Art Journal Every Day: "And if I go.."

I actually discovered this poem, Ascension, written by Colleen Corah Hitchcock  from a Tom Clancy book ages ago — and have since kept it as one of my most favorite poems.  Through the years, it has taken on a different meaning to me.  When I first read it, I felt that the poem was speaking to me.  Now as a mother, I feel it’s my voice speaking to my son, Angelo.

I had scribbled this down on a different layout and had left it on my bedside a few days ago.  Angelo had chanced upon it and read it, and he told me he was almost driven to tears reading.  I guess he knew the voice was mine, speaking to him.

I’ve taken to journaling with “no rules” in the past posts, so if you notice, the text is broken without regard for hyphenation.  I fill in the spaces with my words and write spontaneously.  (So sometimes there are actual errors, but so far, haven’t had to scratch out any words.)

I got busy doing more backgrounds over the weekend which I will talk more about in another post, but I also feel bad that my collage on the 2012 Olympics got botched up because I had pasted  the focal point of the piece on the wrong side of the layout.  I’m still trying to decide if I will redo the whole piece since I’m deep into at least two other works in progress.  Maybe another time.. or later.

Meanwhile, still reading up on what other artists or art journalers are doing…  Just a reminder that I’ve started a new page here on the blog entitled “BLOG TRAILS” where I will post links of blogs I frequent or recommend you visit for art inspiration.  I have also started identifying the art supplies I used for each piece and from this post forward, I will write about how I executed the actual journal entry.  (Which I kind of explain below..)

Art Journal Every Day: And if I go..


And if I go,

while you’re still here…

Know that I live on,

vibrating to a different measure

— behind a thin veil you cannot see through.

You will not see me,

so you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar together again,

— both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to its fullest.

And when you need me,

Just whisper my name in your heart.

I will be there.

Ascension copyright ©1987, Colleen Corah Hitchcock

This is quite reassuring given the uncertainty of life.  It’s a promise to be there forever.  So now when I ask Angelo where Mommy will be when she goes — he points to his heart and says “In here…”


I am sharing my how-to not because I consider this a real work of art, but rather because I did these pieces in a basic, non-artistic way.  I want to show those of you who, like myself, admire the works of the real artists and wish that we could come up with those works of art ourselves that yes, IT CAN BE DONE!!

I used Adirondack Metallic Acrylic Dabber in Copper for Angelo’s silhouette (see a related post here) and Painters Opaque Paint Markers in Pearlescent for the journaling over the black watercolor background.  (Links below)

– I printed the photo of my son’s silhouette and cut out his profile, then traced this in pencil over the black watercolor background.  (Most of my backgrounds are done separately from the actual journal entry, and I have discovered that this actually allows you to work faster (cutting the thinking part for the background) and it spurs different ideas that turn my backgrounds into something totally different.

– Used the Acrylic Paint Dabber to paint the silhouette and then let it dry.

– Used the Acrylic Paint markers for the journalling.  VOILA!


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 by clicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)

Getting ready for August

Can you believe it’s already August in a few days?  Where did the year go…  It’s a muggy Sunday where we are and I really want to take advantage of the chance to stay at home and get a few things done.  Not that Saturday was unproductive.  I’m trying to make some progress in my list of “works in progress” and am going to wrap that up later.  Mostly jewelry that is being made upon request.  For one, I’m trying to make some rosary bracelets for my sister, Ofie, and I’m working on the polymer clay necklace for Cora.  (Lou, still putting the components for your requested necklace together.)

I’ve completed an Art Journal Every Day entry (to be posted later) and have begun two others which might or might not get done today.  (No pressure.)  I’ve been catching up on Covert Affairs here in the kitchen while preparing lunch.

I haven’t really sat down except to eat my usual Sunday pancake breakfast.  The good news is, everyone’s been fed.  And since it’s summer, I don’t have homework for Monday to worry about.  Just keeping Angelo here for the week as his first real summer at home begins.  (Day camp ended Friday..)

Another work week begins.  I’m just feeling a little under the weather — no, it’s not a bug.  Just my body telling me to go and take things easy.  One Art Journal work in progress might’ve been prophetic — my body is telling me: “JUST BE”.

I’ve been trying to visit other blogs and I’m starting a blogroll (BLOG TRAILS) on a new page beginning with these two artists, in addition to my source of creative inspiration on a daily basis, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs.


