Art Journal Every Day: Believe

Art Journal Every Day No. 4: BelieveI picked up some old newspapers and tried creating this flower by doodling irregular circles using a purple highlighter which I later smudged with a wet paintbrush.  After it dried, I doodled over with a black fine point sign pen.  I tried to be as free form as I can with the whole piece, cutting in an abstract fashion as well.  The leaves and the stem were more deliberate after I found a rather huge graphic in blue and green which I used and then pasted to an extra sheet and then painted in outline with green watercolor.  For the background, I picked a plain section of the newspaper which I painted in blue, pasted on to a support/backing sheet and then I trimmed and then created my collage.

The word art came much, much later as I couldn’t decide what exactly I wanted to put there.  BELIEVE somehow came naturally as I just sat and reflected on what one word I would want to put on t his particular piece, my favorite to date.  I tried to find scripture about how God takes care of the flowers and so we must not worry about how He takes care of us, but I found it a little over reaching to actually put that in.  The word art was LetterPress Inverted font printed onto a brown bag, colored by a blue highlighter.

Thus ends my January, and on to the next challenge, where, I hope to create 28 hearts.

Art Journal Every Day: New York, My Home

Art Journal Every Day No. 3: My Home: New York CityMy first attempt at rendering something in watercolor.

I turned one of my own photographs of the Manhattan skyline into an “edged” outline which I painted into.  I had originally thought of doing a sunset backdrop but I didn’t like the way the red, orange and yellow were worked in together so I did a blue and black wash over it.

The words/letters are all from newspaper clippings which again, I tried to paint over but which didn’t go over quite well so I ended up writing/coloring over with markers.  I tried.

The actual journaling in block print actually felt like a mistake once done but I thought, hey, it was a good first attempt, and one I can hopefully learn from.

I have another layout I haven’t quite decided on yet, but which I hope to round up my January participation in the Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day project.  I am going to try to do 28 hearts for February, so I don’t want to leave my existing layouts hanging.

On with the art journaling.

Day after the Snow Day

Bryant Park day after the storm of 1/27/2011 We’ve had so much snow this winter that life just goes on after each one that hits us — and don’t look now but they’re saying another one might be coming our way next week.  Enough of the snow now please!

While my favorite part in all this is when the snow is falling, the aftermath is sheer torture because it feels like I’m walking through a freezer room, and there’s the slush, the muddy water, the slippery ground I must deal with.  Case in point: I almost fell three times today on the way to the bus stop which was not a bus stop this morning as it was half buried in snow.  So we, the hapless commuters, had to stand by the side of the busy road.

I was actually debating with myself about whether or not I would step out for lunch, and the urge to use some reward points from Subway actually won out, which was the reason why I have this pretty picture of the snow-laden trees in Bryant Park above.  The frozen fountain is now unfrozen and the ice skating rink is still up — but dirty slush now lines the periphery of the park and mounds of plowed snow here and there.

I remember eversince I was a child, I used to dream of seeing snow.  It is still quite a sight to behold more so when it’s freshly fallen and untouched, but the magic has gone more so when I stop to think about what happens to that snow when it starts melting.

I cannot wait for the weekend to begin.  I have finally picked up my jewelry making tools again, fashioning my heart locket to wear — and I want to bop myself in the head for forgetting to bring it this morning as I rushed out of the house.  I guess I must finish it soon.  The heart locket dangling from the bridge of a skeleton key just seems too plain — it need a bit of oomph, although I am happy with it as is. Perhaps a pearl or two would help if not a cross shaped pearl, both of which I have some of.

Right now all I can think of is heading home, getting the boy fed and tidied up, and then I’m sitting down on the sofa to catch up the Criminal Minds reruns on ION Television

Maybe I’ll pick up the paint brush and get a layout done for my Art Journal.

Art Journal Every Day: Snow Day

I thought we had had enough snow for the season and the next, but we got hit with yet another snowstorm last night.  At first it seemed there was hope as I trudged to slushy but not snow laden sidewalks on the way home last night, but it proved to be but a momentary lull.  By the time I got home, pebble sized hail had started to fall and as the night got deeper, the snow fell in full force.

