Zentangling in Color

Thanks (yet again) to inspiration from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer‘s blog where she featured Carolyn Brady as a guest writer to write about Zentangling in Color, I found myself doing this Art Journal Every Day entry yesterday when I was itching to find an outlet for what was such a struggle of a blog post.

It has been a year since Dad passed, and finding myself at this juncture was really hard on me emotionally.  It’s as if I am grieving all over again, although in truth I should be taking off the veil of mourning, or as we refer to it in the vernacular, “babang luksa”.

I tried writing a post to no avail.  Then I thought of creating an art journal entry, but my art journal was home, having grown to a bulky notebook despite its handful of entries.

So I tried to be resourceful, picking up 4×6 blank index cards where I scribbled “tears” using watercolor pencils (which, luckily, were in one of my personal drawers), smudging them with a wet paintbrush (which I had brought for another reason), and then zentangling over them after they dried.

Ta-dah!  Of course I ended up cutting the teardrops and pasting them onto my layout, zentangling around the pieces in black ink and then simply scribbling the quotation I found which was just so apt.

It was, in a way, my tribute to Dad.  Remembering him and continuing to pray for him wherever he may be.

Art Journal Every Day: Tears

” We bereaved are not alone.

We belong to the largest company in all the world, the company of those who have known suffering.
When it seems that our sorrow is to great to be borne, let us think of the great family of the heavy hearted into which our grief has given us entrance, and inevitably, we will feel about us their arms, their sympathy, their understanding.

Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world.
So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain. – Helen Keller”

Starting my PolyClay Notes

The past few days have seen me doing research on Polymer Clay or polyclay upon the suggestion of my sister, Ofie.  It was something I had long thought of trying to learn more about, but which had taken a back seat to freshwater pearls and gemstones.  I was sort of daunted by the fact that it requires a raw material (the clay) that needs processing and certain equipment which I was afraid to procure lest I end up not doing this after all is said and done.  Ofie’s interest, though, gave me an “out”.  If it doesn’t work out for me, I can pass on to her the  things I get to pull together in this new experiment.

I have always held on to the mantra that anything can be learned.  I can do this if I take the time to learn how to do it.  Case in point: I didn’t know I could cook until I had to cook for Alan.  I would scan magazines at the Barnes and Noble behind our apartment in Bayside when I first moved to New York and actually surprised myself when I discovered I COULD do it.  I researched about substitutions and methods.  I must say that in my quest not to poison my better half, I can actually say I not only cook to survive, but I cook to enjoy food.

After two weeks of research, I have come across quite a wealth of information that I have read, watched, printed out and actually tried.  The problem with online technology is that bookmarking is not always a good option to keep track of all the information because of the various hardware used to access it.  What I have bookmarked on my PC would not be bookmarked on my laptop.  Although I found similar listings where people who had undertaken Polymer clay research had provided links, there are those that I have no use for and some which I believe would be very helpful to novices like myself.  Hence my PolyClay notes page.

While my polyclay notes will find its main home here in my personal  blog, I am creating a page for it in my other blog dedicated to my exploits as a crafting entrepreneur, GothamChick.  I want to be able to provide a forum for other like crafters who are also into polyclay, more so those who are just starting out like me.  There is a ton of information out there and a lot of ideas to spur on the novices.  The possibilities are endless.

Feedback on Feedback

I used to respond to blog comments faithfully until all those spam comments started flooding my box — this, despite the moderation function being on.  But a few days ago I heard from Chelo of Home and Bahay who had chanced upon my Art Journal Every Day page where I put my entries as they come (when they come.. ha!)

So Chelo wrote:

WoW! These are great! You are indeed very artistic :) I came across your blog while searching for “pinay blogger american”. Yep. Too much time on my hands (and the laundry piles away) haha. Anyway, just wanted to let you know I really liked these. Are they for sale? :)

And the Pinay New Yorker says:

Nope, Chelo.. they’re not.. but if you go to the Flickr group we have, you’ll see that there are REAL artists there who sell their works.. =) Thanks for stopping by.

It is always refreshing to hear from a fellow Pinay whether from here or back home, because it tells me other people are actually walking into my corner of the blogsphere somehow.  =)  I like the blog conversations that go on between me and my readers when it happens — in private or in the comment box, although I still stick to my main assertion that I blog for self expression, and not really for anyone else’s benefit.  If, by some chance, someone finds the same fulfillment in reading my posts like I do when I go blog hopping and I learn something new, then well and good.

Thanks again, Chelo.

Greeting Card version: Flowers and Henri Matisse

C R E D I T S: Papers used are from Rachel Young’s Summer Slushee Paper pack

As you can see I’ve gotten all paper crafty crazy — I’ve been busy doodling and cutting and creating cards.  I wish there was more time but I’ve turned out one every three to four days which is very prolific for me.

It doesn’t help that there are the goods for my GothamChick stores and my other hobbies.  So yesterday when I posted some 6 new rosary bracelets (!) and one necklace which takes a lot of time considering I need to take photos, edit them accordingly, do the write ups including the measurements of the pieces, price and then review.  I am just so overjoyed that Etsy has put in a new feature allowing sellers like myself to do draft postings and come back to them later.

