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Flashback Friday: Salomé

I used to draw in my journal daily and when I ran out of ideas, I would copy my favorite paintings and make my own version in ink. I believe in owning your mistakes, in making them a part of your work, so I did everything in ink. No pencils allowed.

Here’s my version of Gustav Klimt’s Judith III/Salomé.

This photo resurfaced today. Thanks for the reminder, Universe. I should never make myself feel small ever again.

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Day 3: Hit my stride

I had anouther migraine and vertigo attack, so I kept quiet the past couple of days. This is technically day 5, but I’m not going to be finicky. It is what it is and I need to go with the flow. 😊

I got my Canson XL mix media sketchbook this morning. It’s huge!!

I wanted to test drive it right away! The paper is thick, flat, and, again, it’s gigantic. I had no idea what to draw or paint, so I chose my muse, Twister. You can’t go wrong with cats. 🐱

He was begging for merienda… okay, he’s too elegant to beg… He was gently suggesting that I give him an afternoon snack, so I drew and Disney-fied his feed-me-pretty-please face.

And finally…

I have to say, I had a lot of fun making this!!! I want to do more! 😊 Like I said, you can’t go wrong with cats. 🐱

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Day 1: Blank page

I’m terrified. I stopped creating/ practicing art for about 3 years. I still haven’t talked about it here, about what happened and why I had to go on a voluntary sabbatical from art making, but now I feel the need to go back to it. I know I have to do this because I am slowly withering away. I feel dead inside. I need to find my voice again.

So, I’m starting from scratch. I’m giving myself permission to make a mess and to create bad art. I need to strengthen my sea legs and I know that this would take time, practice, dedication, commitment, and a lot of faith.

I received the Baohong watercolor sketchbook yesterday. I ordered it from Lazada about 5 days ago when it went on sale. It’s academy grade, 300 GSM, cold pressed, acid-free, and 100% cotton. Good specs, but quite affordable, so I’m don’t mind wrecking it. Purrrrfect. 😁

I started with a rough sketch. When was the last time I drew in pencil?? I had a reference from Pinterest, but quickly forgot about it once I started painting. In the picture, the woman’s hair was in a bun, but I wanted her hair untied. Maybe that’s why the proportions are a bit wonky… Go away, Inner Critic.

Anyway, my go-to paint is Windsor & Newton’s watercolor in Payne’s Grey. I love, love, love Payne’s Grey. It was a good medium and color to start with on my Sketchbook Wrecking Journey. I was literally shaking, 1) because I had new coffee beans and, boy, were they strong! And 2) I was terrified. So my brushstrokes were measured and everything felt tight and rigid. But I’ll take this over nothing. I’d rather have a sketchbook full of uruk-hais, gnomes, and blob fish than an untouched, pristine watercolor journal.

This is Day 1.

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Breaking point

A friend sent this to me as a reminder that anything is possible. I’m scared, but I’m ready.

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Quarantine art

So this happened: My orange sweet potatoes started growing “hair,” so I am painting faces on them. Acryl gouache on root crop. 😂😂😂

That was fun! So I wanted to do more. 😁

I got a new set of paints online a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t had the chance to use it. I’ve seen this all over the Internet, so I ordered it. It’s the Miya/Himi jelly gouache set of 24 colors. It’s the cutest thing! Look at this!

The ever-so-curious Diego Kumquat dunked his nose in the paint! Thank goodness it's non-toxic.

The ever-so-curious Diego Kumquat dunked his nose in the paint! Thank goodness it’s non-toxic.

I haven’t done anything with it yet except make swatches. I’ll label them tomorrow. I prefer natural light when I’m painting.

I’m excited to use them. Yay!!

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Oh, the shortness of life

Oh, the shortness of life. We don’t know how much time we are given to walk this earth. Do we squander it by just existing, by staying safely within the lines or do we take a leap, traverse the line, and know that we can land safely? Life is going to feel eternal if you were unhappy. What say you?

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On discernment and gratitude

Things are definitely a lot more interesting when you have cats as your work from home buddies. I finally got myself a monitor and plug it into my 13-inch screen Chromebook. My eyes cannot stand reading miniscule letters anymore. 😜 The cats surrounded me as I started unboxing it and, as expected, they took turns diving into the box. Diego got first dibs, as usual.

I don’t want to sound corny or anything, but little things like cats playing hide and seek in boxes bring me joy nowadays. It’s true about what they say about contemplating on gratitude daily; it does keep you sane. 😊

I went through a rough patch at work recently, which prompted me to push back and protect myself. It’s tough enough to deal with what’s going on in the world, so I refused to have complications at work. It was difficult, but it made me rethink things and prompted me to go inside myself and practice discernment. I’m still here, struggling less, but still hanging on. I’m taking it day by day. I am extremely impatient, but I’m going to breathe in and out and wait for things to unfold in their own time. In the meantime, I will just enjoy the company of my fur children and watch them nibble their way through their cardboard fortress bit by bit.

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The Return

Lock down started in the Philippines on the 15th of March. That’s 65 days of being quarantined with my six cats. It’s been one heck of a roller-coaster ride. It’s mind blowing to think that the whole world is going through this shared experience of isolation, together.

I started writing in my journal about a couple of days after the General Community Quarantine started. It was not easy. I was dealing with a lot of uncertainty, of sadness. I am lucky enough, though, to work for a company that allowed its employees to work from home. That kept me busy, plus I didn’t have to worry about losing my job. A lot of people were not so lucky.

Being in a Fight or Flight mode for a sustained period of time is stressful on the psyche. I was having nightmares each time I tried to go to bed and I would suffer through little anxiety attacks throughout the day. I ended up missing work for a week because of migraine and vertigo. The body and mind could only take so much stress.

Last year was not good to me. Yes, I got a promotion, but the was the only bright spot in 2019. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and was in and out of the hospital throughout the year. My dad broke a femor and needed surgery. Work was tumultuous and I had to deal with vicious slime balls. I ventured into a business with a friend. About a month or 2 after that, we closed shop and I  lost that friend. Mom passed away at the end of November and right before Christmas, my darling little Itom, my adopted black cat from PAWS Philippines, died from liver disease. I was glad to say goodbye to 2019 and was eagerly awaiting for 2020 to commence.

And here we are.

I have to say, that all of this madness is forcing me to stop and face a lot of things. With no other place to go but within, I can now allow myself to grieve. I hit the ground running after the funeral. I didn’t give myself time to process my thoughts and emotions. I keep thinking now: if I get infected and dying alone at home, would I say that I lived my life to the fullest or did I just did my best to just exist?

So 65 days in, I have decided to shake things up. I’m going to start blogging again. I’ll probably just have a lot of verbal diarrhea and spew out whatever that crosses my mind. I probably won’t have any readers, but who cares, right? I am doing this for myself. I should not be afraid of not being perfect, of being vulnerable, of living.

So here’s to Day 1 of my return, to myself and to me.

Twister can look straight into my soul.

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