working small for big results

52 projects: Creative prompts for a creative life – week #10

~ Oct. 30-Nov.3 ~

Week 10 Yo!!

I have to be honest, long term commitments have never been easy for me. (shhhh! Don’t tell my husband 🙂

For instance, I love handmade quilts. The patterns amaze me, and I just love to place them around the house in key places for cozy winter comfort. I have sewn – seriously – one in my whole life. Crib size. Yep, that was all she wrote.

So, to say that here we are on Project #10 of 52 is HUGE for me!

I hope that you are all managing to stay creative with me.  I know, it’s hard. But if you keep in mind that it is not about:

  • Producing perfection
  • Spending large amounts of time or money
  • Making something that others will like, or ultimately receive

I mean, if that is how you want to use your creative practice, go for it.  But I think it is vastly more important to simply be creative. Nurturing that creative soul can be as easy as you let it be. In the spirit of simple creativity, I would like to encourage you this week to work SMALL. Keeping it small will limit the amount of time it will take you to complete your project prompts and give you the encouragement you need to keep going – Big Results!

Create in a small handmade journal, on a small canvas, or how about trying something really different: use an envelope from something you received in the mail over the weekend.

Using something outside of the normal can really get those imaginative juices flowing and guide you into your creative mojo!

Here are the prompts for this week, and some small, out of the norm ideas for completing them:

  1. Monday: LEAFY

Fill your page, canvas or envelope  J  with prints from leaves. Use a gelli plate, a foam stamp. Or even a meat tray with a leaf sketched into the flattest area. Roll out some craft paint with a brayer roller and stamp it on your page.

Maybe you would prefer to write a poem about the falling autumn leaves, or take some photographs of the amazing color that is blazing so brightly these days. I think combining a few of these processes onto one page might be fun.

*I decided to create a mini book with pages I created with leaves and a gelli plate. There are 5 pages, one for each day….or maybe I will work on everyone of them … we’ll see 🙂

  1. Tuesday: CUP

Sketch, photograph or paint a small rendition of your morning coffee cup, tea cup, or even the glass that holds the water you are drinking. Sing its praises through picture, word, or song. I for one am very thankful for its many years of faithful morning service.

  1. Wednesday: POINT

Today would be a good opportunity to check out the tips of your various mark making tools. Use the point of a chop stick to draw a pattern into wet paint. Dip the point of a round paintbrush into your favorite color, or 5, and pounce that brush tip randomly throughout your page. Maybe you could do a pointillism painting and fill that cup with color using only closely spaced dots.

  1. Thursday: SINGULAR

Choose a singular image from your photo stash, a magazine, or take a new one that fits the theme of your page, canvas, or envelopeJ. Integrate it into your project, making it either the focal point of your piece, or a supporting actor. You could even tear it into pieces and reassemble it to create something entirely new.  Give it a try….it’s fun!

  1. Friday: REACH

Being the wordy girl I am, I think a reach for the stars kind of quote would make a starry addition and beautiful finish to this week’s project. Here are a few that I found on google quotes:

  • Your branches can only reach high if your roots go deep
  • Reach high for the stars that lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for each dream precedes the goal – mother Theresa
  • Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.
  • Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what behind you.
  • Reach as high as you can, and then reach a little higher. There you will find magic and possibility. And maybe even cookies.
  • When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.

There were a lot of amazing and inspirational quotes, so many in fact that I had to just say when.  Choose something that speaks to you, inspires you, or encourages your creative soul.

I would love to see what you are creating this week.  You can post it here in the comments, or the hashtags are below for Instagram and twitter. 

Friday I will post my finished project here, and on Instagram. Check out #creativefaith, #52projects, #cp4acl (#CP4aCL)

Have a creative week!


Daily Creative Prompts: week #9

Daily Creative Prompts ~ October 23-27

As promised, here we are in week #9 of

52 projects: Creative prompts for a creative life

Here are the 5 prompts for this week to be used daily in an effort to keep yourself working creatively:

  1. WATER
  3. HIDE
  5. SING

These can be interpreted in whatever way you choose. Whether you are a

  • Writer/poet
  • photographer
  • illustrator
  • painter/artist
  • or maker

these prompts can inspire something new. An image, a feeling, or an idea that is unique to you. Think outside the box, create something fresh and inspiring. Your brain will thank you!

