Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


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Book of Days – Ordinary Beauty Week 1: Intentions

Yup.  I’m already 3 weeks behind in Effy Wild’s art journaling class Book of Days 2015 – Ordinary Beauty.  I signed up for this class, which is 12 weeks long, on January 1st.  I loved her description of what the focus of the course was to be:  looking for beauty in the world around us and journaling about it. I really, really wanted to hit the road running with this class.  The first week’s prompt was provided on January 5th but first I wanted to make a canvas-bound journal in which to do my art journaling for the class.  And I couldn’t do that until I received the materials that I had ordered the day after Christmas (thanks to Gary who gifted me some dollars to spend at Jerry’s Artarama).

I finally got the materials I needed on January 9th and finished making the journal on January 11th, just in time for the 2nd week’s video/prompt.  Here’s my pristine, canvas-bound journal with four five-page signatures.
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And do you think I did week 1 or week 2?  No.  I did other things.  Arty things.  Non-arty things.  I procrastinated.  I took naps.  I did watch the videos . . . I just didn’t journal for either week.  And on Monday (four days ago), the week 3 videos/prompt were released.  Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.

Today (finally!) I decided to work on the week 1 prompt.  The prompt was to create a 2-page mixed media spread identifying our intentions (goals, hopes, resolutions) and a significant word to strive for during 2015.   As part of that, we were encouraged to do an image transfer (using gesso) onto one of the pages.  I decided to use a silhouette of a woman doing a sun salutation with open arms (as the image transfer), signifying the words I wanted to focus on this year:  ‘release’ and ‘renew’.  I also decided I wanted the spread to have the look of a beautiful sunset or sunrise since sunsets are about letting go of the day (release) and sunrises are about new possibilities (renew).

I got so caught up in the process that I did not take photos of the steps I took.  After transfering the image onto the right hand page, I decided to paint over the image to lighten it, leaving black only in the figure’s hair.  I finished the spread by stamping words on both pages and then journaling my intentions for the year.  I also scribbled the words ‘sing yourself alive every day’ around the figure.  This is what my pages looked like when I finished.

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I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  The colors are vibrant like the sunsets we get here in Arizona.  The figure is recognizable and the image transfer was successful, even though I decided to paint over it.  I’m hoping now to finish up weeks 2 and 3 over the next few days in time for week 4 to be released.

I found beauty in my art journal pages today.  I hope you found beauty in your life too!


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Art Every Day Month – Day 21

Wow!  This month is flying by!  It will be New Years before we know it.  Yikes!!

Today I got back to the Jennibellie challenge (7 art journal pages in 7 days, each day a different technique or product).  I am on day 4 and this is the technique I blindly drew from the box on my desk:

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Finally!  I’m glad I got paint/ink sprays this time because the remaining two techniques (ephemera and pens/doodling) don’t make sense before the pages are painted.  That’s the good news.  That bad news is that at least one page really didn’t lend it self to either painting or ink sprays but I did my best.  Here are my seven pages after I applied paint or ink:

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Oops!  I guess I forgot to crop this one.  I water-colored this using Ranger Distress stains instead of watercolor paint.  I really loved this after Day 2 when it was all black and white but now I’m not so sure.   We’ll see where this ends up after Day 7.

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This page really didn’t call for paint and I think I screwed it up trying to add gesso and some blue paint around the face/braids.  I may have to fix this in the final step.  I did change her lip color to be consistent with the colors on the page and painted the whites of her eyes to stand out more.  I liked this page the best after Day 2 and now I like it the least.

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I’m really liking this one right now.  I water-colored the dog and some of the stencil pieces with autumn-toned Ranger Distress stains.  I have no idea where I will go from here on this but I love it as it is.

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I used water color paint on this for the towel, her hair and a yellow wash around the body.  I wanted the body to remain untouched because I might doodle on it or add words later.  I love the soothing but bright colors on this page.

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On this page I started with the sky and decided to use a complementary color to the art-deco blue washi tape that was on the page.  Watered down orange/yellow acrylics seemed to make it stand out and is consistent with a fiery sunset skyline.  I do wish, however, that I had not highlighted the swirls in orange. The buildings I did using cheap watercolors in pastel colors, much like what you would see on the art-deco buildings in Miami along South Beach.  I still have to meld that bright sky and those pastel buildings.