* JORDAN HILL via Balzer Designs (Read the guest post HERE) and visit Jordan’s blog THE CREATIVE ARTIST

IN THE SUN by Natalie Malik (via Jordan’s blog)

Songs on the Tube

I hope I’m not dating myself referring to a television as the “Tube”.  (Me — conscious of age?  nah…)

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken to picking up songs from my favorite shows.  Because of this, I’ve discovered some great artists, old and new, who have provided me new songs to love and listen to.

It was because of the season ender of Criminal Minds that I discovered the musical genuis of Lily Kershaw and the haunting song, As It Seems.  I can’t wait for more songs from her and an official website, but she is active on Twitter @Lily_Kershaw and on Facebook.

My most recent “discovery” is from Covert Affairs where another lady sang a different version of Searching For A Heart, which I later discovered was by Rebecca Pidgeon.  I googled the lyrics and found a version by Don Henley which seems to be the more popular one.

I actually listen and try to recall a line or “hook” as they call it from the show and literally google the string of words until I come up with the correct title and the right version.

It’s ironic, though, that I have yet to pick up any song from my current most favorite shows  Suits and Scandal.  I’ve watched the season ender of Scandal a dozen times by now and they’re not so heavy into background music beyond the score.

I can’t wait for Kerry Washington (playing Olivia Pope) and the team to come back in Season 2.  For now, I’m enjoying Gabriel Macht (as Harvey Specter) & Patrick J. Adams (playing Mike Ross) in SUITS every Thursdays.

These are the shows that draw me to watch TV these days.  I don’t usually grab a hold of the remote because between the two boys, I hardly have time to watch — except when they’re both dozing off to dreamland together.  Angelo, though, makes allowances for when these shows are on — but he can’t help but chide me for watching their “on demand” episodes over and over again.  There’s a little bit of “me” in these shows that strike a heart string or two when I watch them.  For weeks, I’ve been vacillating between writing about them and why I like them so much, but there’s just too much in there to write about, so I’ve chosen to leave it be.  For now.

Creative experiments

I’m really self taught when I do my art.  I walk into Utrecht and I feel intimidated by the rows upon rows of serious art supplies.  But I love handling them and looking through the different types of paints, papers and canvasses.  My feet normally drag me down to their polymer clay aisle, but from time to time, I stray.  =)  Same thing when I go into Michael’s, although that is mostly for the crafting side of me.  And as working with art materials is more of a hobby for me, I try to be careful with which supplies I choose to purchase.  So I like that I can try one piece of a whole wall of something — like the Art Design markers which I am now totally hooked on.

For “lessons”, I rely on the genuises and the instructors on the net.  For inspiration, I always stop by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog and read up on her posts and pick up other artists links from there.

I really should be bloghopping more, but I don’t have the time.  That’s the same reason my blog roll disappeared from my sidebar — plus a lot of my favorite bloggers had long abandoned blogging or had taken down their sites. =(   (Missing Jher and Jerome in particular.)  I am going to try visiting other blogs again, though, and hopefully share my “discoveries” here so I can take note and keep going back.

I picked up this set of Metallic Acrylic Dabbers a few days back, and I’m trying it out over watercolor for a layout I’m doing using a silhouette of Angelo’s. I had a lot of fun using it and I can’t wait to finish the layout this weekend (or maybe even tomorrow.)  I tried to be sparing in applying it, blotting a bit here and there and then “spreading it around” with the dabber itself.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with the dabber while using my rubber and clear stamps.

First time using Metallic Acrylic Dabbers.. LOVE IT!

It’s even better in the photograph!  I can’t wait to finish this layout…It’s a take on this photo of Angelo taken two years ago in Washington DC.

Angelo and the DC SunsetI’ve been keeping busy at home and hoping to get more things listed this weekend.  I promised two favorite customers and friends the pieces they requested and I’m well on my way.  (Lou, still piecing together your request, and Cora, I’m working on the opera-length necklace.)  I think I’m back in the groove as far as creating again is concerned.

I always say that you’ll never know or learn unless you venture to try something yourself.  And one can never stop learning, even when you trip all over yourself trying to get something done.  So I keep creating backgrounds in my spare time, and I’ve even got one waiting in the wings for a collage of newspaper clippings.

Work in progress: Watercolor backgrounds

There is a rhyme and reason to it all no matter how frivolous it may seem.

