Tag: art journal

“Family Portrait”

P8273694

Here’s something I did for my brother and sister-in-law. I wanted to give them something with a personal touch when they go home from their vacation. It’s their wedding anniversary and my husband and I are babysitting for a week. Being childless, nothing could have prepared us for the chaos of being responsible for three little kids. It’s a flurry of baby hugs, kisses, kicks, running around, picking up toys, stepping on toys, crying, laughing, etcetera etcetera. They follow us around everywhere. Like, even in the toilet. I had to learn the hard way never to close the bathroom door on a toddler.

My brother and sister-in-law are coming home tomorrow, and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed at the routines they’ve established for the children. With the very demanding careers they both have, they’re giving it their best shot.

This was a fun card to make. I should make some more for practice. ^_^ I wanted to write a quote or greeting in the middle using my brush pens but I’m too chicken. I didn’t want to redo it haha.

The Start of My Art Journal Journey

I’ve always loved writing journals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred to pouring out my thoughts on paper rather than speaking. Integrating art in my journal entry is something I’ve only recently discovered, though. I liked sketching when I was younger, but it’s an interest that I did not nurture. It was only when I joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines and became social media friends with many talented artists that my love for drawing resurfaced. Of course, you lose what you don’t use, so it feels like I’m starting from nothing again. That’s alright. 🙂 I don’t mind it.

A lot of people I know are so intimidated by the talent of great artists that they don’t even act on the desire of starting an art journal. I personally believe in not resenting your own progress, no matter how slow it is. With the overabundance of ugliness in the world (especially on the internet), contributing your voice in the form of art and other hobbies is not a bad thing.

P8173593

I learned that I like to combine words and pictures. The photo above is a rough sketch about the great protest march at Selma. I wrote my thoughts down about the movie after we watched it. It takes longer to finish a journal entry, but it’s so worth it afterwards.

Calligraphy is also something that I just recently discovered. Integrating calligraphy with art is so much fun. My journal is a hodge podge of pure text, text and drawings, alibata brushwork, drawings and calligraphy, photos, clippings, etcetera etcetera. It’s not a neat catalog of watercolor paintings or pen and ink sketches. It’s imperfect and ink-stained, crumpled and cramped, and it brings me so much happiness.

P8173598

After all, isn’t that the whole point? Each day in our life is different, anyway. I’d like my art journals to reflect that. Each day is a new adventure, a blank page waiting to be filled.

P8173596

If you’re thinking about starting your own art journal, I hope this nudges you to the right direction. 🙂 Do it. Do it today, with whatever art supplies you have and make your pages even more vibrant and meaningful to you than they already are. Art is <3

Same old show.

P8113434

I really thought that all the hate and poo-slinging will slow down and grind to a halt after the elections. I was wrong. It looks like it will be noisy for a while. Actually, I’m coming to terms with the possibility that this is  the new normal. To care about the sanctity of human life, to care about due process and how the loss of it is a reckless way to go about a “crusade” that has good intentions, to have a balanced view instead of an idol-worshiping attitude for the new president… all that has become very unpopular. All of a sudden, we’re surrounded with people who “want change” and are less bothered by loss of human lives. Like sharks driven crazy by the smell of blood. All of a sudden we’re surrounded  by family and friends who feel strongly about rallying around the ideal. I sometimes wonder if these people shout louder and are more offensive and boisterous about their newfound “cause” because deep in their bones they know something’s wrong about all this.

I’m not one for debates, and I think it’s foolish and self-destructive to alienate my family and friends for the sake of pushing your brand of politics (of all things) in such an aggressive and offensive way. I’ve resorted to not looking through my Facebook feed (which, with my decidedly introverted personality, was once a favorite way of keeping tabs on family and friends) because of all the ugliness in it. It’s not just the news that is ugly, it’s the attitude of people. Somehow, things have grown much worse. Filipinos have become even more divided. Many of us have lost our civility and it’s like we don’t know how to balance our views and emotions anymore. There’s a reason the terms “Dutertard” and “Yellowtard” and all the other -tards were coined (makes me cringe to even read it now), and the evidence for that is all over social media.

In the narrow-mindedness that is prevailing these days, there’s no room for reason. If addicts and pushers are brutally killed, then they got justice. If one is given due process, it means justice was not done. If you’re anti-Marcos, then you’re automatically pro-LP. If you’re not red, you’re yellow. If you’re critical of Duterte, then you’re anti-Duterte and you and your family need to die violent, inhuman deaths. If you’re against the all-out-war on drugs, then you’re in cahoots with these druggies. If you clamor for due process for these druggies, then you’re condoning the violence they have done or will do in the future. If you want some checks and balances to be placed to keep the government from exploiting their power, then you’re against the drug war. If this…then that. The one with the loudest mouth, the one who can scoop up the biggest mound of shit and sling it around without care or second thought is the winner. Winner of what, exactly? No one knows.

