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.)

Art Journal Every Day: Tears

Art Journal Every Day: Tears

“Tears are words the heart can’t express.”

Some Art Journal entries take a lot of time to finish and some just come so spontaneously like this one.  I worked on it a total of two nights, and that was with a major re-do when I messed up the black and white clipping.

I had originally photocopied it in a darker black and white after picking up this photo from the New York Times showing the Royal Ballet: Zenaida Yanowsky and Rupert Pennefather performing “A Month in the Country,” choreographed by Frederick Ashton to music by Chopin, at Covent Garden last week.  (Photo credits: Dee Conway/ROH).  I was actually browsing back issues of the newspapers to find a portion I can photocopy onto a watercolored background when I chanced upon this.  It was such a dramatic photo and I started looking for quotes online and found it but without proper credit.  (So they are not my own.)  I started painting the watercolor teardrops and got carried away when I attempted to paint the clothes worn by the two dancers which made a disaster of the whole thing.  Luckily, we had multiple copies of the newspaper in the office, and instead of trying to alter the newspaper photograph, I decided to go with the original and just pasted it onto the mess I made.

To make the figures pop out, I zentangled the dark greys with black ink which made it come out nicely.   After drawing around the teardrops, I realized the bright pink I used was a little too much so I tried to mute it by zentangling over it and I think it came out quite well.   I couldn’t resist putting in a heart for the journal box, and I simply journaled by hand in silver ink and I like the fact that it’s there but not there — know what I mean?  There was a huge empty space on top and the easiest and the only thing that made sense to me was to draw bigger tears and just do them in black and white.  (I didn’t want to risk ruining what was turning out to be something I was happy about.)

I have stopped creating backgrounds for now because I have around a dozen of them, and I have four works in progress which is why I’ve been so prolific.  I read that most art journalers create backgrounds ahead and then fill them up as the inspiration hits them.  I’m just taking their lead.  After my watercoloring spree over the weekend, I’ve zeroed in on what to work on and do a bit at a time.  No pressure.  That’s why I’m enjoying it so much… It is also uncanny how I have buried most of my original backgrounds in the actual entry and they have come out soooo differently.

I’m trying to venture out beyond doing just zentangling or watercoloring, and am trying to do more collage work.  I’m also experimenting with layering beyond just layering color.

This is one of my works in progress where I color photocopied a portion of the newspaper onto a watercolor background painted sheet and then I tried painting over the top portion again which washed out the newsprint photocopy.  It makes it appear that I had painted over a newspaper sheet which is going to be very difficult given that newsprint doesn’t work well with anything that has to do with water, and newspaper ink will easily mix with any color you put on top of it.  So here was a work around.

I don’t know if it’s just the photocopier but it doesn’t always come out right nor “fully developed” when I pass a watercolor painted sheet through the machine.  It’s an ongoing experiment, so bear with me.

I haven’t quite made up my mind about what this sheet is going to be about, but I like toying with the possibilities I’ve explored so far.  I keep staring at it as if it’s speaking to me.

Someone told me I’m an artist and I still refuse to accept that.  I am just very expressive.  I’ll take that I’m crafty, yes.  It helps me to keep busy and let’s just be thankful I’m not into wood working or carpentry.  =)  And in art journaling, there are no rules.  You make them as you go along.  How I envy the artists who can draw up real tapestries with pastel, watercolor, acrylics and mixed art.  That’s THEIR art, though, and I’m happy to admire from afar.  They are the geniuses who continue to inspire, and they have provided me with tons of inspiration indeed.

My Art Journal, though, has taken on a very funny shape, but I like that it reveals how I’ve progressed in my work.  That’s another blogpost coming one of these days.

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: Summer

Art Journal Every Day: Summer

Don’t throw away those brown bags that your grocery and food delivery come in because I find them so useful in writing the actual journaling in my scrapbooks and my art journal.

Finally finished it.  See the artwork sans the journaling below.  And I’m trying to cook up some ideas to work with the art work that Angelo came up with at the bottom because I promised him I would post this in the blog and then work on it.  (He’s been curious about how I come up with these and hope to one day be able to produce the same thing.  I told him all it takes is practice.. and Mommy’s watercolor set.)  I like encouraging his artistic streak — I remember when I was his age, I loved to get those Disney marker sets that always came in very vivid colors and which I tried so hard not to use so generously because I wanted to keep them forever.  (But of course I never succeeded!  Using them was just too tempting!)  Well, he got me with the “I love Mom”…

This actually came from one of the backgrounds that I wasn’t quite happy with — and I painted over most of it except for the wordart which is in the original.  I know.. I buried everything else in another layer of zentangling and watercolor — and I think it came out rather nicely.  It gave me a chance to experiment with the new watercolor pallette I’ve been using, too.  Love it!

