Category: Mixed Media

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

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

Cáscara

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I recently started my very first health journal. Not a diet journal or a fitness journal but a health journal. It helps me keep track of my daily physical activities, food intake, how many cups of coffee I consume, my mood for the day, general thoughts about health, etc. It also helps me plan our menu for the week. I’ll delve more into that in another journal entry. Today’s entry in my health journal is about this “tea” that I recently discovered through Everyday Coffee PH (Not affiliated with them BTW, I’m just a happy customer. They’re my main source of freshly-roasted coffee beans).

It’s called Cáscara which is Spanish for husk. It’s made of coffee cherry skin and pulp that’s dried and lightly roasted. It’s actually not at all like tea leaves but it’s called coffee cherry tea. It’s also called sultana in some places.

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A few grams of these husks are steeped in hot water for about 5-7 minutes and can be enjoyed hot or cold. I’m not an avid tea drinker but I really enjoy this drink. By itself, it tastes sweeter than other teas that I’ve tried. You don’t actually need to add any sweetener to it, but you can add a bit of brown sugar or honey if you want it to be a bit sweeter. It tastes like sweet raisins and has a subtle hint of berry. If you use honey, it tastes a bit like wintermelon tea. It’s surprisingly good, actually.

It’s also found to be rich in flavanols. This secret superfood is said to have more antioxidants than blueberries. It’s great that Cáscara gives coffee farmers another stream of income from what used to be considered as a byproduct of harvesting coffee beans. It gives an additional income boost for the farmers.

If you want to read more about Cáscara, check out: The Truth About Cascara.

Travelers Notebook Olive

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I knew I wanted one the moment I heard that Traveler’s Company is coming out with an olive green TN. I got this from Everything Calligraphy last month, and decided that I would use it as my calligraphy and watercolor journal.

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The color is a little hard to photograph. It always comes across darker than it actually is in person. The color is a dusky green, more like the camo green in my opinion, rather than olive green. It’s a deep color that I think will become more interesting as it ages. In photographs, it looks more like black than green. In person, the color is a bit ambiguous, depending on the light. I’ll post more photos of it in the future as it develops a patina. I’m curious how the texture and color will change once I start applying leather balm on it (maybe next month). My brown TN became shinier and the brown color became deeper and richer.

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I decided to keep it thin with only two inserts so that it won’t be so heavy. I use my brown TN as my primary journal anyway. I made those monkey fist charms and bookmarks with the elastic bands from an old TN repair kit that I haven’t used yet because I only used the dark-colored bands. I thought the bright colors popped pretty nicely against the color of the leather. If you want to know how to make your own monkey fist knots, this is the tutorial I used.

I made my own watercolor insert from 200gsm Canson paper. Here’s the cover I DIY’ed for my first insert.

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I didn’t realize that it had a rough side and a smooth side, so some pages have the textured side on the left, some on the right. It’s alright, though, it can handle light washes on both sides, albeit with a lot of warping.

Travelers Notebook Olive

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I enjoy bringing it around with me. It’s comfortable to hold and gosh, it’s so pretty in person. Next time I’ll try and find watercolor paper that’s textured on both sides, though. Overall, I’m pretty much in love with this TN. It’s a great addition to my EDC.

Something’s Fishy

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I find human and animal forms very challenging to paint. I’ve tried fishes before but I never liked how they turned out so I don’t often try them again. Last week I thought I’d try ink and wash for my fish paintings and I think I like how the first ones turned out.

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I used my Sennelier watercolor block for these paintings, and I’m pretty happy with it. The texture made it really easy to create the illusion of scales. It also took the ink from my Rotring Isograph pretty well. No bleeding or any difficulties sketching on it. I wish I can capture in the photos how delightful the texture of the finished paintings feel.

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Ink and wash seems to be my comfort zone, and I’m enjoying it a lot right now. I’m learning new things and discovering new techniques along the way.

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Here are the colors that I used for the fishes, in case anyone would find it useful:

  • Black goldfish – Payne’s Grey
  • Veiltail Goldfish – Bright Red, Lemon Yellow, Warm Sepia, Payne’s Grey
  • Salmon – Payne’s Grey, Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Lemon Yellow

DangerShrooms

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After a couple of paintings on edible mushrooms, I made a series for poisonous ones. They’re really interesting, I wish I had more time to study and explore them, but it was a busy week at work. Looks like poisonous mushrooms have more interesting, vibrant colors than edible ones. ^_^

Colors used: (Sennelier) Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Phthalocyanine Blue, Forest Green, Phthalo Green, Vert Sapin Forest Green, French Vermillion, Payne’s Grey (Artnebulaph.com)

Paper: Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Journal (Stationer Extraordinaire)

Ramami!

