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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Documented Life Project (DLP) Week 3: Color Wheel

The prompts for DLP come out each Saturday around noon.  I had planned to put off doing my page/spread until later in the week but it called to me yesterday.  These were the themes/prompts for the Documented Life Project week three:

January Theme
The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 17
Art Challenge:  The Color Wheel
Journal Prompt:  “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way . . . “    – Georgia O’Keeffe

While searching for something else yesterday I came across an individual piece of mixed media paper, slightly larger than the size of the large Dylusions journal in which I am creating my DLP spreads.  It had papers and paint on it where I had started something a year ago but had not continued.  I decided that the colors were perfect for a color wheel (burgundy, magenta, teal, yellowish green, yellow with coordinating papers).  I started by spreading white gesso around the papers with a palette knife to integrate them with the background.  I scribbled into the wettish gesso with a pencil, leaving several marks that I hoped would peek up through the layers. Then I smeared more fluid acrylics in the same colors with my fingers and through two StencilGirl stencils (‘Angel Circle’ by Kate Thomspon and ‘Spider Flower by Terri Stegmiller). I adhered the Georgia O’Keeffe quote printed onto deli paper onto the top left side and finished by adding sketchy embellishments with a black Fude pen, a black Stabilo Marks All pencil and various Posca paint pens.

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In the photos below you can see the details of the painting, showing the pencil marks and different layers peeking up through from the original paper.

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For the second week in a row I worked fairly intuitively (no plan at the outset for where the page would go) and for the second week in a row I created a grunge-style painting.  I didn’t intend to do that but I am really liking the messy, colorful results of this intuitive experimenting I am doing.  I wonder where next week will take me?  We’ll see.

I had fun creating this and will continue on with more art journaling later today.  I hope your holiday is full of creativity also.  Happy Martin Luther King Day!


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Last Bit of Holiday Art Journaling for a While

Things are starting to get busy for me.  Christmas is less than two weeks away and I have shopping to do, wrapping to do, baking to do, and gift-making to do.  I have decided to put aside my holiday art journal until at least the day after Christmas.  I think there will still be time to fill it up by the first week in January when other art commitments will take its place.

I did finish two pages today.  Both were quick and easy.

 

Happy Holidays Elephants
This started out as Christmas paper that I had folded and sewn into my hand-made journal.  It is slightly redder than the photo makes out with a faint pink texture in the background and 3 tiny pink elephants.  I outlined the little elephants and then laid a large elephant mask on the paper and outlined it.  I used a different stencil in a Marakesh pattern over the outline and pounced frosted pink paint through the stencil.  Once the paint dried I outlined the pattern using the same Signo Broad pen in blue-black.  I added the words using the blue-black pen and tried to fill in the puffy letters with a light pink souffle pen which didn’t quite work.  It reacted with the blue-black pen so it is not as clean as I would have liked.  But I do like the page.  It is rather non-traditional but the frosty pink adds some holiday zest.

Trees Trees Trees
For this one, I drew and collaged various Christmas trees onto a page of Bristol paper in the journal. I had previously dripped Adirondack ink in red and teal on the top of the page.  I decorated some of the trees using Pitt Big Brush pens and Sakura souffle pens.  Others, specifically those collaged from colorful papers, I left as is.  It was a simple page to put together and I wish I had not used a page with the ink at the top.  But it is colorful and full of Christmas tree cheer.

You may not see me on the blog again until after Christmas, but rest assured I will be creating daily.  I hope to show you some of my hand-made gifts after the holiday itself.  I hope you find time in your busy holiday schedule for creativity too.  Good wishes to you all during this holiday season!


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Easy Peasy Collage, Stamps & and Lettering

I’m still playing in my holiday art journal.  There are so many pages in it that I will have to do more than one page per day to fill it up.  And that’s fine with me.  While I have time, I’ll play . . . and when it gets busy with the holidays, I’ll focus on family.

I finished 3 more pages today (no prompts). All were done using simple collage, stamping, and lettering techniques.

