Art Journal Pouches, Inspiration Cards, and Carve December
Mixed Media Panel Using Seth Apter's New Baked Texture Embossing Powders

Art Journaling My #WOTY With Acrylic Skins

    IMG_0956Hi Everybody and Happy New Year. I’m back again with another post from the Artist Tribe. This time I want to share with you an art journal spread created with Acrylic Skins that I made to document my Word of the Year, (aka #WOTY), "Clarify".

I thought a lot about what my word would be and concluded that Clarify really resonated. It is a word that brings with it an opportunity to move from a state of chaos, influenced by others without any ability to control what’s happening to a more Zen like state where I can push the chaos out to the periphery and focus on my own priorities; ones that I have ability to change.  For me Clarify is an action word that is all about figuring out what is important to put me in a position to move from a reactive to a proactive state.


I started designing this spread during the Blizzard of 2018 which dumped at least 16” of snow on our little house in CT.  I can’t help but think that the blizzard was a simile for how I felt throughout most of 2017; a year that left me totally drained and exhausted. The storm blanketed us in the chaos of snow, wind, and extreme cold and there wasn’t a darn thing that I or anyone else could about it. While it was here, it became our priority #1; work was cancelled, stores closed and even the lights at Dunkin Donuts, a corner stone in New England, were turned off. But once the storm blew itself out we were left with clarity; Everyone knew what needed to be done and what the focus needed to be.  We donned our hats, gloves, and boots; picked up our shovels, ice picks, and window scrappers; jump started our snowblowers, (unfortunately ours decided it wasn’t up for the challenge and refused to go out into that cold.  I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for my caring neighbor who came to our rescue , digging us out with his snow monster); and then we cleared all of that white stuff away from our paths. (Brrrr…) And while most of us were uncomfortable during the clean up, once the job was done we were able to get back to normal and move forward with our lives, (and back to Dunkin Donuts).

I worked in my Dina Wakely Mixed Media Journal for this one, using pages made from Kraft paper and canvas.  (I absolutely love this journal!) 

I created all three sections of this spread with the same exact ingredients and color palette: Gwen's Petals Screen, her Embroidery Stencil, and the stencil portion of the her Compass Mask, (all three are from her Ornamental Stencil collection) using Golden’s Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide, Quinacridone Violet, Permanent Violet, and Iridescent Bright Gold High Flow Acrylics.  The acrylic skins gave me the flexibility to rearrange the ingredients to change the outcome. For me, reordering the layers conveyed a sense of movement, (both forward and up from the bottom to the top) and a new focus that I'm hoping will come with Clarity

Close up of my two acrylic skins. Same ingrediants just mixed up differently

Here's a quick summary of the process I used to create my journal spread:

The left hand side of the spread started on a page made of craft paper.  I made two acrylic skins out of Golden's Regular Gel Matte Medium, (unconventional I know, but it worked for me).  I built the skins on a glazed tile, peeling them off with the help of a razor blade once they were dry.

I adhered my skins to the page with more Gel Matte Medium.  Then I embellished the page with some marks that I made with a glass pen dipped in India ink, some painted stripes, and a few dots made with a white pen. The lettering was rubbed on using letters that I’ve been hoarding in a coveted stash of Letraset sheets.  (I scored a huge box filled with a bevy of Letrasets at the Goodwill for $6 - Happy Dance....)

The right side of my spread was created on a gessoed canvas page.  I started by adding a layer of edging, (just the first of many) with my Faber Castell Pitt Pen.  I love using Pitt Pens because you can smudge them when they are first applied but they are permanent when dry.


Next I started stenciling.  I used  Gwen's Ornamental Petal Screen in Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide for the first layer, chasing it down with a thin layer of Regular Gel Matte Medium that I applied over the entire page.  After it dried I added another layer of stenciling.  This time I used Gwen's Ornamental Embroidery stencil in Quinacridone Violet followed by another Gel Matte Medium thin chaser.

The third layer was to be my last and I wanted everything to come into focus here. I started by blocking out some focal points with gesso, using the stencil frame from Gwen’s Ornamental Compass Mask to contour the basic shape of my flowers.  Then I penciled in my designs and inked them with a glass pen and India Ink. I painted the flower petals with Permanent Violet Dark and Iridescent Bright Gold High Flow acrylic paint.

After I added a final thin layer of Gel Matte Medium, I decided to push the lower layers further down into the background with some watered down gesso. Once it dried, I realized that I had pushed it back a tad too far.  So I got our my sanding sponge and went to work.  When everything was to my liking, I spent a little time adding more details to the flowers to give them some character 

And lastly, I relegated all of the chaos that was at the forefront of 2017 as far away as possible; to the border where I am hopeful that it will settle and quiet in 2018.

in 2017 the chaos was loud and in the forefront
My hope is that in 2018 the chaos will move to the periphery, settle down and be quiet!

 And that competes the right side of my spread.


Using Regular Gel Matte Medium to make acrylic skins and to coat my journal page turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me.  I'm quite happy with how my acrylic skins turned out and the effect it gave to my journal page.  Both feel like leather.  I hope you'll give it a try in one of your projects. If you do I’d love to hear about your experience  

Please let me know if you have any questions.  And if you have a #WOTY I'd love to hear about it too!  You’ll have to excuse me now as I need to head out to seek some further clarification.... 

Hugs and a Happy and Healthy New Year filled with Clarity,  Jill     


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