Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


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: )


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!



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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


A Poem for Halloween (and Plans for November)

Here’s a quick poem I wrote last October that seems appropriate for a Halloween night:

creeps the night

now early creeps the night
things shadowed on drape
when deafness pretends to dance, cavort, strut

the loss of brink
an exciting surge of crackle
flashes the display of light

i fall with blush
blended bold
of red and gold

a mother’s shriek
an artist’s filigree

and now i sleep

The reason I am posting a poem that I wrote a year ago is that I am saving my creative energy for November.  In past years I worked on a novel and a set of short stories for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) during November. I loved the discipline of forcing myself to write every day no matter what.

This year I’ve decided to skip the fiction writing and focus on my art and poetry instead.  Starting tomorrow, November 1st, I plan to create art AND write a poem every day for 30 days.  Yup, you read it right.  I plan to do both every day. But I am not seeking perfection in either.

I wish to keep up the creative momentum of the past months with my art. I’m in a learning mode and I wish to continue that into 2015.  The art I plan to produce could entail painting, art journaling, creating artist trading cards, making Christmas gifts, gelli-printing, doodling, whatever.  I just want to do something artsy every day.

I’ve been in a real slump with my poetry the last two years.  In 2010 I wrote more than 500 poems.  At the very least I normally write at least one poem each month.  But in the last two years I’ve hit some kind of brick wall with my poetry.  I tell myself that my Muse is on vacation . . . but a two-year vacation?  It’s time for her to sit and write.  I’ll worry about the editing.  Sometimes creating is WORK and that’s what I expect November to be as far as my poetry.  If I come away with 30 poems, no matter how good, I’ll be satisfied.

Tonight I’ll get a good night’s sleep and tomorrow I’ll create.  I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

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I Left My Heart….

…in San Francisco, yes!  I first went to San Francisco with a friend shortly after high school graduation.  It was the summer of 1969, the summer of LOVE.  I was from a small town in Arizona and had led a very sheltered life.  What I experienced there those couple of weeks really opened my eyes to life. I’ve been back several times since then but I never get tired of the vitality of the City by the Bay.

I doodled a version of my summer in San Francisco in my new Moleskine watercolor journal after watching a video about doodling around a collaged element.  I could have added a lot more that I remember of San Francisco but ran out of room in this small journal.

San Francisco Art Journal Page

I used black Sharpie permanent marker, gel pens in several colors, Tombow water soluble pen, watercolor pencils, black Pigma Micron pens, white Uniball Signo broad pen, and collage (for the city skyline).

Happy Creating!