Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fauxbonichi 2015 - A Look Back

It was a process I started over a year ago, to document my daily life. At first, it was a excuse to practice drawing and to use it as a planner because I was losing track of things. And never did I anticipate how much this process would impact me in a positive way.

What you see above is photo of my daily life, documented almost daily. And though my life is anything but exciting, I enjoyed looking back reading snippets of what was happening, how I was feeling, and what I was thinking.

I started the year using a Strathmore Mixed Media journal (the one I use for art journaling). The paper takes both dry and wet media well, but these are not cheap. As you can see, 2015 began with a couple of heartbreaking news, but I'm glad I got to document them.

I was learning how to Sketchnote at the time and I got to practice drawing icons and little doodles. And I finally had a place to write down my schedule, my to-do's and document the day. Though I loved using this journal, I realized how expensive it would be to use it everyday, but I found a notebook at Target that looked intriguing using stone paper. The claim was that nothing will bleed through and it was completely waterproof! And with the price being under $10, it was economical too.

It was also around this time when I joined a group on Facebook doing this type of journaling. They called it Fauxbonichi, which is a play on Hobonichi, which is a Japanese daily journal. 

The stone paper was amazing. I could even use alcohol markers like Copics and no bleed through! The only negative was that it was difficult to find a black pen that would not smear.

And even though each sheet was pretty thin, you can glue things and add tip-in's and the paper held up.

And in March, the Fauxbo group had an ABC challenge, to draw something everyday starting with the letter A and going all the way to Z.

And though I loved this notebook, I felt that I wasn't focusing on my goals (did you see yesterday's post?). And plus, I wanted to try the more traditional Fauxbo style, which just means using the Hobinich structure. So I got a gridded composition book, decorated the cover, and pre-planned each day's page.

I used a color coded star stickers to reward myself when Indid something towards my goals. And it seems childish, but they work!

And this is also when I started my blog. I cannot thank my friend, Felicia, for nudging me to do it. I also had a couple of "online friends" who encouraged me too.

But using only one page per day wasn't working for me. And I bought another journal that so popular among the members of the Fauxbonichi group.

This is a thick journal and the paper is gridded and fairly nice. But you still had to double the pages of you wanted to use markers or watercolors. And I decided to glue the pages. 

I loved having 2 pages per day!

I bought Inktense pencils and loved using them.

I started to use more colors.

And then, this happened..

The pages started to come apart. The binding on this journal is crappy, it's glued so sometimes the pages fall out from stress. Because I glued two pages and used water media, the glue couldn't hold the pages together. Luckily, I had purchased another journal from a fellow member of the group so I decided to give it a try.

It's a Seven Seas Standard notebook with Tomoe River paper. It's the same paper used in Hobonichi.

There are over 400 pages, and the paper is super thin! I was able to use this from June until now, doing 2 pages per day. I never had any bleed through issues with watercolor or inks. But certain markers did not do well. 

I started out using it as my planner and journal. The Inktense pencils and blocks looks beautiful on this paper!

And though the paper is thin, it can support tip-in's and other glued things.

And I started using watercolors.

And even gesso and black gesso!

And in July, I totally reworked my blog. I bought my own domain name!

Since July, I decided to have a separate planner. During the summer, we didn't have a whole lot of scheduled events or important todo's.

I fell in love with watercolors.

In December, I created my own art challenge. 

I know that you've seen most of the art pieces from my journal but not the completed pages. These pages will give a glimpse of how I use this process to document my days. As I was selecting pages to share on this post, I enjoyed remembering the events, the emotions and thoughts I included. I have enjoyed this process immensely. I have difficulty sharing my emotions to people and this was such a therapeutic way to brain dump. I hope you give it a try. Don't worry about the art, you can use stickers and magazine cut-outs. Use whatever coloring supplies you have. The goal is simply to document your day. I hope you'll join me.

And by the way, here is the January art challenge.

Happy New Year!! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking Back and Looking Forward

It's that time of the year to look back on the previous year to take stock of all that has happened. I must say, I'm not sad to see 2015 go. Let's just say it was a challenging year. But I'm not here to dwell on all the negativity.

2015 was also a year of growth for me as an artist. I must have channeled all the angst into creativity. Last year about this time, I drew my goals for 2015.

For the most part, I was able to accomplish these goals. In "Art", the only thing I didn't get to do was to participate in a craft show. I started my this blog in April and updated it in July. My husband and I have been on a low carb diet since April and we've both lost some weight. I also started to do yoga and love it. I just need to schedule it in regularly.

And though Friday night Shabbat as a family was difficult to maintain, we did eat regularly as a family together. And I even survived my son driving. In fact, I get him to drive often. 

I didn't get to play the piano much this year. Because Ken was home, I just never got a chance to really practice enough to play the Bach piece. I still love to listen to it daily. And I probably won't have much time to play next year either.

There are so many things I learned this year. I learned to use a saw...enough to create a wooden sword for my youngest in her battle reenactment. I'm learning so much about painting with watercolors. And I think I'm a better illustrator these days because I see better. 

I also got to work with the author, Mia Kerick, to create promotional graphics for her YA LGBT books and I'm very proud of those. I've been able to hone my skills in drawing and painting faces.

And perhaps something I'm most proud of is keeping up with my daily journaling (Fauxbonichi). And on certain days, it helped me cope and keep my sanity. It is wonderful to have a creative outlet for things that I felt this year. 

