Saturday, January 2, 2021

 Happy New Year!

Yes, it's been over three years since my last post.  It's not that I've stopped creating or journaling, quite the opposite.  I've filled several journals over the last three years and I continue to create my own planners (at least for my personal planning).  It's always a challenge when you have several social media accounts and you're trying to keep up with posting, commenting, and replying.  And then I got overwhelmed - being a teacher again after many years of being a mom, trying to create and journal everyday, helping my children prepare for life after high school, it was too much.  I also got discouraged - I wasn't getting new followers (did I really try to promote myself?), my art didn't sell, and I felt that I was really wasting time.

These are all excuses, I know.  And until I found the right motivation, I simply didn't want to connect.  There were times when I tried to start blogging again, but the funny thing was, I forgot how and I couldn't figure out how to access this blog.  In fact, I had to get my son to help me revive this blog.  LOL.

I'm not going to over-analyze myself here and try to fully explain my absence.  I just felt the need to blog again.  So I will continue, hopefully every two weeks, if not every week.

In 2020, I discovered the Traveler's Notebook system.  Basically, it's a bunch of smaller notebooks put together in one binding system.  I actually liked the size of the standard TN so I had several of my journals (Stalogy and Seven Seas Crossfield) but to the standard size.  

For 2021, I'm still using the TN system, but I'm using it like it was intended, with various inserts that you put together in one binding system.

The one on the left is my school planner.  The middle is a Prima TN that serves as my wallet as well as my monthly pages and memory keeping.  And the right is my main traveler's notebook that has my planner and my art journal.

Here's a quick video I did of my art journal pages from the last two months and a quick peek of my 2021 art journal.

Here are the first two pages of my art journal!  The new journal uses the new Tomoe River paper which has mixed reviews from the fountain pen world.  So far, I'm enjoying the paper as it wrinkles less and it takes less time for pen and watercolor paints to dry.  I will do another review once I've had more time to play with it.  I am still using Daniel Smith Watercolors for the most part.  Perhaps I will do a supplies post next time.

You can also find me on Instagram

Saturday, July 15, 2017

World WaterColor Month Week 2

July is definitely speeding by quickly!  And I must say I've enjoyed every single day!  Don't get me wrong, I love teaching.  But having this month to decompress and create has been truly restorative.  And the piece above speak to my happy heart.  Continuing with using supplies I have, I used Holbein Watercolors to create this piece.  I knew I wanted a nebula-like background with white writing, so I started out using the Fineline Masking Fluid Pen to write the quote before painting.  Even after an hour of waiting, the masking fluid hadn't completely dried - it was somewhat still sticky to the touch.  The impatient me just painted over it.  Needless to say, the gummy masking fluid was really difficult to remove.  I ended up writing over it with white pen.  This is probably what I should have done to begin with.  

I wanted to recreate this on watercolor paper so I can print it as a poster for my classroom.  So I used Fluid 100 140lb/300gsm hot press paper.  It has a very smooth surface, very velvety to the touch.  I decided to skip the masking and patnted the whole hair and wrote the quote using Posca White Paint pen.  

I'm not sure if I like this one as much as the one in my journal so I'll have to decide later if I will print this.  But the decision to use the white paint pen was the right one!

Monday, July 10
The promt today was beach days.  I decided to paint an old photo of me floating in the ocean in Okinawa.  I had done this two years ago and it was interesting to see the comparison.

The drawing on the left is from two years ago.  The photo has faded considerably over the last several decades so I painted the ocean with colors I remember. I've no idea who the woman is.  I think that I'm able to sketch what I see better than I used to.  I'm never going to be those artists that can reproduce photographic images with watercolor, and I don't want to.  I think what I want is to be able to tell a story with my images.  I'm definitely not good with words, but certainly not good with describing emotions and thoughts so hopefully my sketches will fill in the gap.

Tuesday, July 11 - Summer Views

What does a blueberry muffin have to do with summer views?  Nothing, except that it was National Blueberry Muffin day and it was my view for the day.  I never have time to actually make breakfast for the kids during the school year, so it's nice to be able to do this on the spot.  I love blueberries and I usually snack on the them in the morning.  I also got to show off some brush lettering that I've been practicing.  

