Category: General Musings

Children of Crisis

Today’s journal entry is about this book that I just recently started reading, Children of Crisis. This series of books is a social study of children in the United States written by child psychiatrist Robert Coles. The first few chapters focus on Ruby Bridges and talks about how children adapt to extreme changes in their environment. He wrote about Ruby’s drawings and his conversations with her and  her parents. Ruby Bridges, at the age of 6, was the first child to desegragate the all-white  William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana. Her parents did not expect such opposition towards a little girl going to school, and certainly did not expect that she would be alone in there due to the boycott.

I’ve only read a few chapters but it’s a very interesting and insightful read. I can’t wait to read more.

Each and every one of us is born with a clean heart. Our babies know nothing about hate or racism. But soon they begin to learn – and only from us. We keep racism alive. We pass it on to our children. We owe it to our children to help them keep their clean start. ~Ruby Bridges

Book Diving – Classic Finds

Last weekend, my husband and I visited Booksale at SM Southmall and was pleasantly surprised that they were on sale. I usually skip the classics because I have a copy (or multiple copies) of most of them but I found the Jules Verne collection and the Charles Dickens Christmas Books in this really beautiful hard cover. They reminded me of how books used to look in my childhood. The fabric in the hard covers was intact for both books, so that’s a plus. But my favorite find of the day is the Old Curiosity Shop, which my husband plucked out of this discard box in the corner. It’s a shame that the fabric of the hard cover is a bit worn, but you can still see the gold leaf letters, and some pages were beautifully illustrated.

I really love old books. I like the paper they use, the stitched binding, even the typeface. I like that they can lay down flat on a table too. This reminds me of the first hard bound book my mom gave me, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The fabric on that book is now pretty much worn out, but the binding is still intact, it still lays down flat. It uses the same typeface as this book.

I think I’ll reread some of my favorite classics for the next few weeks. It’s the literary equivalent of eating comfort food. <3

On Maintaining an Art Journal

Today’s art journal entry is more random things. I thought the colors of the inks in my pens for this week were so pretty and vibrant, they reminded me of the different colors of peppers (except for the blue ones, lol). The journal entry on the right side of the page is about maintaining an art journal.

I’ve been approached by people both online and IRL expressing their desire to start an art journal but they feel like their skill level isn’t “up there” yet. I get it, I feel the same way too sometimes, but the truth is that if I compare myself with the people I admire and refuse to make art because I think I’m not as good as them, my journals would be blank. The thing is, somebody will always be better than you are at what you do. If you’re always looking at other people’s output, you’ll miss the point of having an art journal.

For me, keeping an art journal is about self-care. My journal is an eclectic mix of handwritten journal entries, little watercolor paintings, pen and ink drawings, old photos, clippings of comic strips, washi tapes, etc. I write or draw my dreams so I don’t forget them. I mess pages up, I leave entries that I haven’t completed, I don’t check my grammar. My journal is my playground and my safe place on paper. None of the drawings I put in my journal are practiced outside of it, I just draw whatever I want. Sometimes it’s random things, sometimes it’s profound and expressive. Always, it’s honest.

If you want to start an art journal, pick up a journal and start on your first page. Use whatever you have on hand. Someday you’ll compare your first art journal to your tenth and you’ll see your efforts in a larger context.

I think that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when it comes to our own art journals. Of course you want to get better at it but here’s the thing, you have to practice to get better. In my experience, the more you practice and study and experiment with different techniques, the more your hand obeys your mind. You just can’t jump forward and get where you want to be without putting in the time and effort in honing your skill. Self-edit but don’t stop. Learn along the way. Own wherever you are in the process and most important of all, enjoy it.

 

Corn.

My husband  bought me a set of compressed charcoal sticks last Sunday. I’ve always been curious about using charcoal and I’ve tried it a few times before but I never really sat down and got into it before. It’s quite challenging but fun. I enjoyed doing this corn a lot because I learned from it. I am looking forward to learning more.

 

First Art Jam

Last Saturday, my husband and I ventured out of the South to Shangrila Mall and attend an Art Jam. It’s a gathering of people (all of whom I met online) to sit and paint together. Being on the more extremely shy end of the introvert spectrum, I rarely venture out willingly to actually meet people. I’m really glad that I did, though. Somehow, even if I only met a few of them in person (during pen meets) a couple of times, and most of them I haven’t really met in person at all until last Sunday, it felt easy to be with them. We were painting, talking, laughing, pausing once in a while to gesticulate wildly when the talk about politics and life become somewhat heated, tinkering with each other’s art supplies. It was an awesome experience. I felt none of the painful awkwardness that I usually feel when meeting new people. I was also quite fascinated with their painting styles. I wish I took more photos, but I was only able to take one when I got home. These (except the one at the farthest left) were gifts from fellow ArtJammers.