Walking down the Upper East Side

Today was not a good day to walk, but walk I did, down the Upper East Side.

I had to go for the annual mammogram with a new radiology center and while I rode with the boys out this morning and got dropped off pretty close to where I was supposed to go on 60th street, I still had to walk around 5 blocks.  The morning (before) was a pleasant walk.  It was totally different, though, with the walk out (after).

So there I was on 60th and Madison, and I had to pick up my old films from the old radiology clinic over at 66th and 1st.  On a nice day, and even during the winter, that was not really a bad walk.  Beautiful stores to walk past, a generally nice neighborhood, and not that much traffic.  But it was HOT!  The pavement was literally letting out heat and although I was dressed comfortably, I could feel the heat getting to my head.

Picked up the films and headed back to 2nd Avenue for my ride to 42nd.  WHAT WAS I THINKING???!!

I was actually torn between doing something fun (like stopping by Michael’s Columbus Avenue branch by 100th street or maybe stopping by Kate’s Paperie on 57th), but I knew I couldn’t postpone getting my films and transmitting them to the new clinic.  (Comparisons needed.)  I couldn’t even indulge myself a stop at some restaurant to have lunch.  I walked instead to ‘wichcraft and asked for Grilled Cheese.  By the time I got to my floor, I needed to freshen up to the point of almost toweling off completely before I could sit at my desk.

I’m just happy to have taken care of “me”, even if it meant taking a half day off.  We often end up postponing routine check ups thinking that we feel like we’re healthy and it’s something we can take care of later.  But I’m at that age where “later” might be too late, so I try not to procrastinate.  It’s bad enough that I missed last year’s annual mammo… (Bad, bad me, I know.)  But the pics of my two friends seemed to have been okay because no reshoots were ordered, and I was told I could go.

I am thankful that I’ve been blessed with good health.  (Even if sometimes I think  I have too much of it — “healthy” me, that is.)  Every day, I pray for my family’s good health, too, most especially my son’s.  And with all that’s been happening around us, I also pray that he be kept safe at all times.

Summer camp is winding down, so he’s looking forward to spending some time at home.  I think I’m going to give him that so he can enjoy part of summer doing what he wants to do.  As a child, I remember that was one of summer’s greatest appeals — that I could just watch TV all day and do what I wanted to do, whether it was in Manila or in Baguio where I spent many summers of my childhood.

I keep going back to “Memories” for ideas for my art journal, probably because I keep going back to my Dad.  It’s his death anniversary day after tomorrow.  I am looking for this polaroid photo of him holding my hand when I was probably 2 or 3 years old that I want to copy into an art journal entry.

I also picked up a favorite poem I discovered in one of my favorite author’s books which I want to incorporate into a layout.  Angelo chanced upon a scribbling of it on my bed and he said it almost made him cry.

Last night I made two backgrounds and one of them was specifically meant to be of a darker vein — I wanted to create black/grey backgrounds as sometimes my backgrounds are “too happy” for the more serious or darker topics I want to journal about.

I’m trying to pace myself and do things without trying too hard.  Maybe I’m just getting old.. =)

Summer Sunday

I think I’ve had an awesome weekend if only because I spent most of it resting at home.  Well, most of it.  (I can’t remember when was the last time I spent four hours napping on the living room couch.)  Yes, I was grumpy.  So I lay down and just dozed off.  The boys left me a grilled chicken snack wrap.  (I would’ve preferred a big mac or a chicken sandwich, but for some reason, the snack wrap satisfied me.)

The house is quiet at almost 7pm.  The boys went for tennis walling and I just got a  call that the tyke didn’t like the pan de sal from the nearer store.  Sigh.  I guess I’m going to have to trek down to Woodside sometime this week and pick up two bags.  I don’t hear any silverware klinking but I gave my mother-in-law dinner already and I opened her airconditioner just to cool her room down.  I’ve done my online grocery shopping (via FreshDirect) which I’m hoping to get tomorrow.  I just picked out a unique ice cream brand I think I ought to try — just as a treat.  So I unclicked the Magnum.  (This old body can only take so much calories at this age…)

Tomorrow starts another workweek.  Hmmmmm… Work is work.  Never changes.  I’m trying to plot when I’m going to take the ‘day off for me’ in August, more so since I might need to assist a peer of the boss when he’s out.  I was sort of torn between trying to make myself useful and just keeping my mouth zipped, but with the job situation prevailing here, you cannot NOT be proactive.  So I volunteered.  I think I ought to check what’s happening around Manhattan in the next couple of weeks and take a pick from there.