I love you, Mom

If you want to see more of my art journal, please click here or you can always visit it through the page directory on the top of this blog anytime.  The Art Journal Every Day FLICKR group is found here.

Art Journal Every Day : Rest Your Mind, Calm Your Heart

I was cleaning up my stash in my work area when I found this piece unfinished.  It had just the wordart and the blue background.  I had meant to create an Art Journal entry for it for the longest time but had “forgotten” about it.  The word art is something I’ve photocopied in black and white and painted in various forms and sizes to use as cards or what not.  One time I was experimenting with my watercolor, I ended up with a lot of the blue so I thought I’d paint the background ahead and work on it another time.

When Angelo saw me photographing the finished work, he asked me how long it took me to render it and I told him the story of the background, but the zentangling and the journaling, I told him, took one sitting in my corner the other night.  “Impossible!” he said.  And that’s my biggest fan being incredulous about my work timetable.  I try to be as spontaneous as can be so it is truly expressive of what is “top of mind” to me at the moment.  In this instance, the word art was already there, and I just needed to “reflect” momentarily on it and I wrote:

Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be still so we can hear our heart and give our mind the chance to listen… In the silence, the answer will come.

Indeed.

Art Journal Every Day: Rest Your Mind, Calm Your Heart

I try not to think when I do my Art Journal Every Day pieces.  (Click here for the Art Journal Every Day page from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog.)  I haven’t really been doing it every day, but this project of Julie’s is what has inspired me to do simple drawings and scribblings as a form of self expression.  Highly recommended!

I found that the signpen glided nicely on the watercolor so it went very well together.  When I started the journaling, I didn’t have any idea how much I was going to write or what I was going to write.  I like doing my lettering this way — it’s very free flowing.  The choice of the flowers as “filler” was easier.  (My favorite zentangle subject.)

I used to get daunted by the great artists who participate but I do it more for myself now and have gotten a lot of support from the Flickr Group where we share our work.  For previous posts from Pinay New Yorker, please click here and visit my Art Journal Every Day page which has a special link on the top left.

Here and there

Work in Progress: Long Shot of the Chrysler Building ZentangledI am still struggling to come up with a Father’s Day post in large part because I wanted to write about my Dad.  Maybe in a day or two.  Although I have said that I now think about Papa with a smile, the sadness remains.  It’s almost two years now since he left us, but some things never really go away — time just helps us to cope with them better.

Meanwhile, I took the picture on the left last Friday and it has progressed rather well since then, so I’m doing finishing touches and filling in some gaps.  I’ve also attached the bottom and the middle portions and will be ready to “stitch” the pieces together once I figure out how I’m going to “fill in” the remaining “blank spaces.”

My next project was a toss up between the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Place (Paris vs. Brussels?) — but I am still looking for my CD of pictures of Belgium, and I found the ones from my first trip to Paris, so Paris wins.  Besides, doing the Grand Place is no less ambitious than doing a portion of the Manhattan skyline given the guild housees that line one of its sides…  We’ll see.  I really would like to stick to zentangling images based on my own photos that is why it’s important I find the actual pictures I snapped of the subject matter.

As always, I’ve had a lot of time to de-stress and think while doing the repetitive patterns.  This is what I like most about zentangling — it actually helps me to focus without pushing myself too hard.  Effortless almost.  These days, everything seems to take twice the effort so it helps when I can do something more fluidly with ease.  Life is difficult as it is… why make it harder? I’ve had to do some “patching up” but nothing too drastic a do-over.  And that’s another thing I love about zentangling — that it is such a “forgiving” art that allows me to redo something I might’ve messed up or changed my mind about.  Once done, this would’ve taken me four weeks to complete.  (Unless I get stalled in a major way in the next day or two.)

I haven’t really done much else with other things — haven’t been reading and I have been crafting at a snail’s pace.  I just realized today I haven’t been “here” in a week, although I’ve been writing elsewhere.  (For an audience of one: me.)  I haven’t managed to write any of the snail mail I’ve been meaning to write, and while I have been fixing my paper stock at home and generally trying to get organized in all sorts of ways, I haven’t made any cards of late.  I did find what was meant to be a background piece for an “Art Journal Everyday” entry, so I pasted it onto my book, trimmed the paper to size and will try and get going tonight on the art journaling.

Let’s see how that goes.