Judith’s artworks are billowy and diaphanous, capturing the fleeting quality of a moment or a subject. Like she caught what it looks like between blinks. Her brush strokes are few but decisive, controlled. Rosa’s art for the day was made of fountain pen inks and brushes, though I couldn’t tell at first. It made me wonder “Is this all just one color? How did she do it?” She was just dab-dab-dabbing on paper and out popped a verdant forest. All while feeding and caring for her 5-year old boy who came along for the art session. I swear, moms must have extra arms and eyes hidden somewhere. Fidelle’s art is vibrant and emotive. There’s a lot going on below the surface, a lot she wants to express through her art. I love how she uses strong colors to express herself. My favorite was her painting of Ophelia in the water, surrounded by reeds and grass and wildflowers. All her pieces are practically vibrating with emotions. Lorraine’s art was, as always, happiness personified. Everything she does is bright and sunny and ready to burst out to song at any moment. Lexter’s art is very reflective of his personality; multifaceted and vibrant. A burst of colors and strokes and stories. My favorite among the pieces that he showed were his portraits. These are beautiful sketches, loosely done, filled with soul. I can’t help but notice how much he has improved since the last time that we met. He practices everyday, and it really does show on his work.

I often see these people’s works on Instagram and Facebook but really, photos take something away from the actual artwork. There’s nothing quite like seeing them in person.

Overall, I really enjoyed their company and how easy it felt to just be with them. I enjoyed our conversations about art, books, politics, family, and many other things. They had curious and open minds, which I found very refreshing. I don’t always come out to meet new people,  but I’m glad that when I do, I always manage to find such interesting ones to spend time with.

A Treasure Trove of Stories

Baybayin, a pre-colonial form of writing in the Philipppines

These past few weeks have  been the busiest weeks I’ve had at work, and as such I am often too tired to make art. Instead, I indulged in catching up on my journal writing and curling up with a good book. There’s nothing so relaxing than hearing my husband puttering around the house while I curl up in bed, listening to my cat’s ridiculously cute snore while I lose myself in a book.

When I read Corrie Ten Boom’s book “The Hiding Place”, it made me want to read books about history. The lives of people who made a difference during their time, books about wars, even historical fiction. To say that this is surprising is an understatement. I have never enjoyed studying history. In fact, it’s my second worst subject, a close runner-up to Math. I have a very poor memory and understanding when it comes to numbers and dates. The only time I enjoyed any sort of Math was in my Physics class on our senior year in high school, under Mrs. Genota. Our teacher had a very visual way of explaining numbers. My parents were dumbfounded at my excellent grade in Physics that year, but that feat was never repeated. Alas, I would not come across another Math teacher like Mrs. Genota, nor an equivalent for any of my history classes in high school or college.

History classes focused mostly on dates. The teachers I had focused mainly on whether we can get the dates right or not. I sorely missed the insight of history itself. It became a really long calendar of events, rather than an unfolding of a grand, continuing story. Our exams and recitations focused on dates. Dates! My memory on dates is so poor, the only dates I can remember are the birthdays of my immediate family members. If Facebook didn’t have birthday reminders, a lot of my friends and extended family members would feel neglected. My history classes focused more on the chronology of events, rather than helping students see these events as pieces of a bigger puzzle. So my knowledge about history has always been rudimentary, at best. Enough to get me a passing grade of 3.0 in every single history class I attended.

Now that I’m reading more about the story of the world, I find it completely engrossing. I wish my mom was still here so we can talk about it.

My New Cyberhome

It’s been years since I last maintained my own domain. It’s also been years since I started my old blogs, The Serial Doodler and My Quiet Place in WordPress. What was once my hobby blog about pens has become a hobby blog about journal art, leather craft, reading, etc. I thought I’d make my life simpler and just turn my hobby blog into a personal blog, a catchall for the things I want to post online because, quite honestly, I don’t have the time to maintain two blogs anymore.

Speaking of hobbies, I feel bad that I haven’t had the time recently to focus on my usual hobbies. I’m going through a very busy season at work (or at least busier than usual), and recently I’ve been focusing on just my personal writings and I’ve been reading a lot. So I thought I would include book reviews in this blog soon. That ought to be fun. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by, if you came from my old blogs. Welcome to my new home in the world wide web. 🙂