Five things I hope to accomplish this weekend

One reason I like Fridays: Saturday is really the only day I can sleep in and I like waking up just a little later than usual — closer to 9am.  I’m not going to stretch it to that late tomorrow because we need to start doing errands early, but I’m going to try and NOT wake up til after 7am.

Setting goals to keep my focus straight over the weekend.  So what do I hope to accomplish?

ATC: Zentangled Q with watercolor background1.  Send out my only ATC due this weekend – Zentangled “A”.  I do my zentangled Artist Trading Cards a certain way which I guess is meant to give it my own signature.  I use a pre-painted watercolor background, zentangle the background and then do the actual letter in plain black and white.  I don’t render the actual letter in tangle patterns but instead use the “shell” of a font in outline form and draw within.  I’m almost done with the background, so it’s just the alpha.  The one pictured here was submitted to a similar swap last year.  I’m hoping to do the whole alphabet with this group so soon as I’m done with the “A”, I’m starting the “B”.

2.  Finish the cards I hope to send and at least one letter to write.

3.  Close the box of Christmas Ornaments and tape it up for next year.

4.  Post a new item for sale in my Etsy shop.

5.  Work on my Art Journal Every Day cover.

I’m keeping it short and sweet to make it more doable and achievable.  Can’t wait for my weekend to begin!

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 : Rest Your Mind, Calm Your Heart

I was cleaning up my stash in my work area when I found this piece unfinished.  It had just the wordart and the blue background.  I had meant to create an Art Journal entry for it for the longest time but had “forgotten” about it.  The word art is something I’ve photocopied in black and white and painted in various forms and sizes to use as cards or what not.  One time I was experimenting with my watercolor, I ended up with a lot of the blue so I thought I’d paint the background ahead and work on it another time.

When Angelo saw me photographing the finished work, he asked me how long it took me to render it and I told him the story of the background, but the zentangling and the journaling, I told him, took one sitting in my corner the other night.  “Impossible!” he said.  And that’s my biggest fan being incredulous about my work timetable.  I try to be as spontaneous as can be so it is truly expressive of what is “top of mind” to me at the moment.  In this instance, the word art was already there, and I just needed to “reflect” momentarily on it and I wrote:

Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be still so we can hear our heart and give our mind the chance to listen… In the silence, the answer will come.

Indeed.

Art Journal Every Day: Rest Your Mind, Calm Your Heart

I try not to think when I do my Art Journal Every Day pieces.  (Click here for the Art Journal Every Day page from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog.)  I haven’t really been doing it every day, but this project of Julie’s is what has inspired me to do simple drawings and scribblings as a form of self expression.  Highly recommended!

I found that the signpen glided nicely on the watercolor so it went very well together.  When I started the journaling, I didn’t have any idea how much I was going to write or what I was going to write.  I like doing my lettering this way — it’s very free flowing.  The choice of the flowers as “filler” was easier.  (My favorite zentangle subject.)

I used to get daunted by the great artists who participate but I do it more for myself now and have gotten a lot of support from the Flickr Group where we share our work.  For previous posts from Pinay New Yorker, please click here and visit my Art Journal Every Day page which has a special link on the top left.

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.

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!

Falling in love with the Chrysler Building

We all try to do something to make things easier as we go through each day.  These are the things that keep me grounded between my roles as mother, EA, wife and citizen of the world.  We all have our coping mechanisms — these are mine.

For the last four years, I have had this spectacular view of Midtown Manhattan in front of me where I have watched the dramatic transformation of the Chrysler Building as the sun bounced off its radiant light against its gracious curves.  I find it most beautiful as the sun sets, when a more muted daylight hits it from an angle.  41 storeys above ground level, I feel as though I am staring it eye to eye from where I stand.

Last week, a brilliant idea hit me but which took a while to execute.  I’m going to zentangle this photo.  It’s my first large-scale attempt to produce something zentangled, and I thought to myself, it is one challenge I’m willing to take on.

I love zentangling because its a repetitive exercise that allows me to lose myself in the strokes of my pen and gives me free rein to go in any direction I want.  It calms me and helps me to loosen up — good therapy indeed.  It doesn’t involve much of a thought process except where it involves determining the pattern or design in any one given area, but once determined, it’s almost automatic.

There is something very soothing about doing repetitive artwork and watching the fine lines of my sign pen fill in spaces with black.

