Therapy: Scribbling and Doodling and Mountain Maid Strawberry Jam for breakfast

Work in progress:  thank you postcard for #thethankyoupostcardproject. A simple thank you is enough.  #postcard #handwritten #pen #cursive #sprayink #vintagebookpage #handmade #pspercrafts #thankyou #thanks #sayit #kindness #payitforward

I do it when I get the chance, and I’m surprised that I’ve covered so much ground.  I did this layout just before I left work yesterday.  At first I meant to do collage letters or paper embellishment “THANK YOU”s.  Then I started doodling again and then doing my block lettering.  I’m lucky to have a nice penmanship, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of actually rendering it as wordart until now.  As always, all it takes is practice.  As you can see, I still need to do one more pass, at least, to fill in the gaps within the lettering.

The background is a collage of at least 2 pieces from a vintage book (read: almost 100 years old) I got for a song at Strand’s.  It was a little difficult working with it because the paper is literally crumbling.  You cannot fold it anymore as it will just break at the crease.  Once done, I will seal this with a coating of Mod Podge Matte Finish or it will never get to its destination!
Almost finished or should I leave this as is?  Work in progress for #thethankyoupostcardproject   Bring some color into someone's world by saying thank you.  #thanks #sayit #kindness #wordsmatter #wordart #workinprogress #postcard #payitforward #pen #spra

(I’m not quite sure if I will continue to doodle on this or just leave it as is.)

I haven’t quite gotten the project off the ground.  I was hoping to do this update on the blog for the project (see badge on the right or click here), but I wanted to make that blog all about the project, while this space is all about me.

Sometimes I grab a stack of the cards and I just can’t stop.  Whether it is doing the borders around the Subway Map background layouts, or doodling the actual “Thank you” on them, it has a hypnotic effect that keeps me going and going.

Work in progress: ink on a piece of the NY subway map for #thethankyoupostcardproject - Remember to say thank you ... #thanks #thankyou #kindness #sayit #payitforward #postcard #pen #pspercrafts #crafts #workinprogress

Even just drawing those lines on the border can be very relaxing.  I usually stop only because my lunch hour is over or because my hand has started to hurt.

I remember reading about a then teen-age actress back in the 80s and she used to say she would color with crayons on kiddie coloring books to pass the time between takes during shoots and to destress.  We all self-soothe.  Many of us do it in unconscious ways but for some, we seek the comfort or calm we want to have in very deliberate ways.

Mine has been writing and personal art.  It has been helpful.  And I often find it amazing to see how my work has progressed.  I don’t claim to be an artist.  I’m a crafter.

I often get lost in the daily grind.  Work has its own rhythm and I can get going from the beginning of the day to the end juggling things and trying to finish the tasks I’ve been assigned.  Time can fly by when you need more of it.  And when the break hits me, I stop and try to do something specifically “FOR ME”.  Whether it is to browse my favorite websites for inspiration or to just go through one of my magazines.. or maybe even create one of my digital postcards to post on my Instagram page for the project.

I push the negative thoughts away.  Those thoughts that bring pain and confusion and anger.  I try to dwell on the positive.  Scribbling and doodling brings me there.  We all have our own ways of coping — I’m trying to stay on the positive side, even if I sometimes can’t help but thinking perhaps there’s something to drinking the blues away, or some such other resort.  But the thing is, I don’t enjoy drinking, for one, so the thought of the headache and maybe spilling my guts out when I get inebriated keeps me from going that route.

It looks like a nice day out.  I started the day with my buttered toast and jam breakfast.  And mind you, it’s no ordinary jam.  I finally relented to opening my last bottle of Mountain Maid Strawberry Jam from the Religious of the Good Shepherd convent in Baguio from last December’s visit. (If you’re visiting from Manila and you ever think of me, please bring me a bottle… precious, precious jam!  I only use one teaspoon each time.. trying to stretch it.)  Such a savory treat that brings me a taste of home..

I’m seeing my stylist for a hair cut.. the boy needs one, too.  Errands to be done today — and just relaxing.  It’s one of the last holidays we’re getting for a while, so we’re trying to make the most o fit.

I can’t believe the quiet.  The boys are in the room.  (Coolest part of the house.)  Can you believe summer’s gone?  We will officially be into fall soon.  Where did the time go?

Well, we’re still here.

That’s a thought that makes me truly thankful.

