My One Sentence Journal

One sentence journalI’ve been busy drawing letters of the alphabet after joining the Instagram challenge from @handetteredABCs to write the entire alphabet a letter a day this February.  (You can learn more about it at their website here, and jump into my Instagram account and click on any letter you see..)

I jumped in at H and am currently at O.  It’s been a fun journey but I’m in such great company!  I drool over the calligraphers who can create such beauties in literally a stroke of their pen.  I wish I could do that.  I can render lettering but I draw them.  Like most art, it takes practice to improve one’s craft and inspiration hit me last night to start this new journal.

 Just one sentence.  Any other blurbs or write up will have to be elsewhere like here.

Strictly in pen.  I have my art journal for the fancier stuff.

In a small enough size that I can lug it anywhere.  I want to be able to carry it with me easily without lugging a tome.  The page size is also key if I am to do a page without devoting a day to it.  My art journal is always a work in progress because I do the page layouts and then decided on embellishments and then do the actual journaling.  This one is much, much more abbreviated than that.

Should be a notebook I can tear pages off and later pull together into one journal.  I must’ve rendered one line over 20x last night, tearing off the mistakes out.  I will have to grab another one soon. I have these freebies I grabbed from a conference at work from a sponsor which was made of recycled paper.  Perfect.  No expense, and more importantly, the paper takes the ink from the pen with ease.

This is as much to practice my lettering as it is to memorialize words and thoughts that might mean something to me at any given point in time.  Self explanatory.

I have been journaling since I was young, and I still have my handwritten journals  which I began when I arrived in New York almost 18 years ago.  I’m almost done with my first art journal in an altered book, and I’m beginning a new one.  This is both simple and not simple, but it works the same way in giving me a channel of self expression.

In one sentence.

Gorgeous Day In New York City and Other Happy Thoughts

It was a little chilly and grey when I walked out the door, but I left without a coat or a jacket. 70 degrees by the end of the day with the sun up high, and 70 degrees is what I got when I walked out of the office late this afternoon. Just gorgeous! I like it just this cool because a sweater will keep you toasty and a light scarf will do the job nicely.

I’ve been working on some quotes for a journal swap I’m sending out over the weekend using freehand lettering over watercolor backgrounds. While I’m using the originals for the journal, I’m photocopying the finished work on cardstock and high-quality paper for other uses. (Cards, my “Font Love” folio, and maybe as embellishment for future journals.).

Watercolor and Ink: Quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne on Happiness

I enjoyed painting the backgrounds ahead and then writing freehand, then drawing the letters as I shaded in and defined the alpha individually.  It’s part of a “Happiness” ensemble I’m creating for the “Decorate a Journal” swap over at Swap-bot.com.

Yesterday was a rather interesting day, but I was too tired to write about it.  I’ve been fortunate to have had a nice past couple of days, and I have to start writing about it before the news gets old and I get lazy again.

The Ink PadWell, for starters, I went on a “craft-day-for-me” field trip last Saturday to Allentown, Pennsylvania.  (Typing that actually literally made me smile.)  Angelo and I had taken a trek to The Ink Pad over at 7th Ave and 13th Street on our birthday date last April 2, and not only did I finally lay eyes on stamping/papercrafting heaven this side of town, but I found out about the bus trip being organized by the store to join “Heirloom’s Allentown Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival“.

It took me a while to make up my mind about going, and when I finally called to reserve my seat ($69 for a round trip ticket on the bus including fair tickets, raffle drawing both on the bus and at the event, and a goodie bag..!), I ended up grabbing the LAST ONE before the trip closed out.  It was on the 13th, Saturday, and my biggest problem was hauling myself downtown to meet the 8am bus departure.  It meant waking up at the crack of dawn and getting to the bus stop in time for the first weekend bus run at 6:30am.   To make sure I made it to the store on time, I hailed a cab right by the Empire State Building on 34th and Fifth Avenue.  I made it to the bus with enough time to spare.

It was a bus full of ladies and a man.  (Mickey, who goes by Scrapamale on Youtube was quite a breath of fresh air and humor — and now, inspiration.  Check out his Youtube Channel here.)  I sat next to Pam who was a retired housewife from whom I learned a lot about classes and offerings, including a craft retreat she is suggesting I attend.  We all went our separate ways when we finally got to Allentown — and we didn’t meet up again until we returned to the bus.