It was such a relief to hear that school had been suspended early this morning, and that the bus service was likewise suspended with it.  It gave me the justification to work from home when I was contemplating taking a day off to stay with the tyke.  The trees outside were blanketed in white.  After a path through the walk was cleared,  there was clearly at least a foot of snow on either side.  I can only imagine the mounds of snow littering the outer streets that would make a walk to the bus stop an obstacle course literally.

I finally picked up my jewelry making tools last  night and almost have a finished necklace, but this time, I am making this locket necklace for myself.  I love buying lockets for pieces yet to be created, but the only locket I had actually made into a necklace became a keepsake to my half sister just before I left Manila in August of last year.  So there went my locket necklace.  This time I want to create a three layer ensemble, but with separate necklaces that will allow me to wear them together or by themselves.  The first piece, the sweetheart necklace (length: approximately 19 inches is done.)  The second is going to be a replica of a piece I have for sale online which shouldn’t be difficult.  The third is something I am still thinking about.

After the flurry of e-mails this morning, I am finally sitting down to write (lunch hour) and I just finished my third layout for my art journal.  I had started scribbling the word art title yesterday on my desk with a blue highlighter and this light green crayon in my office stash.  The purple background is another highlighter pen I had which I love working with.  (I am almost sure you’ll be seeing more of this in other layouts. )

Art Journal No. 3: Snow DayTa- dah!!  It looks very amateurish but I never pretended to be a full-pledged artist.  I try.   I love that I was able to use my Martha Stewart Punch and Stamp Polar Snowflake in this project though I had bought this primarily for my holiday projects.  I first tried stamping the snowflakes in white ink pigment but I think it was more the paper or my being new to stamping and it didn’t quite come out except for a faint hint.  So I punched snowflakes from a regular notebook page (not so white but no quite blue), showing lines and all, then I printed my journaling on some kraft paper cut out from a brown shopping bag using Adler font.

I had some leftover paint chip cardboard snowflakes which I pasted above the mat of snowflakes giving it a little volume and allowing a play of shadows.

I usually feel a little wary about posting my latest entry in the Flickr Group because of all the artists who post their own works there — and yet the support from fellow members is encouraging.  I might yet grow out of my current 4″ x 6″ format and work on bigger layouts.  I am also getting a lot of inspiration as to medium used — old cereal boxes, anyone?  As I often say, I learn something new everyday!

I’m currently researching Gesso and found this enlightening post entitled Gesso – What it is and how to use it by Aisling d’Art.  But for now, it’s time to get back to work.


I’m exhausted.

It doesn’t help that the day started very early because I had to get the boy ready for religious ed.  Since Alan is away, we had to be all set by 8:30 when the taxi arrived.  When we got there, we waited awhile and I left him when class started.  I really meant to hang out but recording the 10am Avengers show proved to be a little daunting for me, so I went back home the long way: braving the cold and commuting.  It’s not really that bad considering the church is actually walkable but the snow and the time constraint proved to be an obstacle.

Show taped, I walked back to the bus stop and made it back to the church just as the teacher’s assistant was getting ready to head back into the building with the boy in tow.  I was almost late but I made it.  We headed home hand in hand, hopped on a bus,  making a stop at a dollar store along the way.

Knowing I didn’t fail in the tech department made me a proud mom, more so when he chose to go home and watch first before our trek to the neighborhood McDonald’s for lunch.  A 44-year-old can eat only so much McNuggets, more so when you’re counting points, but I went anyway.  Armed with the Blackberry, a magazine with letters to write, I patiently sat and kept busy as he played.

Let him burn off all the nuggets he ate.  He finally tired and we headed home.

Tired to a 6 1/2 year old apparently isn’t anything close to that of a worn out Mom.  I almost dozed off but fought it as I tried to get some more chores done.

As requested (by who else but the tyke!) — Giniling for dinner, and now it’s time to get ready for bed.  I need an energy drink and he’s still dancing to Victoria Justice on Nick.  It’s all worth it, though, more so when he says from out of the blue, “I love you, Mom.”

I love you more.

Art Journal Every Day: I miss you, Dad

Art Journal Everyday no. 2: Grief Journal - I miss you, DadI am still in grieving.