I added a small cracker box into the journal simply by taping it into a section with designer duct tape.  I stamped all over the inside cardboard of that box with red snowflake stamps to use as backgrounds for two different pages.  The color of the snowflakes reminded me of a reindeer that I had sketched and painted for an art journal page a couple of weeks ago.  I made a copy of that page and cut out the reindeer (and the words “Deer Santa,”), collaging them onto the stamped background.  I hand-lettered the rest of the words on the page using a Posca paint pen in white, a Signo Broad pen in white, and a Fude ball pen in black.  Easy-peasy!

Deer Santa

The next page I did over a scrapbook paper page in the journal.  I had cut Christmas ornaments out of a Pottery Barn catalog and I simply collaged them, overlapping a little, onto the middle of the page. I outlined each in a different color of Pitt big brush pens to make them pop. I added ornament stamps using black archival ink at the top and bottom of the page and colored bits of them in with Pitt big brush pens.  Since both stamps had the word “Joy” in them, I hand-lettered various versions of the word all over the page using a black Sakura Identi-pen and highlighted certain letters with the Pitt big brush pens.  Another page, easy-peasy!

Joy to the World

For the next page, I used a gelatin plate monoprint that I had created several months ago and was saving because it had such a Christmas look to it with its colors of gold, yellow, green, and burgundy.  I collaged it onto the back of a cereal box in the journal using Tombow permanent adhesive then, picking up the gold in the print, I taped all four edges of the page with a goldish-copper glitter fabric tape.  I’m not sure that the glitter of the gold paint or the glitter tape shows up but they really add some sparkle!  I had a page of 7 Gypsies old-fashioned letter rub-ons that I thought would look good on the page.  There was only one of each letter available and I had a difficult time deciding on what song lyrics or saying I wanted for this beautiful print.  I settled on “O, Holy Night” which is my favorite of all Christmas carols.  The only problem was there was only one H in the sheet of rub-ons and two H’s in the title of the song.  I laid out and rubbed on the letter, leaving a space for the 2nd H which I hand-lettered using a black Fude ball pen.  It is not as ornate as the other H but I think it works.  I added the next line in the song in smaller plain letters using the black Fude ball pen.  I think the whole page is gorgeous and I wish the glitter of the golds showed up better in the photo.  Another page, easy-peasy!

O Holy Night

I did all of this in about one hour … or maybe a little more.  This blog post probably took as long.  I found time in my schedule to be creative and I hope you see that you can be creative with very little time in your own day!


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More 12.31 Holiday Art Journal

I’m on an art journal roll lately.  In the last two days I finished two pages in my hand-made holiday art journal and started on another.

The photo below shows a page in my journal that I drew and doodled using a black Micron 05 pen.  My objective was to capture a small close-up section of a Christmas tree.  This particular page is half of a 11×15″ piece of Bristol paper.  A few days ago I placed a stencil that had been covered in yellow iRESISTable paint face-down onto the page to use up leftover paint from the journal cover. Nothing goes to waste in this re-cycled journal!  When I started drawing on the page, I noticed the yellow texture in the background but forgot that it was a ‘resist’ product.  Yesterday I decided to use watercolors to color the page instead of using markers or gel pens or acrylic paints.  And whoa! The yellow iRESISTable paint spray surely did resist the watercolor!  That made for some interesting texture.  Because there was a significant amount of yellow on the top-right side of the page I went ahead and used a yellow watercolor wash for the rest of the background.  I’ve never seen a yellow Christmas tree but, then again, this is MY fantasy world and in MY fantasy world Christmas trees can be any color in the rainbow.

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I really liked the page when it was just a black drawing on the white paper with yellow peeking up through the decorations.  But I’m not unhappy with the watercolor page.  It gave me the opportunity to practice painting with watercolors since I am still a little uncomfortable with that medium.

