Sometimes the Monsters Win – Art Journal

This art journal page came after an interesting conversation with friends about old houses and ghosts. We all agreed that the monsters and ghosts in our heads are worse, and I guess that is why Stephen King is doing so well with his books – LOL The quote is from him – “The Shining” …you are welcome.

I started this page with a leftover negative imprint from my “So Much Energy” page where I had just flipped the Chicago stencil over.

I realigned the stencil on top of the print, a bit offset, and sprayed over it yet again with black and teal.

Then I just added the journaling with a Posca marker.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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A Look Back – Acrylic Ink in Action!

A Look Back – Supplies are one of the things that really inspire me and it’s easy to amass a ton of them… and then kinda forget what you have. When I moved recently I was reminded of all the wonderful acrylic inks I have that are good for so many different techniques. It is such a useful supply that I include it in my Art on the Go Kit too lol. Anyway, all this inspired me to work with them again but also to put together this Look Back post focusing on Acrylic Ink.

Sketching with acrylic ink is a favorite of mine. I like to use a bamboo sketching pen and work on deli paper. It’s a loose and freestyle sketching that takes a bit of patience and multiple dips in the ink to complete, and when it’s done I can use matte medium to seamlessly add it into my art journal. Acrylic ink won’t reactivate with water so then you can go in and add color and detail with all different types of media. Here’s the original post for this art journal page.

The density of color in acrylic ink is really appealing. I made a video here back in 2015 showing just how yummy it is to use acrylic ink over gesso. Backgrounds with this technique can be bold and bright or subtle depending on your color choices. It’s fun to experiment!

Acrylic ink plays well with lots of other media. In this art journal page I began with white spray paint and my Flower Maze stencil. Once the spray paint dried, I spread acrylic ink on the page and then wiped the ink away using a baby wipe. It had soaked into the blank page but wiped to reveal a lighter blue where the spray paint was. I like this two-tone effect.

For a more dramatic resist technique, I like to pair it with embossing ink and a foam stamp like my Mid Century Squared stamp. Do your embossing and once it’s set just brush on acrylic ink and gently wipe. The smooth embossing will resist the acrylic ink and reveal the stamped embossing pattern. Check it out here in this Foam Stamplifier post.

Playing with this resist is also a fun way to finish a page. Here in this art journal spread I used spray paint with a hand cut stencil and acrylic paint with my Groovy foam stamp. When everything was dry I painted yellow acrylic ink over the whole thing – it doesn’t overpower anything but ties it all together. Done :)

One more example of sketching with acrylic ink above :)

I hope you enjoyed this Look Back post and will try your hand at some of these techniques. Acrylic Ink is super fun, versatile, and comes in the whole rainbow of colors to fit anyone’s aesthetic. Here are some of the supplies I used in the projects above:

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it’s fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

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Creative Squad: Extracurricular Activities

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a special roundup of Creative Squad Extracurricular Activities that I’d like to highlight for you. My Squad is awesome as you know – so much talent and creativity – they always blow me away with their projects each week!!!

Let’s have a looksie at some of the extracurricular projects that caught my eye.

First up we have a super cool card from Robin Seiz who has some major texture going on with a collaged background and one of the patterns from my ATC Mixup stencil. Super touchable, dontcha think???

Next is an art journal spread from Jordan Hill who is sharing her signature character over collage, this time using one of the Triple Play triangle foam stamps for her eye-catching background pattern.

Speaking of patterns, how about this one from Maura Hibbitts using my Wabi Sabi, Triangle Love, and Mini Motifs rubber stamps? We love to see unexpected combinations of all of these – so fun!!!

Finally we have an art journal spread from Riikka Kovasin, inspired by my lesson for Creative JumpStart 2022 and using my Art Deco Empire and Amsterdam stencils for her colorful background, and my Row Houses and Brownstone foam stamps for her subject. Love the hot hot hot color combo and that Riikka is still enjoying and posting work from CJS22. Fun fact: Riikka is also one of our CJS22 teachers :)

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of Creative Squad Extracurricular Activities! Please follow our team (their links are above) and also be sure to follow Nat’s Creative Squad on Instagram for weekly content from this stellar group of artists!

Here are the supplies they used:

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So Much Energy – Art Journal

I’m still on a total spray paint high – kidding – wear your mask if spraying even low odor spray paint inside. For this art journal page I used different MTN and Liquitex acrylic spray paints over my Chicago stencil.

For a later art journal page I flipped the stencil over to print with the extra paint on it, and then printed with excess paint on the stencil from spraying onto another page, back onto this one.

I used black Versafine and one of the Floral Tile Small stamps to stamp into the squares. I liked the juxtaposition of the floral image with the very orderly structure of the stencil.

To finish my page I used a Posca marker on that label stuff (I have no clue where it comes from) for the journaling.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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The Left Brain Artist – Podcast Interview

Recently I was invited as a guest on the podcast series called The Left Brain Artist by Suzanne Redmond. We had a wonderful chat about where I’m coming from as an artist (what inspires me and drives many of my creative decisions), my workshop Creative JumpStart 2022, and my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media.

I really enjoyed our time together and you can listen to the podcast here:

Suzanne interviews a new artist each week and gets tons of different perspectives on what it’s like to be a practicing artist. I shared with her my love for architecture and buildings, and my fascination with the stories and history of these structures. I talk about how that research finds its way into my paintings in the colors and marks that I make. I also share how I prepare for paintings by testing things out and just playing in my art journal.