The graphic you see above shows my goals for 2016. I drew it in my Fauxbonichi for the beginning of 2016. The big focus next year for me will be to balance my work life and my family life. I know that I will be working somewhere in 2016 and I have to make sure that my family is my top priority. And I want to also make sure to carve out some time for art because it's important to me. And you may see me blog less, but I'm committed to not let this disappear. 

Happy New Year! What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What I've Been Up To...

So what have I been doing lately since I haven't really been drawing daily? 

Nothing earth shattering or exciting, unless you are really into watercolors, which I am at the moment. If you saw my post from yesterday, you know that Inktense blocks are my favorite art supply of 2015, especially in my Fauxbonichi which has Tomoe River paper. It was a tough choice because I'm loving watercolors these days. 

This post is not a comprehensive review of all the watercolor sets and products I have. I may do that later but for now, I'm trying to set up a compact set of 12 paints that I can take with me anywhere.

There are lots of watercolor paints on the market from cheap to professional grade and I have quite a few! These are the inexpensive watercolors (Daler-Rowney Simply Watercolors found at Wal-Mart and Artist's Loft watercolor cakes found at Michaels).

If you are just beginning in watercolors or if you just want some watercolors for occasional use, these are fine. 

There are others that are medium priced and better in quality.

Starting with top left going clockwise.
Windsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Compact Set
Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box Set
Lyra Aquacolor Crayons 48 count
Kuretake Tambi Gansai 24 count
Shinhan Watercolors 30 count

Except for the Lyra's, the rest are all under $35. I've not had a chance to use Lyra's much yet as it was a recent win from a giveaway (thank you, Felicia!). Others I have used quite a bit. Once again, I will do a review of these in future posts.

And here are the professional tubes that I have.

These are typically $10-$15 each for a 15 mL tube. The boxed set of Holbein Artists' Watercolor set of 24 5-mL tubes are listed at Amazon for $43.36 (I got them about half as much recently on Black Friday). The 6, 5-mL Daniel Smith Extra Fine Introductory Watercolor tubes are listed at $27.76 on Amazon. 

I haven't really had a chance to use Holbein much but I definitely plan to. And I LOVE my Daniel Smith paints. I created a travel palette using an Altoids mint tin and an empty gum tray and took it to my daughter's Battle of Gettysburg reenactment

With the primary set, I added quinacridone gold and quinacridone burnt orange to the mix because they help you make lots of neutrals. I'm happy with the 8 colors I have. But there are colors that I use often but have to mix them like greens, violets and burnt umber. So I'm looking to expand my palette to 12. I had some Sculpey clay (the kind you bake) so I created this palette using the end of a paint pen!

Why 12? After reading so many articles about color mixing and properties of watercolors, 12 is a nice number to create most colors I would want to use without losing pigment saturation or carefully measuring components to mix. This is an excellent website about watercolors and color mixing.

One of the things Handprint site suggests you do is to create mixing gradient so you can see the colors you can create by mixing various amounts of each color. And you see the saturation of each color created.

Look at the variety of colors you create by mixing pyrrole scarlet and phthalo blue! I love the chocolate brown and teal! And see how saturated the colors are! Wow. However, there are certain mixes with Ultramarine blue that are very dull, like certain greens and purples. So I'm trying to determine what 4 colors I could add to my existing 8 that would complete my palette.

For my Holbein and Shinhan tubes, I bought these eyeshadow sets at the dollar store and popped the eye shadows out. I like this container as it has six larger wells on the side (for my warm and cool primaries) and 6 smaller wells for additional colors. Plus, it has a little are I can use for my water reservoir. I just have to pick the colors out of the sets I have.

These watercolor sets are nice because you get to try a particular brand without having to spend a ton. The tubes are smaller (5mL instead of 15) and they come in lots of colors. However, I'm finding out that some of the colors included in the sets are totally useless or can be easily mixed given the right parent paints. And also, you can't rely on the paint names across brands to represent a certain color. So Daniel Smith burnt umber may be slightly different than Holbein's and etc. it's frustrating. I've learned that instead of color names, you have to look at the pigment identification.  For example, cerulean blue in Holbein is PB35 but in Shinhan, it's PB15. 

And if you are interested in seeing what other artists' 12-color palette looks like, check out this page. This is a great blog to follow and he also has a YouTube channel worth checking out. 

So I will be testing my watercolors for awhile, mixing colors, creating my 12-color palettes and deciding which ones I really like. 

If you are an artist, please share your palette or your recommendation! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mandala Monday - Flower of Life

Do you remember your high school geometry class? For the most part, geometry was not my thing trying to memorize all the theorems for proofs. But I did love the construction unit in which you learned to draw various polyhedrons with a compass and a straight edge. Another unit on tesselation (tiling a pattern), golden ratio and Fibonacci sequence (think nautilus she'll) was among my favorites too. I just think it's super cool that mathematics can be used to explain so many beautiful things nature provides for us. I think it's even more super cool that in nature, so many seemingly different things are connected to each other.

So for today's mandala, I created the "flower of life" pattern. The term, "flower of life", is a recent one though the pattern is ancient. I won't bore you with the details, but if you are interested, start reading this.

I love this pattern so much that I created a couple of stencils with this pattern. I drew the patterns on cardstock, laminated them and cut out certain parts using an X-acto knife. I used the stencils to create my piece for today. I colored using Inktense blocks with a baby wipe. 

And here's the pattern if you want to color it. My daughter was surprised that I created this using only a compass and used the same compass angle until the very end when I drew the outer circle. 

Can you see the different patterns you can create by coloring the petals in different colors? I see a Jewish star, a hexagon, a pentagon, a square, and a triangle.. And if you draw more circles, you can see a cube.. I hope you give this a try..