple weeks ago I went to the Met and one of the exhibitions I enjoyed in this art mecca was a small exhibition “Birds of Feather” Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris. I loved this exhibition because it is about an Art Stroll – which was inspirational and turned into some beautiful art!

In 1953 Joseph Cornell saw Juan Gris’s painting below at an exhibition

“The Man at the Cafe” , 1914 by Juan Gris – oil on canvas with newspaper collage.

This painting captured Cornell’s imagination and he created 18 glass fronted boxes, two collages and one sand tray over the following thirteen years in homage to Gris. Here are just a few of the boxes:

 

“Josette; Juan Gris #5” ca. 1959-60

This ox is named for Josette Herpin, Gris’s companion. In 1959 Cornell dreamed of a blue cockatoo and explained in his diary that “Josette came to life” . Cornell knew of her two portraits by Gris, where she sits in a black armchair the contour of which mimic the projected shadows of Cornell’s first cockatoos. He was likely inspired by the blue hues of her bust-length portrait. for the colored silhouette in this box.

Untitled (Juan Gris Series, Black Cockatoo Silhuette) ca. 1959-60

Cornell’s interest in cut-and-pasted paper was a direct response to Gris’s collages.

The artist lined his cockatoo boxes with pages from 19th century French texts, which he found in Manhattan book stalls. The photo below is actually the back of one of the boxes -I love this!

 

Other elements that characterize the Gris boxes are fragments of floral wallpaper, marbleized paper, and commercial labels.

 

I love Cornell’s boxes- makes me really want to do more assemblage again. I also loved seeing the original inspiration and then so many different versions on how he spun the inspiration. The first box shown here still has some traces of the inspiration  – but only if you know about the piece by Gris – but you would not know with the other ones without knowing about the story. Fascinating, don’t you think?

Hope you enjoyed this art stroll- see you soon for another one :)

 

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Pretty cool that Cornell was so inspired after seeing Gris’ art.
    I can see that they would be fun to view, but I have to say that it makes me ask the question:
    Why is that in a museum more than anything else that has been created?
    Interesting what is determined to be “worthy of a museum” art versus anything that someone around me might create.
    Just saying.
    I tend to enjoy art that makes me question it and evaluate just what the artist was trying to get across.
    Just my thoughts.
    Enjoy your weekend and thanks for sharing Nat.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      It is a good question- love it. I think you always have to see art also in context of art history. Joseph Cornell was a pioneer in using found objects to create 3D art and create assemblage pieces. Taking what once was used and beautiful and then regarded as garbage to create something new was still a pretty new concept and he was taking it a step further from Collage. He inspired many influential artists with his work like Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. What you see other artists doing today is what sprung from those roots. I think it is easy to forget how new and shocking some things were at certain times. But he who was a pioneer and inspired so many people after him, was also inspired of course by other artists- in this case by Gris who was part of the Cubism movement which again was CRAZY back then (and sometimes even for some people today) That is what fascinates me. I also think that those photos cannot convey the magic of his boxes – they are little wonder boxes. I love that you asked this question – I wonder myself with other art pieces a lot – but the greatest task is trying to find the answer or try to understand – wether it will be satisfying or not – it opens the world and makes us receptive to learn so much about so many things. That is what makes those Art Strolls besides the instant inspiration through color, texture, subject etc. so valuable for me.

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Art Stroll: Anselm Kiefer at Met Breuer, NYC

While at the Met Breuer I also strolled through the small Anselm Kiefer exhibition because as some of you might know I admire his work so much, the themes, the materials …. Some of the pieces I had just recently seen on an Art Stroll at the Gagosian Gallery , so I am not posting those again, but there were many other pieces that I loved to study.

Broken Flowers and Grass, 1980 – Gouache, acrylic, watercolor and shellac on photograph.

During the 80s Kiefer began reusing earlier self-portraits to create new works. Dressed in a crocheted gown, the artist presented himself as if asleep , but the broken flowers and grass cover his body as if he were dead and buried, the ultimate state of transformation.

The mixture of the photo and the crude painting on top fascinates me.

Aziluth, 2004 – painted photograph and collage on paper

Stunning- and guess how much I wanted to touch this piece. I just love the interplay of photo, collage and painting!

No touching of the one below:

Heavy Cloud, 1985 – Lead and shellac on photograph, mounted on cardboard

Kiefer has often used lead to represent something usually thought to be weightless. Here the title is a pun on “heavy Water” a synonym for radiation in nuclear reactors. Kiefer has pointed out that even though lead is used to “seal radiation” his Heavy Clout has “a radiation leak” symbolized by the yellow shellac streaks seeping form the bottom of the cloud in the direction of the bleak landscape.

