Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


Art Every Day Month – Day 15

I am exactly half of the way through this creative month.  I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  It will get busy near the end of the month because Thanksgiving is at my house this year (lots of cleaning and cooking and entertaining) so I want to do quick and easy art projects from here on out.

I decided to try to catch up with my art journaling group  This week’s prompt was to use a napkin (or tissue paper or paper towel) in our art journal.  I already had a background that I had created several months ago on which to start.  I had glued down inky paper towels (with a diamond motif) onto a piece of watercolor paper that had been used to mop up paint from a painting I had been working on.  That background sat for several months because I wasn’t sure what to do with it.


I stared at the background a while and saw a ‘figure’ at the center of the page.  I created an angel since there was already a green pattern I could use as her dress and the inky paper towels had the rough shape of wings.  I used a Stabilo All pencil to outline the angel and her wings then painted the face/hair/wings with acrylic paints.  That was difficult over the texture of the paper towels (especially the face) but I worked with it anyway.  I then partially painted in the black circles with orange acrylic paint.  As a final step, I did some stamping (the word “Grace” under the angel, the triangle pattern at the bottom of the page, and the crown on the angel’s head).

Week 46 Napkins!

Voila!  It seems perfect for the holiday season.

I hope you find inspiration to create something today too!




Stencil It!

It is week 43 of 52 in the year 2014 and the last week in October. That’s apropos of nothing, I suppose, except that there are only nine more weeks in this year to create what I want to create . . .  so I better get crackin’!

In my weekly art journal group  the prompt for this week is “Stencil It!” and the instructions were to either use a stencil on our page or to create/cut a stencil.  Well, it just so happens I have a TON of stencils.  I have been going through all of them this week to organize and hang them on a special rod I created in the closet in my craft room so that I can more readily find them when I want them.  The whole pile was just sitting on my desk when I saw this week’s art journal prompt.  So I selected four stencils that I thought I could use together to create a background in my art journal.

I started with a page in my large Ranger Ink Dylusions journal where I had previously cleaned off a paint brush with dark blue paint.  Over that I laid a StencilGirl stencil by Traci Bautista called Circles Circles ( ) and dabbed coral pink, light blue, yellow and white acrylic paint through it using a cosmetic sponge.  This is what it looked like.


I then stenciled over the top of that with the StencilGirl exclusive club stencils by Mary Beth Shaw for October 2014 ( using the same four colors.  This created a background 3 layers deep with blues, pinks, yellows and whites.


I knew I would be putting a quote on the page but I thought it needed something more, a focal point.  I saw a ‘girl’ in the page and I sketched her in with a charcoal pencil, using the larger circles as an outline.


I then painted the girl but decided to leave her eyes closed to go with the quote.  I also used a smaller circle by the girl to paint a cat sitting next to her.  I printed out the quote by Marcus Aurelius and collaged that onto the page.  I finished by outlining the girl and the quote with a Stabilo All pencil in black, smudging it a bit.

Journal52 Week 43 - Stencil It!

Overall, I’m very happy with the page.  I made use of my stencil stash, I used a page in my art journal that had previously just been sitting there with smears of blue paint, and I painted a whimsical girl (something that’s very difficult for me).

I’m glad I created today and hope you’ve been creative too!

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A Bee-You-Ti-Full Experiment

The Universe has been conspiring to make me experiment in my art journal.  Over the last several days, three art-related groups I participate in have had ‘experimentation’ as the goal.  Chelle Stein at set this week’s prompt to “EXPERIMENT!” and told us to experiment with techniques or supplies we had not used before.  Tammy Garcia at posted an Art Journal Tangent and Tactics video called “Paradise” with the instruction of using heavy body acrylics and a stencil and letting our art journal pages take us where they wanted to go, i.e. EXPERIMENT.  Connie Hozvicka at posted an Art Journal Wisdom tutorial (Day 7) called… guessed it!…..EXPERIMENT.

Okay, so I experimented!  I started with a two-page spread in my 7×10 art journal on which I had wiped heavy black acrylic off my brush from another project.  I had also stamped an unmounted stamp that I had just received to see how it would look without mounting it on a block (not too good).

