Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


Good Intentions, Poor Execution

On the last day of 2014 I stated that I would be back the next day to provide my ‘bucket list’ for 2015.  Well, here it is January 5th and I am late.  Why?  Uh . . . because I was tired from the holidays?  Actually, I still haven’t created a bucket list for the year although I did decide which ongoing art e-courses or challenges I wished to participate in this year (the short list, since new ones come along all the time).  Most of these are focused on art journaling and most are new to me even though I was aware of many of them last year.  If you are interested in any of them, I have provided a link to the website or blog where you can find out more:

* Life Book 2015 (LB2015) created by Tamara Laporte at  This is a year-long mixed media course with weekly in-depth and bonus videos and PDFs taught by 25 well-known artists.  It is a paid class but is well worth the price of about $120 USD since so much quality material is provided and you can download and keep all videos and materials. I have taken her free on-line introductory course but LB2015 is new to me.

* The Original Documented Life Project (DLP).  This is a FREE challenge/workshop created by five artists at Art to the 5th Academy.  Last year the challenge was created as an art journal/weekly planner using a Moleskine planner.  This year it is set up to create an art journal only with an option to add in planning information.  There are monthly themes, weekly promps, and weekly videos from one or more of the artists.  Find out more here:

* Painted Paper Paradise (PPP) is a paid abstract watercolor/gouache workshop created by Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow Art.  It is a follow-on to her Watercolor Playground workshop which I took late last year. I really hope to get more comfortable with watercolors this year and Tammy has a knack of making learning fun and easy.  Find out more here: .  She has other workshops on that same page that are free of charge and are a lot of fun to do. Last summer I participated in her Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge and had a blast. Check her out!

* Book of Days 2015 (BOD), Volume I, Everyday Beauty is a 12-week art journaling workshop (paid) created by Effy Wild, one of the artist instructors for Life Book 2015. This workshop will be focused on finding beauty in your daily life and environment. There are weekly videos and PDFs that can be downloaded and kept forever.  She also has a free ‘boot camp’ workshop on how to create your own canvas journal from scratch.  It’s worth watching and her blog is worth reading. She is a very honest and generous person who started out in art journaling like many of us (no fine art training) several years ago. Find out more here on her blog:

* 21 Secrets (Spring 2015) which is an online, downloadable e-course taught in eBook form by 21 talented artists who provide their own secrets and techniques for art journaling. I almost took 21 Secrets last Fall but got busy with other things.  This e-course is the ‘baby’ of Connie (Hosvika) Solera of Dirty Footprint Studios who started this twice-yearly workshop five years ago.  You can find out more about this workshop that starts April 1st here:

Since my dance card is booked this year I decided NOT to participate in Journal52 this time around. However, if you are looking for a free weekly art journaling workshop you should really check it out.  Chelle Stein is the creator and she provides her experience and art journal techniques to a very large group on FB (more than 1300 people) each week.  For more information go here:

I’ll be back later this evening with my first art journal spread for the year, created over the last two days for the Documented Life Project.  In the meantime, I hope you have set some creative goals for yourself and work to keep creativity in YOUR life every day!


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Id dat a doodle?

Here I go again…doodling all over everything.  Playing with cartoon-ish characters and coloring like a five year old suits me just fine.  My “Art Doodle Love” journal by Dawn Sokol really helps me focus on the ‘play’ insead of the ‘art’ of art journaling.

On pages 24 and 25 the prompt said to scribble something on the page so I did.  On the left page I scribbled a big “S” and then doodled around it and all over the rest of the page.   On the right page I wrote the word ‘scribble’ and went from there.

Art Doodle Love pages 24-25

Art Doodle Love pages 24-25

(If you double-click on the photo it will open up full size and you can see the detail)

I wasn’t trying to do anything ‘pretty’ on these pages.  In fact, all I really wanted to do was to try out some new art supplies:  Sakura souffle gel pens on the left page and Tombow markers on the right.  I won’t tell you which I prefer since I’ll probably use both for different purposes in the future.

Now that I’ve colored in my coloring book it’s time for my nap.  I hope your Friday has been color-full too!

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Quick and Dirty

Sometimes it seems we are too busy or too lazy or too mojo-less to create. Sometimes we have no inspiration.  Sometimes we don’t know where to start or where to end.  We get paralyzed by perfectionism or that dreaded blank white page. It happens.  How do you get past that so you don’t get blocked?  Do something quick, do something easy, do something messy.  At least that works for me.

I didn’t create much last week because I was busy with other things. I didn’t feel like doing much this week either although I had plenty of time on my hands.  So I pulled out my journals and just put paint to paper without getting too worked up about composition, color, or inspiration.  Getting started moves me forward.  Inspiration and commitment inevitably follows.

