My new art journal

At the end of 2017, I decided I was done with my old art journal, and started a new one in the beginning of 2018. Because I felt the desire for change, there were a lot of changes I made to my new art journal that differed greatly from the previous two journals, which were exactly the same in shape, size and materials. After 5 years of working in my art journal the same way, I felt like it’s time to change things up, a reflection my own personal revelations as well. But that, is a story for another day.

First of all, a look at how my journal looks like from the front:

I tend to like colours on the covers of my journal, because it makes me happy to see colours. The cover here is made from a sheet of deli paper that I used as a paint palette, so there are lots of juicy colour on that one small sheet. What’s different about this cover, is that I have decorated it, sketching a girl and then painting it in. My past two journals were completely plain on the outside other than the colours – I wanted to decorate it at the end of the journal so that the cover matched the inside of the journal, but it never materialised because I was too lazy at the end of the journal, and I was so used to the plain covers that it felt weird to finish up the covers, and then put away the journal for storage. So I was pretty surprised myself when I got the urge to pick up a pencil and draw in this girl here. But I’m glad for it, even though she’s a little dirtied during the process of filling up this journal, because it sets a theme for the journal and really gave a sense of ownership.

Another thing that is different for this journal was how I bounded it. I decided to change up the size of the journal because I had gotten too used to the 6″ x 11″ size previously, shrinking it down to half A4 size. This is also a single signature journal, much thinner than my previous two journals which had five signatures, lasting me for two years each. As I am writing this, I am more than halfway past my journal, with only a few pages left to fill up! It’s just such a quick journal.

But, the most important difference about this journal is the papers that I have used to make the pages. Previous journals used a mixture of artist paper – cardstock, drawing/watercolour/scrapbook paper, but this one is made completely out of junque – brochures from mail, paper bags, envelops, old calendars. It’s a radically different base, which I prepped for the journal by painting, gesso-ing and collaging over the words and pictures already on the paper. It’s not a perfect cover, but just enough that it doesn’t overwhelm and take over the page when I go to work over it.

I have to admit, I really wasn’t used to having junque papers as a base in my art journals. It made me hesitant to try the more artistic things that I would experiment in my art journals, like paintings and watercolours, because I was convinced that the paper wouldn’t take these mediums very well. To be honest, I’m still hesitant about using watercolours in this journal, because I don’t think the papers will absorb the paint very well, but, but, I have tried other mediums and techniques that I didn’t use to go for in the past in this new journal – oil pastels, dimensional collage, paint scratching, acrylic paints.

Here’s the most recent page from my journal (and pardon the not very skillful blurring of journaling):

The bright and bold colours really surprised me, because the junque material and gesso allowed the colours to stayed on the surface of the page, rather than soaking into the paper. I did this by dipping watercolour pencils into water, and then drew/coloured in the butterflies and leaves, and I never knew that my cheap watercolour pencils can end up looking this bright! It made me want to use them more and experiment further actually, and I love when my experiments get me inspired.

I’m having fun with this journal, and the new format is still really new and fresh to me, so I think I will keep it at this for a while longer. And there’s something interesting about finishing a journal in a relatively short period of time, an explicable sense of accomplishment, and the way I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’m an expert on junque journals, because I can’t really get over the junque aspect of things, but I’m trying to explore, while using up my stash of recyclables that I will never get to finish. Hope this inspires you to try your hand at junque journaling, or at least to try something new!

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When life gives you lemons, make lemon juice

So, my computer crashed after the last windows 10 update. I couldn’t reboot it, and it couldn’t detect the OS anymore on my computer… After some fiddling, I manage to get the Windows 10 driver downloaded on it again (using my old old computer to do it.. I’m spoilt by the quickness of newer technology). But, everything is gone from my computer.

Well, not exactly everything, since it did save a copy of my Windows during the reinstallation, so I actually do still have access to my old files. Not that it’s of much use since I’ve long since learnt to save everything on cloud, or on my hard drive. What really hit hard though is the loss of programmes from my computer, and the hassle to reinstall all of them again. Or at least the essential ones. Right now, I’m feeling the loss of Microsoft Office, which I will have to dig out my old disc to see if it can be installed again, because that disc has been so used and abused (flown from Asia to Europe so that I could install it when the same computer broke down while I was on exchange).

