The Emerald Casket
Practice, Practice


Despite the fact I’ve shown LITTLE aptitude with painting, and have no affinity for acrylic paint, I keep trying. I found a picture on Pinterest and thought, How hard could it be? 

Grrr… How hard could it be to produce something that didn’t look like a high school art assignment? Well, I tried. And I did have fun matching up the colors. I won’t give up. Not yet, anyway…

Our Etsy Shop’s Open Again!

I emptied the store last month and took all of my stock to a readers’ conference I attended in San Antonio. I gave away the store! So now, happily, I get to make stuff to fill it back up. Here’s a start…

I always love an excuse to putter in my art room.

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Our Etsy shop’s on vacation!

I cleaned out the store for a recent conference, and I’m taking some time to spruce up the website. I’ll be back soon!

Two New Journal Pages…

It’s been a while since I posted here. Lots happening. Mostly family issues (translations: major illnesses/injuries). And work. Always work.

I have found time to be creative. Not as much as I’d prefer, but I still try. One of this year’s goals is to be a part of the local art guild’s studio tour in October, so I have to begin work soon so I’ll have enough to show. I recently cleaned out nearly all of my Etsy store inventory. I took pendants and bracelets to a readers’ conference I attended last month in San Antonio and gave them all away. Now I have empty bins ready to fill. I’m tingly thinking about all the work ahead.

In the meantime, here are a couple of examples of my art journal experiments.


Hmmm. Those white blotches under the lettering have more texture and shape than the photo shows. I rather liked this. I might try to do something on a very small canvas, maybe just the star-studded pear.

And here’s a gelli-plate/doodle. I love words, so it’s called “Words I Love”.


Ugh. The bottom got smeared, but it was a nice exercise.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to artistically. How you’re managing to fit creativity into your every day.


Small Canvases: Dominoes are a Gateway Art

Some folks might think my love of domino pendants is kind of strange. They’re dominoes. Game pieces. But I like to think of them as very small canvases.

I began making decoupage pieces–before I gained confidence to work with ink and paint. My practice with dominoes led me to try painting on canvas and paper. Dominoes were my “gateway” art.

To prove my point, here are two recent examples of my tiny canvases.

“Autumn Dryad”


Tropical Girl


Both began as ordinary, cream-colored acrylic game pieces. I used alcohol ink, a stamp, and a dimensional glaze—and my developing “artist’s” eye for composition. I can say that proudly, because hey, they do look good! 🙂

More Art Journal Fun

I’ve been writing, writing, writing, without much time to do anything else creative, but yesterday, I had a great excuse. I babysat sick kids. So, I filled a bag with gelato sticks, microns, a few acrylic paint tubes, gesso, map pencils, printed tissue paper, stamps and pad, and my art journal, and I spent the day playing with color.

This was my first attempt, and I rather like it! Of course, my flowers look like lollipops, but I had fun!


This second one, I’m not as happy with. I tried to do something fun with the color, but I think the paints I used were too close in the color range, so I ended up blending it, then streaking it with fuchsia.  Then I didn’t know what to do with the center, so I gesso’d the shape of a bird. I did a hideous job filling it in with map pencils, so I decided to mask my horror with some doodling. Meh!

Strange bird

The point is I filled two more pages! Woot! I love this journaling thing, although there’s little actual journaling going on. It’s mostly my experiments while I learn to work with the different media. 🙂 What I wouldn’t give for some art classes…


New Journal Entries…

I’ve been lax about working in my art journal for the past few weeks. Real life intruded, and I had to hunker down and get the real work done—my writing, that is. I’m still buried, but today, I had to take a break to babysit, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. So, I set the 2-year-old in her high chair with her own paints and a Frozen art sheet, and away we both went.

Here are the two watercolors I managed to produce. I’ve had one lesson, so please don’t judge. 🙂

Flowers 1

Flowers 2

After I finished and let them dry, I had a great deal of cleanup to do. The kidlet thinks all paint should be worn…

Lessons Learned in Texture

My daughter called me yesterday and said, “I wish you didn’t have to work. I feel like having an art day…” My daughter never feels like like devoting a day to art. Ever. So, you know what I had to do. I sped around my work room gathering supplies in a huge carryall and ran across the street to her place before she could change her mind.

