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.)

Art Journal Every Day: Summer

Art Journal Every Day: Summer

Don’t throw away those brown bags that your grocery and food delivery come in because I find them so useful in writing the actual journaling in my scrapbooks and my art journal.

Finally finished it.  See the artwork sans the journaling below.  And I’m trying to cook up some ideas to work with the art work that Angelo came up with at the bottom because I promised him I would post this in the blog and then work on it.  (He’s been curious about how I come up with these and hope to one day be able to produce the same thing.  I told him all it takes is practice.. and Mommy’s watercolor set.)  I like encouraging his artistic streak — I remember when I was his age, I loved to get those Disney marker sets that always came in very vivid colors and which I tried so hard not to use so generously because I wanted to keep them forever.  (But of course I never succeeded!  Using them was just too tempting!)  Well, he got me with the “I love Mom”…

This actually came from one of the backgrounds that I wasn’t quite happy with — and I painted over most of it except for the wordart which is in the original.  I know.. I buried everything else in another layer of zentangling and watercolor — and I think it came out rather nicely.  It gave me a chance to experiment with the new watercolor pallette I’ve been using, too.  Love it!

I love you, Mom

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 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.

Here and there

Work in Progress: Long Shot of the Chrysler Building ZentangledI am still struggling to come up with a Father’s Day post in large part because I wanted to write about my Dad.  Maybe in a day or two.  Although I have said that I now think about Papa with a smile, the sadness remains.  It’s almost two years now since he left us, but some things never really go away — time just helps us to cope with them better.

Meanwhile, I took the picture on the left last Friday and it has progressed rather well since then, so I’m doing finishing touches and filling in some gaps.  I’ve also attached the bottom and the middle portions and will be ready to “stitch” the pieces together once I figure out how I’m going to “fill in” the remaining “blank spaces.”

My next project was a toss up between the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Place (Paris vs. Brussels?) — but I am still looking for my CD of pictures of Belgium, and I found the ones from my first trip to Paris, so Paris wins.  Besides, doing the Grand Place is no less ambitious than doing a portion of the Manhattan skyline given the guild housees that line one of its sides…  We’ll see.  I really would like to stick to zentangling images based on my own photos that is why it’s important I find the actual pictures I snapped of the subject matter.

As always, I’ve had a lot of time to de-stress and think while doing the repetitive patterns.  This is what I like most about zentangling — it actually helps me to focus without pushing myself too hard.  Effortless almost.  These days, everything seems to take twice the effort so it helps when I can do something more fluidly with ease.  Life is difficult as it is… why make it harder? I’ve had to do some “patching up” but nothing too drastic a do-over.  And that’s another thing I love about zentangling — that it is such a “forgiving” art that allows me to redo something I might’ve messed up or changed my mind about.  Once done, this would’ve taken me four weeks to complete.  (Unless I get stalled in a major way in the next day or two.)

I haven’t really done much else with other things — haven’t been reading and I have been crafting at a snail’s pace.  I just realized today I haven’t been “here” in a week, although I’ve been writing elsewhere.  (For an audience of one: me.)  I haven’t managed to write any of the snail mail I’ve been meaning to write, and while I have been fixing my paper stock at home and generally trying to get organized in all sorts of ways, I haven’t made any cards of late.  I did find what was meant to be a background piece for an “Art Journal Everyday” entry, so I pasted it onto my book, trimmed the paper to size and will try and get going tonight on the art journaling.

Let’s see how that goes.

The Chrysler Building: Zentangled

Work in Progress: Zentangling the Chrysler Building as of 23May2012It’s finished that it’s not.  You can see the white spaces in some areas of the drawing, and just so happy about the way it turned out.

Thanks to Fe for the encouragement.

I hope to finish this over the Memorial Day weekend while I’m trying to get started on the long shot of the building.  (Can’t stop!)

I knew the sun from yesterday was too good to be true, and while the streets of Manhattan are dry today, there is zero visibility outside the building from my floor.  (41 storeys above ground level.)

It’s been a busy day at work.  Friends had popped in and then out, so I have been by myself mostly today.  I understand.  People have their own business to take care of wherever they are.  Fe was caught in traffic for one, so I didn’t expect her during our usual witching hour online. =)  I know she’ll say hello her morning.  We all have things that keep us busy.

It gave me some time to catch up with work, and to just sit back quietly and write.

Almost done now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zentangling Update on my Chrysler Building Project

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

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

Voila!

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

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

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

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

Almost there!