27 April 2020

Staying Sane at Home

Holy cow, it's already the last week of April! How are you guys doing? 

Personally, I still get bouts of anxiety every now and then. There seems to be no end in sight to this pandemic. Going "back to normal" will not be the normal we are all accustomed to.

I'm really trying to channel my worries into a more optimistic state of mind...you know, blah to TADA! Here are some of the things I've been doing:

1. Prayer and Meditation - it's very helpful to read reassuring verses, envisioning positive thoughts, and do some deep breathing to calm me down. 

I was even moved to make this sketch from scripture: "So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you." -Colossians 3:13

2. Making Art - there's a saying that goes, "Let art get you through the dark". Time and again, making something with my hands has worked as an anchor whether the seas are calm or turbulent.  

I'm participating in "The 100 Day Project" and I'm currently on Day 21. I've shared some tiny paintings on Instagram and I'll write a post about my progress in the coming weeks.

I've also been tuning into various live drawing and watercolor workshops on Instagram with illustrators that I admire like Jordan Sondler, Jessie Kanelos Weiner and Jennifer Orkin Lewis/August Wren. Watching them work is so soothing and it feels good to have some kind of human contact even if I see them but they don't see me.

3. Crafting - while I love doing this, it's been a struggle to start a new project.

I did make my own face mask using a bandana and elastic bands following this tutorial.

I also made a few pop-up cards for our elderly neighbors. I hope it cheers them up and makes them feel less alone.

4. Listening to Music - what better way to feel uplifted than with songs and very talented singers?

Broadway shows had to close their theater doors to help with social distancing measures. I do miss it, but the actors have been getting together to perform on-line. My favorites so far are Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and The Phantom of the Opera

And how about that moving solo performance of Andrea Bocelli

5. Cooking and Baking

Who isn't cooking these days? It satisfies a need since we can't eat out, but it's quite therapeutic and creative, too. 

I've also been baking a lot, making cookies, cakes, and quick breads.

And every afternoon, I'm at Baking Club with Christina TosiShe's the positive energy that we all need right now.

6.Virtual Parties - one thing I'm very grateful for is technology. It keeps us informed, educated, entertained, and connected.

I've been attending a few virtual parties with friends from across the globe via Messenger, ZOOM, and Google Hangouts. We've  been checking in on each other and swapping stories, shows to watch, and recipes to try.

Over the weekend, our family had a party for my little niece who turned one year old. We all made signs that we showed to the camera when we took a photo. That way when she gets older and looks at her old birthday photos, she'll see what a unique celebration we had for her. We had balloons, decorations, a mascot (just a drawing), a chocolate cake with a candle, and we sang "Happy Birthday". We each brought a snack that we were currently eating (ex. pizza, fried chicken, cupcakes) to "share" during our virtual potluck gathering. A real party would have been nice, but like everyone marking a big event, we did the next best thing.

How about you? Care to share some coping strategies? 

I wish you all good health, safety, and a peaceful week ahead!

20 April 2020

The Flower Ladies

Springtime has always been magic for me. It's a miracle that I get to witness year after year when the earth comes back to life after a lengthy, somber winter.

I'm inspired by all the blooming bushes and trees outside. What a shame that we can't fully appreciate them because we have to stay home to stay safe. I continue to hunker down and I made a few paintings. 

I used these stamps by Jane Davenport.

I mounted them on acrylic blocks and inked with a stamp pad to create this series I fondly call, "The Flower Ladies":

The sketches are my humble way to preserve the flowers I see, as well as to admire our beautiful nature.  

Flower-inspired stamps and sketches
I hope these will encourage you to make your own work of art...TADA!

13 April 2020

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Hey guys, nice to see you today!

Did you know that April is "National Letter Writing Month?" It's very old-fashioned but that's where the charm lies. The ritual of choosing stationery and a fine pen, expressing your thoughts on paper and in your handwriting. Signing it, sealing it, and taking it to the post office for a proper stamp so the letter arrives to your beloved.  