Meanwhile, it’s the last week of summer camp for the tyke.  (I am relieved only because he’s grown soooo dark despite the suntan lotion I patiently spray and slather on him every morning. )  He’s been trying to convince us not to send him to day camp next year — but keeping him at home the whole summer would be such a waste of precious time and the father wouldn’t hear of it.  So between now and the next summer, I’m going to research “other” things he might be enrolled in for next summer, and keep him busy at least the first four weeks or half of it.

We’re trying to plan another vacation. We’re thinking of returning to Williamsburg, Virginia which is a favorite vacation spot for us, usually alternating between years we head for Orlando and Mickey Mouse country.  Since we did Disneyworld last year, we’re thinking of taking the drive down through this historical area this time around, and maybe stopping by to visit another place or two along the way.

Can you believe that other than finishing my Art Journal Every Day entry posted below, I didn’t do any crafting at all?  Well, blame it partly on Batman.  Can I say how completely awesome The Dark Knight Rises happens to be?  I am probably partial because Gotham is New York and it’s MY New York I saw in great splendor throughout the two hours and forty-five minutes the movie played.  And ROBIN IS FINALLY HERE!  (Funny how Angelo was asking how come Robin wasn’t in the movie…then he got an answer straight from the screen towards the end.)  I guess we’ll just have to sit back and wait for the next installment and this time, with the dynamic duo together.

Well, the boys are back.  Time to take care of dinner.

Art Journal Every Day with Angelo: My Special Someone

I was going through all the schoolwork Angelo had brought home at the end of second grade and chanced upon this essay he wrote on his “special person”.

He wrote:

My special person is someone who gave birth to me.  She is female.  I’ve known her for all my life.  She likes pink.

What that person like(s) to do is spend time with her family.  I play with her and she always eats with me.  I go to her job.  I go to a restaurant with her.  I sleep with her.

Me and this person are different and similar in a few ways.  I am male and she is female.  We both have (the) same last name.

This person is my mother.  She is 45 years old.”

He wrote this a month before my birthday, and while I was in Manila taking care of some family business in March.  Precious indeed.  Sometimes I want to keep all the paper he brings home, but not all of them are gems like this one.

He’s just growing up so fast.  I really must get started on that memory quilt I have been planning to make from his baby clothes and linens.  Most of it I had given away to my mom’s beneficiaries in her hometown in San Vicente, Bulan, Sorsogon, but I kept one or two baby blankets, plus I still have the crib liners we never used because of all the safety warnings against it.

I thought it would make for a good topic for an Art Journal Every Day post, so I photocopied the essay onto an exisiting watercolor background.  I also used one of his watercolor projects where he painted his name in different colors.  I worked my own background around the two elements by Angelo and then wrote my journal entry side-by-side with his essay.

Art Journal Every Day with Angelo: My special someone

I love the way I’ve managed to create journal entries using Angelo’s own work.  It doesn’t only give me a chance to react to his work through my art journal, but it gives me a chance to keep these special projects in the journal I hope to keep for posterity.  It’s better than just keeping it stashed in a memory box or some folder in the closet.

New discovery: Sharpie Oil-based Paint Marker in blue.  Glorious to write with on watercolor!  I thought I’d buy one piece to try and work with but I will now be getting the Sharpie Oil-Based Medium Point Paint Markers 5-color set including Gold, Silver and White next.

I’m going to try to incorporate other elements beyond just drawing or doodling on my art journal entries — hopefully doing some collage and the like.  Watch out for that.

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: Choices

Art Journal Every Day: Choices

“Everyone has choices to make.  No one has the right to take those choices away from us — not even out of love. — Cassandra Clare”

This particular piece was a work through time.  NO ZENTANGLING THIS TIME AROUND!

Would you believe that this is actually one of the first watercolor backgrounds I worked on weeks ago?  I painted the swirls and then filled in the background another day, refined the swirls again and then put in the wordart.  Today I finally put in the journaling.

I zeroed in on “CHOICES” somehow and browsed the internet for quotes and found this one from Cassandra Clare featured in  GoodReads.   It was rather straight to the point without being too mushy — a quote from one of her books, and I said to myself — that’s what I want to put in my journal.  Yes to that!  How often do we unintentionally make choices for the people around us, sometimes with the (misguided) notion that we are doing this to help another, when in truth, we are taking on the prerogative of choice for that person?

