Almost done now

Work in Progress: Zentangling the Chrysler Building as of 22May2012My zentangled Chrysler Building is beginning to take shape indeed. 

The picture on the left is two of the three pieces that make up the bottom third of the building.  I wasn’t finished with the rightmost “side” of the bottom piece when I photographed this yesterday, and after a mishap with the cutting, I have the bottom complete now, but I am not going to take a photo until tomorrow.

I have “connected” and “stitched together” the top 4 pieces into two separate pieces.Three pieces ready to be put together to form my first large scale zentangle project of the Chrysler building.  I’m actually all excited, despite the “errors” or “corrections” that need to be done as I put the finishing touches to the piece.  There are white spaces to be filled in, angling to be corrected, and connecting patterns to make the “stitching” invisible to the eye.

I’m actually very proud of my first attempt. There are a couple of lessons learned from this, though,  like not being too tight with the “cuts” when I section the pieces.  I should’ve also stuck to my original plan to do the rendering while having an actual photo of the original handy so that I can attempt to mimick the shading of the photo.  (Which will hopefully make it less flat.. but I’m quite happy with how I seem to have managed it even if I didn’t do it as planned.)  I am actually thinking of doing a second rendition of the same piece, if not a more ambitious longer shot of the top of the building.  (I am still trying to decide which one to do).  You can see I’m inspired to keep doing this.  =)

Why do I even do it?  It’s good therapy against stress.  I actually get to do a lot of thinking while I draw and fill in the different sections.  Seeing the completed work after I’ve succesfully drawn into the spaces in between surprises even me.  It gives me something productive to do when I am restless or when I am in a creative rut.  It helps me rest my mind and calm my heart — a friend’s admonitions that have inspired me to try and do just that through this project.

We do what we have to do to get through each day.  There is something that hypnotizes me as I ever so light-handedly let the signpen glide through the paper to let the ink rest where I want it to rest.  There are strokes that I can do haphazardly, but most of the time, I have to be deliberate and slow. 

I’ve made “me” proud.  “Good job, Pinay New Yorker..” — this is one piece of work you can be proud of.  (Patting myself on the back, I know..=)  Reminds me of the song “Do I make you proud?”… I ask myself.. and deep in my head, I hear a smiling “yes”.  And I tell “myself”, “This one’s for you…”.. and deep in my heart, I hear an inner voice saying “Thank you..”.

Zentangling Update on my Chrysler Building Project

One thing I love about zentangling is it’s a very forgiving form of art expression.  You can make a mistake and draw over it, or like I do, paste over it and then start work on that portion again.  I think it takes more patience than skill, so forget that my right hand is crampy now from too much detailing.  (Have I told you how addicting this can be?  It has a hypnotic effect once you get drawing!)  I am more than halfway through.

So as you can see in the two pieces I photographed side by side, I had started out with solid circle patterns on the left, then changed my mind altogether, seeing that the linear drawings (minus the darkened centers) worked better.  So I reprinted the portion of the graphic and proceeded to do the pattern I had chosen.  I had also changed the shading on the rightmost side where I had started doing concave lines, replacing it instead with a mosaic of tiny circles which I am repeating in other parts of the piece.


You don’t even know where the lines meet.  I simply cut the concave portion from the original and pasted it over, filling in the spaces with more ink.

Meanwhile, before cutting up anything, I had made 2 copies of all the pieces of this artwork using the same material which is midweight paper as a precaution.  For bigger, more elaborate pieces, I’ve found that photocopying my work as I make progress helps me to go back or rewind to a cleaner canvas if I decide I don’t like the pattern I had drawn, or if something goes terribly awry.

I am so tempted to try and put together the first two pieces making up the first two tiers, but I want to finish the bottom portion which might turn out to be the most daunting of all.  Someone walked over while I was doing one of the pieces during lunchbreak and she paid me a compliment for the drawing — telling me she didn’t know I could draw.  I told her, no I really can’t — this is art for those of us who actually cannot draw — and I think I confused her with that remark. =)  But that, to me, is what zentangling is about: organized doodling.

Zentangling helps me to remain focused and calm, and allows me to think while I go and scribble.  It’s focusing without overly concentrating, and I like the byproduct of the effort once the piece is done.  It helps me keep my mind off the asthma which is just about gone — and I know it’s exercising at least the left hemisphere of my brain. =)

Almost there!

Falling in love with the Chrysler Building

We all try to do something to make things easier as we go through each day.  These are the things that keep me grounded between my roles as mother, EA, wife and citizen of the world.  We all have our coping mechanisms — these are mine.

For the last four years, I have had this spectacular view of Midtown Manhattan in front of me where I have watched the dramatic transformation of the Chrysler Building as the sun bounced off its radiant light against its gracious curves.  I find it most beautiful as the sun sets, when a more muted daylight hits it from an angle.  41 storeys above ground level, I feel as though I am staring it eye to eye from where I stand.

Last week, a brilliant idea hit me but which took a while to execute.  I’m going to zentangle this photo.  It’s my first large-scale attempt to produce something zentangled, and I thought to myself, it is one challenge I’m willing to take on.