I will be using these in order because it makes me think beyond what I often feel capable of and forces me to not fall back into comfortable things. But you can totally do them in whatever order you like. Do one or do them all – then post a pic of your finished project using the hashtags #creativefaith, #52projects, #CP4aCL, #creativelife, #52weeks, #promptme, #mixingitup, #thedailymuse

Here is how I approached today’s prompt:


Watercolors: not so outside the box, but for me using warm colors is definitely not my normal. So I stared this week getting out of my comfort zone and stepping into something that is going to challenge me as the prompts progress.

If you are a writer, maybe you can write a piece of microfiction about swimming, or sitting by the lake

Take a picture of the smallest body of water you can find, and then the largest

Do an ink drawing of a glass of water…then put a fish in it 😉

Make a notebook cover that has waves crashing over its cover, then fill it with ideas of how to create mixed media waves with great texture

Have fun with it and let these prompts challenge you!

This is the only email this week you will receive this week, but on Friday I will post my finished project from this week. Check out #creativefaith, #52projects, #CP4aCL, #creativelife, #52weeks, #creativelife, #52weeks, #promptme, #mixingitup, #thedailymuse

Have a creative week!


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email and start creating!
Have questions?  You can email me at
Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project,  #creativefaith,  #creativelife, #52weeks, #promptme, #mixingitup, #thedailymuse

when your dance gets ugly


Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 20: DANCE

Dancing isn’t really my gig.  In the formal sense of the word anyway.

  • But we can also dance with joy in our spirits
  • …dance our paintbrushes across a page
  • …and it can also be used to describe something that you are doing, a project that you are working on for instance 😉


While this isn’t one of my favorite projects to date, I still had a ton of fun creating it, and I learned so much from the process.

okay, calling my baby ugly.  Maybe it is just my mood today, but seriously…not my favorite.

but even when things don’t turn out quite as we would like and we find ourselves stumbling through the day…or week as the case may be…just make it part of the dance. 

And *drumroll please*

…here is the final project #8!

Don’t forget to enjoy the process, even if you don’t enjoy what comes from it.  There is purpose in all of it…even if it is simply to learn to accept a bit of failure.

Have a great weekend and keep danciing my friends!


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Beginning next week, I will be posting the whole weeks prompts on Monday. Posting every day is keeping me from engaging in other artistic endeavors, and I’m sure you could use a little break in your inbox.  Then you can plan how you will utilize those prompts. Heck, you can even do that out of order if you like.  See you then!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project, or #creativefaith

the poetry of color

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 19: INDIGO

As a color, INDIGO is among one of my favorites.

It has a depth to it that poets write about.

Depending on who you are, INDIGO could summon thoughts of unusual children with supernatural traits. Or maybe it puts you in a certain mindset. In color psychology, INDIGO strengthens the right  brain and Symbology says that it describes honesty, trust and a solid foundation.

This prompt could be used to great effect in your mixed media project by creating contrast, calming a busy page, or even using some of that INDIGO poetry to inspire. However you choose to use it, you can be sure that it will be good!

Here is how I integrated it today:

Yesterday’s dripping needed some extra oomph, so I added in some additional color drips, some gesso splotches, and just a tiny bit of mark making….it needed to happen!

Then I addressed today’s prompt. Choosing to use paper, I cut 3 circles of different sizes and attached them to the canvas with gel medium.  The circles replicate the ones that I created during the mark making process, and  repeating them here helps to unify all of the elements and create a cohesive piece.

One more day! …hmmm, I feel some words coming on!



See you tomorrow for the last installment of this week’s mixed media project


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project, or #creativefaith

hump day happy

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 18: DRIP

  • Drip some paint on your chosen surface
  • Write a letter to someone dripping with sarcasm
  • Let some glitter drip from its jar onto a really gluey area of your project
  • Drip india ink intentionally from a quill, obscuring some words written

There are many ways to use this prompt in your creative practice. Use your favorite. After all, its hump day and we all need a little happy umph to get over that peak. I know I do.

Struggling this week

To stay inspired

To keep creating

To make something I’m happy with

I want you to know that all creative people struggle. I would venture to say that it is part of our creative brain, experiencing highs and lows.  I find that as the cooler weather starts to invade my little corner of the world, I become a bit forlorn and the desire to hibernate increases.

You too?

Force yourself to take a break

connect with the outside world

set aside what you are working on and begin a different project

or take a class and discover a new process

There is nothing like a new perspective to get those creative juices flowing again.

For now, here is a look at how project #8 is going for me:

create something amazing today


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project, or #creativefaith

pushing past

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 17: PATTERN

I started out this morning a little concerned about where this was all going.

Have you been there? That place where you are absolutely sure you are the least creative person on the planet? We all have had those moments.

