I’ve had a rough week this week, energy-wise. I was feeling sapped both Wednesday and again today. I’m ready to relax, sleep in tomorrow, and take it easy.
But first, time to share my latest entry—and I love how it turned out.
Let me get this out there right now – this isn’t a blog post about religion and spiritual practices. I have my personal opinions and I’ll do my best to keep those to myself. This is about art and this layout reflects a mood and theme that I was really wanting to accomplish. Primarily, I really wanted to just hit some extreme, saturated, bright colors. I wanted to work in reds and golds and possibly blues and violets. Violet never made it on this page, but the rest did. Mostly what I wanted was a lot of red and a lot of bling.
That particular color palette said “middle-east / asian / Indian” to me, so that’s why I eventually went with the “Om” symbol in this layout.
I really honestly can’t stop staring at this layout. when I close my art journal and flip through it, it goes from the soft, muted “Love” layout to this crazy POW!! of color when you flip the page. I love all the depth and texture it has, as well as all the fun surprises I get when I tilt the layout in the light and get glints of shiny gold in the form of not only gold, metallic paints but glitter as well.
This began as a labor of love, for sure. My first step was to add some texture, and to do this I used a Crafters Workshop stencil called Cell Theory and then some Golden Fiber Paste. I don’t have any modeling paste yet, so this filled in that gap for me (literally!)
Once that was dry, I put a piece of red washi tape down the center spine to prevent leaks (this Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal is very prone to leaks along the spine.) I then brushed on a generous coat of Liquitex White Gesso over all to prep the page for all the media that would be going down on it.
I initially wanted to try to achieve this layer of saturated color with my watercolors – namely Brushos and some metallic Yasutomo watercolors, but sadly they were not hitting the mark. I’m starting to think it may be the gesso, but the colors would go on wet nice and saturated and bright, but then became dull, almost pastel-like colors when I dried the page. Even after several layers of doing this, plus also trying to add some Kuretake watercolors over the top of that, too. Now, this is somewhat expected behavior for watercolors in general, I know they tend to dry lighter than how they look when they first go on—but not that light. I was really trying to recreate this gorgeous marbled red and gold effect Sandy Allnock demonstrated on her YouTube channel some time ago (called Faux Glazed Glass.)
Finally getting frustrated after what I think was possibly the sixth layer of watercolors (maybe more), I pulled out my Artist’s Loft acrylics in Crimson and Brilliant Red and applied those to the layout with my fingers and with a small paintbrush. At one point I closed the pages together to get some of the interesting branching effects in the paint when it’s still wet. The nice thing about the acrylics was that they were just slightly transparent enough to still allow all the watercolor background work I had done previously peek through a bit, providing a wonderful level of depth in the colors.
This gave me the result I was looking for.
Next, I pulled out a pot of Viva Inka Gold and smeared it in various places around the layout using my finger.
I hit the layout with my heat gun to dry it then put it under a piece of wax paper and a pile of heavy books to get it to dry nice and flat. All the wet watercolor work I had done on it at the start had begun to make the pages warp a bit.
My next step was to create the “Om” symbol. I referenced images from online then drew it out on a scrap piece of Bristol board I had sitting around. I painted this with more Inka Gold and added a few dabs of Artist’s Loft acrylic paints in the Brilliant Red color as well as Copper, Bronze, and Turquoise. I was trying to give it the effect of painted gold where the paint was flaking off. I then cut the symbol out using an Xacto knife. (This also resulted in something that will make for a cool stencil to use some other time – I’ll just prep the paper with a few coats of Mod Podge on both sides to make it sturdier and then I can stencil away with it.)
After cutting it out, I hit the edges with more Inka Gold so they wouldn’t be white. The symbol needed still more distressing to it, so I stamped it a couple times with a crackled-looking Finnabair stamp with Brick and Walnut Stain Distress Inks. I additionally hit the edges with more Walnut Stain to finish it off.
While this dried, I did some stamping and stenciling on the layout using more of those gorgeous scrolly stamps from Inkadinkado and the Dot Fade stencil from the Tim Holtz collection. When I stenciled the dots, I used gold acrylic paint where I also mixed in some Elizabeth Craft microfine glitter in Saffron. The acrylic paint acts like a glue to hold the glitter down on the page. I applied the paint using a cheap makeup sponge, which I also used to wipe excess paint around the edges of the page. I did the same with the turquoise paint, minus the glitter.
The “Om” symbol was going to need an anchor so I took three strips of inexpensive turquoise-colored ribbon and adhered them to the page with Golden Soft Gel Matte. I then adhered the “Om” symbol over the top of that, trimming the excess that was hanging off the sides of the page. I also had to give the far-right edge of the symbol a slight trim as it was hitting right in the crease of the fold of the page and would have prevented the book from closing (or I would have badly bent-up the symbol.)
Hope you enjoyed the layout. Please leave a comment, like or share the page, and be sure to follow me on Instagram where I post other miscellaneous projects and sneak-peaks of future layouts! Thank you!
List of materials:
Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal
Golden Fiber Paste
Crafter’s Workshop Cell Theory stencil
Liquitex White Gesso
Brusho watercolor powders
Yasutomo metallic watercolors
Artist’s Loft acrylic paints
Viva Inka Gold
Inkadinkado scroll stamp
Tim Holtz Dot Fade stencil
ColorBox gold pigment ink
Elizabeth Craft Microfine Glitter
Golden Soft Gel Matte