It is still pretty hot out here in Colorado, but I must admit I’m looking forward to autumn and the cooler temperatures… and then I’m kind of dreading winter. Well, looking forward to the beauty winter brings, but not looking forward to being ridiculously cold and driving in winter conditions.
But I am still looking forward to the seasons. I moved back here after living in Hawaii for almost 11 years after an unfortunate job layoff. Hawaii has seasons, yes, but they are extremely subtle.
Suffice to say, the job market in Hawaii isn’t all that great unless you work primarily in a field catering to the tourist industry, so I moved back to my native Colorado since there were infinitely more job opportunities available out here than Hawaii.
Yes. There are tons more jobs out here. But there are also tons more applicants, and I will be honest in saying it has been a frustrating struggle finding work.
Monday I was feeling pretty anxious and angry with my situation, but then had a discussion with some people that brought me to look at all the good that has come out of my having so much extra time off.
I’ve been able to travel quite a bit all over Colorado without having to worry about any restrictions a 9-5 job would impose. And all this extra time has given me ample opportunity to do the things I want to do where art is concerned, meaning art journaling, watercolors, sketching, and book binding.
Here’s the kicker. I asked for all of this towards the end of last year. And I’m not kidding I asked for this only a week before I returned to work from a vacation and learned the company I worked for had been sold. I wanted to move back to Colorado. I wanted to take an extended period of time off. I wanted to get back to doing more crafts and fine art. Well, a higher power (whom I usually choose to call God) was listening, and BOOM. I got my wish and desires.
Yes, it is scary not knowing quite how I’m going to be paying my bills every single month. But I have to keep telling myself that the universe didn’t arrange all of this to happen for me just to set me up to crash and burn. There is some sort of a bigger plan going on here. I’m just impatient and want it to unfold in my timeframe.
So, this is where the “Gratitude” layout sort of came from yesterday. And this quote from “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker really rings true to my current experience. Just look at how the world is operating just to please me.
“People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back,” -Alice Walker
So, with sincere humility, I say “thank you,” universe, Higher Power, God. Thank you for what you’ve arranged for me.
Now, philosophical mumbo jumbo aside (eeeeesh… she used the “G” word! I’m going to catch religion now!) On to discussing my approach for this layout.
I began this with a set of acrylics in metallic violet, magenta and yellow. I decided for some fun this time to just use my fingers when painting. For the longest time I’ve shied away from using my fingers for painting, mostly because I just don’t like thinking about my hands getting all dirty, but this was really quite satisfying. I enjoyed the cool, smooth feeling of the acrylic paint under my finger. And it allowed for some interesting, soft blending to occur with the absence of paint brush marks being left behind. I may do this more often!
I quick-dried the background with my heat tool then pulled out a stencil to add a little more subtle interest to the corners of the page. I dabbed more acrylics through the stencil with my finger, then dried that, as well.
I then looked up the quote and did a sample sketch/layout in my travel Moleskine first. I’m having a lot of fun working with mock calligraphic/brush stroke text, so that’s what I decided to use for this quote.
I drew additional guides on the actual layout using pencil then drew over the guides with my white Uni-ball Signo pen. Once that dried, I erased my pencil guides. I was very pleased to see how readily pencil erased off of acrylic without lifting any color. Something to note, for sure, for future layouts.
I put some extra care into the layout to make the words pop more off the page, creating a mock drop shadow first with Derwent Inktense pencils, then back over that with my Prismacolor Premiere colored pencils. I added additional shading around the main body of text to allow it to show up on the page better.
I added a few extra white scroll and heart embellishments around the layout to balance it a little better, then finished up the design by adding some Archival ink around the edges of the entire page.
Hope you enjoyed the layout. Leave a comment below or like the page and share with your friends. :) Thanks for reading!
List of materials:
Canson Mixed Media sketchbook
Artist Loft Acrylics
Uni-ball Signo pen
Gelly Roll pen
Derwent Inktense pencils
Prismacolor Premiere colored pencils