Sunday inspiration

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I made some vegetarian lasagna last night which might actually become a go-to recipe for me this season. Like previous years, I have opted to forego beef and pork for the Lenten season as my personal sacrifice. But the lasagna will have to wait another time. It’s not exactly from scratch and more of the semi-home made kind, and I’m pretty proud of how it came out to be. Now if only it didn’t add the pounds the night after. (And I have one more slice left.)

I’ve been taken by M. Night Shyamalan’s “Servant” which I’ve been watching since Friday. I can’t wait until next Friday when the next episode drops. I’ve always been a fan of M. Night’s work because of his story telling mastery. No matter how dark or fantastic a story he might be telling, I don’t mind watching his movies over and over again. So when I saw the series on Apple TV, I decided to give it a try. The first episode was classic M. Night. I paused. When I went back, I couldn’t stop. I’ve watched the entire Season 1 and all of the episodes of Season 2 that had been released so far. Like I said, waiting for the next episode.

I’ve tried to stay away from the postcards today, because it’s preoccupied a lot of my time the last few days. The sorting continues, (Yay!) and I’ve been weeding out the cards for destashing. I’ve also discovered some cards on Amazon to add to my New York and map cards. I’ll say it again, much as postcrossing has changed the world of postcard collecting, I still prefer direct swaps. The disappointments are not as jarring as the surprises that might come your way from some other place of the world.

I have letters to write. One has been popping in and out of my head to a long time penpal and fellow postcard collector I’ve corresponded with for many years. She is like a little sister to me — and we share various passions together. From personal art (although she is undoubtedly the more accomplished artist) to jewelry making and postcards, we have share a friendship via long distance for many years now. I am wondering how she’s doing, and hoping that she has gotten my last postcard. She and I are close enough that I send a small packet for her whenever I send something to Manila in a balikbayan box, I will start the letter tonight.

I am in the February section of my art journal. I have the layout in my head, but I’m trying to make up my mind about the way I will execute it beyond the heart pages that I’ve already cut. It’s a bit problematic with the thinner used Manila folders that make up most of my journal. I can probably use something thicker, or layered pages for the watercolor or acrylic heavy layouts.

So I thought I’d try my hand at maybe thickening the pages by doing collage. I had a color in mind — I’ve been cutting away, but after picking up some pieces decided it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. Maybe I’ll change my mind later. But I’m keeping the magazine pages that called out to me. I started with this heap below.

Collage

The black and white pages are similar to layouts I had used in last year’s art journal. I like the black dresses which can be drawn over or written on. From this pile, I got to the cut outs below.

Collage

I use straight scissors to cut huge chunks, and a pointy smaller pair for detailed cutting. Lessons from my days with mixed media artist trading cards. While others would prefer to cut with blades or a cutting knife, I have acquired some skill in cutting finely near the border or just outside the border.

Collage

I have the hearts cut out. I had hoped to try to at least assemble the signature together tonight but some cassava got in the way. Given how the folder paper reacts to water, though, I’m thinking if I should paint them first before I pull the section together. Decisions, decision.

My Sunday has been relaxing and busy. I’m thinking of three other chores I can focus on but they can wait. I want to relax and recharge and get my personal projects going this weekend. It’s terribly cold outside but I need to do my walk in a bit. No evening walks when the temperature dips so low, and not on a day when I don’t have to worry about returning to my laptop to continue working.

Last week, I received the health certification from my primary care provider that now entitles me to be vaccinated with the next cohort of qualifiers. Even if I am below 65, the fact that I have a chronic condition that puts me at risk as an asthmatic pushes me up the line. But it isn’t quite that easy. I now have to wait for the vaccine providers to open their system to people of my situation, and then I need to get an appointment.

My letter was dated February 13, in anticipation of the opening of the next tier by the state on February 15, Still, my provider has indicated that they hope to start vaccinating this next set of qualifiers beginning February 23rd. My local pharmacy’s webpage hasn’t quite updated their website to help me qualify just yet. So like the thousands before me, we must play the cat and mouse game of trying to get an appointment. This Sunday, I’m not going to bother myself with that. It can wait another day. And that is altogether another post — soon.