P1020529Step 1: Where I started

Next I used my favorite 9×12 ‘mod’ stencil from Joggles and Radiant Rain Shimmering Mists in hot pink and blue  that I received in a grab bag of art supplies and had never tried out.  The next two images show the effect of spraying the mists through the stencil onto the spread.  The closeup shows  the shimmer of the mists on  the black paint but overall the shimmer isn’t really noticeable.

P1020530 P1020533Step 2:   Radiant Rain Shimmering Mists through Joggles Stencil

Next I decided to collage onto the pages. I went through the stash of small collage elements that I had sitting in a box on my desk.  I randomly chose a few and collaged them to the journal pages using gel medium.  I found out that the Radiant Rain shimmering mists are permanent and do NOT re-activate with moisture. That’s a good thing.

P1020534Step 3:  Adding collage elements

After completing the collage and letting the gel medium dry, I finished up the pages by outlining the collage elements with Crayola Portfolio Oil Pastels (which I had never tried before); doodling in various places with a white Signo Broad pen and/or a black Fude pen; hand-lettering ‘Bee-You-Ti-Full Experiment’ on the right page. The final pages can be seen below.


P1020536 P1020539

Step 4:  Doodle and journal to finish pages

I have to say, I had fun doing these pages!  I had no expectations and I really got into the flow of things.  Do I love the end product?  Not really.  I do love the grunge look that the black paint brought to the spread and I love individual pieces of the two pages but I think that overall the spread is too busy for my taste and is without any real discernable focal points.  I’m pretty sure I would have liked it better with just the black paint, shimmering mists, and some doodles (and maybe a tiny piece of collage on each page).

But I EXPERIMENTED!  That’s what is important.  I learned about products I hadn’t used before.  I learned what I like and don’t like.  I got out of my head and let the art take me to an unknown destination.  And I love that!  My journal pages may not be beautiful but they are BEE-YOU-ti-FULL!

I hope you do something creative also this beautiful Autumn Sunday!


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Painting Quirky Faces

You all know by now how I feel about faces in my art.  I need to practice, practice, practice them.  Today I painted two faces without penciling them in first.  I just slapped that acrylic paint on the page, creating the face and the features as I worked.  I had no preconceived notion how they were supposed to look.

The first one was for an Art Journal Tangents and Tactics workshop on  The whole purpose of this exercise was to make a quirky girl, to do it loosely and quickly, and then to spray the painted face with water to make it collapse into something abstract.  Okay!

DY AJTT 6 Quirky GirlsDaisy Yellow Art, Art Journal Tangents and Tactics No. 6: Quirky Girls.

This next painted face was done to a prompt on : Rhyme Time.  I decided to use a technique that was being taught in a free Art Journal Wisdom workshop by Dirty Footprints Studio, the objective of which is (again) to get paint on the page quickly and then to use paper from your diary/journal for texture, and add a face quickly without forethought.  That scared me a little but I did it.

Journal52 wk 38 Rhyme TimeJournal52, Wk 38: Rhyme Time.  Double page spread in my 7×10 art journal.

The poem, “Underface“, is by Shel Silverstein, and the words are:

Underneath my outside face
There’s a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me

I am not unhappy with the way the faces turned out since they were supposed to be loose and quirky and whimsical.  I think I accomplished that.

I hope you created something today too!


Making Time

The Journal 52 prompt for this week is ‘Making Time”.  I’ve been sitting on the prompt since last Friday trying to figure out what to do while giving everything else (including chores!) a higher priority.  I knew what quote I wanted to use for the art journal page but I didn’t know how to use it.  The quote by J.R.R. Tolkien reads “All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given us.”

I got tired of putting off the page because I didn’t have any ‘arty’ inspiration.  I took a photocopy of a vintage clock that I had in my paper stash and decided to make a “time-themed” collage in my art journal.  I started with a piece of scrap-booking paper that had French script on it, tore it around the edges, and edged it with Distress ink in Walnut.  Then I looked through my paper stash and found a piece of kraft stock and some dotted paper which could serve as the backdrop for a copy of a vintage photo that had been been given to me (and, no, the children in the photo are not related to me).   I decided to mirror the shape of the clock and the brown polka dots by printing out the J.R.R. Tolkien quote such that I could draw circles around parts of the text. I glued those to the page. Then I outlined the ivory circles in a plain #2 pencil and a waxy graphite pencil.