I love writing letters and I love receiving letters, too! Even at this time where technology is at our fingertips and on instant voice command.

I was reading this article entitled "What's Your E-mail Sign-Off?" and I found it quite amusing. It also received a lot of reader comments...boy, it's a hot topic!

It made me pause and think of how I signed my correspondence. 

Here's what I often use:

I sign with this most of the time because it's very celebratory, regardless of my relationship with who I'm writing to.

I use this if I'm signing a formal note, a business transaction or if I'm writing to someone I do not personally know.

I end with this if I'm writing to a very dear friend. 

White jademagnolie Picture size: 38 x 38 cm Technique: Ink painting Color: black and white Hand-painted unique Artist's signature and stamp Hand painted original Unikat direct from the artist Tailai Zhang
via Etsy
Inspired by the red seal found on Chinese brush paintings, I thought I might add a little something extra to my handwritten letters.

A cute stamp like this one:

I bought this set of cuddly panda stamps at the craft store.

I mounted them on an acrylic block for an easy grip.

With a generous amount of ink, I stamped them on paper and added a signature:

Hopefully my friends receiving the letter will feel all warm and fuzzy...TADA! And I'm pretty sure they all need it right now until it's safe to meet and hug again. 

Maybe we can write some cards and letters while we're social distancing? It will cheer up those feeling isolated and will help the post office tremendously.

12 April 2020

Easter Greetings!

With all that's going on, we have to forgo our traditions like family gatherings, photos with the Easter bunny, and egg hunts. But let's not forget what this season is about: hope, miracles, and the promise of new beginnings.

Hang in there guys! We're all in this together!

06 April 2020

The 100 Day Project

Have you guys heard of the 100 Day Project? It's a free art project that takes place online. All you have to do is choose a project, do it every day for 100 days, and share your process on Instagram with the hashtag #The100DayProject.

After I completed it in 2017, I promised myself to "Do Something Creative Everyday" as a form of relaxation and to practice my art. I've been pretty successful in keeping that promise even if the days are busy or I'm not in the right mood. The secret is to stick with simple projects. 

Here are my go-to crafts, reminiscent of when we were children:

Coloring Books
I like to use watercolor, colored pencils or felt-tipped pens instead of crayons for easier layering and shading.

I still love buying stickers for scrapbooking, making handmade cards, and decorating packages. Stickers are one of life's little pleasures!

Rubber Stamps and Inks
I must admit, I have a big collection of rubber stamps and I use them in my Bullet journal, on fabric and even ceramics...TADA!

Clay Crafts
Maybe it's the soothing feeling of the clay between my hands or the possibility of making something out of nothing is what makes clay crafts very satisfying. 

Stencil Art
Tracing shapes or letters using stencils was always fun for me. And I use this technique to this day, even making my own stencils here, here, and here.  

Spiral Art
How many of us had this iconic toy when we were little? It's a tool to make spiral art! I bought this at the Dollar Store for nostalgia's sake. 

Each of these plastic coins glide around the perforations in the circle to create unique shapes. Pen colors can also be switched up to add more character. 

The repeating circles can be hypnotic and and quite relaxing.

And instantly, I've created my version of modern art...TADA!

All these crafts take a minimum of 10 minutes, very simple and low commitment ways to turn blah to TADA! but have long-lasting benefits.

Would you like to participate in the 100 Day Project? Now would be a good time because we have nowhere to go but to shelter-in-place. It officially starts tomorrow, April 7 (but you can start anytime you want). If you're curious, you can find more information here.  

I'll be participating right with you. My project is "100 Days of Silver Linings". If you're not familiar, "Silver Linings" refers to a "sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation."

Everyday, I will seek out stories of hope and make a watercolor rendition of what I find.  I'll share my progress in a future post.

Be safe and make art!