I’m getting ready for Monday and the rest of the week. I think I’ve gotten into a better rhythm after almost of year of working the way we work now. The stress has abated although it has not gotten any less busier. I guess I’m just coping better. Positive thoughts about what the week will bring will hopefully bring me to dreamland with more ease later. Here’s to a better and warmer week for all.

Rain, Ice and Snow and Sir Kenneth Branagh

After the snow - as my day begins

I promise I will try to refrain from posting any more “SNOW” pictures until I get something spectacular yet again. Can we move on to spring, please? My snowboots get special billing in the collage above because I cannot be any happier with a practical (read: necessary) purchase than my Nine West Winter boots. Water-proof and traction is as good as any rough terrain pair — it has paid for its cost of acquisition many times over in this winter alone. And mind you, this was on sale at way below $100.

I can’t wait for winter to be over, more so today when I had to literally wade through slush, mush and snow — both hard and icy and soft and mushy.

Thankfully, it isn’t freezing cold, although you still won’t be able to make it through a block without your gloves and some headgear. I made it to work — and yes, in one piece.

For the first time since we moved to this building five years ago (if memory serves me right), I was greeted by a sheet of ice outside our window panes. At 41 floors above Manhattan, it was an eerie yet pretty sight to behold. I snapped up some pictures and this, below, is one of my favorites ever.

Icy rainy snowy morning

So what does rain, ice and snow have to do with Sir Kenneth Branagh? Nothing. It’s just that I didn’t feel like writing two posts so I’m combining them into one. (More for my benefit than yours.) I have been reading a back issue of Vanity Fair and had come across this one-page article, What You Should Know About Sir Kenneth Branagh.  Of course all it needed was his name and picture on the page to get me to read, and you’ll find it interesting whether or not you have a big crush on him like I do — but I was struck by the way the article was written — sort of a fill-in-the-blanks kind of thing and I thought it would be interesting to go and try that.  So here’s my version of What you should know about Pinay New Yorker:

She takes her coffee with 2% milk and Splenda, and when she feels like indulging her love of milkshakes, she puts some ice cream to flavor her coffee.

She irons her hair, as directed by her stylist Zeph, after she completely dries it and puts hair products in to protect it from that daily torture.

Every day, she begins her day by praying the Serenity Prayer (because that prayer is not only for those with real addictions but for anyone who needs courage and wisdom) and reads the daily reading from KerygmaFamily and prays.

Her being Pinay — despite being a New Yorker for the last 14 years, is a badge that she proudly carries even if she’s often mistaken to be Chinese or Latino.  And when told the last name throws them off, she launches into a mini-history lesson on how the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, hence the Spanish surnames for most of the Philippine populace (with the rest of us Pinoys carrying Chinese surnames.)

Her self-declared “addiction” is to soda and chocolates, both of which she is trying to avoid by starting to lessen  her usually voluminous intake.  (More water, please, and when the penchant for something milky and sweet hits her palate, she grabs a cup of decaf coffee with skim milk and her sweeteners.)

She still writes letters longhand. And long letters, at that.

She commutes home these days on the 6 or something express bus to her side of Queens, getting there just in time to rush through homework, cook dinner and be a Mom.   She hopes one day to find herself sitting next to some famous hunk of a movie star trying to get into the character of someone riding the bus home from work in Manhattan.  (Can I have Brad Pitt, please?)

Her most beloved piece of home décor is a print of the Laughing Christ which isn’t hanging in her home right now, but which has been transported from Manila to New York during one of her previous trips home.

Lured by the daily buzz in Bryant Park which is just across the street during the lunch hour, she often dreams of just sitting there and blending in with nature even when it’s raining, and more so when the snow is falling heavily.

The appliance she most despises is the flat iron because she could never quite figure out how to iron clothes properly.  (Yes, there are skills that can be learned but not mastered.)

The superpower she desires most is to fly so that she can go wherever she wants to go without having to worry about getting there and getting back home in time to do homework and cook dinner.. yet again.