Ta da!  An art journal page that looks a little like a scrapbook layout.  It’s not my usual bright colorful style but I used some elements I didn’t know what to do with and I made time for the project before next week’s prompt is provided to us.  That’s a winner in my book.

I hope you make time for creativity in your day too!


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!

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How to get Passion into your life (and I’m not necessarily talking about S.E.X.)

Ha ha!  I bet some of you were drawn here just by the title of my blog post.  Well, that’s fine.  But this post is really about ME: what I want for my own life, what I seek to bring into my life, how I keep my passion for life alive.  And it’s all condensed in a 2-page art journal post.

Journal52, Week 23, Passion (Acrylics and Dylusions sprays, TCW and StencilGirl stencils, magazine cutouts/collage).



Courage is one of those loaded words.  We often speak of it loosely, as in “I had the courage to go to the gym this morning even though I’m still sore from my last workout”.  Uh, no.  That would be determination or discipline. On the other hand, we normally think of courage in terms of facing a dangerous situation such as that demonstrated by soldiers on the battle lines. But courage is no less honorable in situations where grave danger is not apparent. Sometimes courage is quiet, held within, unseen by others.

That is what my newest art journal entry addresses:  courage to be yourself, to show your own true colors to the world, to sing your own song.


(Journal 52, Week 24, “Courage”. Created using acrylics, stencils, stamps, ink.)


Journal 52 Week 21, Prompt: Mandalas

The prompt for this last week’s journal page was “mandalas”.  I usually draw and create my own mandalas from scratch starting with a hard-lead pencil in my journal then finishing with Micron pens and coloring with alcohol marker.  But I wanted to do something more organic this time.  Mandala means circle in sanskrit.  The circle symbolizes eternity or completion of a cycle or homeostatis/balance.  That made me think of the principles of Yoga and all the elements in Nature that are organically complete and balanced. 

Materials used:

  • Dylusions Journal 9×12
  • Acrylic paint (different brands and types and colors)
  • Gelli plate monoprints that I had previously created on copy paper and deli-paper (this formed the background and the cutout flower, spirals, snake)
  • Stencils by StencilGirl and (the webbed design) by TCW
  • Pitt artist big brush pens in black, purple, and green
  • Sharpie paint pen in white
  • Sakura gelly roll gel pen in white
  • Micron pen in black (.03)
  • Washi tape (to form the header)

And this was the result which I think turned out well.  I really love the colors.




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Journal 52 Weekly Art Journal (Week 20: Book Inspiration)

I have been participating in a weekly art journal workshop Journal 52 ( ) since January.  It provides prompts and motivation to keep creating week after week. I have not missed a week yet, even though I have not posted all of my attempts to my blog and sometimes I am ‘late’ in creating my art journal pages. But I’m doing it!

The prompt for last week was “Book Inspired”.  Almost two years ago I wrote a novel (as part of National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo).  It is mystery that takes place both in 1840’s Ohio and 21st Century Arizona. Part of the mystery is how two main characters in the book are connected across centuries. My book remains unfinished and unedited. There is still a lot of work to do before I can even think of trying to publish it. But it inspired me to complete this journal prompt. I tried to make this page look vintage, much like the 175 year old diary that is central to solving the mystery.


This is a mixed media collage.  I started with a torn blank page from my Dylusions journal.  I adhered torns bits from a printed page from my book to the journal page using Liquitex matte gel medium.  Then I used a generic background stencil and acrylic paints in two colors to ‘antique’ the text.  I collaged on two faces printed out from online images and smudged around them with raw sienna paint to make them blend better.  Then I used a vintage border stamp and black archival ink across sections of the page and stenciled words across the page using a StencilGirl stencil by Seth Apter and acrylic paint.  I used a fluer-de-lis stencil on the corners of the images to make them look like photographs from a family album.  Finally, I scanned the page into iPhoto and used the ‘Antique’ and ‘Edge Blur’ effects to tone down the paint colors and make it look more vintage.