Here are four quick and dirty art journal pages I created this week just to get back in the groove.

Journal52 wk 32 Favorite Foods
Journal 52, week 32:  Favorite Foods.  The background was done using gel crayons (gelatos) blended with a water brush.  QUICK!  COLORING!  The rest was simple collage.  Easy peasy.

Journal52 week33 Gratitude

Journal 52 Week 33:  Gratitudes.  This page was done over a page in my journal where I had previously wiped blue paint off my brush.  I just added a scratchy sun in yellow and orange acrylics, pounced acrylic paint through a stencil for the ground, wrote out the word ‘gratitude’ in gel pens and collaged one of my favorite quotes.  Probably took 30 minutes tops and I wasn’t paralyzed by a blank white page.


These two pages were created side by side in my large Moleskine watercolor journal.  I did these in response to an Art Tangents & Tactics tutorial on . The objective was to paint and stamp and collage two messy pages (one for negativity or half-empty and one for positivity or half-full) and then journal on the pages about what half-empty or half-full means to you.   These were fun and easy to do and, though they will never win any art contests, they hold a lot of meaning for me.

I hope you are doing something creative this week!


Art Journal progress

How many art journals do I have?  Hmmmm.  I’m not sure.  I have several different sizes ranging from 4×6 to 9×12.  Some are primarily sketch books that I use for drawing and trying out new designs, some are mixed media journals and some are watercolor journals.  In some, I remove the paper from the journal pad and use it separately hoping to eventually bind the bits and pieces together into something cohesive and home-made.

I am in several different art journal groups this year as I experiment with different techniques and materials and determine where my strengths and weaknesses lie.  Many of the groups are led by artists who provide videos of their techniques and hope that you apply the techniques in your journal(s).  Others provide weekly or monthly themes/prompts along with a challenge to complete a journal page within a specified time period.  I have found that I’m in too many groups right now so I am nowhere close to keeping up with the given prompts/challenges.  But I keep coming back to them and trying them out.  That’s the best I can do and is, in fact, the right thing for me.  Moving forward, one step at a time.  By this time next year I may veer away from the structure but, for now, it helps.

In the last week I have completed four art journal pages for two different groups.

Journal52 Wk 25 Nature Inspired
Journal52, week 25, Nature Inspired (updated page I started earlier in the year), 9×12 canvas paper, collage, acrylics, gel pen, ranger ink.

Journal52 Wk 26 Under the Sea
Journal52, week 26, Under the Sea.  9×12 Watercolor paper, paper napkin and text collage, acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, gel pens, Stabilo All pencil for shading.

Journal52 Wk 30 Positive Words
Journal52, week 30, Positive Words.  9×12 Mixed media paper, acrylics, image and text collage, gel pens for doodles, Stabilo All pencil for shading.

Creativebug Art Journal #1
Dawn Sokol’s Art Journaling class (on, week 1, Free-form doodling. 5×8 moleskine watercolor paper, Sakura gel souffle pens, black Sharpies, Pitt big brush artist pens, Uniball Signo Broad white pen.

Happy creating!


Art Journaling

I never make resolutions but I often do a kind of bucket list at the beginning of the year.  This year I decided to focus a lot on my creative pursuits (poetry, art, creative writing).  It seems that my Muse has decided to focus more on art this year than on writing but that’s okay.  It is feeding my soul. To help guide me with my art journey, I have taken one mixed media course and watched several videos to show me mixed media ideas and techniques. I have also joined several online art-focused groups, two of which provide prompts for creating art journal pages.  One gives monthly prompts (Journal Workshops by Jennibellie at and one gives weekly prompts (Journal52 at 

I have been doing the Journal 52 weekly prompts since January 1st but only joined the Jennibellie group in April of this year.  One thing I’ve noticed is that, as the weeks go by, I am much more experimental in my approach to my art journal pages.  I try out new techniques, new colors, new ideas and my pages are more complex, as a result.  There is something to be said for regular practice of any craft.

I wish to start posting my work as I create it but need a baseline for doing so since I have been horrible about posting in my blog on a regular basis.  So I will start with the two art journal pieces I created most recently:

Journal 52 week 18 (Prompt: Creative Hands) 9×12 Mixed Media on Canson mixed media paper. Acrylic gelli print background, stencils by The Crafters Workshop and Stencil Girl, 4 colors of acrylic craft paint (black, white, purple, turquoise), word collage and stabilo pencil for outlining.


Jennibellie Art Journal Page for April (Prompt: Messy Monochrome – Black, white, and one other color)  9×12 mixed media on Watercolor Paper. Black, white, and yellow oxide Golden fluid acrylic paints, multiple marking tools, collage using copy paper and paper napkins, black sharpie for art journaling, embellished heart rubber stamp.