Peace On Earth

Image showing the 9" x 12" mixed media art journal page on 140lb watercolor paper.
Peace On Earth Art Journal page 9″ x 12″ 140lb watercolor paper

Happy Holidays!

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!).

Images showing TCW9001 White gesso, mixed on the page with light blue acrylic paint, both applied together with an old hotel key card.
TCW9001 White gesso and light blue acrylic paint applied with old hotel key card.

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.

Image showing the stenciled page of aspen trees over the blue sky.
Raw umber acrylic paint applied with a cosmetic sponge through stencil TCW252 Aspen Trees.

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.

Image showing maidenhair fern and fern fronds stenciled over the aspen tree background as the under canopy of the forest.
TCW243 Ferns and TCW862 Maidenhair Fern stenciled using acrylic paint on a cosmetic sponge.

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.

TCW870 Fir branch was stenciled in the top left corner of the page to help the viewer feel immersed in and surrounded by the forest and trees.
TCW870 Fir branch stenciled in the upper left corner of the page.

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.

TCW9001 white gesso dry brushed in a circular pattern over the right side of the page to form the place holder for the mandala and seated figure.
TCW9001 White gesso dry brushed to create the background for the mandala.

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.

Stencil TCW905 Leaf emblem mandala was stenciled over the top of the white gesso sphere on the right side of the page.
TCW905 Leaf emblem mandala stencil to create the mandala background for the seated figure.

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.

Stencil TCW905 Leaf emblem in two images. The left image shows the green ColorSparx powders sprinkled. The right image shows the ColorSparx powders spritzed with water which has activated the colors and effects.
ColorSparx powders in shades of green were sprinkled, then spritzed with water.

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.

TCW9001 White gesso and TCW9002 Black gesso were sponged around the outlines of 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.

Forest floor mushrooms were added using white gesso over the background images.
Foreground elements were added using white gesso sponged through the stencils.

I then hand painted and colored the foreground elements.

Image showing the hand painted mushrooms, flowers, and grass in the foreground.
Hand painted mushrooms, flowers, and foliage in the foreground.
Image showing hand painted mandala details, fir branches and pine cones.
Hand painted mandala background, outlined figure and sentiment, and fir branch with pine cones.

I’ve included a few close up shots for you to see the details more easily.

Close up images of hand painted mushrooms, flower, and seated figure with mandala background.
Close up images of hand painted mushrooms, flower, and seated figure details.
Two images showing the completed fir branch with pine cones, outlined sentiment, and mandala details.
Close up images of fir branch with pine cones, sentiment, and mandala details.
Image showing the completed Peace on Earth art journal page.
The completed Peace on Earth art journal page, 9″ x 12″ on 140lb watercolor paper.

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!

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

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