I love using Daniel Smith watercolors for baked goods, especially the Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and Burnt Sienna.  I've never been happy with other paints when I try to paint baked goods.  I started this sketch with Sennelier paints and I love them but had to switch to Daniel Smith to paint the muffin top.  By the way, the muffins were delicious! 

Wednesday, July 12 - did not use the prompt

This one required more time than I usually spend on a painting and several revisions. The first part was the girl.  It's a weird perspective for me, one I had not attempted before.  She is looking up and standing.  Because she's holding flowers, you don't see the rest of her body. 

As you can see, my original just doesn't look right, the arms are too rounded  she lookslike she's stretching.  So I decided to darken the bottom so that there is a fading effect.

Since I would be placing a quote, I thought this would work, and it did. Until....

I got to the last line of the quote and I wrote the worng word and my attempt to cover that up didn't work.  But since I had the previous picture, I could place the quote digitally. I used an iphone App called Over to place the quote.

But I wanted to see if I could somehow salvage the original.  So I gesso'd over the bottom but the letters still ghosted through.  I ended up using a correction tape over the words, and then added more gesso.

I then painted over the that and added the rest of the quote. 

I think I'm pretty happy with the result. 

Thursday, July 13

You've seen me use the ends of bok choy before, but this crop of bok choy came with yellow flowers in the middle of each stalk!  And not knowing anything about growing vegetables, I had to google to find out if it was safe to eat the bok choy.  I read that it could be bitter but still edible and we didn't eat the flowers but I painted them! Here's the finished piece with a quote. So at my house, not only do we eat our vegables, we use them as stamps! 

The prompt today was popsicle and I've never liked them much.  But I do love ice cream!  And lately, eating ice cream cones affects my waisteline significantly, so I've been having these Healthy Choice Fudge Bars.  And at 100 calories per bar, I can have it every day!

As you can see, I bought three books to help me with my creative process.  When school starts, it will be difficult to find time to journal everyday with illustrations.  So I wanted to loosen up my sketches so that I don't have to feel like I have to create a masterpiece everyday.  Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory and Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger are perfect for this.  And those of you who are convinced you can't draw, you should really try Art Before Breakfast (Deedles, I'm talking to you!)  The third, Painting with Watercolor, Pen & Ink by Claudia Nice is to help me refine my skills. When I learn, I need to activate both sides of my brain, both the creative and the analytical. 

Friday, July 14 - Games in the grass

My kids usesd to love to blow bubbles and chase them! Especially when we lived in Michigan, we spent hours outside in the summer blowing bubbles.  I think they would still enjoy blowing bubbles, but definitely not outside in the hot Phoenix sun!  

Over the next few months (maybe longer) I'm going to be working on two art projects.  One is to create a comprehensive color chart and mixing chart using Tomoe River Paper, which is what my journals contain.  I've started a color mixing chart with watercolor paper, but TRP is behaves differently than watercolor paper so my chart is not as useful as it can be.  So I just ordered a separte TRP journal to serve as my color journal.  I actually can't wait to get this one started. I'm definitely using Jane Blundell's blog as my guide.

The second project is create a spreadsheet/database of my illustrated quotes.  I do have a bullet journal collection that lists the quotes and where the quotes are located in the various journals I have.  But I'm wanting a searchable electronic collection so I find the quote or the image easier.  I'm not sure yet how I'm going to do this, but will be exploring different options.

So, I have lots of creative projects to keep me busy.  By the way, I'm not going to use the Seven Seas Crossfield anymore because the company has changed the layout of the journal.  Instead, I'm going back to Taroko Shop Enigma on Etsy.  It uses a heavier tomoe river paper and comes with 380 pages, not as much as the Crossfield, but it has dotted pages.  I just ordered two journals, one for my color mixing journal and one for my bullet journal/art journal when my current Crossfield is finished.