Her favorite songs are “Can We Still Be Friends?” by Todd Rundgren (very, very sad song but with a very good progression of notes that evokes such feelings of regret and resignation), “Two for the Road” by Monica Mancini — yes, the daughter of THE Henry Mancini who composed the song (a sad melody with a very romantic promise of commitment one can only wish and hope for) and “Bituing Walang Ningning” by Sharon Cuneta — I always said it evokes that feeling of one giving up everything for someone you think is worth giving it up for.  Of course whether that turns out okay or not is altogether a different story — and another song.

When craving a sweet, she prefers the old style caramels coated with milk chocolate like those that used to be known as “Pompoms”.

Germ-averse, she is not, but she takes care to make sure she sneezes into a handkerchief or sheet of tissue lest the germophobes around her get upset.

Her last twinge of bemusement was in watching her son make fun of her attempts to lose weight, saying she’s not cute and sexy if she isn’t fat.

Her celebratory drink is a glass (or two) of champagne which she hasn’t had in quite a while, probably for lack of something to celebrate or simply because New Year’s Eves are not pop-the-bottle-of-champagne kinds of occasions in her house (even if it is for her.)

Mail Art: Travel and other swaps

 I’m getting to like Mail Art swapping at Swap-bot.  Here’s one of the swaps I sent out a few days ago over to Tara — the theme was TRAVEL.

So Iprinted a vintage world map as background and added elements relevant to me personally.  A print out of my Philippine passport, a Schengen visa and I added several immigration stamps in and out of the Philippines and New York.  It wouldn’t be complete without a subway map print out which I pasted front to back.

Mail Art: Travel (Decorated envelope - Front)

Mail Art: Travel (Decorated envelope - Back)

This second set of photos shows three tags I had created for the second round of Quote Prompt Mini-Journal swap. The idea was to choose three quotes and put them on individual tags. We’re supposed to compile the tags we receive into a mini-journal by binding them through the single tage hole on each one and be able to flip through the album for inspiration.

Quote Prompt Mini-Journal #2 (Side A)

I chose three women in variosu paintings of Botticelli and then put in quotes about “self”. 

I felt more challenged to come up with something very crafty for this tag set and I tried to add embellishments that I could “laminate” with mod podge onto the chipboard collaged tag I had hand made.  Two sets went out to two partners.
Quote Prompt Mini-Journal #2 (Side B)
 

Slow Saturday and my happy mailbox

It’s not even 8pm yet and I’m here in bed, typing away and yes, getting ready to turn in.  It’s surprisingly a very relaxed Saturday evening.  We grabbed burgers from our favorite Bobby’ Burger Palace before heading home, so I was spared the task of whipping something up for dinner tonight.  We even had my mother-in-law taken cared of thanks to lunch at PF Chang’s.

So I’ve tidied up, and while I could be doing yet a last errand before turning in, I’m here trying to wind down.  Not quite done yet, and hoping to get started on some long-term swaps at Swap-bot.com.

I just sent off two mail art envelopes I’m rather proud of but which I don’t want to post yet because I don’t want to pre-empt the surprise.  I took a sturdy envelope and collaged it all over as the theme for this particular swap was Collage Mail Art.  I’m really beginning to like mail art which is not as high-pressure as ATCs and which is more practical in terms of expectation.  I try to do something in line with the recipient’s profile on the swap site, then I add a few elements that relate to mine, which is usually something in reference to New York.  I will wait a few days until the recipients get theirs — might be a while longer, since one headed towards Chicago, and another for Australia.

I haven’t done my “Five Things to do this Weekend” list for two weeks now because life has been awfully busy thanks to work.  I’m looking forward to things easing up a bit the next two weeks, but Monday promises to be a chaotic day.  I usually go through a lot of motions sending off the boss to some foreign land, making sure all arrangements are taken cared of (done), all data required is gathered by his Chief of Staff (presumably done), and that an itinerary is pulled together for the trip.

For the first time, I was pre-empted by someone working for the Chief of Staff who had committed to do the itinerary, and I was more than happy to let the task go to someone else because we’ve really been very busy with a slew of other things that were  equally if not more important than the painstaking task of covering every facet of the trip.  With stops in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Delhi, I could use all the help I could get.  So I was rather taken aback but not totally surprised that there was a misunderstanding about the itinerary.  They were only taking care of the Tokyo leg, with no information at all on the rest of the trip.  I had no choice but to take over.

I guess the slow weekend is a God-send because it will help me prepare for the week ahead.  I’ve done it before, it will be done, but I hate the stress of having to do something I could’ve started last week and refined in the succeeding days in one day.  But that’s life.

I’m not rushing to complete any other swaps except for one which should be a breeze.  I have a couple of chores which I can easily handle tomorrow.  More letters to write, hand washing to be done, and a piece or two to sew.  I am reminded yet again that I have a fully-functioning electronic sewing machine in the attic.  Although I’m not too sure it still works as it might need oiling after practically more than 12 years of non-use, it’s a pity that it’s sitting there gathering dust.  The truth of the matter is that my art gurus are into sewing paper — yes, paper — and adventurous crafter that I am, why not?  It’ll have to wait another day.

I just sent off this card today which was inspired by the artwork of Nicoletta Ceccoli.  Her art is rather unusual and dark, but the colors and the soft lines mesmerized me.  I’m hooked.

Printing the graphic on thin kraft paper also lends it a softening touch.

Handmade card by Gotham Chick

The kraft paper I used here was rather thin that it crinkled when I pasted it with mod podge onto the main card.  I left it at that.  I also used two coats to “seal” the collage including the simple word art.  I like the way glossy mod podge gives a linen-like finish to the surface giving it a soft gloss that seals the work flat.

I’ve also experimented on printing straight onto newsprint — as in literally onto a sheet folded to size from a newspaper (my printer has regular paper limitations, unfortunately, ) and the result has been magical.  It seems to ‘magnetize’ the paper, though and makes it initially difficult to handle, but it gives a glossy sheen much like what we see in glossy magazines.  (I had always thought that it was because magazines were printed on glossy paper, which is the case — but it produced the same effect when I printed straight onto newsprint.)  My next batch of mail art used this printed newsprint but again, I cannot as yet post any samples until they have reached their intended destination.  I plan to do this with my personal photography which should make for some interesting compositions.

Meanwhile, here is the mail art I received from my partner, Roxanne (roxswapbot).

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 1 (Front, uncovered)

The “envelope” she used was quite a “teaser” because she had used a soft plastic CD case, giving us a peek into what was inside.  My interest was immediately piqued by the very revealing packaging.

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 2 (Back, unopened)

The packaging was very playful and I didn’t want to just open it although I was dying to see the contents within.  I waited patiently for the chance to be able to do it when I could photograph it as the little presents within were revealed to me.

Here are some close up details of the outer packaging before I opened it:

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 3 (Close up of removable sticker at the back)

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 4 (Detail in front)

She had used tape extensively, so I knew that once I opened there would be no putting it back together again.  So what was inside?  Have a look:

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 5 - metal alpha

My name spelled out in a very unusual metal die-cut alpha.  That alone made me happy already.  And there was that turqoise-tissue wrapped teeny-weenie package… what could possibly be in it?

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 6 - first package within uncovered

Ta-da!  Inside were two pewter charms of a pair of dice.. (Someone read my profile extensively!)  So next I opened the tiny envelope which revealed a mini-treasure trove of its own..  More goodies!

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 7 - Envelope within

And she could’ve stopped with the metal beads!  Yet another package…
Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 8 - tiny package within upclose

And inside was yet another present —

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 9 - another charm within

This unique charm of a token-like charm with a cupcake imprint that said  “good for one Birthday Wish”.  (Closing my eyes to make that wish now even if it wasn’t until April!)

Happiness.. you can see that she had put together a truly well thought-out package for her partner… and I can only imagine what the second of two partners had received.  But I have no cause to be envious because I got quite a present.

I am often tempted to feature the items I receive in the swaps, but I’m afraid to start a precedent which might lead to other senders feeling bad if I don’t post their items here.  I am often pressed for time posting my own work — and that would give me a major backlog given the swaps I’m in.  This was an exception because I learned a lot from what Roxanne had put into my envelope and because it was truly a delight opening each “layer” of the package.

