Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


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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.

All That Glitters
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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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 (NaNoJouMo) – Day 1

While fiction writers are busy during November trying to write 50,000 words of a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), artists are trying to create art every day during November.  It can be just as grueling and just as satisfying.

There are a couple of art-a-day challenges this November that I am aware of and I’m trying loosely to follow the ‘rules’ of each.  Art Every Day Month (AEDM) is the creation of artist and instructor, Leah Piken Kolidas, at http://createeveryday.com. Leah defines art very broadly, in the sense of anything creative (including creative writing and poetry), not just visual or fine arts.  National Nonstop Journaling Month (NaNoJouMo) is the invention of artist/instructor/author, Dawn DeVries Sokol, at http://www.dawnsokol.com/dblogala .  Dawn’s challenge focuses mostly on art journaling and she provides daily prompts (song titles or lyrics) that participants can use to create their journal pages.

Today I followed Dawn’s prompt which was “Royals” by Lorde.  I took that and created this page:

Day 1 Prompt- Royals by Lorde

I used a gelatin monoprint that I had previously made as the background and collaged it into the journal.  The images on the page are also collaged and are loosely based on from select lyrics in the song.  The handwritten words are from the chorus of the song.  I finished up with some doodling on the tiger’s gown, on the lyrics, and on the ‘head’ of the queen bee.

This was a quick and easy art journal page.  While there is no requirement to actually complete a piece of art each day (only to create) I did try to complete this page in one day.  In the future, if I do larger or more complicated pieces, I will just show my progress for the day.

I’m glad I was creative today and hope you were too!