Brünnhilde/Grane 1982/93 – Woodcut and acrylic on cut and pasted papers, mounted on canvas

Woodcut is a traditional medium in German art. Kiefer began to experiment with woodblock printing in the early 1970s and returned to it in the late 70s focusing on subjects related to German history and myth. Fo all theGermanic tradition evoked in his turn to the woodcut, his practice was nontraditional in his choice of a larger format and a visibly seamed composition. One of the artist favorite themes at this time was Grane, the sacred steed ridden by Brünnhilde, when she sacrificed herself on Siegfried’s funeral pyre at the close of Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung.

The texture, the details, and then the size- just amazing!

 

His gigantic paintings are just breath taking- the texture – omg – I could sit in front of this forever. Unfortunately the hallway as the entrance to the exhibition where this was hung was so narrow that it was hard to take the painting in in total. Plus the museum was super crowded …even if not as crowded as in other galleries of the Met Breuer.

It was a very inspiring Art Stroll that let me think about more and different ways to integrate photos, collage and painting …printing …texture …all of it in my work. Hope you enjoyed the stroll as well :)

Comments (4)

  • Seth

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    What? Wait? Kiefer is at the Met Breuer? Who knew? Oh yeah – Nat did. Will have to get there too see this. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL maybe I will ping you next time and we go together ;) It is a small but fine little exhibition – combine it with the MET to make the day worthwhile ;)

      Reply

  • Kathryn Gallanis

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    I too love Anselm Kiefer. Many years ago there was an exhibit of Kiefer’s large works at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was in awe of the scale and texture. There was hay and dirt in one of the works! I had never seen anything like it. The principle that art maybe isn’t supposed to last was also new to me. I went back several times and loved it. Thank you for the great visit.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      I agree- I love how he is working so much with the concept of transforming art! It must be such an liberating feeling to do art with that concept- I wish I was there yet :) Thank you for joining me on the stroll Kathryn!

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Art Stroll: Making Space at MoMA

A couple weeks ago Natalya Aikens and I visited Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction is the title of a MoMA Exhibition open until August 2017. It features the work of female artists from 1945 to 1968 and shows artwork from MoMA’s collection from over 50 artists. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, prints, textiles and ceramics.

Helen Frankenthaler “Trojan Gates” (1955) Oil and Enamel on Canvas

Frankenthaler thinned her pigments with turpentine so that they would soak directly into the canvas and stain it.

Louise Bourgeois “Self Portrait as Bird” (1945) Oil and Ink on cut board with rivets

Louise Nevelson “Big Black” (1963), Painted Wood

To create this sculpture, Nevelson stacked boxes against a wall and filled each compartment with found wooden scraps. She then covered the entire assemblage with black paint.

Bela Kolarova “Five by Four” (1967) Wood, paint, and metal paper fasteners

I loved this piece!

 

Left- Elaine de Kooning “Bullfight” (1960) Acrylic on Paper

Yayoi Kusama “No F” (1959)

Look at the detail of the piece – makes you want to touch it.

Anni Albers “Tapestry” (1948) Handwoven linen and cotton

Sarah Grilo “Add” (1965) Oil on Canvas

First time on view at MoMA. It was one of my favorite pieces and it made me sad to think that this would vanish again after the show in a storage space.

Lee Bonticou “Untitled” (1961)

Lee Bonticou lived in NY above a laundry and found the conveyer belt there. I love the organic yet mechanical piece and you cannot help yourself but look into the dark void.

Amazing!

Carol Rama “Spurting Out ” (1967) – Ink, Gouache, shellac  and plastic doll eyes on paper

This was interesting …and eerie at the same time.

Several thoughts :

  • It was so prominent that a lot of the female artists were spouses of  “famous” and permanently displayed male artists – in a way it must have been an exciting time to be a female artist- but also so hard to break through and be heard.
  • Who inspired whom btw?
  • Mostly only one piece of artwork was displayed by the artists making it seem as that is all the space there is for their amazing work to be displayed
  • MoMA, why not making real space for those artists instead of just a temporary exhibition space. Just display more of this artwork in your permanent collection galleries.
  • More Female Solo Exhibitions would be great – a lot of those artists have quite some scope of work – “Where Are All the Women” by Jerry Saltz is still good and valid read.

I will definitely go back and see it more in depth but I had a great time with Natalya and enjoyed looking at some of the artwork with different eyes, given the different medium she works with .

Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction is on show until August 13, 2017 at MoMA

 

Comments (8)

  • Sue Clarke

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    I just love “Add”…such a delightful piece. Maybe it can hang in my living room in between being out in the gallery?

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Wouldn’t that be awesome to have? It should rather hang in our living rooms when vanish in the museum storage again.

      Reply

  • Stephanie

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    I heard about the exhibit on NPR. Looks like it was fab!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Oh I bet that was interesting -might have to see if I can still find it on NPR

      Reply

  • Seth

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    Thanks for taking us along on the ride!

    Reply

  • Diane

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    Thank you for this post. Most interesting. Also like your observations about women artists.

    Reply

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Book Signing @ The Ink Pad – Meet & Greet Nat!

Meet me at The Ink Pad in NYC for a book signing with my new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media! Pick up a personalized copy of the book and go on an Artful Adventure with me :) To add to the fun, there will be some special prizes for the first 5 in-store preorders and first 5 in-store purchases of the book.  Drop by, say Hello, and pick up your copy!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017: 4pm – 7pm

See you there!

And for those of you who cannot make it, order a FREE signed Bookplate from the n*Store for your copy of Artful Adventures in Mixed Media. I will even personalize it for you if you let me know in the notes section of your order.

 

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Mono Print Painting Fun

Next Thursday my sweet friend Birgit Koopsen is coming from the Netherlands and I cannot wait to see her. Besides some girlfriend time and sightseeing we are also teaching several workshops together, one is a Mono Print Painting class  at The Ink Pad in

NYC  on March 18th, based on a technique we came up with after we went to see the H.N. Werkman exhibtion when I visited her in the Netherlands.

I wanted to incorporate some of my class samples in an art journal and here are some samples of what I was doing last week.

The cat below is of course inspired by Klee :) and I picked up the Manhattan Border pattern in the print on the lest side with the Manhattan Tile Stamp.

I am kind of liking the idea of incorporating the prints which you do not want to hang on a wall or else into the art journal …you see some really raw experimentation with this here :)

This is the stare in my face I wake up to in the morning …ah the joy of being a cat owner- LOL

This one was of inspired by Matisse – the left is the Mono Print Painting using the Versailles Stencil and on the right you can see the smaller pattern with one of the Versailles Foam Stamps.

It is really addicting to play with those Mono Print Paintings and Birgit and I have heaps of techniques to apply to them – and you get two teachers with different ideas on this :) There are still some seats left- so if you are in the NYC area- join us for this Mono Print Painting Class March 18th or the Artful Transfers Class March 19th …or even both (special price) !

Have a wonderful day

Comments (4)

  • stephanie

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    hope you have some of these techniques in your Artiscape classes too. :)

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      I will teach loads of techniques on all of the classes there :) Looking forward seeing you – woohoo.

      Reply

  • Lisa Flaherty

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    Wow, wow, WOW!! This Mono Print Painting class looks Ah-maze-balls!!! If instantaneous travel were a thing, I would sooooo be there!! <3

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Awe- Lisa- it would be so awesome to have you!!! Have an amazing week!

      Reply

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My City Speaks to Me – Cheiron Brandon

CS April My City Speaks to Me Blue

It’s Tuesday so it’s time for my Creative Squad to share a project with you! The theme for this month is “My City Speaks to Me” and throughout the month, the team will be using my new Urban Scribble Foam Stamp, Rubber Stamp and Stencil Set. This month’s theme is all about expressing what your hometown or city is all about.  What makes it special, vibrant, and important to you?  This month, our Creative Squad will take us on a trip to their city!

Here is Cheiron Brandon and her super colorful interpretation of the theme, which happens to feature a city that’s my neighbor too!

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Cheiron April Headshot

Even though I am a Jersey girl, New York City has always been my city. I live about 8 miles from NYC and get a beautiful view of the skyline on my drive to work each morning and most times, I see the sun coming up. It is like the city is saying hello to me each morning.

cheiron_urbscribble1_

For my project this month, I created a journal page with all the colors of the morning sunrise using the Urban Scribble stamp as the main focal point.

cheiron_urbscribble3

To start I used a page where I had wiped up some Distress stains from another creative adventure. I stamped the page using stamps from the Marks, Wired, and Mish Mesh stamp sets along with various Archival Inks to create a background. Then I stamped the skyline twice and colored it in with Faber Castell PITT artist pens. This stamp was so fun to color! I fussy cut around the stamp and adhered it to some crinkled black tissue paper to use as my focal piece. Once my piece was done, I adhered it to the background with matte medium.

cheiron_urbscribble2

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I hope you enjoyed Cheiron’s gorgeous art journal page! We are both Jersey Girls so I totally understand her love of the NYC skyline – it inspires me all the time. I love her choices of color too and the way she layered several stamps in the background to capture the energy of the city.
Besides the supplies listed below, Cheiron also used black tissue paper and Tim Holtz Distress Stains in Picked Raspberry and Wild Honey:
SuppliesCJS


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 beginning of next month!

See you next Tuesday for the another project with the theme ‘My City Speaks to Me’.

Comments (5)

  • Dee Ann O'Brien

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    What a beautiffully happy city -so warm and inviting1

    Reply

  • Gwenyth

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    Beautiful pages! Really love your colors and how you filled in the city stamp. Lovely!

    Reply

  • Joi@RR

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    Sooo vibrant and fun Cheiron. I love orange so you had me captured immediately!!! Love that background and you definitely put a whole new pizzazz into Nat’s Urban Scribble city scape. BRILLIANT!!! j.

    Reply

  • Miriam Prantner

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    What a fantastic page! I love those sketchy buildings, a wonderful cityscape!!!

    Reply

  • Brenda

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    I love the colors of the morning sunrise too! Love how you applied them here on your page.

    Reply

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