The next page was done on the outside portion of a Toasted O’s cereal box in my journal. First I covered it with white gesso, using a catalyst tool. I left a lot of scratches and lines in the gesso for texture and let it dry over night.  I decided to use Dawn DeVries Sokol’s 12.31 Holiday Art Journal Workshop video prompt for 12/09.  The prompt was to doodle picture frames on the page and then fill the frames with people/pets signifying who I would like to spent Christmas with). I combined the video prompt with her prompt of the day: To write out all that I am grateful for this season.  First and foremost, I am grateful for my family so they take center stage on the page.  (You can find Dawn’s free workshop prompts here:  http://www.dawnsokol.com/1231/ )

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As you can see, I decided to make this a grunge page.  The texture I left in the gesso was a good start.  Then I used complementary colors of Dina Wakely heavy body acrylic paints spread on top of the gesso with a palette knife, making it even more textured.  I scribbled into the wet paint to allow the white gesso to show through.  I resized three photos of loved ones (including my pets) and copied them out, collaging them to the page with matte medium. I found it interesting that the complementary blues and reddish-oranges could be found in the photos I chose (completely unplanned!).  I drew picture frames around the photos with black and white Posca paint pens     and journaled my gratitudes around the page using a black Fude ball pen and a white Signo Broad pen.  I do not often use grunge techniques in my art journals but I really enjoyed doing this one and I like how it turned out.  I will try this again in the future.

Making time in my day to be creative relieves the stress of the holidays and allows me to focus on my own needs.  I hope you can find time in your own busy schedules this season to be creative too!


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2 for 1 Fun ….

Today I did two pages in my holiday art journal.  That’s not exactly true.  I finished a page that I began a few days ago; I did a quickie collage page; and I started (but did not finish) another page that contains a lot of drawing.  Here are the two pages I finished today.

Catmouse
A few days ago, I posted this painted background with just a sketch of the uppermost cat. At the time I had no idea where the page was going.  Last night I had an idea for the words on the page: “We wish you a merry Catmas” . . . except when I said it out loud in my head it came out “We wish you a Merry Catmouse.”  Perfect!  I couldn’t pass that up so I went with it.  The cats and mice were sketched with a pencil and outlined with a black china marker.  The lettering and all of the details were done with a Posca paint pen in white and a black Fude ball pen.  This page makes me smile.

Kid Toys

Yesterday I added the red & white washi tape to the inside of one of the cereal boxes I used in creating my holiday journal.  Today while thinking of whether or not to paint this page, I saw a piece of Tim Holtz scrapbook paper that had old-fashioned alphabet blocks on it.  I thought they would look perfect directly on the cardboard itself.  Since there were only one of each letter of the alphabet, I decided on the phrase ‘kid toys’.  Once that was decided on, I looked for something in my stash that was related.  I found a roll of vintage bingo cards and cut one to use as the center background.  I also cut out the letter blocks and collaged all onto the page.  I then used Crayola crayons to outline the letter blocks and, finally, I drew the baseball and jack.  I like how the page came out.  It takes me back to my childhood in the 50’s when all of those items were popular.

These pages were fun but now I have housework to do.  I’ll be back, maybe tomorrow, with more creative play in my holiday art journal.  I hope you make time today, too, for some creative fun!


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O Tannenbaum…

This afternoon I was supposed to decorate our tree.  It is a tall narrow artificial tree that fits into our small living room. I’ve used the same decorations for years and I like how it looks when it is done.  A little commercial and neat; a little sloppy; a little fun; maybe a little under-done.

Xmas Tree

But today I just wasn’t feeling like decorating that tree!  (The photo is from 2013).  I wanted to work in my holiday art journal so, for the third day in a row, I procrastinated and headed to my craft room instead.

I had a narrow piece of green scrapbook paper bound into my handmade journal, so I decided to work on that.  The prompt for my weekly art journal group, Journal52.com,  was ‘Doodle’.  Now, I’m not into formal doodle techniques like Zentangle although I do mindless doodling that is similar if I have a lot of time and/or large areas in which to doodle.  Most of the time, for me, doodle means to goof around and scribble and draw and make marks.  My doodling is pretty messy . . . as is my lettering.