 

 

Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (Another Multi-page Layout)

Here is the second multi-page layout in my altered book which spells out BELIEVE through various pages. The totality of the pages looks like this:
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) -1
I wanted to be able to write about ‘believing in happiness’ again by reinforcing this through “happines” quotes throughout the layout. I used the MISERABLE Font and found the right size that would enable me to spread out the “e-l-i-e-v” in a two-page layout and then have “b” and the last “e” fold out from outside the two pages as you see above.

I tried to do the embellishments in the various spreads using the same theme, which were watercolor and pen layered flower doodles which I did individually then pasted onto the book. I also printed the Happiness quotes on kraft paper.

If you look at the alpha sizes, the ‘B’ is pronouncedly bigger than the rest as in a Title Case.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 2

The scribblings in ink around the watercolor flowers came at the same time as the journaling. I had to fill in the empty space and show a more cohesive background beyond the colors, so I did this for every layout.

Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 3

I didn’t let my journaling be confined by the pagination.  In face the entry for this day continues onto the next journaling box which had to be after the middle page layout of the ‘l-i” which I filled in instead with a sun doodle which is a favorite graphic of mine.  (Easy to do and literally shines with positivity.)
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 4

 Here you’ll see the tiny journaling space which I wrote on anyway to finish the entry from the previous journaling box.

 

Art Journal Every Day: Believe
When I do my journal entries here, I don’t really care about breaking up the words in syllables or whether or not it comes out readable. I write very spontaneously, and I keep in mind that the only person who should understand what I wrote or tried to write is me.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 6
For this next layout, I had a lot of space and decided to be more playful with the whole layout, putting in a pen outline of my face which was a reproduction from a photo.

Although it isn’t anything like the watercolor photos decribed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blogpost/tutorial on Super Easy Watercolor Portraits.  It was easier, too, that I had used a ‘line drawing’ version of the photo I chose for this.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 7

Much of the right side was watercolor on a book page which would have made it difficult to write the entry, so I pasted one of my grid watercolor backgrounds onto the page and journaled there.  This whole layout made room for a total of 3 days’ journaling which was an added bonus.  I could’ve done a fourth on my face but I liked the way I traced the impression on the page and decided to keep it as it.

So can you believe all that evolved from this?

 Art Journal Every Day-BELIEVE original

That’s that

I’m nocturnal. I’ve always functioned best at night. My best works have been produced in the evening. For some reason, my brain seems to be wired to work better when the sun is shining on the other side of the world.

Tonight, though, even that part of my nature can’t beat the physical exhaustion I feel. It’s something health-related — and I’m hoping it goes soon, but it’s one of those things you have to ride out. I’d like to write more here — I’d like to stay up later to keep editing my Book of Treasures Video, but I figure I can postpone publishing that until the end of the week.

My first priority is sending out my DECORATE A JOURNAL book tomorrow. (VERY, VERY LATE!) I had taken pictures as I created the cover, but I don’t have the energy to correct the photos, upload, and do the post. I’ll do it another time. I did, however, manage to touch up the photo of a postcard I sent out today. It was a doodled PC that made its way to the post office this afternoon.

I enjoy the swaps but I am almost afraid to admit I’m hitting a swap burnout. Then Maricar stops by (THANK YOU!) who is from the same swap group. =) It is always heartening to read comments.  (Hint, hint, people!)  I know people are stopping by, but no one is saying anything and that’s like talking to the wind, or talking to myself. (Of course, there’s Lou!) So maybe I won’t quit swapping even if only temporarily at all.. I’ll slow down to a crawl instead.

I’ve tried to cut down on most things.  I’m hardly on Facebook these days (so if you actually need to reach me urgently, e-mail is best please.)  I haven’ t browsed my usuall web haunts because I’ve come to the realization that I have to start looking to other places for my daily fix.  Again, letting it go.  Even when you get used to talking to the wind, it gets tiring when even the wind refuses to blow and answer back.  Even when I think I understand, it still tires the heart to wait and not hear a thing.  That’s more than a hint to go bark up another tree.

There have been a few things I’ve come across, too, which have made me realize that some things have been set in ways which I cannot fight or question, try as I might.  It’s one of those questions you ask the universe and then you find the answer in a totally unrelated development which, by itself, has nothing to do with the question you asked.  But it answered the question.  It’s something that makes one say, “so that’s that.”

Is it human nature that makes us keep chasing that which hurts us in the hope that holding it again will make the pain go away?  Or is it just plain stupidity?  I don’t know.  It might just be my colds, the fact that not enough oxygen seems to be making it up to my brain tonight, or the pain I’m feeling in my body which I must just ride out.  Some things are better just left alone.  Better to let it go.  What is it that they say?  This, too, shall pass.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that — because there are pains that never go away.  You just get better at living with them.  You learn to live with your mistakes and you just walk with your head bowed down.   You learn to accept the blows that life has dealt you, and you say again, that’s that.

