Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oracle in the Crypt

When I was a child, I loved reading  about Greek mythology, and have always had a special liking for the Oracle of Delphi.  The mystery surrounding this priestess of Apollo - well, it intrigues me.... as her boss' purview included music, poetry, prophecy, and healing.... all powerful stuff!

In poking around the web for something inspirational that I could relate to a Halloween journal page involving this oracle, I came across this image of The Oracle from the movie "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters" - something I've not seen, nor will I likely ever see given the poor reviews!  Nonetheless, I found this image (and accompanying You Tube on this animated puppet) fascinating.

I also lucked out by snagging a Tim Holtz  skull die,  and found some awesome inspiration from  both Anna-Karin and Jan Hobbins using this die.  Since I was working in my journal, and did not want a lot of dimension (having already done that for my Tim tag), I decided to go with Jan's technique.

I started out in my larger Dylusions journal by putting a strip of washi tape down the binding between the two pages to protect the rest of the journal from whatever wet media might be applied to these two pages.  Then I gessoed the two pages with a baby wipe, to get a lot of texture.  

Once dry, I added a smidgeon of Distress Micro Glaze, which acts like a resist.  I wanted to preserve some white to serve as a reflection for a hanging lantern I had in mind. 

Then I smooshed the pages around in some Hickory Smoke, Ground Expresso and Black Soot Distress Paint on my craft sheet, having learned my lesson that Distress Stains and Sprays don't really play too well with gesso, at least if you plan on having the color stick around!  I dried, and repeated several times, to get the depth I was looking for.  I prepared two pages, but ending up using only one - but I love the effect on both....

Below you can see the resist from the Micro Glaze..... this is what you see in the upper right corner of the page on the left, above, which is the page I ended up using.

Then I started on my skull..... Jan used foil tape on cardstock as her base, so that is what I did....

and then distressed with the Tonic retractable scratch tool (as Jan did), coated with Wilted Violet Distress paint, wiped off, and repeated with Ground Expresso Distress paint, wiping off just before totally dry.  The beauty of Jan's technique with the foil tape is the shiny surface - it lets you wipe off paint once it is almost dry.....leaving all that yummy distress in the crevasses of the die and scratches from the tool, while still leaving a thin layer of paint on the surface.

Nice and rotten looking, no?  Love all the grunge!!

Now to fill those eye sockets and other cavities with something dark and sinister..... I started by distressing a piece of plain white card with the same colors of distress paints used for the background pages (but no gesso this time).  Then I traced the skull die in pencil, including the sockets, onto the  cardstock and and then cut out the background for my skull.

 I traced the eye sockets and other cavities to provide a guide when applying a thick layer of Glossy Accents...

followed by Black Soot Distress Glitter (as we already know, I dump....)

 And here is the result.  This will provide a perfect cavity into which to put my flame "eyes"!

Now to the hanging lantern....similar to this little baby from last December (before I knew I should make separate posts for each project, lol!

On my Halloween page, I decided to use the other lantern of the hanging lantern die.  I again used foil tape on card and after cutting it, I ran the die cut through an embossing folder.

Then I painted it with Black Soot Distress paint and wiped off most of the paint for a tarnished look. For the background, I  took a piece of old mop up card in pinks and purples. and generously sponged parts of it with Mustard Seed Distress Ink to give it a glow; then I positioned my die cut looking for the best "glow" before cutting the background out to fit inside the die.

I auditioned it .... and it passed! I  pulled up the inner two struts slightly to give a bit of dimension.

I then made the candle to go inside; this little candle die cut is part of two candles in the hanging lantern die. The flame is painted with several warm colors of Viva Decor's Maya Gold paints (which have just a bit of sparkle to them).  I added a smudge of a blue Maya Gold at the base of the flame and applied some texture paste to the candlestick to emulate dripping wax. Once dry, I spritzed the textured candle stick with Antique Linen Distress spray to age it a little.

The two flames for my skull "eyes" were prepared with the same Maya Gold paints used to prepare the candle flame, as described above.

I die cut a bunch of Mini Tattered Floral roses in various shades of red, burgundy, grey and black....rolled them up with the quilling tool per these instructions from Mr. Holtz.

The completed roses were strewn from the jaw of the skull, in gradations of color from blood red through black..... I envision these as prophecies or pronouncements from the skull which issue as living roses in deep red, but which rapidly fade out to black.  Ok, so humor me here!

I also cut a spider and "31" out of black cardstock from this mini magnet die, and heat embossed them with clear embossing powder so they were nice and shiny.  While I was at it, I cut the raven and cat from this mini magnet die set, and also heat embossed them in clear powder.  I did not end up using the cat (alas), but the raven provided the way to hang my lantern.

The spider was embellished with a bit of Viva Decor Pearl Pen in gold, which I also used for the eye for the raven.

And here is the final page, at last!

