There’s no doubt about it, 2020 has been quite the year, for so many reasons, not least a global pandemic.
I like to take the month of December to reflect inwardly about the past year and all of it’s happenings. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting period of reflection so far considering the amount of lifestyle changes and ongoing changes we have all had to make. I began to realize just how important inner peace is for all of us; to find our center and balance, no matter our outside circumstances. That’s what prompted me to make this Peace on Earth art journal page.
There is a wonderful phrase in the Japanese culture and language called “Shirin-yoku”, which literally means “forest bathing”. This is a crucial part of my daily practice to maintain my own centeredness and balance, and that’s what I decided to portray for myself to keep my internal peace and while keeping the negativity at bay.
We are blessed to live with a large green space surrounding us and we love to take daily jaunts up to the apple orchard, around it, and back again. We are so fortunate to have this daily opportunity to observe all the minute and big changes, wildlife, seasons, and the cycle of life. Second only to my daily art practice, this is one of the biggest joys and peace creators in my life.
The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.
To reflect the blue sky, I began with laying down TCW9001 White gesso, and mixed a little permanent light blue acrylic paint in. I love to use an old hotel key card to spread the gesso and paint over the page. I remember the first time I saw this done, and was amazed at how quick it was to cover the entire page (as opposed to using a brush which is what I used to do!).
In the second step, I used raw umber acrylic paint on a cosmetic sponge and dabbed it through stencil TCW252 Aspen Trees to create the woods we walk through daily. I created the bottom half of the trees lighter in color as they will have additional layers added over them.
Next, I wanted to create a feeling of an under canopy, all the plants that grow around the base of the trees that we walk through. For this, I selected two different stencils, TCW243 Ferns and TCW862 Maidenhair Fern. I applied the maidenhair fern stencil first using yellow ochre acrylic paint, then I applied the ferns using sap green acrylic paint. Both these layers used a cosmetic sponge to dab the paint through the stencils onto the page.
I really wanted the viewer to have the feeling of being immersed in the forest and trees, so I used the reverse side of stencil TCW870 Fir branch to add an overhanging branch in the top left corner of the page. Again, I used a cosmetic sponge to apply the paint colors, this time using Payne’s Grey and Sap Green for the needles, and Burnt Sienna and Payne’s Grey for the pine cones.
Now, I was done adding all of the background elements. Next, I wanted to create a mandala background for my seated figure. I began by dry brushing in a circular motion TCW9001 White gesso lightly in a large sphere on the right side of the page as a placeholder for the mandala to be stenciled on to.
I used stencil TCW905 Leaf emblem mandala stencil to create the mandala background for the seated figure. I applied Cadmium Yellow Medium hue acrylic paint with a cosmetic sponge and dabbed the paint through the stencil onto the white gesso sphere. I kept the edges of the sphere showing around the edges of the mandala stencil to give it a glow effect against the darker background colors.
I really wanted the mandala to have an esoteric feel to it, so I decided to use ColorSparx powders in green shades to reflect the background greenery, and also to provide depth and interest within the mandala design, showcasing the leaf emblems. I first applied a thin layer of TCW9011 matte gel medium over the stenciled design. I then laid the stencil down, sprinkled the ColorSparx powders over the stencil, and spritzed them with water to activate the powders.
I had found an image in a magazine and cut it out to create a mask for my seated figure. I laid the mask down onto the page, then sponged TCW9001 White gesso and TCW9002 Black gesso around the outlines of the figure to create a shadow and a glow. I added a stamped image with dark green embossing powder over the seated figure.
Now, I was ready to add the remaining foreground elements, consisting of forest floor mushrooms, a flower, and the sentiment. TCW9001 White gesso was sponged through stencils TCW578 Mini Whimsical Shrooms (Alas! This stencil is now retired, but you could easily substitute a different stencil of your choice) and TCW585 Inspired Words to complete the foreground elements.
I then hand painted and colored the foreground elements.
I’ve included a few close up shots for you to see the details more easily.
Want to see more? Hop on over and watch my quick fly-by video on my YouTube Channel.
Until next time, happy experimenting and happy day!
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member
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