…and today’s prompt isn’t really helping.

I love the colorful brush from yesterday. Truly it was the most fun I have had in a long time, but now what?

Lacking any real inspiration, I dawdled about the house organizing, playing with the dogs, answering emails… in other words – procrastinating. Patterns can make a bland page really pop, create visual interest and impart an energy in your art that it may be otherwise lacking.

But what do you do when “pop” isn’t your issue?

How do you use pattern in a way that won’t make your brain speed into overdrive just by looking at it?

PATTERN can also be used to calm, to connect, and to soothe the speeding heart of yourproject if used correctly. Here are a few ideas:

  • Too much color? Stamp 1 image all over your page with black ink or paint
  • Stick circles all over your page (use circle stickers or cut them yourself from tape), then paint over the whole page with 1 color or coat in gesso. After you lift the tape back off, you will be left with a circular pattern of whatever was down there originally
  • Stack some solid papers and cut them into square and rectangles. Glue them in an alternating pattern of color and shape around the edge of your page. If your page was originally very colorful, use black and gray or white to cut your pieces

This is how I approached today’s prompt:

Since my brush is on the smaller side, I figured at some point I was going to need to attach to something, or hang it. Looking through my closet, I found some left over cradled board from a past workshop. It is only an 8×8 piece, but I think it will work out just fine as a new substrate for this project.

I also gathered a smaller scrap piece of wood, some craft foam, scissors, pen and a glue stick.



Since the craft foam was the same size as my scrap wood, I placed it on top and drew some leaves filling the page.  I created simple patterns in those leaves then cut them from the foam, gluing them back down on the wood in the order they were on the foam.



Using a stylus, I “drew” over the detail lines in the leaves (wait for the glue to dry completely before you do this ;). The indentations that are created in this step will give detail to the image when stamped.





With a brayer, I rolled out a thin layer of black fluid acrylics with just a bit of blue acrylic inks, then rolled out the new foam stamp I created. You have to be careful not to get too much paint on the foam or all of your details will go bye-bye.

Using a stamp pad will solve this problem for the most part, but I like the texture of the paint. If you are unsure about whether you have too much or not, test it out on another piece of paper before you use it on your project.

When I was happy with how it was printing, I went ahead and stamped the whole surface of the new substrate.

Some of the stamped images didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, but that is how stamping usually rolls for me. Even though the leaves are all different, the fact that I stamped the same thing over and again as well as using black paint  made a huge difference in unifying and calming yesterday’s prompt. It still has a bit of crazy going on, but there are still 3 more prompts to go….

till tomorrow…happy creating!


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?

I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #creativefaith, #52projects, #lisaellen_art

seeing art in unusual places

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 16: BRUSH

Happy Monday Creatives!

Monday’s are always my favorite art days.  Heading into a new week, the days feel so full of possibility, and today is no exception.

There are many directions I could have gone with today’s prompt. A beeswax collage had occurred to me as you would use a brush to apply the wax. But as I was pulling out brushes to use with the wax, I found one in which the bristles had fused solid. (…probably from glue or mod podge) Tossing it into the trash can under my table, visions of painty brushes swirled through my mind, and I quickly rescued it from its dire situation and dropped it back down onto my table.

The brush had a wooden handle and was a natural off-white, as were the bristles, allowing me to choose whatever color palette I like.


After rubbing in some blues with my fingers, I dripped some runny color splashes around, giving it the well-used and completely loved look.



The colors made me so happy that I decided to choose 4 more colors and begin again swiping and dripping. This was by far the most fun project start  so far.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

You could certainly use this prompt in these other creative ways:

  • BRUSH a thin layer of two different colors on your substrate, creating an ombray effect

  • Make some unusual marks with different sized BRUSHes and fill the page with them

  • Cut the bristles from an old ruined BRUSH, then glue them to a board for some serious texture. Cover with gesso

  • Draw a picture of your favorite paintbrush with a graphite pencil. …and don’t forget to put in all of the wonderful painty marks from all it’s years of amazing service

but above all…

Don’t forget to enjoy the process

 think outside the box

 and use what you have at hand

I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

till tomorrow…


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!
Have questions?  You can email me at
Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL #creativefaith & #52project

note to self:

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 13: SHINE


Even those with the gift of encouragement occasionally need to receive it.

Giving of words, time, and self can be a huge drain and if we don’t fill up every now and then, there won’t be anything left to give. It’s great if that encouragement comes from someone else, but when you are in need and no one else is around, giving yourself a lift can work just as well.

This week’s final prompt is a perfect opportunity for me to remind myself of something important: to shine

Pulling out my letter stamps and black fluid acrylics I set to work finding an appropriate quote. Google don’t fail me now!



Turns out there are lots of quotes about shining. There are some great ones about stars shining brighter in the darkness, but when I saw this one, I knew my search was over:


“dear Self, Today you will shine”

Stamping with fluid acrylics can be tricky.  I typically like to spread some paint out thinly on a non-stick surface, then stamp into the paint and then off to the side.  Doing this before stamping on the canvas will help to ensure that you don’t end up with excess blurbs of paint.  If by some chance the letter doesn’t turn out quite as clear as you like, you can quickly wipe it away with a babywipe (if you are stamping on canvas – paper won’t work)

Don’t forget to wipe the stamp off when you complete the letter.  Letting the acrylic dry on the stamp will ruin it.

And the final project for week #7!

Remember that you can interpret these prompts anyway you like.  Tell a story, spin a tale, create something unique and use things you wouldn’t normally use.

Have a creative weekend and I will see you back here on Monday!


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL

When opposition is used to great effect

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 3: OPPOSITE


I cannot lie….

Today’s prompt kinda threw me for a loop.  I had this picture of a beautiful peacock plume in my head after yesterday’s fluid experience.  I planned and schemed how I would make that beautifully moving color into a majestic bird using various mixed media techniques.

But NO!!

I simply sat with my mouth hanging slightly open, plans thwarted. It took me a minute or two to figure out how to incorporate something OPPOSITE into this piece.

Opposite can mean many things.

  • It could be using a completely different material than you did yesterday. For instance markers instead of paint, or fabric in place of paper.
  • It could mean working in the spaces that were not covered up through yesterday’s process.
  • Or it could even mean working in the same mediums, but in a completely different color group.

…and that is exactly what I did.

I gathered some colors that weren’t anything like what I used yesterday. Some reds and yellows, purple, light blue, and I even took out white and black cuz you never know 😉

I chose to do some mark making (dots of various sizes) on the page in various areas using a color that was opposite of what I was working on. For instance, in the darker blue areas I used white or yellow to make my marks. And in the azo gold – a cool blue. The white space surrounding the fluid wanderings I dotted in a variety of colors since everything is the opposite of white to me.

…and this is the result

I have to say, it no longer looks like a peacock plume to me….more like a sea of stars. A boiling fluid galaxy, shifting and changing as I make my way through it.  Hmmmm, it does have possibility.

But – who knows what tomorrow will bring….

Till tomorrow!

Happy Creating!


Four Fluid Colors to make your page pop!

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 2: FLUID

Getting back into the groove after a lengthy vacation can be difficult.

Germany was awesome, but I so missed my studio and being able to play with a variety of supplies.  Today’s prompt makes filling the page easy – and beautiful!  I recently watched a tutorial on using yupo paper and the beautiful effects that you can achieve, so this prompt got me cracking those knuckles and doing deep knee bends to warm up for the sprint.

Don’t know what yupo paper is?

That’s okay, I didn’t either. From what I can tell, it is a non-paper – paper. It has a slick glossy surface and does not absorb water (or anything else for that matter). I don’t have any yupo in my stash of papers as of yet, but never fear – youtube showed me another way 😉

glossy photo paper

Who knew? The surface of photo paper is just as non-absorbent as the yupo (I think), so I gave it a whirl.

First I gathered up some fluid acrylics and Daler Rowney acrylic inks (my favorites), all in cool colors except for a bit of nickel azo gold for contrast





Next I spritzed some water about on the photo paper letting it pool a bit in a couple of places. {a few bulldog clips in the right places to hold the paper down will help keep it from curling and creating huge puddles where you don’t want them}

Finally the fun part!  Just squeeze a few drops of one color onto the wet areas of the paper and watch it react. The drops splay and move to wherever the water is. Drop each of the colors, one at a time letting them touch, and even placing one inside the other, and see how they interact – fun! I used all of the blues and greens first, then added a few drops here and there of a contrasting  color for a bit of pop.  I just love how fluid the picture looks.

When you have finished adding all of your colors, leave the paper right where it is to dry.  It could take up to 12 hours, so do this technique in a place that will ensure that it remains undisturbed.

This picture is so beautiful that I can’t imagine doing anything else to it. But alas ~ tomorrow’s prompt will bring about something new.

I hope you enjoy this prompt as much as I did. It was by far the quickest one to date!  Who said being creative takes too much time 😉

Till tomorrow

Happy Creating! ~lisa

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