Allentown Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival, April 13

There was much to see and learn about at the craft fair — and it was such an experience watching products and techniques being demonstrated live by the various vendors who were participating.  I ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ over the art tools, many of which I had seen for the first time.  (I am still a craft novice at this point!)

I’m not a heavy stamper, really.  I’m just starting in that department.  I have always tried to get interesting clear stamps but I left much of them with my sister, Ofie, when I went home in December 2011.  I’m just beginning to see their use as far as paper crafts are concerned, and I’ve incorporated them into my artist trading cards and handmade postcards.  I am trying to use more of them in my journaling as well.

I browsed the stores from one end of the hall to another.  There weren’t that many, and the “experts” were saying it was a smaller venue and less vendors — but it took me close to an  hour to do my initial “ocular”.  Then I went into each store to see what was of interest.  Each store seemed to offer something different, so you had something to buy in each one.  Stores from as far as Ohio were participating.  (Little wonder there was a mini-RV section in the parking lot.)

There were samples galore showing what you could do with all the tools around.  I was too busy learning about the products to pay attention to many of the works of art displayed, and I had taken most of my photos really to document what I was putting on my mental wishlist.  It was crafting heaven!

The craft fair experience itself deserves a separate post with all the photos I took — hopefully posted here by the weekend.  Lunch was out in the parking lot where I had earlier seen a cheese steak, hotdogs and burgers concessioe.  I picked through the meat and the fries with a fork and had quite a meal.

Italian Cheese Steak and Cheese Fries in Allentown, PA

There was a Farmer’s Market across from the hall where the craft fair was, but I had to restrain myself from walking in, saving that for the end of the day just before I went back to the bus.  (Grabbed a whole gourmet pecan pie that was totally worth dragging my aching feet through the huge indoor market for… yum!)

I was exhausted by the time I settled down.  I drifted in and out of sleep and was pleasantly awakened in the middle of a snooze because I won a prize.  (I have a video I will post later of the goodies I won.)

I am actually seriously considering doing the next one near me which will be in West Springfield, MA on June 1 and 2.  I need to plan my logistics because it won’t be worth staying over, but there are buses that head to Boston.  Hmmm..  I am keeping my fingers crossed that The Ink Pad will organize another trip.  Maybe.. We’ll see.

The boys went around the city and picked me up in Midtown at the end of the day, saving me the longer commute home.  My feet were almost numb from all the walking.  (Craft shopaholic!)  But it was SO WORTH IT.  I’m glad I spent the money I did to get there.  The things I saw and learned are worth so much more.

I haven’t really had the chance to unpack the stuff I bought because I’ve been working earnestly on my journal.  I can’t wait to try the new materials I haven’t tried yet.  In time.

Down at work, things have been pretty light because the boss is on holiday.  Still, it only meant a lighter work load, but not the absence of workload.  I have been trying to catch up with the filing.  The meeting requests never end.  I’m already scheduling into June.

Meanwhile, I have a trip to plan in May for Cousin M’s wedding.  Do I really want to fly out and get dressed?  YES!  =)   I wish I could shave off the fat and lose the equivalent of my two thighs but that is not happening in the next couple of weeks.  LOL.   I fly out on the 17th, back on the 19th.  I haven’t even picked out my dress.  But — I have the dress shoes and bag and shawl to go with it, and I already have the pearls I will string into a necklace as my main accessory.  =)  I’m going solo so that’s another “me” trip.  Never been there… that should be interesting.  Oh, and I guess I should book the flight and the hotel this week.  (Panic time!)

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, the universe asked a question, I answered, and I got an answer back.  Someone once told me that “everything will eventually fall into place.”  (My friend failed to tell me, though, that they won’t always fall where I want them to.  Ha!)   Sometimes, things work out in the strangest of ways.  Sometimes little acts of kindness can be so precious.

I have e-mails to write but I was given a new blackberry today, so I have to reconfigure my e-mail settings again tomorrow.  The e-mails will have to wait.  I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday.  It feels as if the weekend was already here.  Not quite, I know.  Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking.