Jasper Vine Necklace in Antique Brass

Available in my Etsy Shop

So all the more I am convinced that I have to start thinking about my Christmas cards this early so I can be ready to send them out by end November.

The polymer clay research has been going rather well.  (Hmmm… must start a new page on that one.)  The bulk of information so readily available to those willing to do the research and actually read the data available makes most anything “learnable” these days.  Whether it is through blogs, websites or videos, one can actually learn a trade or new skill just by sitting in front of the computer.

It’s scorching hot in New York City today as we hit the 100 degree mark!  I decided to stay indoors instead of braving the heat and all.  Now back to work!

Trying hard window sill gardening

I have a good friend here at work who gifted me with a chili plant seedling a few weeks ago.  Siling Labuyo as we call it in the vernacular.

It was around 4 inches tall and sprouting leaves in a cup of soil. Before the non-believers start protesting about how on earth am I going to do any gardening with everything on my plate, I am not being overly ambitious not only because of lack of space (specifically a garden to till), but because I haven’t had quite that much luck with plants. (Flashback to my calamansi plant that lasted me all of two years and then withered away and died 4 years ago.)

So for the past two weeks or so, I’ve been watering it ever so sparingly in the morning and in the evening, and then finally repotted it over the weekend. It has now doubled in size and from the looks of it is quite healthy and might survive longer than the calamansi plant.  It sits on my window sill along with the 6 blue wine bottles that have been home to my fortune tree stubs or as they call them here, bamboo plant.  The fortune plants are also thriving and showing signs of sprouting new growth.  So far so good.

It might be deemed pretty shallow by some but seeing these plants growing can give one quite a sense of accomplishment.  It’s just another simple reminder that life goes on and will continue to go on for as long as you take the time to nurture it.

For someone who lives in a small space like ours, potted gardening is all I can do.  I also repotted a flower shrub that never quite flowered but never died despite the obvious lack of soil because I kept it in its original clay pot as gifted to me by Angelo two Mother’s Day ago.  Talk about resilience!  It seems to be doing quite well in its new pot with ample soil around it now.  I am optimistic it will continue to grow and defy the odds and my lack of gardening smarts.

My Siling Labuyo Plant when I got it
... growing strong, two weeks later

Art Journal Every Day Journey: Three layouts!

As you can see, the weekend was very productive.  Not that I was just sitting around doing nothing, but these layouts were already works in progress before the weekend and which finally got finished before the night was over Sunday.  Happiness, indeed!

For those who are hearing about Art Journal Every Day for the first time, please click on the link to go to the creative inspiration and genius behind this: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs.

Angelo, my 7-year-old who often talks like he’s 17 going on 27 asked me why do I like to draw..  The answer was pretty spontaneous — it relaxes me.  I do not claim to be an artist.. I just like to create.  Now, Julie — that’s the artist.  It is just so amazing how she has brought together a group of creative minds, some of who are true artistic geniuses in their own right, by coming up with this project.  Visit our Flickr group Art Journal Every Day (Flickr) and you can check out the different layouts thus far created and shared.  I am in awe.

It’s a means of self-expression — in whatever way or method we can come up with. It may be with the use of crayons, pens, markers, and some are so adept at mixed media art that if you lost sight of the fact that art journaling is supposed to be about you, you would tend to feel small in the midst of these creative giants.

The layout above, “One Day At A Time” had been discussed in an earlier post which became a greeting card as well.  When I do my art journaling, I try to be very spontaneous.  The many mistakes that I commit along the way can be very discouraging at times, and I have around 3-4 layouts left “hanging” for not being finished or for being discarded due to mistakes I made along the way.

I try not to be too hard on myself and just keep reminding myself that this is a spontaneous creation which is true to the way I feel and the thoughts running through my head during the time I’m creating.

And I can’t get over the fact that I simply doodled the word art on magazine pages — targeting red layouts to keep the theme solid.
This next layout was an offshoot of a greeting card I created which was actually inspired by these words of wisdom from Henri Matisse.

I have been working on using my digital scrapbook paper background stocks in some hybrid scrapbooking (mixing digital with actual scrapbooking) — drawing and doodling over them then cutting up the pieces and layering.  (I am still thinking about doing a tutorial on this but am inclined to do it because it’s something easy as pie that one can do — artist or not.)

The background was another experiment as I diluted some water-soluble oil paint in a spray dispenser (the ones you usually use for your colognes or body spray) and sprayed all around the page to create this effect.  Of course I let it dry before actually working on the layout, and truth be told, I had no idea what I was going to do with that page until after I made the card.

The papers I used for this layout were courtesy of The Shabby Princess, available for download from her blog under THE PROMISE COLLECTION.  (Again, I am considering a tutorial, but that’ll be a different post altogether.)

Although you cannot see it in the layout, I messed this up quite badly by attempting to handwrite the main quotation using a calligraphy pen.  Not my first time to use the pen and I was actually confident I could get away with it, but the surface was not quite accepting of the ink so I ended up with a simple do-over which had me covering it up with a yellow strip of paper.  Ta-Da!  Gone.  I opted instead for simply doing handwritten lettering which came out quite well.

