The “Why” of Journaling

My journal is moving along.

I am one happy camper as far as that’s concerned. I have kept a diary and wrote long hand since I was child. Even when I first arrived here in 2000, I would write in those elegant journals – pouring my heart and soul into every word. At the same time, I was sort of writing online but in a very spontaneous way.

I still have a blank journal from years back – a holiday present from someone who used to answer to “Husband of Pinay New Yorker,” (now answers to “ex”) – I haven’t shaken off the urge to write and chronicle what happens in my life, what I feel and think about – be it in a dozen words, a picture or page after page of entries. Somehow writing those things longhand was always my preferred mode over typing, despite my typing speed of 90wpm.

Not too long ago, I discovered art journaling and that opened a new channel of expression for me. I found that I did not have to relay every single thought or feeling or memory in words– I could represent them with my own version of art.
Decorate a Journal for Swap-Bot I have always loved writing. The spoken word, to me, has always been about expression. Writing is a means of memorializing my day to day. I like that I’m able to do that with words, with color, and express so much with just one photo.. or two.

I journal like I blog– principally for my personal benefit, so that I can capture the day or a thought. Because at the end of the day, we tend to forget. During some moment in the future, remembering might actually help us.

I know that it has helped me to move forward remembering what happened so many years ago. It has helped me to reflect on how far I’ve come when I go back to those days and moments I had already forgotten. And sometimes I do need to be reminded. I need to go back to that “once upon a time” moment to remind myself to go in a certain direction to avoid the pitfalls of yesterday.

I like going back to those moments when a word or a phrase I read now brings me back to memories of “onion soup”. I like going back to both the dark and happy times because it lets me see how far I’ve come. In my weakest moments, remembering helps me to move on. During those moments of triumph, I feel grateful as I read about how I was in a very different place, not too long ago.

I journal because I want to learn from the mistakes of the past and cherish the happy times that have come after. My journals remind me I have time and again overcome, and whatever comes my way, I will be able to handle.

Why do you journal?

Related post: The “How” of Journaling

Art Journal Reboot

For starters, I managed to draw and assemble a new section avatar. Yay! And rather than aim for a masterpiece, I settled on what I came up with on the first try. I was thinking of spraying it with ink. But then I was afraid the sign pen ink would end up bleeding. I could also take a snapshot of the black and white logo and color it digitally. (just like my Friday Five logo.). Somehow I didn’t feel quite okay with that. Then I remembered my flower collage– and that was that.

Before the weekend, I started working on my first multi-page layout. But first, I finally decided I will pull together these sheets of paper I had cut out of binder dividers, assembling them into a 9×15 inch spread. I will pull sections bit by bit so I can work on the layouts without carrying the entire book with me. At the end of the year, I will bind the final project into a solid book.

I am optimistic this one will get off the ground, unlike previous attempts after I did my altered book.

So back to my multi page layout. I used a lot of multi page layered layouts in my first art journal and I really liked how those gave my art journal a two dimensional feel.

I just really love the idea that I’m finally doing another book. There were many things that I failed to do in 2018. Continuing my art journaling was one of them.

I am not an artist by any means. I am creative and crafty, but I need to watch a dozen videos teaching me how to draw and practice many hours to come up with a passable sketch. But as personal as any journal is, it’s your own art that matters. It can be stick drawings, purely collage, or a hodgepodge of pre cut or preprinted kits. If you ask me, anything beyond simply writing down a journal entry can be an art journal.

I first heard of art journaling from Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Everyday project many years back. (Read more about here.). Then I got into journaling swaps as well which showed me how journal prompts could help you keep writing. For the most part, I preferred to journal day to day about what was going through my head or what I was feeling in my heart at any given point in time.

I did the backgrounds ahead and worked on each layout as my entries moved on. I like that pace and hope to do the same with this one. I’m hoping it will be as fulfilling an experience working with an altered book before and shifting to a “create as you go” journal as I assemble this one along the way.

Daily Prompt: Never been mellow? Me?

DAILY PROMPT: After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

I work 5 days a week, and I usually don’t end my day until closer to midnight.  I do get a chance to unwind an hour or two (if I’m lucky) before I finally go off to bed after the dishes and the food left over from dinner have been taken cared of.  It’s Friday and I’m trying not to overthink the prompt, so let me just enumerate the things that I do to wind down, spend some “me” time, and just chill.

1.  I catch up on my favorite shows, and actually stop whatever I am doing to watch if I can.   From its inception to last night’s episode, SCANDAL has been a staple of my Thursday night.  It’s just about the only show I can watch an episode of over and over again, one after the other.  (Think about repeating a song on your playlist over and over again like one extended loop.)  I love Shonda Rhimes, what can I say.  And I love Olivia Pope and Kerry Washington who plays her all the more.  Criminal Minds, Elementary and Grey’s Anatomy along with NCIS (who doesn’t love Mark Harmon?) can be watched on demand.  (Thank you Time Warner Cable!)

2.  I pick up my tools and I try to create a piece or experiment with my beads.  I know, I’ve been talking about this a while now.  And while I haven’t quite picked up the pace, I’ve started to re-organize, expirement again (project of the moment is wire-wrapping which I am having a ball with!), and I’ve relisted some items in the shop.  (Even managed one sale.)