We usually rate with a 5 and a heart for such outstanding swaps like this one, but I would’ve wanted to rate her with a dozen hearts but I can’t.  The least I could do was share the joy here in my little corner because joy indeed, is what she had brought me.

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.)

Hope

I’ve been remiss in sending out the cards and letters I’ve been meaning to all these weeks. (Including half a dozen Christmas cards. LOL) But I am trying to get rolling again, and of course, first off is a handmade card for P. I had done this magazine collage with zentangling even before, then had tucked it away somewhere — losing it in the process. I just found it a few days ago as I searched high and low for a very important picture I’m looking for and it’s about time I got it going on its way to its intended recipient.

I’m trying to keep the ailing post office services of the world busy! There’s something about the written word that still beats the speed of the internet and other wireless means of communication. Personally, I like that cards and letters are something you can actually physically hold and go back to whenever you wanted to relive a thought or a feeling that came with that piece of paper. And when the card, the sender or the message being sent is special, it helps one to “reconnect” in a different way.

I am sending my thoughts, prayers and love home to P — a dear friend from grade school. I am smiling at the thought that this is one person I’ve known practically all my life. (I think we met in second grade when I was 7 years old.) One of the few people on my “people I must see” list every time I go home. And while we did get to see each other, I missed out on having a pic taken. (Must do next time: Pic with P only!) Our classmates and teachers used to get us mixed up despite her lovely, lovely curls and eye glasses. I’m flattered. =) We even made a joke of being related for a while..  (Remember that?)

She still has the same infectious laugh that rings true with joy. Her voice is still as malambing as it has always been.

I miss writing and talking to you, P.  I’m back, though! =)  I am hoping to see you the next 20 homecomings to Manila  AT THE VERY LEAST — and who knows?  You might see me very soon again — more food tripping?  Promise I won’t surprise you this time so we can plan something.

We’ve gotten this far — we can’t give up now.  You continue to be a source of inspiration and strength — and my card says “Hope” not because I’m trying to remind you not to give up — but rather to say you are “hope” personified.  You continue to remind me every day that it springs eternal.

See you soon, my friend.  In the meantime, sending love and cheer down to you the old-fashioned way…

Embracing Fall

It’s officially Saturday, minutes after midnight.  I didn’t get to do much this Friday evening, choosing instead to tuck Angelo in and read him a story.  Then I let him sleep soundly with his head resting on my arm.  Bliss.

I just re-uploaded one of Angelo’s older videos which I put together after his first trip to Disney MGM (now known as Disney Hollywood Studios) way back in 2007.  Seeing him all grown up now at 7 years old in comparison to that toddler is such a revelation.

I’ve started this flower collage I’m creating using some colorful pages from an industry publication we get at work.  (Such artwork laid to waste considering it mostly ends up in the recycling bin.)  Call it my annual homage to fall.  I’ve decided to use it as my graphic for the next posts until it is completed and I complete the card I hope to make with it.

I’m using different sheets per layer, super-imposing the top layer on the page and drawing around it.  I am now on the next layer, drawing it zentangling style.

I hope that the weather improves enough in the coming days to afford me a chance to photograph the colors of fall like I did in 2008 and 2009.  My camera is falling apart and is making me seriously consider purchasing a similar point-and-shoot SLR-like (but not quite SLR) digital cam, but I’m sort of attached to all the memories this camera has captured for me.  Besides, it’s one of those “nice-to-have-but-can-do-without” kind of things, so I am going to take a lot of convincing to get a new cam.

I put my pliers down and gave it a rest tonight, although I’m raring to create more pieces even if one pair of earrings last night took me the good part of what was left of my evening.  I’m quite happy with the result, just that it took forever.   I’m in no hurry.  I liked what I created last night so much I will be creating a second pair to keep for myself. =)

Sales at the shop (gothamchick.etsy.com) have been pretty slow.  I should be drumming up sales considering it’s my second year anniversary being on Etsy, but I’ve been very busy at work.

It’s our second anniversary, and if you “LIKE” our page, you’ll be entered to win an I HEART NY shirt in your size.. come on over!

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*

CREDITS:
– 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.