One of a couple of layouts I had planned to work on as part of Art Journal Every Day was a simple black and white post on GRIEF. I actually worked around the wordart which is printed although it came out as a very convincing stamp.  (Credits to follow.)

I have been doodling leaves and flowers since I was in my teens, so actually drawing this tree came naturally — although part of the trunk looks like a distorted creature with an open mouth.  (Ang babaeng tuod? LOL)  Everything else came very naturally.

This is my second piece and is signed and dated under the wordart.

I miss you, Dad.

On the cover of my Art Journal

Don’t laugh now.  I have started my art journal and have tried to come up with my first “entry” using a 4″ x “6 unlined index card, and what art pens I had handy here on my desk.  So I spent the better part of my lunch hour putting this together, and here it is.

I know I have to work harder at photographing the finished work but I was too excited to really give it all that much attention.

4" x 6" first attempt at Art Journaling I was torn between waiting to get my materials together and just doing it spontaneously, but spontaneity won in the end.  It took me 5 sheets to complete the work, and although I was initially tempted to actually print the title on the page and color over, I thought I’d give it a try doing freehand doodling and then coloring it in.  I used to do a lot of this in a previous life when I did my school work and my greeting cards.

I had very limited pens on hand — and the mommy in me had some crayons that I would occasionally fish out of my purse left over from restaurant visits and coloring sheets that had kept the tyke preoccupied.  I would unload them in my desk drawer from time to time to have something stashed away for those times the little boy was here.

I have been fancying swirls the last couple of weeks and decided to work on that for this layout, principally because they were easy and top of mind.

I did the four-color swirl trim first, then needed to cut it out of the original sheet because I didn’t like how my lettering went.  “ART” came out beautifully the first time, but “JOURNAL EVERYDAY” took three attempts before I was happy.  Within the trim (just above the yellow swirl), I inserted my tag (Pinaynewyorker) and below it, I put the date, then filled in all the other empty spaes with plain black swirls, after which I colored the whole background a watery lavander.

Before “assembling” the different elements, I drew the background in pink and blue around the “JOURNAL EVERYDAY” scribbling, then I pasted the four swirls.  I also chose to do a black border around the paper just by running my chisel-edge marker on the edge of the page and then I pasted the four-color swirl.  Rather than just pasting “ART”, the scrapbooker in me made me pull my staple out and staple the word onto the piece.  I wanted more than just the project name in front and it wasn’t hard for me to come up with “A personal journey” which I printed on a piece of kraft folder in Adler font which I also stapled to the postcard.

I joined the Flickr Group where similar and much better works are displayed and I am almost ashamed to show my work on the same page as the great art I see there!

But Art Journaling, much like blogging, is a very personal thing for me.  I like being with a group that inspires creativity in me and helps me to bring out that part deep inside me which I keep suppressed in the midst of work and motherhood.

Angelo will get such a kick out of seeing “mom’s art”, I am sure.  I actually want to collaborate with him in working on my “suns” which he admired when he saw the first time I worked on my scribblings.  Soon.

Why not join us on this journey?

If you want to see more of my Art Journal, please click here, or you can always choose my Art Journal Every Day page from the list on the top left of the blog page.

I invite you to view the Flickr Group dedicated to this endeavor byclicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)

Art Journal Every Day

It’s Julie Fie-Fan Balzer’s fault that I’m even attempting this.  Although I am by no means anything or anywhere near the artist that she is, stumbling upon her blog/website and reading up on her “Art Journal Everyday” challenge has inspired me to make an attempt at actually coming up with some idea or other and see what I can produce h at the end of the year.

I can already “hear” the unbelievers asking where will I get the time to do what I intend to do… With very simple ideas and in small steps, I can come up with something.

My first dilemma is what “journal” shall I use?  Do I get a composition notebook and paste my works there?  Do I use a moleskin?  Do I create a scrapbook and if so, what size?  I want to get this right.

Should I take it as a sign that I cannot find the watercolor set I had been saving and caressing all this time, so afraid to actually open the tubes and start using them?  And where did that craypass (oil pastels) set actually end up in after I fished them out of the treasures I had bought in my dear, dear National Bookstore during my last visit in July 2010?  (I will find them.)  I do have my 96-piece Crayola set in my little “locker” in the kitchen.  Plus, there’s the multi-set markers that I keep stashed away in a plastic container.