Thank you so much for stopping by (and hanging in here!)   Please do leave a comment, as I always love hearing from you!  xxx Lynn

I am entering this page into the following challenges:


  1. Oh wow Lynn, what an amazing piece of journalling for Halloween! Incredible what you did with those dies and how you combined and put them together, absolutely amazing evocative effect! And glorious colours too, the way you did those roses looks fantastic. I have to say, love the background also! Altogether an outstanding piece of work, just stunning.

    Oh and of course thank you for adding them to the challenges I am involved in, MMM and AVJ.

  2. I would recommend watching the Percy Jackson movie(s). There are some really beat special effects and it was a good movie. Your use of the gorgeous flowers and the story behind it is awesome sauce! I really enjoyed watching the progress of the skull and the scratches add great depth for the colors! Fantabulous background as well. Very haunting design! Your 31 die cuts and color are stupendious.

    Thanks for joining in our "31 Days of Halloween" at Anything But Cute. Hugz. ~Niki DT

  3. Lovely piece, I love the resist and how you combined the skull too. I love the atmospheric colours too. So pleased you could join us at A Vintage Journey Challenge. Tracy x

  4. Lynn, This is astonishing, very creepy and I am now wondering if I will get a wink of sleep tonight (I know who to blame if I don't!!!!) but incredible, from the outset with the thought process of creating the resist to allow for the lightness where the lantern would be placed. Life is in the details and you surely know all about detail. The "dripping wax" texture paste is fabulous, so effective and certainly fools the eye and talking of eyes, those deep sparkly eyes are amazing and brings such depth to the skull.
    This is such a cool piece and brimming over with atmosphere, especially the smoky background you created.

  5. Lynn, I agree with every single thing said above, and I have to say this one really knocked my socks off! Your background is so well done with the use of the microglaze to create depth and light of the lantern's reflection. This reminds me of really thick fog--oh, my; the perfect backdrop to this scene! Every one of your die cuts is so well embellished and painted. I am especially drawn to that drippy candle and the aged skull! Wowsers, girl! To say you poured your heart and soul into this page would be a gross understatement! Just so well done in so many ways! Bravo!!!
    Thank you for joining our 31 Days of Halloween (I couldn't help but see your 31) challenge at Anything But Cute. Hugs! Sara Emily DT

  6. Stunning and soo elegantly creepy! Love it :)
    Thank you so much for joining our 31 Days of Halloween challenge at Anything But Cute!
    Samra DT
    Paper Talk with Samra

  7. Fantastic Halloween page with that creepy skull and the "blood" flowing from him and the spider crawling on his head. Love the raven holding the lamp. Thanks for joining us at Anything But Cute.

  8. WOW!!!! So amazing. Thank you for sharing all your steps to creating your creepy masterpiece. Love how you made your skull so "rotten" and disgusting. ;) The dark florals are such a perfect touch, too. Really well thought out and planned. I love this! Thank you so much for linking upi with us at the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge Blog. xo

  9. Very very cool, Lynn! I love your grungy metallic skull and the smoky greys of the background. The textured candle is inspired - what a great way to get the waxy drippage, and the flaming eyes echoing the glow of the lantern are fabulous! What a stunning journalling page. Thank you so much for joining us on A Vintage Journey.
    Alison xx

  10. Gorgeously creepy Lynn!! I love the flames in the eyes and the grungy colours work perfectly for me. Thanks so much for joining us at Our Creative Corner. Julia x

  11. Awesome are journal page! I love how you made the skull it's so creepy. Thanks so much for joining us at The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge!

  12. oh my wow this is just so cool! thank you for photographing all the details in each piece... like the candle wax?! it looks so real!! and you should totally treat yourself and watch that movie, sounds like a hoot! Thank you so much for playing with the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge!


  13. You've made your project spooky and lovely all at once! Thanks so much for sharing your art with us at the Frilly and Funkie Challenge!

  14. Oh my gosh Lynn, this is a work of pure genius! I love the amazing textures and your step by step is so well put together!! I actually Just popped my head in to say thanks so much for all of the kind comments you left for me while I was away, you are so sweet! I am mostly all settled in now and finally able to take some time to visit my favourite blogs!! While I am here I will say thanks for playing along with us at Anything but Cute for our 31 Days of Halloween challenge. Take care and I will see you again soon. hugs :)

  15. This is truly STUNNINGLY HAUNTINGLY GORGEOUS Lynn. What a marvelous background and I just love the raven sitting on the lantern. This is just such a "classy" piece - high end HALLOWEEN HORROR!!!!!!!!!! j.

  16. Lynn, this is absolutely fantastic, such a clever piece of work! I just love the wonderful background you created for your spooky skull to sit on, the roses are beautiful - this is definitely one of those things I would love to see in real life, I love it!! Thanks so much for joining in at A Vintage Journey. Hugs, Anne xx

  17. What a scary spooky wonderful page!! Thanks for sharing all the details of creating that awesome skull! - love the black and red roses and that super candle! and thank you for joining us in the AVJ challenge! Julia xx

  18. Stunning work, very creative! Ruth xx


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