Hmmm, what to doodle?  Since my bare Christmas tree has been on my mind, I decided to ‘doodle’ a tree.  I drew a very loosey-goosey tree on the paper with a Micron pen and ‘doodled’ ornaments for it.  The tree made me think of the German song “O, Tannenbaum” (“Oh, Christmas Tree”, to us) so I wrote the first line of the song in German and the next line in English over the top of the Christmas tree with its ornaments.  The tree looked very wimpy at that time and the letters got lost.  To correct that, I filled the block letters in with an 08 black Micron pen and then colored the ornaments with various colored souffle & glaze pens.  I then went over the circular pattern in the paper in green and added white accents, cranberry garland, and dangles at the top of the page.  Done!

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The tree is narrow, like mine.  It is a little messy; a little neat; a little fun; a little under-done.  Just like mine.  Do I wish I had the time, patience, and hand-control to doodle something spectacular on the page?  Sure.  But I don’t . . . and I refuse to fuss about it.  I’m okay with my page just as it is.   And I still decorated a tree, didn’t I?

I enjoyed playing in my holiday art journal today.  I hope you found the time to play creatively today, too!


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Hope is the thing…

Today Dawn DeVries Sokol put out her second set of prompts for the 12.31 holiday art journal workshop. Every Tuesday and Friday she gives a thought prompt as well as a word of the day, a quote of the day, a song of the day and a suggested visual focus for your page.  None of these are required.  The prompts are there to provide inspiration for your holiday art journaling, if you need them.  If you are interested in finding out more about her free 12.31 workshop, you can find it here:  http://www.dawnsokol.com/1231/ .

The only prompt that called to me today was her visual focus which was to create a shape on the page using torn bits and pieces of paper and then to doodle and/or journal on or around the shape.  I already had a tall and narrow piece of red scrapbook paper as a page in the journal so I decided to use that as the base.  My first thought was to create a cross, which I did.  But that cross morphed into the shape of a Christmas star so I decided to go with that. The shape of the Christmas star reminded me a little of a tree so I drew a bird on one of the branches (rays).  I doodled and collaged scalloped shapes around the bottom and sides of the page and then doodled over the star.  I wrote the word HOPE on top of the scallops at the bottom of the page. I’m not sure where that came from, but it seemed to fit. Then I doodled small white and black stars on the background to mirror the large one.   I used Posca paint pens, a Fude ball pen in black,  and a white Signo Broad pen for all of my doodling.

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As I was looking over the page, the word HOPE and the bird came together in my mind and I journaled the first verse of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope Is the Thing With Feathers” in the center of the bottom scallops.  For those who are unfamiliar with that poem it reads:

Hope is the thing with feathers

By Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
   
And sweetest in the gale is heard;          
And sore must be the storm  
That could abash the little bird  
That kept so many warm.  
   
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,  
And on the strangest sea;         
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.

I rather like my patchwork Christmas star/cross and its association with Emily Dickinson’s poem.  Christmas (the birth of Christ) is, after all, associated with hope in the hearts of many.

This was an interesting creative exercise, pulling almost everything from some source inside that had nothing to do with planning or thought.  I love that about creativity.  It has much to do with intuition and process and less to do with the end product.

I hope you find some time in your day to creatively express your own intuition!


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31 Days Has December…

It’s been about a week since I blogged last. I got sick with either whopping allergies or a cold two days before Thanksgiving.  Cleaning the house, preparing the feast, and then cleaning everything up afterward took a toll on my energy and I am finally beginning to feel myself again.  And just in time too!

December is here and it has 31 days in which to create.  The late fall is full of fun and a flurry of family activities. One of the activities I decided to do this year is to keep a holiday art journal.  I feel no pressure to work in it every day or to finish a page each day, but I do want to get in the holiday mood and sustain some form of creativity for the next 4 weeks.  I plan to loosely follow prompts given in a free “12.31” holiday journal workshop sponsored by Dawn DeVries Sokol, the same person who does NaNoJouMo during November.  If you’re interested you can find it here:  http://www.dawnsokol.com/1231/ .