In trying to help, we fail to consider what personal choice might have been made instead of what we chose.

I rendered the quote in Word and I decided to photocopy straight onto the painted sheet.  The copier somehow didn’t “dry” or “develop” adequately to make the toner adhere to the background, and before it all rubbed away, I “doctored” and “repaired” the project by putting transparent packing tape on top it.  It made it look like I had actually adhered a transparent film onto which the quote was printed on.  (Like tape art.)

I didn’t want to muddle the whole artwork which is one of my favorites so far, so I journaled within some of the swirls.  Nondescript and understandable only by me.. just the way I like it.

I’m getting the hang of doing my Art Journal literally EVERY DAY, and having a stash of backgrounds and works in progress has helped immensely.  Right now I have one I’m taking home (another collaboration with Angelo) which I will finish and post over the weekend.  I also intend to work on more backgrounds to keep it going.  =)

I’m trying to experiment more with darker colors for the background and I’m going to work on a collage background after finding all these words that just jumped at me when I browsed some issues of this week’s New York Times.  Sometimes I can’t help but feel like my backgrounds are “too happy” — so much so that I end up passing them up for the “darker” and more somber themes I want to write about.  Or I end up not writing anymore for want of a working background.  I tried to come up with a black watercolor background but ended up with a grey wash instead.  (More paint needed!)

The weekend has begun.  I look forward to it because it means having more time to relax — between the housework and chores, that is.  Sometimes I hardly have time to sit between cooking the meals and cleaning up in between.  And there are things to take care of besides that.  (Working on a few pieces for the shop!)

Last night I started tinkering with this bowl of loose pearls I had collected from various organizer trays and started creating an abstract woven pendant — and before I knew it, it was past 1am already.  I ended up sleeping at close to 2am because of that.  (Which must be why I’m so exhausted today.  Needed more than my usual shot of espresso this morning..)

And it’s time to go home.. =)  Can’t wait to rest and have my Friday dinner with my boy.. just him and me… which is part of my next art journal piece.  Something special from my one and only son.

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 by clicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)

Art Journal Every Day: Tomorrow WILL be a better day

It’s one of those days.. but I’m going home feeling all better, and looking forward to tomorrow.  When things keep going wrong at every turn, the best frame of mind is to keep with optimism and know that there is a new beginning tomorrow when the sun rises again.

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 by clicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)

Happy birthday, Dad

My father passed away two years ago, a week after his birthday, which is today.  I miss him dearly, and I often think of him.  Many people who knew him used to tell me when I was younger that I was just like him.

I was the closest to him and yet our relationship was strained.  As I used to say to my half-sister who nursed a lot of hurt in her heart for my Dad and her Mom’s shortcomings as far as she was concerned, Dad loved her — it’s just that he didn’t know how to show it the way we would have wanted him to show it.

I was the favorite — when everyone else refused to speak with him, they made me face him and negotiate with him.  When he was dying, they called me from his deathbed and I told him between sobs that I was not mad at him, that I loved him.  His death was expected but it hurt me deeply when I got the news.

There is so much that I want to say to him now and I know he would listen silently, furrow his brows, and if I unloaded my burden to him, I know he would just keep silent and listen.  He would understand.

I would normally have wished that I was there to take care of him, but his final days were full of strife and pain.  I guess in a selfish way, it was good that we were oceans apart.  Less angry words were said although there were angry words exchanged.

I’m just glad he’s at peace now.  I know that wherever he is, he isn’t having difficulty breathing — he isn’t in pain.  Knowing that makes it easier to accept that he is gone.  And whatever sins he had committed, he has been forgiven.

I miss hearing his voice — and hearing his laughter.  I have many snapshots of him in my mind I keep going back to.  And even in my grief, he makes me smile when I remember his antics and his jokes and the happy times.  I dwell on the happy rather than the sad.  There is enough sadness knowing he is no longer here with me.  At least when I stick with the happy memories, my heart smiles, and it helps me deal with the grief better.

Happy birthday, Dadang.  I know you know we all love you deeply… and we always will.  I know now that my fears as a child that I would end up in heaven and you would be in the other place are unfounded.  I know you will be there to meet me when my turn comes to go into the light.