Category: Journal Art

Keeping an Art Journal Through a Pandemic

To say that the past few days have been difficult would be the understatement of the year. It’s been brutal on everybody, and harder for some than for others. It’s hard to fight off the existential dread that has been eating away at many of us these past few weeks. We’re almost at the middle of the third week of lockdown and though things are settling down a bit at home, it’s not always comforting to look at the news and see what the government is doing (or not doing). You look at how other countries are responding to the same existential threat and you see very clearly how much our own government has neglected us for years. You don’t really notice it if you’ve worked all your life to not need anything from the government, but when you’re put in a position where your life depends on it, things can get pretty bleak. I started documenting COVID19 around end of January, at a time when I was still wondering I’m overreacting to it (turns out I wasn’t). My husband and I were cautious about this novel virus, at a time when not a lot of people were taking it seriously yet. Then there was a lull in the local news about it, and things went back to “normal” for a time. Then the mad rush to get food before the “enhanced community quarantine”. It seemed like all of a sudden, reality spun out of control and we were struggling to secure our food supplies, herding our little family home, keeping out an invisible enemy while trying to make sense of the government’s haphazard, wildly-swinging policies about the lockdown.

I can still remember the last time I was outdoors. My husband and I were rushing to buy groceries at 6:50PM, making it through the door just 10 minutes before SnR closed. Then rushing home just a few minutes before the 8PM curfew, nervous about how we’re going to get my brother-in-law home from Quezon City when cities are closing borders. It’s like waking up to a new, dystopian version of your world. It’s very disconcerting, to say the least.

To keep calm and to help myself process what’s happening, I’ve begun to write more focused entries on the pandemic, hoping that I will be able to read them a few months from now and marvel at what we all went through.

Continue reading “Keeping an Art Journal Through a Pandemic”

Rampage

Yesterday’s journal entry was about my thoughts on the book I’m currently reading, “Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila” by James M. Scott. It’s hard to read this  book continuously. Honestly, it gave me nightmares, the same way that reading books about the Holocaust gives me nightmares. I wrote about how I felt while reading the excerpts from journals and survivor accounts. To think that some of the people living during that time are still alive. I recall back in my college days, one of our professors took us to this home for the aged in Quezon City. This home was different though because the occupants are all former comfort women. We sat with them individually, listened to them, kept them company. This book has graphic descriptions of the human cost of war, and knowing this, one would hope that world leaders would give it a lot of thought before even considering provoking one again. Knowing history is quite different from learning from it, I suppose.

A Timeless Gem

My journal entry today is about Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, which I’m rereading for a book club I joined. I’ve read this book several times when I was younger but the last time I read it was many years ago. I decided to refresh my memory and read it again, and instantly I was swept away to a different time and place. It’s so wonderful. I remember again why I loved this novel when I was young, it’s so pure and wholesome, and everything about it warms my heart. This sketch in particular is about one of my favorite parts of the book, when they were just beginning to make friends with Laurie. Jo went to visit him while he was sick and brought some blancmange that Meg made, and of course Beth sent the most sensible gift of all, her kittens.

I am halfway through the book and I’m reading slower so I can savor it longer. Of course I’ll need to reread Little Men and Jo’s Boys after this. Reading about Marmee made me miss my mom, though. She’s the same beacon of warmth and light, and her presence is sorely missed. I’m glad she instilled in me the love for books, and especially picked out Louisa May Alcott’s works to introduce me to the wonderful world of the March sisters.

The Most Intimate Form of Abuse

Today’s journal entry is about how infidelity is also abuse. How many times have I encountered women who say that their husbands have cheated on them repeatedly but “at least he never abused me”. I feel punched in the gut every time because I see the family unraveling before my eyes. Men and women who cheat on their spouses inflict a very intimate form of violence on their family. It takes a very calloused heart to be able to look at the people one supposedly loves and not be moved by the hurt he/she has inflicted on them.

“Do not look for healing
At the feet of those
Who broke you.”
Rupi Kaur

Fun with the FPR Himalaya

Lettering is not my cup of tea, but I really enjoy looking at people’s outputs especially on Instagram. It’s not so easy as it looks, apparently. I’ve resolved to try and push myself out of my comfort zone in my art journal and include practicing lettering. The quote in the photo of this entry was written with an ultraflex FPR Himalaya (ebonite). It doesn’t make very thin hairlines, but the flex if very pleasant to play with. If you’ve bought one of these before, you probably already know that it can be a little temperamental, and you might need to heat set the nib and make sure the nib and feed are properly positioned so that you get consistent ink flow, but once you get it going, it’s a lot of fun to use. I’m looking forward to more lettering experiments in the future.

Prosperity for Prosperity’s Sake

Today’s journal entry is about greed and how the world is filled with dragons of all sizes, jealously guarding caches of gold, big and small, for the sake of possessing. Many churches in particular have focused on appearing “blessed” or prosperous in lieu of actively taking care of the poor and vulnerable while fulfilling the Great Commission. Too many pretty buildings, too few charitable acts. Too far removed from the example of Jesus.

Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves. ~Horace Mann

40th Birthday Journal Entry

I turn 40 tomorrow. Yesterday, I spent the whole day with my family, sharing a simple celebration. I felt that the way we celebrate my birthday was exactly how I wanted it because it’s so me. Simple and no-frills. Honestly, as long as I’m surrounded  by the people I love, I’d be happy with anything. I have much to write about turning 40, so I kept my art page to also a simple food doodle (foodle?) about all the unhealthy things we ate haha.

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

A Sea of Umbrellas

Today’s journal entry is about the recent protests in Hong Kong. No matter what you think about what the protesters are fighting for, it’s hard not to feel impressed at the show of force of the people. Activism in general is often misunderstood as unwanted disruptions, but many of the things that we enjoy today are thanks to the people who rejected the status quo and fought for equality, freedom, better treatment.

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”― Leonardo da Vinci