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Last night my husband and I hung out and had dinner with a couple of good friends. There’s a spate of budget ramen carts and stalls all over the south and one of them happened to pop up beside our favorite shawarma place. It was okay, though a bit confusing to the tastebuds because it’s like a cross between a Japanese ramen and Chinese noodle soup. Haha. The shawarma was on point, though. We had dessert and coffee at home. After a long week, it’s a relief to hang out with friends who are low-key and can enjoy simple pleasures.

On a side note, I used my new cat’s tongue brush for this painting. It’s so much fun to use! I thought I’d only use it for botanical paintings but it’s a very versatile brush. I was able to drop by ArtNebulaPh at BF Homes yesterday and after playing with a whole lotta brushes, decided on a Raphael cat’s tongue (#6) and an Isabey blue squirrel round mop (3/0). Really great brushes, these two. They can hold a point very well. I also got a few Sennelier halfpans to complete my travel palette.

Overall, a fun day! ^_^

More Shrooms…

I enjoyed my first mushroom paintings so I thought I’d make a second set the next day. Still fun! Who knew there were so many varieties of edible mushrooms. I feel so deprived. I saw a video yesterday of really odd-looking shrooms, I should try those next.

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I wish I can see these in person. Especially the green one. It looks like the 1Up mushroom in the game Mario Bros.

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Colors used: (Sennelier) Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Phthalocyanine Blue, Forest Green, Phthalo Green, Payne’s Grey (Artnebulaph.com)

Paper: Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Journal (Stationer Extraordinaire)

‘Shrooms

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I was sick with cough and colds last week, so I wasn’t really able to sit up too long and paint anything. I’m feeling much better today, though. I thought I’d have a little fun. I had the idea while having dinner with my husband and a friend last Sunday. We had some awesome mushroom chicharon (deep fried mushrooms that taste like pork cracklings)  for appetizers and oh mah goodness. Those things are delicious! If I were blindfolded, I wouldn’t have guessed those were oyster mushrooms. I thought the little folds and textures were interesting.

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On this page, I drew/painted oyster mushrooms (yum), morel and chanterelle mushrooms.

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On this page, shiitake, enoki and porcini. It was lots of fun! I had a great time exploring different kinds of browns, yellows, and reds.

Colors used: (Sennelier) Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Payne’s Grey (Artnebulaph.com)

Paper: Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Journal (Stationer Extraordinaire)

Moleskine Watercolour Album (First Impressions)

I must admit that I’ve never been particularly impressed with Moleskine notebooks before. They’re not very fountain pen-friendly and they’re quite expensive. Since I’ve been trying out different watercolor journals that I can take around with me in my bag when I go out, I thought I’d give their watercolor notebooks a try. Maybe they will be suitable for urban sketching. I bought the smallest size first so I can try it out before committing to a bigger sized journal.

I was pleasantly surprised with it. The size is 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, it has 30 leaves (60 pages) of 200 gsm, acid-free, cold-pressed paper that have 25% cotton content. I’ve only used 100% cotton paper and I love them a lot, but I wanted to try something smaller and with thinner paper.

Since it’s not 100% cotton, I expected it to buckle a lot after several washes, but it actually held up pretty well with a few light washes. You can add several layers without the paper warping. I do mostly ink and wash drawings, so I think the paper holds up pretty well because I don’t do a lot of super wet washes.

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I like that the blank ink of my drawing pen pops on the paper. It seems to be very picky about fountain pen inks. Some bleed horribly while some don’t, but pigment ink work very beautifully with it.

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It’s easy on my brushes too, since the paper doesn’t fight it too much. On the flip side, the paper absorbs the water pretty quickly so I have to work very fast if I want to do some basic blending. I need to be careful with blending washes on paper, though because it doesn’t seem like it will take a lot of abuse like 100% cotton paper does.

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I like the subtle texture of the paper too. It adds some character to the paintings.

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I picked this size because I thought I’d just test the paper out, but turns out I like this pocket-sized notebook a lot. It’s just big enough to accommodate some simple sketches, but it’s great for practicing layers and drawings.

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I like that the binding allows the little book to lay flat easily, and the hard cover also makes it easy to hold up when sketching without a hard surface. I think it’s great for urban sketching.

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I’ve tried other journals that have about the same cotton content and I’m so disappointed that the paper somehow makes the colors of the painting look dull. This one stays true to what it’s supposed to look like. It looks so vibrant, especially in person. It’s hard to capture the colors in photos at home (it’s a bit too dark in my study), but the colors really pop on the page.

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So far, the ink that works best with this paper (aside from the pigmented drawing inks) is J. Herbin Perle Noire, in case you want to use fountain pens in your drawings. I don’t have waterproof Noodlers inks yet, so I wasn’t able to test them. Iroshizuku inks don’t fare too well. They spider out and feather like crazy.

It’s also pretty nice that the paper doesn’t show a lot of warping, as you can see below.

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Overall, me likey. It fits my preferred style, at least. If you’re fond of using a lot of wet washes, I’m not sure that the paper can hold up well to it. But for urban sketching and some light washes and layering, it works well enough. I think I can commit to a larger notebook now.