As of today, I’m leaning towards creating postcard size art journals which I can easily keep handy in my purse to write and doodle on wherever I may be.  The “canvass” would be manageable and not too daunting a size to fill up and complete.  That’s an idea.  But then there’s that question about whether that might actually be too small.  Hmmmm…

I am trying to write and talk a headache away.  My two Aleve tablets need a little help, I think, as my eye is still throbbing.  I am typing away in the dark with my laptop screen blazing in the almost pitch black darkness here in the room.  The little boy is sleeping beside me.

I remember he saw one of my “sun” doodles which he admired and couldn’t quite seem to believe was a work of art by Mom.  He seemed to be incredulous when he asked, “Is that your Art, Mama?”  And the look on his face said it all.

I think I’m pretty much settled on postcard sized art which I can just put on another sheet to complete it if I need more space to work on.  Of course it can never be really final until I see myself actually producing something in this size.  The notebook idea would be appealing were it not constricting in terms of how the journal would look if I did mixed art which is what I think I will be producing more of.  The composition notebook and all those lines would be such a distraction and may eventually become a source of frustration.  Decisions, decisions!

At a few minutes past 10, I would normally get up and grab my blank sheets of paper and make my first attempt, but the headache is killing me.  I think I will call it a night and make up for lost time tomorrow.

Let the journey begin!

Sweet surprise

Starbucks Chicago Mug Surprise from Lou  I like surprises — more so when it comes from the most unexpected place out there and it comes from out of the blue.  (Which basically defines “surprise”.)

So on the day I had stayed home last week, I took a peek out my window to see if the mailman had already made his regular pass, and when he did, I went down to grab our mail.  I looked down the door mat when I opened the door and there was this square priority mail box from the USPS with my name on it and a familiar name on the return address tag.

I have never had the good fortune to meet up with Lou in person, but I have had a longstanding friendship on the web with her, mostly because of our off and on conversations on this blog and hers over at Multiply.  In fact the truth of the matter is, I joined Multiply because of her.  She and I pop in and out of each others’ comment boxes, and try to keep track of the goings on in each others worlds through our little spaces ont he blogsphere.

I opened the box and found — ta-dah! — the latest addition to my Starbucks Mug Collection.  Finally: Chicago is on my shelf..  Maraming, maraming salamat, Lou!

Cold NYC

Brrrrrr.....It’s a cold, cold day in New York again, and we’re all looking forward to a long weekend, thanks to the observance of the Martin Luther King Day on Monday.  Any break is most welcome, even if it doesn’t mean much considering the torturous weather we’ve been suffering through the past couple of days.

I stopped by Bryant Park on the way to work and snapped  some pictures before heading up.  It’s not quite as icy as it was last year but it’s cold nonetheless.

So we’re all bundled up and braving the cold, looking forward to the coming of spring.  It can’t come soon enough!

I’ve managed to put away the holiday decorations (hooray!) and have a few hand-wash items to take care of this weekend.  I just want to read, watch my Pinoy soaps (Imortal is killing me!) and relax and recharge through the weekend.  I’m even willing to pass up a day at an indoor waterpark father and son are planning to visit over the weekend to get more things done.

I also want to put together a small packet to send home, as some officers of the company I work for are jetting to Manila to visit our call center operations down there.  About time that we bagged some of these contracts — I’m proud and envious at the same time.  I have made a joke to each officer who I know is going about taking me with them.  I even mentioned to my boss that she should accept any invitation to go and head that way, take the corporate jet, and I don’t care if I have to sit through the whole trip instead of getting one of the reclining beds, I’m going to take any opportunity to go home.

An audible sigh just escaped my lips there.  I am green, green with envy.

It doesn’t matter that I was just there a year ago and most recently, 6 months ago to lay Dad to rest.

One of the officers going made a joke of the security situation and I proudly told him the Philippines is actually one country that really loves Americans.  (So no reason to fear.)

Sunny in Manila and cold in New York.  Maybe thinking of the heat back home will keep me warm here.