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I love how this turned out with her bright hair and pale eyes & skin.  I used soft body acrylics and gesso for her face/hair/lips/eyes.  I gessoed the rest of the page, over the collage/stamps, then sprayed Prima Color Bloom spray in Summer Sky over that.  It was a coincidence that it matched her eyes.

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I couldn’t figure out what to paint on this page so I used a guache watercolor the same color as the ball to outline the feathers, the stamped words and all of the circles.  I also touched up the areas on the girl’s body that had torn when I glued them with a glue stick and tried to make the tears less noticeable.  I painted the sky blue with an acrylic wash and then went over it with gesso to tone it down some.  I think I will end up liking this page after I finish it up on Day 7.  Right now I’m a little ho-hum about it.

I spent a lot more time on these pages today than for any other step and I’m rather ambivalent about them right now.  Most are in that in-between ugly stage.  I’m hoping the next three days will fix them up and I’ll like them all in the end.

I am glad I created and I hope you got to be creative today too!


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Art Every Day Month – Day 15

I am exactly half of the way through this creative month.  I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  It will get busy near the end of the month because Thanksgiving is at my house this year (lots of cleaning and cooking and entertaining) so I want to do quick and easy art projects from here on out.

I decided to try to catch up with my art journaling group journal52.com.  This week’s prompt was to use a napkin (or tissue paper or paper towel) in our art journal.  I already had a background that I had created several months ago on which to start.  I had glued down inky paper towels (with a diamond motif) onto a piece of watercolor paper that had been used to mop up paint from a painting I had been working on.  That background sat for several months because I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

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I stared at the background a while and saw a ‘figure’ at the center of the page.  I created an angel since there was already a green pattern I could use as her dress and the inky paper towels had the rough shape of wings.  I used a Stabilo All pencil to outline the angel and her wings then painted the face/hair/wings with acrylic paints.  That was difficult over the texture of the paper towels (especially the face) but I worked with it anyway.  I then partially painted in the black circles with orange acrylic paint.  As a final step, I did some stamping (the word “Grace” under the angel, the triangle pattern at the bottom of the page, and the crown on the angel’s head).

Week 46 Napkins!

Voila!  It seems perfect for the holiday season.

I hope you find inspiration to create something today too!

 


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Art Every Day Month – Day 13

Today I went back to the NaNoJouMo song-title prompts.  Today’s was “How Soon Is Now” by The Smiths and was featured in the 1998 film, The Wedding Singer.  The song title reminded me of a clock; also two lines of the chorus are used over and over and gave me the idea for both the character and the text in my art journal page.

Day 13 - How Soon is Now - The Smiths

I used an acrylic painted background that I had scanned and printed out for this page (so that it formed a smooth base for the collage).  I cut out several disparate elements from magazines and collaged them to create a human-like character.  I created a clock out of the round piece behind the head.  I  hand-lettered two lines from the song’s chorus and the title/group name on the page.  I finished by doodling the blue playing card and other areas on the page.

I love the bright colors and how quickly the journal page came together.  I’m now more than 40% through this challenge and I may have made it past that ‘block’ that inevitably comes part way through any daily challenge like this.

I hope you have met your creative goals today too.


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Art Every Day Month – Day 9

Once again, I used the NaNoJouMo song-title prompt for the day.  This time it was “Palisades Park” by Counting Crows.  Boy, is it a far cry from the original song with that name by Neil Diamond!  I listened and listened to the song and then read the lyrics.  I realized the important parts of the song to me (for an art journal page) were the park itself (an amusement park in New Jersey across the Hudson River from New York City that closed in 1971) and the narrator in the song asking where his friend Andy went.

Immediately, I recalled a gelli-plate monoprint that I had created a few months ago, one of my first as a matter of fact.  I created it using acrylics in primary colors on deli paper, a type of waxed paper that disappears when you collage it onto a page or canvas.  I had used 2 or 3 different mandala-type stencils whose shapes are reminiscent of ferris wheels and other carnival rides.  I grabbed that and glued it into my 7×10 mixed media journal using matte gel medium.  Then I printed out a silhouette of an ambiguous figure because the narrator refers to Andy as ‘he’ sometimes and ‘she’ sometimes as if he/she were possibly transexual.  I collaged the silhouette and two different lines from the song onto the ‘amusement park’ background. Finally, I highlighted areas on the page with a black Stabilo All pencil (which I smudged for a grunge look) or a Sharpie white paint pen.

