“First Bullet Journaling Adventure: How to Get Started”  

I am not the most organized person in the world, yet I am extremely punctual with appointments and outings. When it comes to my art supplies, I’m a stickler for how they’re stored and where. It’s as contradictory as a starburst I know but it is what it is.

If you know exactly what I’m talking about, you have maybe tried writing down memos while having them within easy reach to read daily or instead keep a planner. Some people enjoy planners for the sheer repetitiveness and can keep up with them and that’s ok kudos to them.

I’ve used planners for a while and can never keep up with them from day to day. I usually see it as something to fill out if I have things to do or scheduled that day. If there isn’t anything, it’s left blank.

Don’t get me wrong. Many of them have beautiful designs and weekly quotes to keep me motivated, but I feel there’s not much room for anything else. Even trying to be tech savvy and leaving reminders on my Google calendar on my phone doesn’t really help. By this point, you know it’s really bad.

As a sort of New Year’s resolution, I’m trying something a little different with my art and blog organization, well with everyday life mixed in it of course. We can’t forget that now can We? If you keep up with YouTube and Instagram, then you’ve seen a bunch of beautiful spreads and notebooks just gleaming with different colored calligraphies and ink.

Bullet Journaling is apparently now “a thing”. Well, it has been for awhile, but silly me just recently stumbled upon it looking for organization tips. Check out Boho Berry and several others on YouTube whenever you get the chance. Boho Berry’s journals, in particular, are absolutely stunning!

In this random makeshift journey, I’m going to give bullet journaling a try. After several videos and articles trying to figure the format of it later, I have come up with my own. Granted it’s not that fancy or detailed, but I feel it’s getting the job done at this point.

Join me on a bullet journal journey. Get yourself a notebook of your choice: lined, dotted or blank. Your next item is a good fine point pen and a few colored gel pens for variety. Some people add stickers to their pages, but again that’s up to you.

The second thing you need to do is set up your Index and Key. The index helps you stay on track with pages which will be a lot of and the key is a basic sign system to keep track of appointments, chores etc.

This is what I have done so far. So let’s get organized together and learn along with me.

Until next time.

 

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“True Art: What is it?”

Everyone is familiar with Jackson Pollock. If the name does not ring a bell, you may have seen one of his more famous works briefly in movies or shows. Pollock’s work was extremely abstract. Still nothing? Here’s a picture to jog your memory.

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This is one of his more famous works which is titled “Convergence.” I do not intend to give a full analysis on his piece (I will probably save that for later.) What I am really driving at is what we all perceive as appealing and beautiful when it comes to art. Someone may see this piece in person and say that it speaks volumes to them while another may see it as just a bunch of paint splatters. I will have to admit I thought so at first until I saw one of Pollock’s pieces in person at the Dallas Museum of Art a few years ago. There is a lot more precision that went into his paintings that meets the eye.

What I personally find appealing and awe-inspiring may not be another person’s cup of tea. I adore Steampunk, Victorian and Renaissance art. The emphasis of the human form was very apparent for its time. Steampunk is a mixture of science fiction and Victorian genres all rolled into one. Art is a fabrication deep from within our imaginations that is brought to life in many mediums and others are just purely miraculous.

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Some may find Gothic or gory art consisting of undead creatures and zombies as beautiful and others may not have the stomach for it. Science fiction art and anime may be inspring for future animators while others that are not interested in these genres may not understand them. Although, have you ever seen a Studio Ghibli or Hayao Miyazaki film? The artwork is breathtaking! Then again, that’s just me though. If you do decide to check out anything by these animators, I recommend “Howl’s Moving Castle.” You will not be disappointed.

These same tastes can apply to the realm of artists as well aside from people that appreciate art. Many of us artists create for the sole purpose to unleash our emotions and pour it into our pieces reflecting each of our individual styles. So then, what is true art really? It stems from anything you want it to be and everywhere. Junk in scrap yards is another person’s treasure or artwork in this case that involves building sculptures. Numerous materials, threads and buttons are a textile artist’s dream. 

Cut outs from old magazines can become beautiful collages in the hands of a mixed media artist. Film makers with their detailed visions direct documentaries giving in depth incite into the lives of many all over the world to raise awareness. Photographers capture emotions through camera and lighting. Art therapists who are also artists heal..heal an individual’s inner turmoils through the passion they love so much.

Art is a root that connects each one of us towards each other and beyond. It is just a matter of how far we are willing to reach the depths of our imaginations to see and look for art through different lenses. 
 

Art Therapy? What’s That? 

You have probably seen the word thrown around here and there lately in grocery stores, bookstores or people may have brought it up casually in conversation.

What is art therapy really? People think of it as simply coloring away mandalas in adult coloring books. Others see it as a simple certification that you can get after taking a simple test.