At the end of the day, people have pulled so violently on the already tense connections that we have with each other, and boy, it’s exhausting. Humanity is exhausting. I’m all peopled-out, honestly.

Over the Misty Mountains Cold

Over the Misty Mountains Cold

Here’s a page of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Over the Misty Mountains Cold which I did in uncial calligraphy. The pen is Bexley Corona (in Blueberry Cream) and the ink is Diamine Bilberry. It was a lot of fun to write because it’s very long, and the style fits right into the theme of the song.

As much as I really, really want to learn other kinds of scripts, this is really a more natural fit to my regular hand.

A Silent Outrage

Baybayin

It’s been sickening to read or watch the local news recently. There are so many news of extrajudicial killings, and that’s always been concerning to me. Every time I see somebody killed execution style with a placard labeled “Huwag tularan, Rapist/Adik/Pusher/Snatcher”, I always ask myself “Says who?” Who gets to decide who has forfeited their right to live? Who deserves to be killed in such a violent way? Now I see this kind of death every day. Fat chance that these cases will be investigated (I’m still waiting for that kind of change). I understand the outrage of people about druggies and criminals, but killing them off without due process is a dangerous shortcut to take. The collateral damage in this kind of war will mostly be the voiceless people who live below the poverty line. They aren’t pests that need to be exterminated because they offend your middle class sensibilities. These are people who have the same rights as everybody else does.

Reading comments in social media about this topic is equally nauseating. It looks like many people are in a blood frenzy, they have forgotten to act like civilized human beings. It’s heartbreaking for me to see friends and family members participate in such discussions like they’re just talking about killing rats. Anybody who disagrees with anything about this all-out war is a sentimentalist, anti-Duterte (and therefore pro-LP or pro-Aquino, which is a false dichotomy), tanga, bobo, mangmang and deserves all kinds of insults. There is no talking with most people nowadays.

There’s no real welfare system to help the street children survive instead of buying rugby to stave off the hunger. No real juvenile justice system to keep young offenders out of trouble. The pervading system in the country is decidedly anti-poor.

I am not blaming the President for all of these extrajudicial killings, and I laud him for the many things that he has achieved on the first 15 days of his presidency (one can appreciate the good and be critical of the not-so-good-yet, it’s not impossible to do that). However, the government should act like the government and uphold the rule of law. All shootings that happen where policemen are involved (agaw-baril, shootouts, etc) should be investigated properly, regardless of who we perceive the victims to be. You know, like any democratic society where rule of law prevails. Policemen who are involved in legit police operations against drugs should be mindful of collateral damage and accountable for them no matter where the encounter happens.

There’s no doubt that this war on drugs will be long and bloody. That doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it. Times like this, it’s okay to not be okay.

Coffee Infographic in My Journal –because, why not?

P6132735

I was up late last Friday for work, and I could not wind down to sleep, so I thought I’d pick up my pens and draw something that I would enjoy making. The details are really small, I used a small watercolor brush for them. I didn’t have a fine pen inked (I don’t think I have a pen with a fine nib, actually) so I had to use the closest to it, which was a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 with a medium nib. A wet, Japanese medium.

IMG_4293

Here’s a better look at the whole thing. By the time I finished it, I was ready to sleep. 🙂 As always, writing, drawing, and making little watercolor paintings on Tomoe River paper is such a pleasure. The finished work always feels great to the touch. I liked the play of Iroshizuku Shin Ryoku’s green with the different shades of brown.The TWSBI Micarta is inked with Diamine Ochre, which I think is the perfect ink to pair with a coffee-colored theme. It’s dark brown with notes of red and crazy beautiful shading.

P6132747

The think I really love best about using fountain pens whether in drawings or regular writing is that the letters look as if they’re part of the painting. Paired with great paper, it makes the letters look like they were painted on because of the shading and line variations. You can’t get that much drama in lines with ballpoint pens or rollerballs. There’s a lot of character in lines that are made by fountain pens. The overall effect is just so beautiful.

Below are a few close ups of the descriptions of each kind of espresso-based coffee. Overall, a very relaxing journal entry to write. 🙂

IMG_4296

IMG_4298

IMG_4299

IMG_4300 - Copy

Tomoe River is da bomb. If you need inserts for your traveler’s notebooks, check out Everything Calligraphy.

Writing About a Traumatic Experience

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Writing has always been therapeutic for me. There’s no question that writing can be very helpful to your well-being, but it can be a great help specifically in processing traumatic experiences. Many times it can help you untangle very confused thoughts that are enmeshed with emotions. It can help you gain perspective. Sometimes it helps you uncover more memories that you didn’t even know you have, and somehow it’s a lot like clearing out a blockage so that you can move forward.