Art journaling: zen tangled face3.  I write/draw an entry into my Art Journal, or do a background further on in the altered book I’ve been using.  Two projects in one.  I try to write a sentence or so everyday although sometimes, I don’t have the energy even for that.  Last night, I scribbled a line.  It’s a line a friend had shared with me.  Gives me pause to think even when I’m just doing the lettering or fonts without actually scribbling an entry.

I like the way my art journal has evolved because now I dare to draw faces, and I am getting more disciplined in doodling — so much so that I actually make an effort to stay within the rather strict zentangling guidelines of sticking to “official patterns”.

But it’s the daily exercise of actually getting something down on the pages of the journal that provides me a release.

4.  I play slots online — but only for free, never for pay.  There’s something about the rolling of the slots that I find relaxing.  Maybe it’s hypnotizing me into playing some more?  I never click on the purchase credits, though, and I wouldn’t dream of gambling.  I just like going through the motions even if there is actually no monetary reward involved.

I’m not really a highly-strung type of person except when I’m upset.  No matter how busy life may get, I coast along and take life as it comes.  Emotions are a different thing, though.  When it gets rough and I am on the verge of whatever, I pray.

Happy Friday, everyone!

We never stop learning

Minutes to midnight and I’m back.  I thought the steak fajita would help, along with some Magnum afterwards, but nope, I didn’t quite get any help with the pain and discomfort beyond this feeling of happiness that filled my stomach.  Well, one part happy and feeling okay is better than all the parts of Dinna feeling all crappy. =)

And I got a very nice surprise from the boys after they left me at Michael’s to troll the aisles and get my pick for the week while they played at Dave & Buster’s.  I actually finished quicker than usual knowing what product I would get for my 40% off coupon for the week along with the acrylic paint colors I wanted to add to my supplies.  The lines were not inordinately longer than the usual “long”, and while I tried to sit and wait by the park bench inside the store (presumably there for the other waiting husbands or kids while Mom does her craft shopping) —  they were taking forever.  I ended up standing up again and grabbing  something else (using the smart coupon on my blackberry instead of the printed coupon I used the first time around), plus additional acrylic paints which were 40% off this week (you can’t beat that!), and still there was no sign of them.   Finally they pulled up by the entrance and I got in the car, and Angelo excitedly handed me a surprise present (and there was no occasion) — a new Michael Kors leather wallet… Speechless.

After that, it was Target.  I had no more energy to go anywhere else, and I would have even skipped Target, but I needed to get Angelo’s supplies for the coming week.  The growing boy eats a boatload of cereal and the current snack of choice: Rice Krispies.  Of course by the time we got home I realized I forgot to buy one important grocery item for the coming week: burger patties.  (The carnivore my son is has forsaken bacon for all beef burgers.)  The truth of the matter is that he prefers the ones from Pat LaFrieda of FreshDirect so I am not totally without recourse.

I tried to do some newspaper collage postcards to add to my Flickr album as I put Angelo to sleep, but all I managed to do was to finish one and I couldn’t quite get moving with the next.  I just wasn’t into it.  I gave it up and opted instead to browse the internet for images and videos about Artist Trading Cards and Mixed Media Art.  (No more postcards for me at least until Monday, I promised myself.)  When I went to pick up my album URL and I visited my Flickr Photostream, I was so amazed that the link I had submitted to the Art Journal Every Day linky list on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog had brought so many views to the graphic of my latest Art journal entry I wrote about below.  But what totally bowled me over where the words of artists — real artists — who hopped into my Flickr set based on that link and left a comment.  It totally made my day.  These are the people who teach me and inspire me to continue to aspire to create.

I always try to find something new that I learn from day to day.  The moment we stop trying to learn is the day we wilt away and die.  Even in the little things that don’t seem to matter, we learn.

Two nice surprises for the day — how can you beat that?  I know I should be so lucky.. sometimes I wonder why they keep coming when I am not deserving.  Then I remind myself to just take it as it comes — enjoy the moment before it passes — and move on.

Art Journal Every Day: "As You are Mine, I am Yours"

With the first week of February ending, here’s my first post for 2012 for my Art Journal Every Day project.  Some 17 years ago, I watched Shakespeare’s  “Much Ado About Nothing” on the big screen where I came across one of my most favorite movie quotes of all time: “As you are mine, I am yours.”

The background for this particular journal entry had been painted some time in the third quarter of 2011, but I recently found it and started working on it again.  What to put in as journaling?  Dyaran!  The phrase suddenly came to mind as Fe reminded me about the quote, trying to figure out if it was “As I am yours, you are mine.. ” or if it was the other way around.  The solution, of course, was to google it.  I remember at the time, a dearfriend had gifted me with a native mat with this inscribed.  Funny how during this last trip to Manila, I actually found the mat as I was going through some old things in storage in my old home.  Someone would say things have come full circle — and I guess it’s my way of starting this year’s art journal where it all began.

A perfect way to start the year’s Art Journaling and keep in step with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s inspirational posts on continuing to chronicle one’s feelings, or days in a journal of self expression.

More to come.

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.

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.