People seem to like that I write with such honesty and brutal frankness here.  Yet I have to admit I censor myself heavily most times.  I have cautioned my younger blog friends to be careful with what and how they write because anything you put out there will always be there — forever.  Notwithstanding hitting the delete and permanently delete button.  In that sense, the web is like the human heart — it will find forgiveness, but it will not always have the blessing of forgetting.

I save much of my anger and hate, frustration and pain in a private place — although sometimes, some of it creeps out.  I’m only human.  And that’s that.

PS. If you read this far into this latest post, it would really mean a lot to me if you left me a quick comment — who is reading me from Greece? The UK? Who’s in Manila? (Definitely not my siblings who wouldn’t even know my URL if you asked them.)
Swap-bot Doodled PC No. 2: Spring 2013

Art Journal Every Day with Angelo

For the 2 most recent Art Journal Every Day pieces I’ve worked on, I’ve decided to incorporate Angelo’s art/school work into my layout which I’ve found great inspiration in, not just for journaling, but more for the fact that it allows me to do something together with my son, even if not spontaneously. 

Art Journal Every Day with Angelo: Angel of my heart

This first collaboration was one of three ‘monsters’ Angelo rendered after reading a related story in school.  I picked up one of the 9 x 14 pieces and worked on it as  a background to do an entry about my 8-year-old.  I filled the spaces with phrases and did a journal entry:

“There are no works to describe how much you mean to me.  You were the answer to my prayers and I pray that God always keep you in His care.”

Art Journal Every Day with Angelo: Tomorrow will be a better day

I had wanted to do a piece on “Tomorrow will be a better day” (as a reminder for myself) and I cut out a rainbow from a sheet that Angelo drew for me for Mother’s Day 2012.  I put it in as the first element and worked the layout around it.  Instead of drawing on a plain sheet, I also tried something different by using one of my digital background papers and drew the rest of the entry around it.  The flower-like journal “bubble’ on the lower right hand corner was supposed to be a cloud which ended up looking more like a flower.  (Hey, I try.. LOL)  In it I wrote:

“There are days when I need to remain optimistic and hope that there will be another morning and things will turn out fine tomorrow.  There is always HOPE.  We just have to get past the bad days.”

The entries are simpler and more spontaneous these days… My journal has come back to life again.

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.

Zentangling in Color

Thanks (yet again) to inspiration from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer‘s blog where she featured Carolyn Brady as a guest writer to write about Zentangling in Color, I found myself doing this Art Journal Every Day entry yesterday when I was itching to find an outlet for what was such a struggle of a blog post.

It has been a year since Dad passed, and finding myself at this juncture was really hard on me emotionally.  It’s as if I am grieving all over again, although in truth I should be taking off the veil of mourning, or as we refer to it in the vernacular, “babang luksa”.

I tried writing a post to no avail.  Then I thought of creating an art journal entry, but my art journal was home, having grown to a bulky notebook despite its handful of entries.

So I tried to be resourceful, picking up 4×6 blank index cards where I scribbled “tears” using watercolor pencils (which, luckily, were in one of my personal drawers), smudging them with a wet paintbrush (which I had brought for another reason), and then zentangling over them after they dried.

Ta-dah!  Of course I ended up cutting the teardrops and pasting them onto my layout, zentangling around the pieces in black ink and then simply scribbling the quotation I found which was just so apt.

It was, in a way, my tribute to Dad.  Remembering him and continuing to pray for him wherever he may be.

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.

Art Journal Every Day: Today, The Journey Begins…

It was not easy to start again but here is my first finished layout (finally photographed!) as I begin my Art Journal Every Day journey in an ACTUAL journal.  I know I had long resisted the idea to do it, but here it is.  I am excitedly working on three layouts right now — and while it would be great to finish one and move on to the next, I’ve come to discover that it isn’t quite that easy when you cannot be art journaling full time.  Besides, it helps to have the journal to whip out in a busy hotel lobby as I wait for Alan to get off work.  Or when the inspiration hits me during my lunch break, I can just open it and close it discreetly when it’s time to work again.  So it can be done indeed!

I feel as though I’m doing more mistakes than I’m doing things right, but I think that that is all part of the process.  The frustration and the creativity required to work around mistakes is good therapy for artist-wannabes like me, and I am already excitedly thinking about future layouts.