This last layout was probably one of the simpler ones to put together but it happens to be one of the most emotionally laiden for me. I was browsing through another magazine that eventually got thrown in the trash bin when I found myself thinking of my Dad.  It’s his birthday tomorrow and the days leading up to it have been very heavy emotionally for me because I miss him so.  (He passed on a few days short of a year ago..)

I just doodled on the words as they came.. top of mind, as they say, not attempting to make any sense.  It was all about “Remembering Dad”.  The cutting took a while but I’m quite used to it, so the words didn’t get all cut up until late Sunday evening.  Again, everything was pretty spontaneous.  I laid out the words and tried to fix them up as best as I could, including that heart collage I did before the weekend.  I ended up discarding only one word, “lost”, but not including it, to my mind, doesn’t detract from the whole piece.  Another dilemma was whether or not I would use a background or if I was going to work in a background somehow.  While I was trying to fix the placement of the words, I thought of putting in a newspaper background but I decided it might end up ruining the piece.  I thought about zentangling the empty spaces but when I saw the final layout, I decided to leave it as is.

There is so much of me in these three layouts that inspires me to go on with this journey in art journaling.  Forget that June came and went with nary a layout.  I’m in a good place as far as I am concerned with my personal goal of trying to put my thoughts and feelings in an art journal entry.

Sending a whole lot of love your way

Papers used from “SO CHARMING”, a purchased kit from littledreamerdesigns.com*

– Red background paper by Michelle Coleman
– Frame border assembled from scalloped strip by Michele Filo
– Frame mat background by Julia Makotinsky

The paper for the hearts used this collage was taken from the freebies given by ScrapGirls. (Hand cut and punched to allow for three hearts to be strung together.)  I had wanted to give credit to the designer who contributed this to the newsletter but she doesn’t seem to be a part of the designer pool of ScrapGirls anymore.

Adler font used for the word art.

* LittleDreamerDesigns seems to be on haitus as of this writing but I have always been a fan of the quality of their digital kits.  Do visit when you get the chance. 

Sending good cheer the old-fashioned way

Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.

I am finally doing Art Journal Every Day again, and am wrapping up my first entry for the month.  It’s been very slow in that department but I am just glad to have finally started.  (Click here for my own Art Journal Every Day page here on this blog.)

I picked up an old, old magazine I had in the house which was heading for the trash can anyway and while in the car on the way to work, I started doodling with my cannot-live-without fine point v-ball signpen.  For some reason “ONE DAY AT A TIME” stuck in my head.. I wanted to write about positive messages and words to keep my creative juices flowing.  I picked one layout for each word and doodled the word and cut them, after which I assembled them in my art journal.  I sort of ran out of space, hence TIME ended up in a different orientation which actually worked out quite well, even if it ended up on the fold of the notebook.

I had already decided to focus on zentangling again whenever possible, so I drew a checkered border around the wordart and I was just so happy with the way it came out.  I like working with watercolor and watercolor pencils, but the novice that I am, it is such a struggle and takes too much time for me to pull a decent or workable layout together.  Already, my gesso remains unused since the last time.  Maybe when I move on to acrylics.. ambitious!

Then a bright idea hit me to create a different card altogether using the same word art (copied in color and resized accordingly) and zentangled on the front face of the card.  Happiness. =)  (Let me warn those unfamiliar with zentangling that this is actually a more refined medium or way of drawing with pen and paper than what I produce, but I’m just your average crafter, trying-hard artist.)

I picked out a midweight good for card stock, but smooth to draw on because of the zentangling.  If you’re into zentangling like me, you can just print out the phrase or sentiment (which can be as simple as “HI” or “HELLO”) on a square sheet, cut the desired size, and trace the outline of that wordart as a placemaker on your blank card front.  I like putting in a border on the inside and the outer edge of the layout to help me keep my zentangling within.  Then I doodled and doodled to fill in the empty space.  Don’t you just love the way the reds and oranges of the wordart actually pop out from the middle of the whole layout?  Another way to come up with the word art is to cut out words or letters from your soon-to-be-discarded magazines.  (Saves you the time and agony of doodling your letters.)

Inside, I cut a sheet of light colored paper slightly smaller than the card, and glued its back left side to the middle of the card to position it, and there I wrote my letter to my friend.  The envelope was likewise handmade, (no instruction needed there!), addressed, stamped, and the card is now off on its journey..

Now back to my Art Journal Every Day project.. I’ve started the journaling but haven’t quite finished the whole spread as you can see in one of the smaller pictures above.  I’ll post the finished product here, soon as I get it done.  It doesn’t need much embellishing except to fill in the spaces really.

Meanwhile, I’m already beginning my next card and my next Art Journal Every Day layout which will be two separate layouts this time around.  I’m beginning to like collage work.. it’s a new experiment for me.   And it’s no fancy-schmanzy collage.. just bits and pieces of paper being glued together.

I sat in my work corner last night trying to come up with a piece or two but it was one of those nights when the inspiration just wasn’t there.  Perhaps tonight.. =)  Maybe, too, it’s art journaling time for me this time around.