Watch out for my craft fair post.  I have a couple of videos for editing so watch out for that, too.  I just need to figure out a way to shoot my tutorials from above my hands.  I finally found my video cam (tucked in one of the drawers of my credenza at work — forgotten for non-use.) — I’d need to be able to snap it onto something to do the tutorial, though, and it will need to be plugged into my laptop or PC.  Dilemma there — I can’t do the video at my desk.  I usually sneak away into an empty office or conference room to do my videos.  Plus, it’s quite a production to lug my laptop to work.  (I can, though, if I want to.)  Ipad?  Still have to figure out how to suspend it above me to take an overhead shot.

Midnight creeping up on me in 6 minutes.  Almost there yet my stomach is debating on whether or not to go for a slice of pie — and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream?  (Hungry tummy, simmer down!  LOL)  A yawn just slipped out and there goes my answer.  Time to tuck in.  The pie can wait until tomorrow.  Maybe for breakfast?  (Oops.. just remembered, I have to grind some coffee beans for tomorrow’s breakfast.  I guess I’ll just have to do it right before brewing.)

Watercolor and Ink: Quote from Fyodor on Happiness

Art Journal Every Day: Just Be

Art Journal Every Day: Just Be

Sometimes even I surprise myself.  No zentangling!  But still doodling wordart and all…

I like this Art Journal Every Day entry because I was able to do so many things with it — and I like that I wrote a ton of journaling as well.  I had the general idea of what I wanted it to be — I wanted it to be about just being quiet, just sitting still, not doing anything, and letting the thoughts, messages and feelings just come.  And come they did.

It’s not something that I often choose to do out of my own choice — but I often wander off, just leave everything blank, and just sit… or just be.  Sometimes, even as I get ready for bed, I just stare at the ceiling, listening to the humming of the airconditioner.  I will admit there was a time when I was afraid of the silence because I was afraid of what I would hear then — but these days, I wait, I listen.  As I wrote in the journal entry, sometimes even when I do something routine like washing the dishes, I lose myself into listening to “being”.  And those are the times when I hear my happy, sad, painful, joyful and silly thoughts coming out.

At times I can be sitting down in my work area with my beads and my tools, or painting in the kitchen with my watercolor and creating backgrounds.  Even in doing that, I’m really not doing anything. Or perhaps I am doing something but I am listening.

HOW I DID IT:

I am sharing my how-to not because I consider this a real work of art, but rather because I did these pieces in a basic, non-artistic way.  I want to show those of you who, like myself, admire the works of the real artists and wish that we could come up with those works of art ourselves that yes, IT CAN BE DONE!!

– I painted the swirls background using regular watercolor, starting with the swirls, then filling it in with a lighter color. (Orange swirls with a yellow filling) and chose a darker but muted color like sienna for the background.  (I have to admit, I found it rather childish and too playful, I just didn’t imagine I’d be able to create this layout with the background I originally had!)

– Found this great photo in a magazine supplement which was in heavyweight glossy paperstock.  The back of the cover adhered easily using Elmer’s glue.  But the word art in front was a problem.

– Had some spare color copies of a previous work where I had put in Angelo’s scribbling, and I used that as background paper for a plain watercolor painted “JUST BE”. Cut it out, and since glue would probably not adhere permanently to the glossy cut out, I taped over with clear packing tape.  You don’t even see it!

– Painted the outline of the figure in crimson, red orange and orange progressively.

– I did “No rules” journaling, so if you look closely, some words are broken with no hyphens.

– I rendered the word art in free style lettering and colored them initially with Country Twill which is a khaki-like shade in matte, then chose three words to paint over with Pearl White.  Then I decided to fill in the spaces with more word art in plain black using my regular signpen.

If you want to see more of my Art Journal, please click here, or you can always choose my Art Journal Every Day page from the list on the top left of the blog page.

I invite you to view the Flickr Group dedicated to this endeavor by clicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)

ART SUPPLIES USED IN THIS ENTRY:

Reeves Assorted 12-Milliliter Watercolor Paint, 18-Pack

Pilot Extra Fine Point v5 signpen
Folk Art Acrylic Paint 602 Country Twill
Folk Art Acrylic Paint 675 Pearl White

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.