But there’s some silver lining here too, which I am really grateful for right now, since I spent all my time trying to fix this since I got home from work (and it’s the first day in the whole month I left work on time too). OneNote works (thank you, Microsoft), so I still got access to all my writing and stories draft on this computer. And Chrome is just a godsend, remembering all my settings, down to the extensions, themes and background image (this, especially, because I spent time actually curating my new tabs background images. I’ll think about how Google is utilising all these information from its users at another time).

So yeah, the really essential things stayed, which is already good enough, and since I’m starting from scratch anyway, I decided that I’m going to jazz up my computer! Or at least, it’s going to be different from before, because I’ve been using the same wallpaper for what, six/seven years? Hey what can I say, I’m a person of habit, and it’s hard to find something that suits my taste. Considering since I drew it. Here, have a look at this rudimentary work drawn with a mouse on Microsoft Paint, it’s a masterpiece I tell ya, creatively named “elephant”:

But anyway, new desktop background and new colour schemes, and I think I’m liking where this is going, until the next time I feel the need for a change (six/seven years later, probably, judging from past trends). And a fresh start also means less clutter on my computer, with all the programmes I don’t use anymore gone until a day I need to use them again. Funny how there’s some sentimental values to computer programmes that you once used but couldn’t bear to remove from your computer because you don’t know when you are going to use them again, and it’s going to be so troublesome to download when you actually need them.

And on a really, really, bright side, I’m so glad that I finished all my resume and cover lettersĀ yesterday, before all these nonsense happened. Yay (and thank god) to me for not procrastinating (so much).

I’m rambling I aware, because my plans for today (since I left work on time and all for the first time in what feels like forever) was to to write. But I couldn’t because of the computer thing and I knew if I put it off, I’ll just be condemning my computer to never work again, because I’m lazy at troublesome things like that. So yeah, you get a rambly, crazy girl instead of some coherent, well-thought out post, and a masterpiece of an elephant to boot. Isn’t that just awesome?

And I’m just going to go before I embarrass myself even further. Not that I really mind it at the moment, but I should. Bye. T’was was fun writing this.

Ponderings: Finding time

I’m so busy nowadays that it’s been difficult to find time. Or maybe more accurately, it’s been difficult finding energy that will allow me to utilise those pockets of time I have efficiently.

I like to think that I’m efficient, and it shows in my work, the things I can accomplish when I set myself to do it. But sometimes that spark just go away, and I want nothing better to do than to laze around and not care about the world around me. Unfortunately, much as I do so, it always feel like I’m not resting enough. And on the other hand, I feel like I’m not doing enough, that there’s a lot of time that I’ve wasted not doing anything.

I’m still trying to find that balance, and I suspect I may be too much of a workaholic and dedicating too much time to work. Add in the obligations to other people, I’m barely left with any time for myself.

Art, has taken a backseat in these busy times. I haven’t wrote anything or did much arting recently. At least, not in my art journal. Started a doodle journal recently and some days I’ll just sit down for 10 or 15 min to do something in there. It’s not much, and other art journalers may say it’s better than nothing, but honestly, I feel like it isn’t enough.

I’m trying to do more art and less journaling, if only journaling seemed to have dried out or something. I guess I can only conclude that my life has gotten more boring after adulting. Funny, because I’m supposed to be in the prime of my life and having fun but I feel like a old women with the lack of energy. Is this an introvert thing?

Typing this out on my daily commute. It used to be that I have half an hour of uninterrupted travel that I could type something if I wanted, but my schedule now only offers me 10 minutes. Take 5 minutes to warm up and then the other 5 isn’t really much of a time. And my other journey is usually a sleeping journey because it’s a bumpy ride and I get bad motion sickness. But oh well. Making this work, somehow. Sometimes.

And here’s a photograph, the most artistic thing I’ve done recently that I can find in my phone:

Happy Monday.