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.

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.


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!


Art Every Day Month – Day 12 (Lines & Shadows)

Today I decided to take a break from art journaling, painting, inking, or doodling and focus on photography.  I have tons of photographs I need to edit and categorize.  I decide to focus on a few today as my creative activity.   I’ve categorized these under the title “Lines and Shadows”.  I’m sure I will have several more to add to this classification in the future.

Train shadows Patio Chairs Magenta BridgeLake Powell WallOcotillo B&W


Autumn in the White Mountains (Apache Country)

My partner, Gary, and I decided to take a quick 3-night mini-vacation to the White Mountains in eastern Arizona this week.  It is Apache country, home to the Fort Apache Indian Tribe along Arizona’s border with New Mexico.  It is beautiful country with yellow pine forests (a mixture of deciduous oaks and aspens as well as evergreen juniper and pine species).  There are deep canyons, rolling foot-hills and tall mountains, lakes and hiking trails. The altitude along this area is 7000-8500 feet but is still considered high desert.  The nights are cool (in the 30’s right now) and the days are pleasant (in the 60’s).  Perfect weather, in my opinion!

We drove there from our home in west central Arizona, a 3.5 hr drive along the Mogollon Rim.  And we brought along the newest member of our family, Dixon, a rescue from our local humane society.  The three of us spent our days hiking trails in and around Pinetop-Lakeside and driving into the Fort Apache Reservation.  It was just beautiful!  And it provided an opportunity to take photographs of the area, some of which I’ve included below (you can click on any photo to see a full-size version).

These first photos were taken on a hike around Woodland Lake State Park in Pinetop, Arizona.  The park includes a natural lake and wetlands full of migrating ducks and geese and has a walking trail that circumnavigates the lake.


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The next photos were taken the same afternoon on a drive into the high country of the Fort Apache Reservation, headed toward the Sunrise Ski Resort which was closed for the autumn.  The trees with the gorgeous gold and orange leaves are aspens which only grow in the higher elevation mountains of the southwest.

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These last few photos were taken on Thursday, our last full day in the area.  We took a good long hike along the Hitchingpost Loop and Turkey Trot trails just west of Woodland State Park.  It was much hotter that day than the day before with few clouds. And the trail was rocky and dry with only a few spots in full-shade.  Luckily it was a rather flat trail so not much climbing was required.  Still, we were all hot and thirsty by the time we finished . . . having drunk all of our water during the first 2/3 of the hike.

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We loved our mini-vacation in the White Mountains so much we plan to do it again soon.  Maybe in the Spring.  Getting away really feeds the creative spirit!