Mail Art Postcard Series: Philippine Map 1 (Zentangled Background)

I’m trying to be more focused about what personal art I indulge in.  One of the things that I have decided to keep doing is make my own postcards for trading.  It’s just that I had decided to confine the effort to drawing Philippine Map postcards, the first of which is pictured below.

Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1

I have 10 templates ready for drawing and one uncolored print out for reference. You can read about the process I followed to create this and the materials I used at Gotham Chick.  It’s something anyone can come up with given enough imagination and the patience to draw in the zentangle patterns which I went to Tangle Patterns to for reference.

I have a short list of people to send the first 5 to 6 postcards but if you’re interested to be put on the distribution list, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox at gmail.com.  I’m sending out the actual artwork and keeping a digital copy for my own files.  This is a long-term project and it takes me anywhere from one hour to one day or more to complete one piece, but I’m going to try to send out at least two a week.  This plus the JOURNAL ON A JOURNEY should keep me creatively busy. 

I want to start sending the out by the middle of the month and keep going from there.  The means by which the Philippine map is shown might change in time, but being a map postcard collector, this is of special significance to me.  I had meant to be actively trading postcards again, but that has slowed down because of other swaps.  That is why I’ve made a decision to confine my swaps to minimal effort undertakings so that I veer away from the pressure.

I’ve greatly enjoyed exchanging postcards with the fellow-Pinoy postcard collectors over at the Facebook Postcrossing Philippines group.  I don’t really care much what is sent to me, but I enjoy sending back postcards to help their individual collections grow.

Postcard collecting has changed through the years — be it my own collecting method and interests to what is the norm these days.  Postcrossing has become rather popular in recent years, although this would work for those collectors who are trying to grow their collection in terms of size of postcards received or countries received from.  My collection was initially geared that way, but I had long since confined my collection to anything Philippines (meaning vintage, new, unused and stamped), anything New York, Maps, lighthouses and anything Paris.  (That’s the francophile in me.)

This is but another “variation” of my collecting method — sending out my own map postcards of the country where I was born and raised it.

Art Journal Every Day: Tomorrow WILL be a better day

It’s one of those days.. but I’m going home feeling all better, and looking forward to tomorrow.  When things keep going wrong at every turn, the best frame of mind is to keep with optimism and know that there is a new beginning tomorrow when the sun rises again.


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: 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.

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.

Pass me the bouquet please..

Aren’t these flowers gorgeous?

One of the ladies on the floor had received them earlier in the week, but she was going on holiday beginning Friday and was going to be away until Tuesday. The lilies were proving to be problematic because someone on her wing was allergic to them. Would I like to put them on my credenza and maybe take them home to enjoy them over the weekend? How could I resist this shower of pinks and magenta? Of course I said yes! I did take them home, sans the pungent lilies, and I patiently carried them on the bus. They now grace my living room coffee table where I hope to see them through the Memorial Day weekend.

I’ve cut the stems and changed the water religiously. The cattleyas are actually in their own individual water tubes and are holding up quite well. The roses are blooming ever so elegantly. I’m trying to figure out how I can cast a petal or two in resin on top of a polymer clay base perhaps? If I could only stop them from wilting and fading away, I would…

I love pink but the truth of the matter is, my favorite roses are the yellow kind for as long as I can remember. But what do I care… I am trying to savor the beauty of this bouquet for as long as I can. Thank you, Jana!

So we’re off until Monday.  My Saturday started off with a pleasant surprise when I received an e-mail from a total stranger regarding an online query I made middle of May.  I had actually totally given up on getting an answer until I realized it was the middle of summer in Manila, and most people are busy either trying to enjoy the last bits of their summer break there, or trying to get ready for the resumption of school.  It’s one of those things I’d categorize under “kindness of strangers” and charge to the universe for its generous spirit.  You ask, you get an answer.

Chrysler Building Zentangle Part III finally finished the last bits of the Chrysler Building zentangle and have glued it together rather seamlessly. I spent time at Michael’s trying to find a suitable frame and matting, but that proved to be quite a challenge. I have instead gotten a mounting board and will continue my search for the perfect frame at a later time. The piece measures 25 inches top to bottom but should do well in a 24 inch tall frame. I don’t want to experiment on getting an unmatted frame and do the matting myself as this is one finished work I intend to keep for myself as the first bigger zentangle piece I have completed. I’m proud as can be, no matter how amateurish the piece may seem. It’s the point of finishing it and actually succeeding in retaining the features of the building although I feel I could have done better.

I’ve already started outlining my next project in pen which is again, an original photograph I took of a longer shot of the Chrysler Building. (Yes, I just can’t get enough of it.) And what do you know? I watched Men in Black III today and some of the scenes were played out from the rafters of the building where the gargoyle-type structures jut out of the corners of the building.