I hope you have a wonderful week!  I'm going on vacation next week so hopefully, I can sketch/journal everyday.  My art supplies will be the first things I pack!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

My Current Bullet Journal Setup

Welcome to my bullet journal!  I just started my 6th journal this month so I wanted to share my setup.  The picture you see above is my cover.  I use a Seven Seas Crossfield* journal which is a dotted  480-page journal with Tomoe River Paper (used in Hobonichi journals)

*The design of the Crossfield has chanaged and I no longer recommend this product.

As much as I love my iPhone for everything, I found that it's calendar and todo feature wasn't working for me.  Using the analog system helped me to remember appointments and be more productive and organized.  So I assume you already know the basics of bullet journaling.  So I will show you the various components.

The index is the key to bullet journaling.  As I mentioned, I use my journal for everything - weekly and daily planning, daily art and journaling, lesson planning, meeting notes, etc.  So I may be on page 65 which may be a daily art journal page and the next page may be meeting notes.  The index keepts track of everything so that I can find what I'm looking for. My index isn't very exciting but I do keep this updated.

Future Log
Unlike a traditional planner where each month/week is prepared ahead of time for you to fill in, a bullet journal is supposed to be immediate, meaning that you prepare each day as you come to it.  I do some preplanning so that I prepare my week ahead, but I prepare one week at a time, usually on the weekends.  That means that you need a place to hold information for upcoming months.  As a teacher, this is really important because I need to know when vacations are and other breaks so I can plan my lessons.

I organize my future log in three month chunks.  Each column on the left represent a month and I write down the day and the description so when I'm planning the next month, I just look down the column to see what I have scheduled. I've used this system for about a year and love it.

My Goals

At the end of each year, I try to create my goals for the next year.  For me, my goals have not changed much over the years.  But if you notice the bullets under each goal.  Those may change from year to year.  I am always trying to learn and be a better version of myself.

Monthly Layout
Until recently, I've always used the traditional calendar layout for my months.  But currently, I'm using a modified version of the original monthly layout developed by Ryder Carroll.

I write the date and the corresponding day of the week along the left column.  The red dotted line separate the weeks.  I write my main goals for the month on the right and include a short quote.  I wasn't sure if I would like this format because I'm so visual, but it's been working for me so far.  

The basic format for my week/daily has not changed.  I've changed the number of pages I use and other cosmetic things but the core remains.  I use a Dutch door system so that I can see my weekly schedule on top and I have pages that represent each day.

I have a weekly section first, that I write down main goals for the week, dinner menu for Monday through Sunday (and if you notice, I only have one S for sunday since we usually go out on Saturdays.)  Throughout the week, I fill in the memories section, something I want to remember for each child.  Some people have weekly tracker that tracks certain habits.  For me, creating trackers was far more time-consuming than beneficial, so I now have "This week I..." section.  I just write down things that I accomplished or things that I want to document for the week.  I'm much more likely write my progress toward a goal this way.

So as you can see, the weekly schedule is above.  when you turn the weekly page, you see...

The weekly schedule is still visible.  I write in what I need to accomplish each day.  When I'm not teaching, I use two days/page.  But during the school year, I use one page per day.

I use half the page for lesson planning and any notes.  The time bar on the left side of each page was my attempt at documenting how I spent each day, but I've since abandoned that. I'm not sure if I will use this layout when school starts, but it will be some variation of it.

For the first two weeks in this new journal, I tried a different weekly/daily layout.  The rationale was that many of my bulleted items from day to day got migrated or were the same.  I thought perhaps a running log of my weekly tasks would be a better format.  And I still wanted to wanted to be able to see my week and be able to plan lessons.  So I came up with the following layout (with a lot of looking online for inspiration.)

I still used the Dutch door system, but this is a vertical one.  On the left, you see my running log of weekly tasks or notes.  And the top of the log was all the tasks that I do daily.  It ended up becoming a tracker.  I still could see the weekly schedule and if you flip that page, you'd see my lesson plan (I taught summer school.)  I still had room for weekly menu and memories.  This takes very little time preparing, but I didn't like it.  I missed using Washi tape and I wan'ted room to write notes.  So that is why I'm back to my old layout.

