Category: Journal Art

Self-Care

Today’s journal entry is about self-care. I suppose we all have our way of taking care of ourselves after a week of working. Personally, I believe that self-care needs to happen every day, not just on weekends or on vacations. It’s about creating a routine that isn’t toxic so that you won’t feel completely spent by the end of the week.

I work from home so it’s a lot easier for me to do that, since I can create a work environment that minimizes the stress for me. In my case, it means really, really quiet. Like a library. I don’t play music when I work, I don’t talk, I even have my phone on vibrate. That, for me, is the most conducive work environment. I also log in a few hours earlier so that I can finish my daily tasks even before my colleagues log in. So I work on the daily to-do list uninterrupted, without new emails or chat messages popping in. I look forward to the long stretches of relaxing quiet while I putter on my computer, tap-tap-tapping away through the night (yes, I work at night). This works for me. This means that I am not completely exhausted by work, and that I have a lot more of me to share with my husband (and the cat) every day.

My typical weekend is more of less the same–I spend lots of reading and writing, lots of satisfying conversations and a few hours watching TV with my husband, cat cuddles. It’s quite predictable, but I feel better prepared to face the coming week when I’ve had this kind of predictable, restful weekend.

The High Cost of Proper Nutrition

Today’s journal entry is about how inaccessible healthy food is for the poor. How strange is it that the cost of food is so high in a supposedly agricultural nation? In an archipelago surrounded by water on all sides? There is so much more to poverty than just “tamad kasi ang mahihirap kaya walang asenso.”

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.

 

Gold. Greed. God.

My journal entry today is about the history behind the legendary city of El Dorado. It’s about how Spanish Conquistadors “civilized” the Muiscas of Colombia and looted their gold. They thought that the Muiscas had a secret stash of gold somewhere because they had an overabundance of it in every household, and they threw away gold items everywhere. They didn’t understand that the Muiscas didn’t see gold as something to be hoarded but as items to be surrendered in an act of worship. What followed sounded so familiar, with our country being a colony of Spain for centuries. The Muiscas were forced to give up their gold, their way of life, and their religion. It’s yet another dark chapter in the history of Christianity.

I enjoyed drawing this imaginary building in the imaginary city of El Dorado. It’s a small drawing but there’s a lot of details involved. It was very therapeutic for me because I feel that focusing on the little details of the drawing forces my mind to let go of the noisy thoughts that are swirling around in my head. It was very relaxing.