Day 9 Palisades Park - Counting Crows

I am very pleased with how this turned out.  It was an easy journal page to create since I had previously created the background monoprint.   But I think it accomplishes what I had hoped for.

Now off to write a poem for the day!  I hope you’ve had time to create today too.


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StencilGirl StencilClub Stencil Play

I love stencils.  I sometimes use them to create central figures in my art journal and mixed media paintings but most often I use them for background texture or added elements.  I have found many stencils I like from various manufacturers but my favorite this year are by StencilGirl Products (http://www.stencilgirlproducts.com).  The stencils are created by artists for artists and there are hundreds of stencils to choose from.  If you join their monthly StencilClub, you will receive exclusive stencils each month that will never be released to the general public, as well as video tutorials on how the stencils could be used.  I belong to their StencilClub.

Today I had no destination in mind except that I wanted to use the September StencilClub stencils.  There are three stencils in that package, all designed by famed mixed media artist Andrew Borloz.  The package contains a 9″x12″ stencil, a 6″x6″, and a 4″x4″ with coordinating designs.  You can see a photo of the stencils here:  http://www.stencilgirlproducts.com/category-s/1934.htm

I decided to start with a page out of my Canson 7″x10″ mixed media journal that I had used to clean off a StencilGirl stencil by Jessica Sporn (Namaste) from a different project.  It is the lacy green paint that shows in the background.  I also cleaned off my paintbrush from the same project on that page (swipes of white and lavendar acrylics).  Unfortunately I did not take a photo of the page at the start but you can see the background in the finished product, below.

Art Journal Dance with the Butterflies

Starting at the left hand side of the page, I used purple Liquitex Basics acrylic paint and Andrew Borloz’s 9×12 stencil to create the large purple acrylic scallops as well as the lacy looking dots and scallops just to the right of it.  I then used the outside of his 6×6 stencil to create the purple scallops at the top and bottom of the page.  I still wasn’t sure where I was going at that point but the scallops and circles made me think of lacy butterflies.  So I took a large chipboard butterfly mask I’ve had for ages (don’t remember the brand) and created two overlapping butterflies on the page using purple acrylic paint and outlining with purple gel pens.  I then added the three small shapes from Andrew’s 4×4 stencil under the butterflies in green acrylic to bring more green into the page.

Seeing the page at that point made me think of the phrase “Dancing with Butterflies”.  So I found a magazine photo of a dancer that would fit on the page and I cut it out and glued it to the page with gel medium.  The colors of the figure were all wrong so I painted over the entire cut-out with acrylics in Paynes Gray and two different flesh tones.  Then I doodled all over the page with a white Signo Broad UM-153 pen.  I also added the journaled words “Dance with the butterflies” in white over the large purple scallops on the left side of the page.

Done!  I always love the color combination of purple and green and I think the scalloped stencils by Andrew Borloz really frame the page.  I can’t wait to use his stencils for other projects too!

I hope you do something creative today also!


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Painting Quirky Faces

You all know by now how I feel about faces in my art.  I need to practice, practice, practice them.  Today I painted two faces without penciling them in first.  I just slapped that acrylic paint on the page, creating the face and the features as I worked.  I had no preconceived notion how they were supposed to look.

The first one was for an Art Journal Tangents and Tactics workshop on daisyyellow.com.  The whole purpose of this exercise was to make a quirky girl, to do it loosely and quickly, and then to spray the painted face with water to make it collapse into something abstract.  Okay!

DY AJTT 6 Quirky GirlsDaisy Yellow Art, Art Journal Tangents and Tactics No. 6: Quirky Girls.

This next painted face was done to a prompt on journal52.com : Rhyme Time.  I decided to use a technique that was being taught in a free Art Journal Wisdom workshop by Dirty Footprints Studio, the objective of which is (again) to get paint on the page quickly and then to use paper from your diary/journal for texture, and add a face quickly without forethought.  That scared me a little but I did it.

Journal52 wk 38 Rhyme TimeJournal52, Wk 38: Rhyme Time.  Double page spread in my 7×10 art journal.

The poem, “Underface“, is by Shel Silverstein, and the words are:

Underneath my outside face
There’s a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me

I am not unhappy with the way the faces turned out since they were supposed to be loose and quirky and whimsical.  I think I accomplished that.

I hope you created something today too!