It has been around in the U.S. since the 40’s but started to be used in hospitals and mental health settings in the mid-twentieth century.

Art therapy degrees actually take at least three to four years of study that hits the subjects of mental illnesses and life’s difficulties to better help others along with honing aka polishing up their craft. They just happen to be artists too sharing their passion in the process. Every art therapist goes about it differently.

It’s not just all coloring books, but more than that. I repeat..it’s NOT just about coloring books. Nothing makes me twitch more than when someone thinks or says that it seems really easy or that you just give a patient a coloring book and that’s it.

It is about using various art mediums as a way of healing for all age groups and walks of life meaning it can help anyone and everyone.

It ranges from learning disabilities, mental disorders, to medical illnesses in hospitals, criminals in prison, and elderly concerns such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What drawing and painting will help with one group may not help another. Soft mediums that are fluid may speak to and help a patient that has suffered abuse express his or her self in the piece. An angry patient will easily be able to work with crumpling up a paper and drawing images from the shapes he or she creates with charcoal or pastels of his or her choosing.

What can’t be expressed through words can be said through art pieces. Sometimes it is through the finished product and other times it is meditative through just the making process.

What do you know about art therapy? Do you have any experiences with how art has helped you heal? Do you know of any art therapists or are you one yourself? What are ways that you’ve explained art therapy to others?

Let’s have a discussion and leave your comments below.

God bless you and until next time.

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 Christmas Giving: Handmade Gifts have been Brought Part 2

Merry Late Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone. I hope it continues to be filled with plenty of love, tasty goodies, and giving. Also, if you happened to be at the 300th year anniversary of the founding of San Antonio, I hope you all had an amazing time aside from the cold weather! There was definitely goodies a plenty on my end, buñuelos and plenty of caldo.

I mentioned in my last post sometime before Christmas that handmade gifts should make a come back while leaving a bit of a cliffhanger. Plenty was given out and others happily devoured.

Baked goods are always a must and we all have recipes tucked away in our kitchens. If not or you’re not much of a baker or cook and possibly set things on fire, it’s ok. You’re not alone. (I’ve caught water on fire and have split atoms in the process, but that’s a story for another time.)

If you are brave enough to do some homemade baking and just don’t know where to start, well find a grandma or aunt. Seriously, we all have one and if you don’t, borrow one (No, I don’t mean kidnapping, just ask your friend.)

My traditional family recipes were passed down from my great grandma. Pumpkin bread, repostarias also know as Mexican Christmas cookies, and tamales fill the air in my house every year.

Sadly, I won’t be sharing my family recipes with you because they are..well, secret. Not to worry, though. There are two easy and not so structured recipes that I can and will share with you.

This year we added something new..buñuelos and Sugar Cubes and not just any sugar cubes, but gourmet sugar cubes.

Now on to the fun part; buñuelos are as easy as deep frying tortilla dough and dipping it in cinnamon in sugar. Think of it as a flatter version of a churro but crispier.

  • Flour Tortilla Mix
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Anise
  • Canola Oil
  1. Heat up a skillet filled a half inch deep with canola oil and heat until small bubbles start to form.
  2. While the oil is heating, pour out half a cup of tortilla mix and pour in water to desired consistency. (It’s a bit of trial and error to get it right.) Form several balls and roll them out to the size you want.
  3. In a flat dish, pour in and mix cinnamon and sugar together. This will be the coating.
  4. After the dough is shaped, put one buñuelo at a time in the oil and fry both sides until crispy. Dip it in the coating and repeat. There you go, you have buñuelo. Just don’t eat a whole bunch in one sitting. They’re not exactly the healthiest desserts on the planet.

    The sugar cubes are a bit more simple. Thanks to Shirley on the “Home and Family Show”, there is a more in-depth recipe.

    1. All you need is some herbs of your choice and of course some regular white sugar. It can be Mint, Peppermint, Rose petals, Oranges etc. Just put in a cup of sugar with the herbs of your choice in a chopper and mix them together.
    2. Empty out the sugar into a bowl and add a tablespoon of water and mix until thick. Now, this is where it gets fun. Get silicone molds of whatever shape strikes your fancy and spoon in the sugar mixture into them, packing them down tightly.
    3. Let them set for twenty-four hours and take them out after the time is up. Boom! You have cute little sugar cubes to use for coffee or tea! You can give them out or horde them all for yourself. The choice is yours.

    More Squats=More Food 

    This season is a joyous time and what I like to call slightly fattening. With all of the goodies everywhere you turn, it is a bit difficult to politely decline or just say flat out, “No, thank you.”

    But then, there is one conundrum. How do you keep a consistent workout schedule with all of the festivities and the tamales? (Yes, I said tamales. They’re a staple during the Christmas season for my family and not exactly the most healthy, but they’re oh so tasty!)