The widest base of this piece will be approximately 10 inches from end to end, so top to bottom (including the extended spire), the graphic will be approximately 36-40 inches.  No, I will not frame this as is but rather photograph the piece when I finish it and “shrink” to an easier to manage size.

And what do I intend to do with this when done?  Maybe make prints to give away as gifts…  Use it as notecard graphics…  Or just decorate my attic wall with it.  I just might find enough energy to attempt an actual cityscape next, unless I find my Eiffel Tower pictures or I go for the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park first.  (I’ve kiddingly told Fe that I might end up zentangling the entire Manhattan skyline one day soon.)

I’m trying to keep my hands busy.  I can’t be kneading clay during my breaks in the office always, and while I used to do it, I don’t like lugging my pliers to the office to work on jewelry pieces.  (My boss doesn’t even like seeing me holding the blackberry!)  I like the thought of being able to zentangle in the cafeteria or down at the park during my lunch hour.  It’s also something I can easily bring to and from home as I work on it.

Plus there is a soothing comfort to filling in spaces and then seeing something created from what would otherwise be thoughtless scribbling.  I feel like the whole exercise is akin to taking a journey that involves teeny-tiny steps around the spaces I’m trying to draw in, and which brings me to some other place when I’m done.

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.

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!

Forgiveness

My 2011 Christmas Card
Work in Progress

I don’t know why the word just came to mind as I took a picture of my zentangled Christmas background so I could talk about it here, and as I am waiting for my e-mail to reach the server and help me transfer my photograph to my laptop, the word just popped up, and two people in particular.

First, though, here’s what’s become of my Christmas card — still a work in progress, but you can see that save for the inside portion of the Christmas tree were the front caption would be and a patch on the upper right hand, the background has been completed!  You can see 7 parols or lanterns in the background, and around it I filled the spaces between with different patterns.  I tried starting with the middle portion but that proved very wasteful as far as paper was concerned, so I’m putting it off for until I am done with the whole thing.

I think I might make my after-Thanksgiving-mailing target after all!

Back to the business of forgiveness.  I have always been honest about my inability to easily let go of a grudge.  If not a grudge, pain.  I consider myself pretty liberal and tolerant when it comes to accepting others for who and what they are, so when someone falls of my “good” list, it is almost next to impossible and definitely improbable to get back on.

That’s why I would think that the people who know me very well would know that to lose me is to lose me forever.  I know, that sounds so final.  But it should be when you consider how I forgiving I am.  So I am not a saint after all, because while I seem to have a bottomless supply of forgiveness, when one loses the right to be forgiven, it never comes.

To be someone’s sister she never had

I have someone who used to be a very dear friend who was practically like a sister to me.  The feeling was mutual — or so I thought.  I thought this was one forever friend.  In fact I would go out of my way to help her out and to listen and encourage her.  But one relationship she had and my opinion of it didn’t quite sit squarely with her personal opinions — and that meant the end of “you’re the sister I never had,” and all that love.  I had thought it would pass — that we would eventually find our way to each other again, until I got an invitation to her wedding two weeks before it was to happen on the other side of the coast.  So forget about the 14-day advance booking or saving for a gift or getting the right dress.  My heart shattered to pieces.  And what hurt the most was when I was told “only my family” knew about the preparations — so I thought a “sister (one) never had” was “family”.  I felt as though I had pictured our friendship to be something it was not.  Reality check.

She tried to renew ties several times, but when you tell someone you have hurt that you hope they will one day learn to accept what had happened, it feels like a slap in the face — and an affirmation that you were wrong about the kind of friendship you thought your shared.  I did learn and accept that I wasn’t that important a person to this “friend” after all.

I am not mad.. I wish her well.  But the past four years have seen us as strangers.  I think it is best to keep things that way.  I don’t know how I would react if we sat in front of each other.  I don’t want to cause her nor myself any more pain or disappointment.  We are just better off not being part of each other’s lives anymore.  Forgiven, yes.   But I am human, I am no saint as I said.  The chasm that has grown between us is no longer bridgeable.

On my end, I feel grateful that it happened when it happened, painful as it was.   Sometimes it takes forever to find a friend and nurture a friendship — and it may take as long or even longer to find out who one’s true friends are.   Better to have realized what I thought wasn’t there was really not there, rather than keep believing in something that wasn’t real.

I have no ill will or feelings — I am hoping the choices made were worth it and have brought this person happiness.  Just as I have found myself feeling truly blessed with what I have right now.

I just wish people would realize that forgiveness does not always result in reconciliation.   There are things just some things that once broken can no longer be put together and made whole again.