Based on experience, I would recommend a few things before you delve in.

Don’t force it. Sometimes you’re just not quite ready to confront your emotions yet. It’s okay. Don’t traumatize yourself in the process of understanding your trauma. Sometimes after a traumatic experience, it’s all you can do to face the challenges of living day to day. Give yourself a break if you can’t do anything beyond that yet.

Write as little as you want at first. Some people think that writing about your trauma is like opening the floodgates. Many times, you don’t end up holed up in a cabin, feverishly writing the days away. More often than not it starts out with just a few lines a day. Testing out the waters, seeing how you feel about it. This is especially true if you don’t really write too much anyway. Even if you love to write, don’t be disappointed with yourself if all you can manage to write are two sentences.

Learn to stop when you need to stop. When you become emotionally overwhelmed, stop and put down the pen. You can push past some walls today, but part of taking care of yourself is knowing that there are walls to be conquered another time.

Be honest. Don’t worry about your grammar, or your prose. Nobody’s going to edit your journal. Just be honest when you write. The first time I wrote about my trauma, the words felt strange coming out of me and onto the blank paper. But then you should be able to write candidly for yourself, right? You should be honest with yourself through your own writing. What have you got to lose, anyway?

Seek counseling. I wouldn’t recommend writing as the only therapy. It’s just something you can do to help yourself. While the benefits can be tremendous, there are simply some kinds of trauma that will necessitate you talking with a counselor.

Re-engage. Writing is a very lonely exercise. It’s just you and your thoughts. It’s good to re-engage or reconnect with people too, when you feel that it’s right to do so. Isolating yourself for too long while recovering can be harmful.

I found it strange that writing about a trauma has helped me think less about it. I find myself not repeating the memory over and over in my mind anymore. It’s like my brain stopped skipping on a broken track and was finally able to engage the memory in a more helpful, less destructive way. It’s like the end of a hostage taking drama that was only happening inside my head.

Just a quick note, though. Not everybody responds to therapeutic writing the same way. It’s not the silver bullet that will make all pain go away. For many people though, like me, it’s been tremendously helpful.

Save the Carrot!!!

There’s a part of me that’s always going to be silly, I suppose. So there will always be a part of me that will want to play Carrot Fantasy even when I’m incredibly busy. Especially when I’m incredibly busy, actually.

P5202483

That’s what my last journal entry is about. It’s about saving the carrot. I’m not sure why I love this tower defense game, but maybe it has something to do with how cute the little monsters are, and that the carrot wiggles and giggles when you tap on it. Haha. Anyway…back to my excel sheets and paperwork.

Today’s Art Journal Entry

IMG_3775

I’ve been super busy these past few days with work, I hardly have time to really sit down and write. Today I was feeling under the weather, so I stayed home and rested. I wrote about this plan for a surf ‘n turf cookout with some friends. My friends and I try to go out and catch up regularly, and it’s something we really plan and look forward to. Sometimes we have themes, like Japanese, Pinoy, etc. It’s just something to look forward to. 🙂

 

Today’s Art Journal Page

PB018286

Earlier today, I wrote an entry about being in pickle. I included a pickle jar haha. I always like to include simple watercolor paintings in my journal entries when I have time. It could go both ways since watercolor is a pretty unforgiving medium. Sometimes I make mistakes on my paintings and leave them as is. After all, mistakes are a part of life. I often go back and leaf through the pages and find a terrible watercolor painting and laugh at myself for it, haha.

PB018281

Part of what makes it enjoyable, for me, is that I don’t take myself too seriously. 🙂 When art journaling stops being fun, perhaps one should consider taking a step back and taking stock of why it’s not fun anymore. I don’t edit myself when I write in my journal. The grammar doesn’t need to be perfect, either. If there’s one place where we can write honestly and be able to embrace ourselves, successes and failures included, it should be in our personal writings.

PB018289

I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi 12 for my watercolor paintings. I only recently tried this out, from Scribe Writing Essentials, and I’m really loving it. The colors are so vibrant, and when they dry on paper, they have a nice glossy texture on them. They are so much fun to use on my journal’s tomoe river paper because the resulting painting is always so nicely colored and has retained the same color and texture even after drying out a while.

PB018287

The container of the date is stamped on by Marryl Crafts‘ clear stamp and oh, look at this beautiful color of stamp pad. It’s called VersaMagic Tea Leaves from CraftyLanePH, and since it’s chalk ink-based, it doesn’t bleed through the paper. The opposite side of this page is completely clean, no bleed throughs or anything like that.

Happy Sunday, everyone! 🙂