    Another conundrum is, how do you control an ever-increasing appetite when you lift weights? When I’m seated at my easel, I usually don’t get that hungry. It’s only after I work out, especially after doing squats and lunges.

    It’s a bit of a struggle during the holiday season because of my huge sweet tooth, but, there is a way around it. While trying to balance out my sweet tooth with working on art pieces to working out, I’m gradually learning as I go. Take it from an artist that is learning along with many of you. After much trial and error, this is what I have come up with so far:

    • Limit your sugar to a bite here and there. Meaning, control your cravings with small bites instead of whole servings.
    • Keep track of caloric intake with a fitness app. The MyPlate app is pretty easy and free to use. If you prefer tracking macros, it does that too.
    • Write down your workouts in a planner to stay consistent.
    • Relax, ’tis the season to eat and be merry. Don’t be hard on yourself if you indulge for a day or two. So take one cookie without feeling guilty.

    These are my ways of going about staying healthy during the holiday season so enjoy and tweak these how you see fit.

    Most importantly, have a Merry Christmas.

    “Art and Christmas: Bringing Back Handmade Gifts for Everyone on Your List to Enjoy”

    Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for giving and receiving, but it should mostly be for giving and good will towards men. It is a bit self explanatory right?

    This may sound a bit “Bah Humbug” but buying gifts for everyone on your list is not all that’s cracked up to be. No I am not referring to the concept of giving presents. Shopping trips are chaotic almost like zoos and the closer to Christmas Eve even more so.

    Why not give a handmade gift instead? It has more sentiment and thought going into them than anything else. Bake homemade cookies. Draw or paint a picture. Make individual cards. Crochet or sew scarfs, hats, or bags (I do not possess this skill unfortunately.)

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    I will go over some gift ideas a little bit more after Christmas since I am in the process of making gifts myself. But where there are bows and paper, there is always a mischievous kitty lying in wait to see what she can steal. Like Night..who has been caught red handed trying to steal an ornament.

    May your spirits be bright and merry. Merry Christmas to all.

    “Art Studio Experiment: The Ins and Outs of Using Recycled Materials to make Organizing Easier”

    What area do you use to get your creative juices flowing? If you are among the league of artists that have their own art studio, good for you. You lucky duck.

    For the rest of us, we make do with what we have. Dining room tables, countertops, bedsides, desks, dressers, ironing tables (I don’t know about this one, just throwing it out there.) You name it. These and many other makeshift uses have been done.

    Now here is the tricky part. With limited space, what can be used to organize and store art supplies to keep them in tip-top condition to continue creating? I believe that’s where innovation and creativity at its finest come in.

    Do you have a corner? Claim it! A kitchen table? Use it! A TV dinner table? You get the picture. Anything can be used.

    This here is my little art nook which is a corner of my living room. It only shows my main art supplies that I use the most. I recycle items for storage such as:

    • Wylers Tea/Koolaid Tubes for storing gouache paint tubes and paint brushes
    • Cardboard box for storing larger acrylic paint tubes
    • Plastic Water bucket for storing acrylic, sable, and taklon paint brushes
    • Reusable eco bags from the store to hold paper, pencils, and fixative spray
    • Plastic laundry detergent bucket for ceramic and sculpture supplies
    • Mason jars for storing paint thinner

    These are the main objects that I use for the organization or at least try to. It does not exactly look like something out of a magazine or some of the artists’ studios that you see on YouTube, but it is a sure fire way to recycle products and bring life back to old plastic and cardboard ware that would easily end up in the trash.

    Whatever your art-making situation is, there are ways to keep your art supplies in one place and out of the hands of furry creatures and munchkins if you have them. (My cat Night has stolen my paint brushes and has tried chewing on my paint tubes on more than one occasion.)

    Artists and crafters, what uses can you think of to store your supplies? I really love the idea of us bouncing ideas off of each other and would love to hear what you have to say.

    “Fitness and Art: How to Combine Them without going Insane”

    You are probably thinking, “What does an artist know about fitness?” Everywhere you look health and fitness are being promoted more so than any other time. Weightlifting here, measuring macros there, the list goes on and on. Maybe it always has been and I’m just now reading into everything.

    I’m not a weightlifter, far from it, but I do believe fitness should be incorporated into our daily lives for health and well being minus the raw egg white and whey protein shakes. I prefer homemade smoothies with plant-based ingredients. I’m not a fan of the chalky flavor.

    There is a way to combine creating and fitness without going insane. It can be done.

    What does this have to do with art though? For all of you that are artists or know of someone that is one or have a loved one that is, you may have noticed that we tend to be isolated in our rooms or studios for hours on end seated while painting, drawing, or making prints. When working on pieces, sometimes we skip meals or resort to munching on snacks to hold us over until we are done for the hour or day. It can be difficult to balance out exercise with time spent on creating.