I decided to create my own journal out of cereal and cracker boxes using a technique that Dawn teaches in a workshop on Creativebug.com .  I used two cereal boxes, two cracker boxes, a greeting card and four pieces of heavy scrapbook paper/cardstock.  I will gesso and paint or otherwise decorate each page as I use it.  Yesterday (December 1st) I started putting the journal together and today I finished the journal and decorated the cover for it.

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You can see that the boxes, cards, and papers I used are different sizes.  That’s A-okay for what I will be doing.  I’m happy to re-cycle items I would otherwise throw out.

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Along the right edge I deckle-cut each of the boxes to give them a little more interest.

Holiday Journal 1231

After binding all of the pages together with a needle and twine, I covered the outside spine in decorative duct tape.  I decorated the cover page with gesso, Dylusions sprays, Posca paint pens and a white gel pen.  The two snow-people are made from circles that I had painted as an exercise in a watercolor workshop a few months ago.  I kept those exercise papers just in case I wanted to use bits and pieces as collage in my art journal.  Again, re-use & recycle.

I have no idea what this journal will look like at the end of December, but I’m pretty sure I will have fun working in it.  I hope you also find something fun and creative to do during this last month of 2014!


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Art Every Day Month – Day 23

Whew, finally!  I finished up with the Jenniebelli challenge (7 art journal pages in 7 days) one day early.  It turns out there was almost nothing left to do after I selected my sixth and final technique, which was Doodling with Pens/Markers.  So doodle I did and shading I did and fix-up I did and journal I did (with those self-same pens and markers.)

And here are my finished seven art journal pages.  Over-done, under-done, but done!

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If I had gone any further on this one it would have definitely been overdone.  But I like it as it is.  I like the colors, the shapes, the doodles, and the decorative napkins framing the figure.

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This one makes me smile. 🙂   I did a lot of circle doodles in the ‘tunnels’ around the open stenciled areas and I doodled the words “Dinner and a movie with you tonight” in the open white areas of the stencil.  I also journaled a bit on the dog next to the menu.  Mission accomplished.

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This one is way over-done in my opinion.  I just didn’t know what to do with it.  I stamped the quote in step 2, I think, and now it seems dwarfed by everything around it. The message gets lost because the eye really doesn’t have a place to land.  I did have fun doodling and playing with all of those circles, though.

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Well, this might just be my favorite, after all is said and done.  I did very little doodling on it since it was so busy to begin with. I shaded everything and then I merely journaled in very tiny hand-lettering along the tops of the low building.  Everything is crooked but I love the art-deco colors and shapes and feel to this.

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This one had been my favorite during Steps 3 and 4 (collage and paint) but  it lost some of its allure for me when I added the ephemera to it.  I do like the flower doodles on the background, the white journaling in her hair, and the words “Life is a Journey” but I do not care for the Destination ephemera at the top or the hand-written words at the bottom.  I am very proud of this one though since drawing (and especially painting) faces has been my nemesis for years.

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What can I say about this?  I like it best during Steps 1 and 2 (focal image and stencils).  Everything I added after that made it look silly or too busy or something.  This is now my least favorite.  There was no room left on this after doodling to do any journaling but that’s okay since I wouldn’t know what the message for this page would be.  The word right below her face reads “INNOCENT” but is sloppy and unreadable.  I give this one to the Universe to reflect back the challenges faced in this challenge.

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At one point in this page, I thought I had ruined it.  But I rather like it now.  The big orange/mauve snowflakes and that shabby ‘fence’ and the words ‘Deer Santa,” now make me smile.

Whoa, was this challenge challenging!  It opened my eyes a little.  I can (DID) successfully do things in an order I would not normally do.  It was difficult for me not knowing where the page would have to go in order to fulfill the current required product/technique.  I had to just let go and let the page speak for itself.  Art is all about intuition and letting go, I think, so in that I was successful.

Would I do this again?  I don’t know, but probably not any time soon.  I got rather sick of those pages after 6 days so I lopped a whole day off the challenge.  But it’s nice to know that it’s okay to break larger projects down into baby steps.  I can do that. 🙂

I hope you found some creativity in your day too.  Things will get crazy from here on out so I (and you?) will keep my art down to easy things from here on out during this month.  Thanks for stopping by!