So it goes

I was trying to be good with my diet on day 2 but it was one of those “I need a cheese danish” kind of day.  So for the most part, I’ve been good with the non-fat dairy, Greek yoghurt, protein infused diet.  (I’m turning yellow with all the scrambled eggs I’ve been eating).  I would’ve had my “sweet” fix with the iced decaf hazelnut I made for myself, but as I said, I needed an infusion of sugar and comfort please.

It was one of those days that made a red velvet whoopie pie from Crumbs sound so tempting, but I held back.  (So the cheese danish was actually me being good…LOL)  And as if that weren’t enough,  I have a little wound on my pinkie toe that makes it difficult to walk.  And surprisingly, the most comfortable shoes today are my three-inch heel booties.

Paperkrafts: Zentangling and paper collage flowerI haven’t been able to do much “me” stuff today because I’m swamped with work.  I did manage to create the paper flower collage on the left a while back, but it got buried under some other paperwork.  One of these days, I will do a “how-to” (another promise to impart my “knowledge”) but probably in the Gotham Chick blog.  Speaking of which, I would’ve been ready to start writing about my hand-molded beads, but the pictures were blurry.  I am still trying to get used to my DSLR-look alike camera and I am having problems doing the macro shots with no flash.  But that’s another post for another day.

I don’t know if I should be glad the day is ending.  It’s an early end for me today as the boss is off networking somewhere.  I want to take advantage of these rare occasions when I can leave the office before 6pm which is my usual end time.  (Although these days, I’ve been working at trying to leave closer to 5:30.)

On the otherhand, there is still much work.  I know my sister is waking up on the other side of the world, probably grumbling about a “bump in the road” we discussed last night (my morning today).  It’s business that it’s not — and it’s tricky because sometimes you expect friends to deliver and they don’t.  The crazy part is I am not surprised at how a friend is transacting business, but I am disheartened and saddened at the turn of events.  Still there are things that are simply beyond our control.  I’m done grumbling myself — time to move on.

Perhaps I’ve had good practice at being disappointed these past few weeks.  I am generally a very pragmatic friend.  I don’t consider myself needy — I actually think I’m generous to a fault.  But despite how people think I’m stronger than I think I am, I am generally dependent on the support of the people around me.  And I have been very, very lucky in many respects in terms of friends and family, more importantly.  I think I have very reasonable expectations of people, but perhaps my giving nature makes me expect something in the same lines in return.  I know — not healthy.  Still, I think I’m generally very tolerant of others.  My mother had long ago taught me that I should not look for my strengths in others — otherwise, if everyone were as good as I am in the same way, no one would be doing the menial jobs or the less-cerebral tasks in life.  (Very humbling lessons from my Mom, indeed.)  So when the disappointments come — and they do — they generally hit me not as hard as they would others.

But on days like this when I can use a laugh or two or a  hug — there’s Fe and there’s Ofie.  I don’t even want to think beyond this debacle, because if I go to the other aches and pains and kinks in my day (and my life), I’ll find myself going back to the feeling that I’ve been fed to the dogs.  (I don’t want to go there because I don’t want to have to get a whoopie pie!  LOL)

I had to literally pause writing, take a deep breath, close my eyes..then I smiled.  Acceptance, perhaps?  As Fe quotes our dearly departed friend Mar, “Eh, ganun…”

I have been disappointed by friends too many times to count, and I don’t count.  But when it’s the people who matter who do, then it’s not a matter of keeping score, but of recovering from the disappointment.  I don’t bear grudges, but my heart can grow weary of being patient and tolerant.  So I let go.  I have one ex-bestfriend I haven’t spoken to for five years, I believe.  I’m not mad at her, and the pain caused by the reason of our parting is gone, but I am comfortable keeping the distance.  (“Distancia Amigo,” Fe says.)

There are simply people who are not meant to be part of our lives the way we want them to be.

I look at these challenges as lessons in life.  I keep saying that ten years from now, (if I am still around), I will say this is one of those junctures in my life when I grew by leaps and bounds and I changed in so many ways.  Not always painlessly,  but at least hopefully for the better.  I was never wont to say “these people will realize one day… blah blah blah”… instead I dwell on what lesson I learned from the pain and hurt they brought my way.  I wish Ofie would look at it the same light — she’s still recovering from surgery and she’s getting very, very aggravated.  (That’s my little sister!)

What is that they say?  You go and pick up the pieces and start over.

You have to stop and wonder if these people who hurt you actually realize what damage they are doing to someone else’s heart.. sometimes, they don’t know they’ve ripped your heart to bits by their nonchallance or sometimes even noble intentions..  That is a sad thought, but it is again, beyond my control.  Sometimes we keep wishing for an apology, or a heart-felt “I’m sorry.”  But that is something we cannot demand or draw out of someone — it comes when it comes… or not.