    Depending on your fitness level, it is best to break things up in increments. Set an alarm. Write it down in your planner. Whatever it is, hold yourself accountable. For me personally, I can work on a painting for about an hour and a half to two hours straight. Then, I attend a kickboxing class twice a week and do thirty minutes of dumbbell exercises on two or three other days. After I’m finished, I make something to eat or make a homemade protein fruit smoothie to keep nourished and hydrated.

    “I have deadlines to meet. How am I going to make time to go to the gym?”

    To start off you don’t need to get a huge bench press. You do not need to go to the gym. (There are probably a few gasps in the audience no doubt.)  Start an activity you enjoy. Go for a walk, hike, or do an at-home workout.

    A good one to try is called Hasfit which is a YouTube series that contains a mixture of beginner to advanced exercises. Another, if you want more motivation, consistency a customized meal plan and workout schedule, is to try the Ideal Shape Up 12 Week Challenge.

    Here is a good starter list to start lifting something other than a paintbrush:

    • A pair of dumbbells 5-7 pounds is a good place to start.
    • A yoga mat
    • Comfy shoes
    • Resistance bands
    • A kettlebell (a neat option, but not necessary)
    • Exercise ball
    • Ankle Weights
    • You, yourself, and you

    (All of these can be found at a local Wal-Mart, Five Below, or Academy for reasonable prices.)

    Be kind to yourself at first. A few setbacks are not bad, just a learning experience. Now step out of your studio for thirty minutes or however long you can manage and get moving.

    “Art Supply Starters: What, Where, & When to Use Them”

    You just saw the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy with the “Creation of Adam” being one of the awe-inspiring paintings on the ceiling wondering what inspired Michelangelo to paint these Biblical scenes.

    You then travel to France to step foot into the Louvre Museum and see Leonardo da Vinci’s famous piece the “Mona Lisa” with her emotionless expression and a lingering smile that leaves an even greater air of mystery. Many say that the angle of her eyes seem to follow you as you move past her in the museum she resides in. “This man was an artistic genius, ingenious for his time. I wish I could be of his caliber,” you are probably pondering to yourself…

    Well maybe not, let us bring ourselves back to unfortunate reality. There is nothing wrong with dreaming though, right? If you have had the opportunity to visit any of these places and see these priceless artworks in person, then more power to you. They should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.

    None of us may be a Leonardo da Vinci, but we can all make incredible works of art if we open our minds to various inspirations and just draw, paint, or make ceramics, whatever strikes our fancy. Pablo Picasso once said that “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  Think back as a child and remember all of the doodles and scribbles that you may have made, the pretend games that you may have played, with your siblings or neighborhood friends.

    Everything takes a little creativity. Art is an innate part of our existence, but where to start? “What supplies will I need? They can get expensive after awhile. Where can I buy them?” These may be some of your questions and the answers may vary. It all depends on what you want to create.

    If cost is an issue, and you are not comfortable with drawing, You can opt for making paper collages with these materials:

    • Old mail
    • Catalogs
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Glue sticks
    • Scissors
    • Cardboard
    • Copy Paper
    • Journals
    • Stickers
    • Buttons
    • Glitter
    • Thread

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    This is just a few materials to start with. Everyone has at least three of these items in their houses. In other words, everyone has a junk drawer so dig through it and you will find many treasures. It will vary of course from household to household. So virtually, this type of art piece would be relatively inexpensive with little to nothing. These same materials could easily be used to make a junk journal which is another form of collage. Tear out and glue paper layer by layer and you have another creation. If you are wanting to know more about junk journaling,  I will cover what it is in another post.

    If you want to work on your drawing skills, a no-cost option is just using a good old-fashioned pencil with paper or, you can opt for a little bit of fancier equipment at a lower price at your local Wal-Mart:

    • Crayons
    • Colored Pencils
    • Erasers
    • Crayola Watercolors

    Ok, maybe it is not exactly fancy, but you do not really need fancy tools to create great art. It is the artist, not the tools the artist uses. To answer your questions that you may be thinking of, yes, you can most certainly use crayons to draw and yes that goes for Crayola watercolors. If however, you want to improve and experiment further, here is another list:

    • Charcoal

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    • Sketchbook
    • Drawing Pads of various sizes such as 12” x 12” and 18” x 24”
    • Conte Crayons

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    • Kneaded Eraser
    • Fixative Spray (Hairspray if you are unable to find any)
    • White Charcoal Pencils
    • Metal Sharpener
    • Sumi/India Ink

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    This list is geared towards figure drawing and nature studies or aka people, plants, and animals. You can find cheaper versions of these for starters or find them at a local Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or online through Blick and Jerry’s Artarama for more variety.

    This may be a lot to take in as far as supplies go, but this should give you a crash course of what to get, where to get them and when to use them.  Once you have drawing down, then painting supplies will be for another discussion and another time.