The symbols used are defined in my Key.  Most people will start the bullet journal with their key.  My key is a laminated sheet that I also use as a pencil board (to put under the page you're working on so that pen impression won't be transferred to the next page.  I used to use it as young child in Japan.)

This will require modification once school starts again in August since our schedule has changed.

Daily Journal

I try to journal everyday, usually accompanied by an illustration.  This month, I'm following two challenges, one for World Watercolor Month and another for Boho Berry Challenge, which is a journaling challenge.  This is what I usually share on Instagram.

Collections are pages that you create that can have multiple uses.  It can be a spread that lists books you want to read, quotes that you want to illustrate, meeting notes, birthdays you want to remember, etc.  The beauty of collections in a bullet journal is that when you fill up a spread, you can continue the collection on another page and you just keept track in the index.

I have a collection called Quotes to Illustrate.  I still have room for more quotes, but when I run out of space, I will start another spread and will add the new page numbers to my origianl entry in the index for this spread.  I have other collections and some of them may migrate from book to book.

I will a tab for Bullet Journal in the home page so that if you are only interested in seeing how my bullet journal evolves, you can skip all the art journal part.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

World Watercolor Month 2017

It's been a year since my last blog.  I thought about deleting the blog several times because as a teacher, I know my students and their parents can find my posts.  Do I want that kind of exposure? And of course the main issue for me was time.  After years of absence from teaching, preparation consumed most of my time.  And if you follow me on Instagram you know that I was creating and journaling but I just didn't have the energy to blog.  Now, after one complete year of teaching plus summer school (I taught Geometry), I may have some breathing room.

Plus, July is officially the World Watercolor Month started by Charlie O'Shields at Doodlewash. The challenge, of course, is to create a watercolor sketch everyday in July.  It was a huge success last year and this year is off to a great start.  This July, I'm committed to using all the watercolor products I have. As you can see, I have quite a stash.

I purchased these almost two years ago and used them in my stone paper journal.  Colors are very vivid and the brush maintains a sharp point so you can really vary the line width.  These are great for handlettering. 

I won these in a Giveaway.  Most artists prefer the more expensive Neocolor II crayons but I think these are just as good.  The only drawback to these is that you can't buy single crayon to replace. But I don't think I am going to be running out of any single color anytime soon.

I started out by dabbing the colors in and use my brush to spread the colors.  I did go back and pick up more color directly from the crayon to add highlights and shadows.  I will definitely use these again when I do more florals.

July 3:  Windsor & Newton Half Pans
These were my first "professional" grade paints I purchased.  What I love about this particular set is that all the primaries and other essenetials come in warm and cool tones.  What that means is that you can create so many other colors by mixing them.  They wet easily and mix well.  You can also purchase individual cakes if you needed to replace a color.  I use burnt umber and ultramarine the most out of any set so it's important for me to be able to replace individual colors.

July 4:  Koi Watercolor Set
These are very saturated colors but they tend to be more opaque than transparent.  I don't use these much any more because of the opaqueness.  But if you want the chalky look, which I did for this painting, it's perfect!

Over the last year, I've tried creating Islamic Geometry art.  I will do blog post about my adventure into this art form later.  I created a motif using a compass and a ruler.  I then traced my motif and repeated the pattern to create the star-page.  It's great to combine my two loves, math and art!

July 5:  Kuretake Gansai Tambi
These are lovely watercolors, but for me, there's nothing remarkable about them.  I will definitely use them but will not purchase again.

Arizona sunrises and susets are incredible.  And just about everywhere you look, there are mountains and cacti!

July 6: Jane Davenport Watercolors
Jane Davenport is known for whimsical faces (girls) and I've taken two workshops from her.  She now has her own line of mixed media art supplies (and I own many of them). Her watercolor sets come in two different shades, neutral and brights.  I used the brights for the background and the neutrals for the arms.  These are not pure pigments so mixing them can sometimes produce weird colors.  And it's difficult to layer colors on top of each other without stripping the previous layers.  But she put together some fun colors so you don't really need to mix them.