Pass me the bouquet please..

Aren’t these flowers gorgeous?

One of the ladies on the floor had received them earlier in the week, but she was going on holiday beginning Friday and was going to be away until Tuesday. The lilies were proving to be problematic because someone on her wing was allergic to them. Would I like to put them on my credenza and maybe take them home to enjoy them over the weekend? How could I resist this shower of pinks and magenta? Of course I said yes! I did take them home, sans the pungent lilies, and I patiently carried them on the bus. They now grace my living room coffee table where I hope to see them through the Memorial Day weekend.

I’ve cut the stems and changed the water religiously. The cattleyas are actually in their own individual water tubes and are holding up quite well. The roses are blooming ever so elegantly. I’m trying to figure out how I can cast a petal or two in resin on top of a polymer clay base perhaps? If I could only stop them from wilting and fading away, I would…

I love pink but the truth of the matter is, my favorite roses are the yellow kind for as long as I can remember. But what do I care… I am trying to savor the beauty of this bouquet for as long as I can. Thank you, Jana!

So we’re off until Monday.  My Saturday started off with a pleasant surprise when I received an e-mail from a total stranger regarding an online query I made middle of May.  I had actually totally given up on getting an answer until I realized it was the middle of summer in Manila, and most people are busy either trying to enjoy the last bits of their summer break there, or trying to get ready for the resumption of school.  It’s one of those things I’d categorize under “kindness of strangers” and charge to the universe for its generous spirit.  You ask, you get an answer.

Chrysler Building Zentangle Part III finally finished the last bits of the Chrysler Building zentangle and have glued it together rather seamlessly. I spent time at Michael’s trying to find a suitable frame and matting, but that proved to be quite a challenge. I have instead gotten a mounting board and will continue my search for the perfect frame at a later time. The piece measures 25 inches top to bottom but should do well in a 24 inch tall frame. I don’t want to experiment on getting an unmatted frame and do the matting myself as this is one finished work I intend to keep for myself as the first bigger zentangle piece I have completed. I’m proud as can be, no matter how amateurish the piece may seem. It’s the point of finishing it and actually succeeding in retaining the features of the building although I feel I could have done better.

I’ve already started outlining my next project in pen which is again, an original photograph I took of a longer shot of the Chrysler Building. (Yes, I just can’t get enough of it.) And what do you know? I watched Men in Black III today and some of the scenes were played out from the rafters of the building where the gargoyle-type structures jut out of the corners of the building.

The widest base of this piece will be approximately 10 inches from end to end, so top to bottom (including the extended spire), the graphic will be approximately 36-40 inches.  No, I will not frame this as is but rather photograph the piece when I finish it and “shrink” to an easier to manage size.

And what do I intend to do with this when done?  Maybe make prints to give away as gifts…  Use it as notecard graphics…  Or just decorate my attic wall with it.  I just might find enough energy to attempt an actual cityscape next, unless I find my Eiffel Tower pictures or I go for the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park first.  (I’ve kiddingly told Fe that I might end up zentangling the entire Manhattan skyline one day soon.)

I’m trying to keep my hands busy.  I can’t be kneading clay during my breaks in the office always, and while I used to do it, I don’t like lugging my pliers to the office to work on jewelry pieces.  (My boss doesn’t even like seeing me holding the blackberry!)  I like the thought of being able to zentangle in the cafeteria or down at the park during my lunch hour.  It’s also something I can easily bring to and from home as I work on it.

Plus there is a soothing comfort to filling in spaces and then seeing something created from what would otherwise be thoughtless scribbling.  I feel like the whole exercise is akin to taking a journey that involves teeny-tiny steps around the spaces I’m trying to draw in, and which brings me to some other place when I’m done.

The Chrysler Building: Zentangled

Work in Progress: Zentangling the Chrysler Building as of 23May2012It’s finished that it’s not.  You can see the white spaces in some areas of the drawing, and just so happy about the way it turned out.

Thanks to Fe for the encouragement.

I hope to finish this over the Memorial Day weekend while I’m trying to get started on the long shot of the building.  (Can’t stop!)

I knew the sun from yesterday was too good to be true, and while the streets of Manhattan are dry today, there is zero visibility outside the building from my floor.  (41 storeys above ground level.)

It’s been a busy day at work.  Friends had popped in and then out, so I have been by myself mostly today.  I understand.  People have their own business to take care of wherever they are.  Fe was caught in traffic for one, so I didn’t expect her during our usual witching hour online. =)  I know she’ll say hello her morning.  We all have things that keep us busy.

It gave me some time to catch up with work, and to just sit back quietly and write.