So I sectioned the photograph and rendered it in photocopy shadow, light enough to draw over.  Then I rendered it in a light grey which caused much of the solid spaces between lines to “disappear”.  I figure that once I am done, I will “assemble” the sections into one piece and then maybe use it as my next Christmas card. (reduced to card size).  At the current size, it’s like a regular 16″ x 20″ poster (I think).   I like working in sections, too, because it makes a “do-over” so much easier.  So far so good.

I’m taking my time as I don’t have a deadline for this.  I like working on a bigger rendition to be reduced later when completed.  I haven’t quite made up my mind if I will zentangle the backqround (perhaps in a different color) or just leave it plain.  If you want to see my progress, I’ll be posting the stages of work on the right hand side of the page under a special widget.

I’m already thinking of my next project: The Rizal Monument.

Shifting Gears and Friday

I’ve been trying to pick up with my “me” stuff again, from my art journaling, snail mail writing, reading, to my crafts.  (I can’t believe I haven’t touched my tools since I got back from Manila, and I need to seriously get moving with the hybrid scrapbooking to make more cards. )

So I’ve been busy working on my first Art Journal entry for the year — teaser provided to my left — and I think with this 50% done, I can proceed to my next pieces before the weekend is out.  This is actually a background piece I had done long ago  (sometime third quarter 2011) which got tucked away with two other spreads.  One, I had actually decided to totally discard (topic/subject matter was no longer relevant to me), and the other, I’ll work with one of these days.  I might scale back yet again to smaller pieces, or maybe work on sections.  The thing with sections is the flow of the work is not consistent.  Or maybe I’ll just see where it goes.  I’m thinking words. Or I might yet do something ambitious and attempt a scroll (!) one of these days.  (Ambitious!)

I was looking out the window 41 storeys above Bryant Park the other day and I vowed to myself I will make regular trips to Central Park this year to document the changing of the seasons.  I haven’t been there in ages!  Winter has been rather fickle-minded this year — with spring seeming to rear it’s head in for a peek one moment, and then winter coming back with a vengeance the next.

Why do I take on so many projects when there are only so many hours in a day?  I don’t pretend to do them all at the same time.  I find pockets of vacant periods in my day and do something I like for a change.  It helps me get back in touch with “me”, and in turn helps me to tune in to my world as I know it now with better clarity.  (Like it helps me decide what’s for dinner faster than when I find myself torn between this and that dish.)

I love weekends because I look forward to Friday nights.  It’s a special time for me to just be me and do things that mean something to me.  I don’t go anywhere special — I stay home.  I pick the things that I fancy at that particular Friday night and zoom in on that for the rest of the evening.  I am able to savor watching my favorite shows on TV without anyone hijacking the remote and then stay up to the wee hours of the morning just relaxing.  If I’m lucky, I even catch my bestfriend, Fe, online.  (Such a treat!)

My Friday started a little late today — midnight.  Here I am returning to this unfinished blogpost trying to pick up from where I left off.

My heart, though, is somewhere in mid-air.  I haven’t quite decided what I’m doing tonight, and my “night” is halfway through.

Do you ever have one of those conversations about a subject matter that drifts off to another totally unrelated topic which somehow gets injected into the flow of words — you say something — the person you’re talking to reacts, and while the reaction was innocent, you catch something that makes you stop and think, “hmmmm.”  There was a pause somewhere there, then a change of topics and it makes you wonder what caused the sudden shift in gears.  You try not to think about it because it was off topic — but the unease lingers.  “Hmmmmm…” you say again.

I’m just trying to intellectualize things too much like my friend, perhaps.  Then it occurs to me that my innocent remark, said half jokingly, might have awakened a panic reaction that I had not anticipated.  (“Hmmmmmm” again..and now I feel silly.)

Fridays are supposed to be simple.  Fridays are supposed to be fun.  I’ve had some fun tonight.  Time to get the weekend going.  Let me get back to zentangling and my “hmmmm” moment might disappear into the darkness.

My weekend has begun officially with the midnight hour tolling here in the big apple.  I’m listening to this rare rendition of “Can We Still Be Friends” by the great Todd Rundgren and Darryl Hall which I recently discovered where else — on YouTube.  Been listening to it over and over again for the last half hour.  Used to be my song for a long-time ago ex boyfriend who, I  believe, to this day, can’t quite seem to get this song’s message and why it was my song for him.  Alas, we’re no longer friends.

It’s worth a listen to, so let me leave you with this find: