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Starting with an Ugly Layer was an Opportunity in my Art Journal

Ever have a background you don’t like very much…that you just ignore and hope that one day you’ll like it – but never do? There is still hope for those pages, after all this is mixed media art journaling and you just need another layer.

I’m going to the dark side, of color that is, as I build this page. You’ll also see how I use dried out Inka Gold and yes, plenty of OOPSies in here too.

Watch Starting with an Ugly Layer was an Opportunity in my Art Journal on YouTube.

The page that started this was ugly to me. And it has been for a very long time. Adding Inka Gold would brighten it up but O.O.P.S. some of mine has dried out. Can it still be used? Absolutely, it is more like a pencil or crayon instead of a cream.

This doorway stencil, by Angela Cartwright, called to me. The muse had a plan but she wouldn’t tell me until near the end of the page.

What’s my scientific method for picking which paint color to use when I am stuck on 2 of them? One jumped out of my hand as I was trying to decide, so I went with that color.

The more touches of black that I added, the darker the feel to the page. No surprise there but I didn’t want it that dark. Using a wet baby wipe simply made it even darker. A dry one would have been better. OOPS again.

What was the Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly? All that smeared black paint led to the wiping off and revealing of the paint below which led me to adding the purple.

Opportunity was knocking and I answered that knock by adding more layers to that ugly page. Are there any opportunities knocking in your art journal?

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!


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  • Kathy Gledsdale March 14, 2018, 9:00 am

    Great video thank you. You give me the courage to not give up when things go wrong in my art work, thank you x

  • Corrine March 14, 2018, 9:07 am

    Nice use of an “ugly” only in your view page. Doorways leading to secret golden stripes, like that idea! xox

  • Cathy Costelle March 16, 2018, 2:35 pm

    Really enjoyed this video Carolyn.

  • Denise March 16, 2018, 7:13 pm

    It turned out so pretty. And how did I miss that stencil. Hmmm. Thanks for all your sharing

  • Annette March 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

    Brilliant! As usual.

  • Andrene March 16, 2018, 9:40 pm

    Love how the page turned out! I have a couple of dried Inca’s and never thought to use them like that…brilliant! And that stencil is awesome…and added to my ever-growing SG list 😉

  • Dell Armistead March 17, 2018, 1:47 am

    You area remakable talented lady and share so generously. Thanks

  • Mary L Hockett Thoma March 19, 2018, 7:28 am

    I read something about “guilders paste” and mineral spirits to soften the dry stuff. Wonder if that would work on the inka gold? Just a pinch for an experiment may be an “ah ha” moment. The article suggests using a palate knife to mix a few drops of mineral spirits and guilders paste to work it into the desired consistency.

  • Lana February 20, 2020, 5:16 pm

    Another wonderful inspiration. Carolyn. Thanks!