There are many changes happening in my life currently.  My son is off to college in a month, my middle child is learning to drive and my youngest is starting high school.  It's tough letting go sometimes

July 7:  Sennelier Watercolor Half Pans
These are lovely watercolors and next to Daniel Smith, are my favorites.  The colors are vibrant, they wet well, and mixes beautifully.

I'm hoping to post every week, at least through July sharing my contribution to the World Watercolor Month.  I'm also thinking about posting my bullet journal pages on Sundays.  As always, if you'd like to follow my daily journal entries, you can follow me on Instagram!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Final Week

I can't believe it's the final day of July. There were days when I didn't know what yo draw, other days, when I thought everything I created was not good. But Si made it! The motto for the World Watercolor Month was 31 Watercolors in 31 days and I'm proud to say I did a few more than 31. But before I get to that, let's look at this past week's submission.

Day 25

This was done in my daily journal. My girls and I went shopping and stopped st Garbanzo's for lunch. It is a Mediterranean version of Chipotle's. It's not gourmet but pretty tasty. The drawing is in a weird perspective since I was holding the wrap as if to eat it and I snapped the picture. I had a difficult time drawing the hand because I kept trying to draw my hand like I think they should be rather than what I saw. I think this is a common obstacle among new aspiring artists like me because we have an ingrained image of what things should look like. Practice, practice, practice!

Day 26

This piece was probably the most "liked" piece in the FB group that I shared. Funny because this was done fairly late the night before because ai just couldn't decide what I wanted to paint. I really wanted to keep practicing the loose painting method but Ibthought my previous attempt was a major fail. So after watching several YouTube videos, I started to pre-drawing; only paint. And once I got going, I felt somehow connected to the piece. And one of the videos I watched the artist used dark green and purple together so I added purple. I actually felt good when I was done. Perhaps that feeling was transferred into my painting. I definitely love the loose style so much when I see other paintings posted. And I'm not sure if it's really my thing but I'm going to keep trying!

Day 27

The end of the month was approaching and I hadn't painted any of my favorite subjects! So for this day, I chose an elephant. Although not completely loose, Ibtried not to worry too much about all the textures. Instead, I focused on light and shadows. I used neutral tint, ultramarine blue for most of the body and added a bit if quinacridone rose. I was really happy with the way this turned out.

Day 28

If you've been following me, you know how much I love coffee! And I can't believe I hadn't done any coffee art. I've never done a top view before. And I really wanted to try painting the bubbles. After drawing the cup and painting the inside with watered down raw umber/burnt sienna mixture, I began darkening with burnt sienna/ultramarine mixture, leaving the reflected light and the inside edge clear. For the bubbles, I just jabbed lightly with my brush. And it worked! For the background, I used the four-color theorem to create the mosaic look.

Day 29

You've seen me draw lots of Okinawan things before. And this is my third attempt at drawing Hanagasa, the flower straw hat that Okinawan dancers wear.

I can see an improvement in my drawing skills but I really like the saturation in my second one. I used the Japanese brand of paint called Kuretake Gansai Tambi. I was too impatient to let it dry and layer more color do that's why my painting looks pale. Some day, Im going to try the kimono! Some day...

Day 30

This is another math-related piece that uses fractals. Fractals are simply shapes, designs, patterns that repeat infinitely. So technically, this is not a fractal in the strict sense, but it does have a repeating motif.  I've always loved swirls, so that was my main motif, done mainly with circles. I love how colorful this is. I painted the background and I added layers of color for the circle swirls.

Day 31

And for day 31 - July 31, I painted my odest two children as it is their birthday. And they only let me photograph them on special days, I used an old favorite from when my son was 4 and daughter was 2. And I can't believe my son is 17!! Time flies.

And so this concludes the World Watercolor Month. But the group is going to continue.. I won't be able to paint everyday but I will try to contribute..

This is all that I painted in July. I didn't share everything with the WWM group but I wanted to use this month to create as much as I could, not only larger pieces but also in my daily journal. And I enjoyed every minute! 

I start work tomorrow, only professional development for now and school starts August 10. Teaching for me takes much of my time so I may not get to paint much. I hope I can.