I love zentangling because its a repetitive exercise that allows me to lose myself in the strokes of my pen and gives me free rein to go in any direction I want.  It calms me and helps me to loosen up — good therapy indeed.  It doesn’t involve much of a thought process except where it involves determining the pattern or design in any one given area, but once determined, it’s almost automatic.

There is something very soothing about doing repetitive artwork and watching the fine lines of my sign pen fill in spaces with black.

So I sectioned the photograph and rendered it in photocopy shadow, light enough to draw over.  Then I rendered it in a light grey which caused much of the solid spaces between lines to “disappear”.  I figure that once I am done, I will “assemble” the sections into one piece and then maybe use it as my next Christmas card. (reduced to card size).  At the current size, it’s like a regular 16″ x 20″ poster (I think).   I like working in sections, too, because it makes a “do-over” so much easier.  So far so good.

I’m taking my time as I don’t have a deadline for this.  I like working on a bigger rendition to be reduced later when completed.  I haven’t quite made up my mind if I will zentangle the backqround (perhaps in a different color) or just leave it plain.  If you want to see my progress, I’ll be posting the stages of work on the right hand side of the page under a special widget.

I’m already thinking of my next project: The Rizal Monument.

Welcoming the new year and still writing Christmas cards

Typical procrastinating me — or maybe it’s because a trip to Manila got in the way, my Christmas card is finally done but remains unsent.  (Well, save for two that made it to the post office in Manila — or are about to make it to the post office in Manila.)  I’m counting on our good old USPS to get the mail to the Philippines in record time — the post holiday backlog notwithstanding.

Better late than never, many say.  Indeed.

Here’s a true labor of love zentangled by yours truly, embellished by paper bought from good old National Bookstore.  =)  My cards are addressed, just have to write the dedication in.  I finally decided not to use any pre-printed message but to instead go blank.  There are different messages and much too long a thought to compress into a few lines, so I thought I’d just go freehand.

It’s the first day of 2012 and I’m so glad New York is resplendent with sunshine.  A perfect way to begin the year — no rain, no snow.. just sunshine.

2011 was sort of an “in transition,” “in between,” year for me.  It saw me grieving and coping with Dad’s death in July 2010, transitioning from one boss to another but keeping my job yet again, and a thousand other things that got me from here to there.  It seemed to be a neverending journey that in many respects is still ongoing.  At the very least, I’m well on my way.

Grief seems to have settled in quite nicely in my world — and although I have come to accept Dad’s passing, the pain remains.  The problems which we thought would be solved are not quite solved yet.  There are many questions that  remain unanswered.  But although the pain hasn’t lessened, it has gotten easier to cope with.  It has become a friend.

I did manage to visit Dad’s tomb at the North Cemetery during the trip home.  The trip was strangely personal and specific to him even if my dear Aunt Lydia’s remains lay in the same crypt.  That was for Dad and only Dad.  I continue to pray that he find eternal rest — that hopefully, our prayers have lifted him back to the arms of God.  Over the weekend, I’ve been listening to Anima Christi on YouTube, and the line where they sing “And when the call of death arrives, bid me come to thee so I may praise thee with they saints forever..” brings me back to Dad.  I pray he is finally at peace in Heaven, wherever that may be for him.

I am hopeful for 2012.  2011 was a step up and a step forward.  It can only move to good from better.

One thing I have realized is that some things take time, and some answers are not as apparent as others.  Realizations can take years.  Feelings from decades ago that have been long forgotten can be stirred anew.  Grudges that one thought had been swept under the rug suddenly come alive again.  Storylines left hanging suddenly find a continuation and direction after one had forgotten all about it.  People who had come into our lives and had quietly slipped away return back on tiptoe and move us anew.

Here’s to a better and more prosperous year ahead for all of us.

Bye, bye, September!

Time just flies by… imagine, we’re now into October.

I have been very busy, yes, and have hardly had any time to do anything truly productive in the real sense of the word, although you cannot say that I haven’t done anything at all. Life and work just continue to interfere with my creative streak. But what can you do?

My Art Journal Every Day is still where it was a month ago. =( I’m not too happy about that, but again, nothing I can really do. Sad. I am just hoping that as the year comes to a close, I will get more time and opportunity to actually keep going and maybe make that the springboard for next year’s project. (I am not sure if Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s still going to do it, but I am making a commitment here and now to continue!)

With time creeping up on us like it is doing, I think what’s best is that I get started on the Christmas card design for this year pronto. I’ve been toying with an idea in my head but haven’t gone beyond sketching an outline. I guess I have to decide on color schemes and all. I want to do a mix of materials this year, so I am not confining myself to just doing a collage or photograph. (Hint: Zentangle and buttons?)

Zentangling again? Yes, indeed! I just finished this “R” monogram this week which was an order for one of my domino pendants. I’ve really been meaning to do all the letters of the alphabet beyond the letters spelling “GOTHAMCHICK” which I have already, but again, there just hasn’t been enough time. Besides using them on domino pendants, I’m thinking of creating gift tags or note cards.