I hope you enjoy listening :)

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A Thousand And One – Art Journal

The background for this page started with the Produce Joy art journal where I flipped over the Art Nouveau Wallpaper stencil after spray painting the background onto the next page to make an imprint.

When I came back for this page I aligned the same stencil onto the pattern and sprayed over it with different colors. This especially looks nice in the areas that were just a bit offset – it gives a better, crisper distinction between the two different paint applications.

I used a calligraphy nib pen and a brush with acrylic ink by Liquitex for the sketch on deli paper and applied the deli paper with fluid matte medium by Liquitex using a fan brush. I also used the calligraphy nib for the journaling. I had the nib set for a while in my stash and finally used it. I used the pen cleaner to clean the nib pen afterwards – a good idea to make sure it keeps writing and drawing well.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Produce Joy – Art Journal

I used four different colors of acrylic spray paint to layer up over the Art Nouveau Wallpaper stencil. I flipped the stencil right over to the adjacent page – more about that page later – so that I could get a nice print of the surface as well.

I used some Versafine in black and grey to stamp with one of the Mini Motif rubber stamps and one of the Fan-fare stamps into the solid fan areas.

For my journaling I used the tissue like stripes with a thin Posca pen.

This was a very fast but fun page. I love spray paints – they have such an instant effect and if you are using the low odor ones with a mask and in a well ventilated room, you can create forever using your stencils and layering them up, or mixing them as I did with stamps. Just as Walt Whitman says “Do Anything, but let it produce joy.“

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Stay Gentle – Art Journal

For this spread I used the Star Struck stencil that was still wet from applying spray paint over it for the It’s Worth It art journal page. I flipped it over and pressed it onto the next page in the ledger, which created an uneven reverse print, mostly visible with the green structure of the stencil on the top right. I love getting inspired by something I was working on earlier and not just starting on a blank canvas, so to speak.

My first idea was to stamp into the Star Struck areas with my Triangle Love stamps and some Versafine – which worked out nicely but it was a bit off. So I layered the Star Struck stencil back on top, basically covering up what I had printed before and used the same colors yet again but tried to spare most of the area that was stamped.

I love the effect and I definitely want to play more with the flip flop stencil technique :) There is also a slight dimension to the built up spray paints which is hard to see in the photos, but I love it and I think I want to explore this a bit more on some of my bigger paintings as well as for the backgrounds.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Creative Squad: Lost in a Book – Jordan Hill

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Jordan Hill who is sharing an art journal spread inspired by one of her favorite books and using my ATC Mixup stencil and our monthly theme: Lost in a Book.


Hello everyone, I’m excited to be back with you for April! Initially, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach this month’s theme of “Lost in a Book”. However, after much thought, I decided to base my project on the manga series Haikyuu!!, which is my favorite series of all time. At its core, Haikyuu!! is a story about a high school volleyball team, but it is steeped in symbolism and contains some of the best character writing I’ve ever seen. Let’s get started!

First things first, I selected a page to work on. I liked the birds on the left side of this spread, since birds (especially crows) are a reoccurring visual theme in Haikyuu!! On the right side of the spread, I had previously glued down a number of scraps of paper. To attempt to blend some of these scraps together, I used CraftSmart acrylic paint in the color Suede and painted over the edges of the pieces. I then used the back end of my paintbrush to scrape through the paint and create some subtle circles.

Next, I used Nathalie’s ATC Mixup Stencil with some white acrylic paint and a makeup sponge to add patterning to the painted sections of the page. Though it’s not exact, these shapes did vaguely remind me of the segments of a volleyball.

I knew that I wanted a quote to be the main focal point of my page, so I used my typewriter to type one out onto a scrap of brown paper bag. This is one of my favorite quotes from the series; I find it very beautiful, and it has stuck with me for many years. It only made sense to incorporate it into one of my journals.

At this point, I decided that I wanted some blue paint in the upper right hand corner of the page in order to represent the sky. I selected the color “Cloudless” by the brand Apple Barrel, and used a paintbrush to apply it to my page. I then cut out the quote from the last step and glued it down. Then, using a black pen, I added a few “bird” shapes to some areas of the page I thought could use a bit of interest. I specifically chose to do seven birds in order to represent the number of starting players on a volleyball team.

Next, I wanted a border of sorts, so I used an Archival Ink Pad in Black to brush along the edges of the page. I then used a graphite pencil to make some light marks along the left side. I have been experimenting with similar marks in some of my recent work, and I felt as though it could be interpreted as a volleyball net.

To add some finishing touches to the page, I used an orange oil pastel to add a hint of color, since the jerseys in Haikyuu!! are orange and black. Next, I added a Mod Podge image transfer of the number 10, to represent the number of the main character’s jersey. I also used Nathalie’s ATC Mixup Stencil once more to apply the paint ever so slightly over top of the blue section in order to blend it in a little better. I was then ready to call this page done!

I hope you enjoyed following along with the process of this little spread in my journal and that you are able to find something in it to inspire your own work!


Thank you Jordan – I loved how you used various visual elements to symbolize important aspects of the book. The finished page is really interesting with the different layers of media and meaning.

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and in addition to collage elements from her stash, here are some of the supplies Jordan used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

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