I am also learning about the surface/texture I work with, and want to experiment with other methods or ways besides collage or just plain and simple scrapbooking.  I’ve put gesso on one layout but find that raw paper might be better for me since I work a lot with pens and markers.

It is so inspiring, though, to work on paper that’s been laid out with a watercolor background like the layout I am trying to finish below.  While there were some mistakes like when I made watercolor circles and then I tried to dilute them by brushing over them — resulting instead in almost totally blotting them out.  Still, I can live with the finished product and have pasted snippets of actual photos I took, a jorunaling entry, and of course, zentangled borders.  (I just can’t help it!)

Work in Progrss

However, between gesso-prepped paper and plain paper that’s been pasted onto my composition notebook, I’m finding that the plain paper that’s been watercolored on is easier for me to work with.  I guess it might also be part of my learning process.

I am excitedly trying to figure out how best to use watercolor pencils, my pastel (craypass) pens and a very elementary set of acrylics — and I am enjoying myself immensely in the process.  For now I think I’ll be doing more watercolor backgrounds.  Indeed, the journey has begun…

Art Journal Every Day: A productive weekend

I was actually meaning to add the story to this blogpost later, but I am having such a frustrating time trying to put the pictures up online without it looking like it’s all skewed.

It was a productive weekend indeed with three finished entries, and I just realized today that I actually have 14 hearts now.  Halfway through at the end of the month. HA!  I might yet get the 28 done quicker than quick, and move on to the next phase of our Art Journaling sojourn.  Or should I say, MY Art journaling sojourn.

Still on the theme of hearts and love…

Art Journal Every Day: Simply LOVESimply LOVE

LOVE done in simple wordart (via Microsoft Word)and printed in ultra light and fine grey.  Putting a heart in the background was an afterthought, but I think it came out nicely.  I had done it by hand and then filled in the spaces with other tiny hearts.

I’m actually doing a series of this four-letter sheets, one of which was a collaboration between me and my six year old son.

Art Journal Every Day: Love and GratitudeLove & Gratitude

Here is another “template” I’m working on producing varied layouts of which started with the heart and the smaller square frame around it.

I am currently working on another one with a different phrase in the center.  This one simply says “Thanks” rendered in my own handwriting.  I simply drew  lines from the middle frame to the edge of the 8″ x 8″ square and then filled them in with different designs.

At this point of my zentangling adventure, there are certain patterns I’ve grown fond of which you will see in my various works, and some which continue to evolve.  Always, though, there is at least one pattern or design that I try out with each new piece fort he first time.

There is also a conscious effort on my part to try to avoid putting straight squarish patterns next to each other, trying to alternate instead between the round and curved to the straight and defined lines.
Art Journal Every Day: Love as a 6-year-old knows it

Love as a 6-year-old knows it

I am always excited to think up of projects to do with my son, Angelo, and I told him I had this sheet I wanted him to color so I can put it up online again. After he colored in the wordart, I defined the letters using a permanent marker and simply put a border around the frame.

Watching the Oscars while finishing this, one of the acceptance speeches made me gush and I decided it was apt for this particular piece. Around the border I wrote: “You are my dream come true…”

Art Journal Every Day: Forever in my heart

Art Journal Every Day: Forever in my heartPink. Specifically, Fuschia Pink.

I had tucked in the boy last night and almost fell asleep beside him. I rose again at a few minutes past 11pm and turned on the TV. Somewhere between the reruns of Criminal Minds (which has gotten me totally hooked!), I started the swirls and patterns and at just before 1AM finally finished this. Somehow the work was more fluid and flowed easily. Working with the right shade of pink helped.

I tried to be more experimental with my scribblings, using smaller spaces for the patterns delineated and then distinguishing colored and plain lines to create a contrast. It’s hard to explain, and not that I mean to, but it has been truly therapeutic for me even if I do it in spurts.

I don’t remember ever finishing any of my 8 hearts in one sitting. It is always a staggered process which allows me to be more creative. Sometimes in putting in the tiny details, I find myself just getting lost in the repetitive action and it just soothes my weary mind.

Forever in my heart…

The caption came just as spontaneously.  I thought of things that were dear to me and memories which are literally forever etched in my heart of hearts.  I think of the happy thoughts and the feelings that matter.  I am not talking about pain or sorrow.  Not that I have not had those aplenty, but I have always tried to move on as best I could and let those negative feelings go.  Life is short, they all say.  So I count the good ones and tuck away the bad in those nooks and crannies where they can disappear into nothingness.  Let the happy thoughts and the good memories be the ones that I keep forever in my heart.