And then, we both sat there for the longest, looking at our art journals (she’d only finished one page at that point), and wondered what to do. She’s a little intimidated with “starts”. I completely understand. That’s how I feel when I’m staring at a blank page at the beginning of new story. I’ll be sure to take pictures of what she worked on because her pages look wonderful! But here are the two I worked on.

This first one was mistake piled onto mistake that I covered as best I could with tons of paint! After I’d blotched up the page with color I couldn’t do anything with, I wiped off as much as I could and used a stencil to make the red pattern you see with acrylic paint. I love red. I love Indian jewel boxes, which all that crimson reminded me of, so I cut out flower petals from an old edition of Little Women whose pages are disintegrating, covered them in Mod Podge and washed them with purple acrylic. That wasn’t enough bling, so I got out the gold leaf paint and began “accessorizing.” Then it was still missing something, so when I got the book home last night, I glued on some cheap jeweled cabochons. Eh. It’s colorful, which I like. Has texture, which I also like. It’s just not very good. Texture can only hide so many flaws.


I went the exact opposite direction color-wise with the next one. I started with texture, using modeling paste pressed through the same stencil. Then I used watercolor to make a background and drip through the molding. I’m not very good at watercolor, but I found just the right brush to make flower petals and went to town making blossoms in the colors I dripped down the page. I finished using Micron pens to sketch the stems.


I like the flowers. But not the molding. The texture overwhelms the very simple painting. So next time I sit down to paint, I’m going to paint the flowers all by their lonesome. But that’s the purpose of the journal—figuring out how the paint works and practicing techniques. So I count yesterday as a successful day and had fun with my dd, too!

The Stubborn Heart

I have another art journal entry. And depending on your preferences, it’s either a mess or a messy piece of art. I love color—so for me, I love it. The 7-year-old couldn’t stop hovering over me while I…ahem…painted, and she said, “Nina, you’re an artist!” I laughed and said, “No hon, I’m an accidentalist.” To understand, let me tell you how I did this one.

  1. After masking out a square in the center of the page, I painted the page a salmon pink-orange with acrylic paint.
  2. Then I pasted a raised green paper over the upper-right corner and a piece of tissue paper with a musical score printed on it in the lower-left–because don’t all mixed media artists glue something on the page?
  3. Next, I got out a small square Gelli plate and painted it with crimson and cerulean. I then “stamped” around the center, reapplying the colors as needed. When I was done, the piece was way too dark.
  4. So, I used the sharp edge of the card I used as a mask to scrape off the paint, which made those interesting scrape marks in the blue, but overall the border was still too dark.
  5. I got out a baby wipe and began to buff off the color all around the page, taking off layer after layer to expose bits of the salmon, but leaving enough of the streaks and interesting bits I uncovered.
  6. I was still bored and irritated with my messy mess, so I got out the blue, mixed it with a little Gesso and made squiggle marks around the white space. At this point, I was sure I was going to have to Gesso the entire page because it looked like hell. So, I did squiggles in red.
  7. I took a deep breath, decided I wasn’t going to brayer the page with glue to stick it the back of the one in front of it, and instead, decided what I needed was more paint. So, I blopped a bright green, the blue, and the red onto the mat beside me, put a clean baby wipe around my fingers and blotted up the color to begin splotching it all over the border.
  8. Surprise. I liked it then. I used the baby wipe to clean off a couple more areas, and scraped the paint off the raised texture of the paper in the right corner.
  9. I had a piece of deli paper I’d used to clean off my brush, and I thought the paint on it was pretty, so I cut out part of a heart. Couldn’t do a whole heart because the paper wasn’t wide enough. I glued it to the center.
  10. Then I put a glop of blue water color on the white space, wet the area and moved it around the space.
  11. Last step was using my Micron pen to outline and write the quote on the page. I really must practice my calligraphy.


I like it. Everything happened by accident and stubbornness. So, that’s what I’ll call it—The Stubborn Heart.

Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere…

They say practice makes perfect. So I’m obviously a slow learner…

Here’s another journal entry. Too many bubbles, a muddy background. Every time I sit down to play, I learn what not to do. 🙂