Art Journal Every Day: An attempt at Artful Lettering

So as always, I took inspiration from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer who had featured Joanne Sharpe in a blogpost about Artful Lettering and had proceeded to do these two layouts in two days (!).

I must confess, too, that this is my first real attempt at doing watercolor painting with real watercolor (not just watercolor pencils).  It was an adjustment tempering the muted down colors once the colors lost themselves in the water, but I think I’m getting the hang of it and I am getting to like it.

I have been trying to find an apt translation for “maarte” but I’m stumped.  Any ideas?  I was nervous with my color combinations and everything was pretty spontaneous.

For the second layout, I used a picture of my tyke with his brand new Smurf, Brainy, when he and I spent the day together  here at work. Taking Joanne Sharpe’s advice, I stuck to my handwriting and added a few swirls here and there which I really, really liked.  I tried to do something “extra” in the layout featuring Angelo by attempting to do white stamping of leaves over the layout to “cover up” my attempts at drawing swirls.

I have come to look forward to my art journal entries and I keep leafing through my journal which has a very limited number of entries.  At least I know that I’m moving on with the project instead of just leaving that stewing somewhere in the backburner.

More importantly, I’m just so touched that Julie has taken the time to comment as she said she bloghopped from participant to participant in last year’s Art Journal Every Day signup.  (We sign up every month..)

So  between the polymer clay research, experimenting and the once-in-a-while attempt to come up with something worthy of posting in my Etsy shop, I’m getting good at multi-tasking. =)

On the cover of my Art Journal

Don’t laugh now.  I have started my art journal and have tried to come up with my first “entry” using a 4″ x “6 unlined index card, and what art pens I had handy here on my desk.  So I spent the better part of my lunch hour putting this together, and here it is.

I know I have to work harder at photographing the finished work but I was too excited to really give it all that much attention.

4" x 6" first attempt at Art Journaling I was torn between waiting to get my materials together and just doing it spontaneously, but spontaneity won in the end.  It took me 5 sheets to complete the work, and although I was initially tempted to actually print the title on the page and color over, I thought I’d give it a try doing freehand doodling and then coloring it in.  I used to do a lot of this in a previous life when I did my school work and my greeting cards.

I had very limited pens on hand — and the mommy in me had some crayons that I would occasionally fish out of my purse left over from restaurant visits and coloring sheets that had kept the tyke preoccupied.  I would unload them in my desk drawer from time to time to have something stashed away for those times the little boy was here.

I have been fancying swirls the last couple of weeks and decided to work on that for this layout, principally because they were easy and top of mind.

I did the four-color swirl trim first, then needed to cut it out of the original sheet because I didn’t like how my lettering went.  “ART” came out beautifully the first time, but “JOURNAL EVERYDAY” took three attempts before I was happy.  Within the trim (just above the yellow swirl), I inserted my tag (Pinaynewyorker) and below it, I put the date, then filled in all the other empty spaes with plain black swirls, after which I colored the whole background a watery lavander.

Before “assembling” the different elements, I drew the background in pink and blue around the “JOURNAL EVERYDAY” scribbling, then I pasted the four swirls.  I also chose to do a black border around the paper just by running my chisel-edge marker on the edge of the page and then I pasted the four-color swirl.  Rather than just pasting “ART”, the scrapbooker in me made me pull my staple out and staple the word onto the piece.  I wanted more than just the project name in front and it wasn’t hard for me to come up with “A personal journey” which I printed on a piece of kraft folder in Adler font which I also stapled to the postcard.

I joined the Flickr Group where similar and much better works are displayed and I am almost ashamed to show my work on the same page as the great art I see there!

But Art Journaling, much like blogging, is a very personal thing for me.  I like being with a group that inspires creativity in me and helps me to bring out that part deep inside me which I keep suppressed in the midst of work and motherhood.

Angelo will get such a kick out of seeing “mom’s art”, I am sure.  I actually want to collaborate with him in working on my “suns” which he admired when he saw the first time I worked on my scribblings.  Soon.

Why not join us on this journey?

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 byclicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)