Art Journaling: “Summer”

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SummerR1 Ever since my health toppled over unexpectedly in two shakes of a lamb’s tail at the end of June and I began feeling apprehensive about the weekends, for the most part because there’s a lot of free time to go over with a fine tooth comb everything I’m feeling. Today was one of those days, I haven’t been doing so well since last night and woke up with a horrible migraine. My Friday routine is to take out all my art boxes and dive into a project. I wanted to make something cheerful and happy using all the new things I got recently from the market. The large selection turned out to be overwhelming and I overemphasized the design I was working on. I tore up the page and started all over again after working on it for an hour. SummerR2 Mixed media winded up being not the easiest to work with. Because there’s a lot of texture involved, it’s a challenge to make it blend well with background washes and colors. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t mix well easily compared to drawings. When you’re sketching you have command over what elements you want to create but when the texture is already there, you need to make sure whatever you mix it with is going to fit. Sometimes the shades are wrong, the textures are different or everything can’t simply sit neatly next to each other. Let’s just say I put my Tacky Glue to good use today. SummerR3 Didn’t turn out as marvelous, tremendous or exceptionally dazzling as I wanted but not too shabby either. It’s funny how no one can define when Art Journaling ends exactly (there’s always the fever-stricken condition of “One more dot! One more scribble! Just one more- one more!!”. Anyway,  that’s it for now.

Enjoy the weekend :]

My Beads & Buttons’ Shopping Spree

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I went to the textile and materials market this morning. As a rule, I always visit the place with my mother seeing as the place clamours for advanced haggling expertise or else you’ll get ripped off. But since I headed there straight from work, I broke my own rule but was resolved to drive a hard bargain.

I remember there used to be a section in the market that exclusively sells craft tools. I was told it was located at the far backside of the textile and materials market. It took some time finding a parking space. In fact, I couldn’t find one and had to sandwich my car next to a tree. Good thing there were no cops at the time. So I asked around and finally found the place I was looking for. The area consisted of a long hallway and in this hallway there were about 20 very small shops situated next to each other. The shops were ridiculously small but inside each one there were oodles, piles and endless stacks of every inconceivable crafts object you can think of. The items are eensy-weensy- microscopic even. You have to zero in on each bit to recognize it. I spent exactly two hours dropping in on each store filling basket after basket of beads, buttons, sequins, crochet flowers, ribbons, lace & crystals.

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On top of that, the prices were suitably cheap. Initially my plan was to wait and shop when I’m traveling but I realized there aren’t many stores in Europe that sells similar stuff (or at least hard to pin down). Plus, they’ll probably be triple the price. Frankly, a great quantity of the stuff on display is ghastly- a little too extravagant in design and colors but if you dig you can find cool and unusual things (like the Delmun coins from Failaka Island**  I unearthed under one pile).

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I almost gave up on the shop at the end of the hallway because it was tremendously hot in the afternoon and it doesn’t help to be fasting but I’m so glad I decided to go in. The shop is different from the others and specializes in gift wrapping. At the back of the store, they had a huge collection of glass jars, and in every size you can think of. If you know me you’ll know I have a thing for pots and jars. The place was very busy with people looking for tools to package their children’s Ramadhan’s candies (Girga’aan). Come to think of it, I think that’s what the shop specializes in.

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Finally, I went back to my car with a huge bag of more than 40 items. I was given a 3KD discount without asking then I haggled for 1KD. Overall the entire shopping spree came out with a price tag of 12 KD (that’s roughly $40).

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I spent the rest of the day organizing everything in IKEA boxes.

 

** Failaka – Sea Journey Series:

Ramadhan

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The first week of Ramadhan is over and the summer daytime is seemingly endless in this heat; nevertheless, I’m grateful for being able to fast this year. Things tend to slow down during Ramadhan but there’s something homely about it. Perhaps it’s the family gatherings that aren’t restricted to once a week anymore. It’s not one of the easiest phases that I’m going through right now, but I’m trying to make the most of it. Thankfully our working hours are shorter, which gives you a little more time to come home and rest before breaking your fast. I’m taking the chance to reflect on things, catch up on a few reads, go to the gym when I can and visit the mosque during evenings. Overall there’s the endurance and hope against hope for things to get better.

On a brighter note an Amazon parcel arrived the other day with the art tools and supplies I ordered recently. I’ve been spending some time putting them to the test. My Moleskine is beginning to beef up as you can see. I read several art journalists end up cutting the spine of their notebooks to allow for more room. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to do that. I don’t think I have the heart to do that.

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And this is the end result of the page I’ve been working on this weekend. I’m amazed at how some artists make it look like plain sailing when in reality it’s very time consuming, and demands a lot of planning. It’s kind of nice to see it all come through in the end though.

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I pray you all have a healthy smooth Ramadhan this month and a happy fruitful Sunday.

 

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal (2014)

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I’ve been looking forward to this remake for a while, only it’s not really a remake but more of a version that sticks closer to the manga. If that’s the case then I sure hope they include the special edition manga volumes that were excluded in the original Sailor Moon series. The first episode of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal was aired today and it immediately went viral. I was pleasantly surprised that several moonies appeared to be around my age who were fans during their younger years. In fact, it’s an emotional experience to watch it all over again and remember how good it was back in the days.

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The entire voice acting cast were replaced, obviously. At first I felt a little awkward watching Usagi speak in a different tone but it doesn’t take long for it to grow on you. The pilot episode was sweet but at this point there isn’t much of a difference between the old series and this one except for very subtle changes here and there. The graphics look definitely modern but stay true to the manga. There wasn’t a transformation scene yet, which was a bit mind boggling to many viewers. The other thing people were keeping an eye for was the opening song. I read an article yesterday stating many fans wanted the original Moonlight Densetsu to be played but the creators decided to come up with a new one. It’s actually pretty catchy,  I’ve included the video below (removed from YouTube).

Hulu is airing the 26 episodes for free every Saturday at 6 am EST- that’s 1 pm our time. Naturally I wasn’t able to watch it through Hulu. I was waiting impatiently for someone to upload the episode. I downloaded two versions that didn’t work then finally realized it was up on YouTube (might wana give it a shot if you’re interested before someone pulls it down).

It’s always fun watching your favorite childhood shows. Some people shared they’re watching the show now with their own kids which is really cool. Personally, I would have loved having more of a spin-off version of Sailor Moon that’s very contemporary as opposed to being close to the manga. I’ve read the manga and own half of it and the resemblance between the two series is not that big of a deal but who knows what the creators have in store for us so we’ll just have to wait and see.

02. Minimalism

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I’m having so much fun with the TurboCollage app. The only problem is that once I’m done creating my image collage and want to save it, it insists on creating a companion file with it, despite me specifying it only as a jpeg. I end up doing screen shots of the collages I do but I feel it’s not the same quality. Oh well…

Review: Miss Maple & Her Seeds

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Today I stumbled on Eliza Wheeler’s book “Miss Maple’s Seeds”. It is a children’s book about a woman who adopts orphan seeds (seeds who couldn’t find any other place to grow). She nurtures and cares for these seeds, takes them on a field trip to find a good place for them to find new roots. Miss Maple goes through the seasons preparing for her seeds’ journey until she finally lets them settle into their new soil home in the summer.

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I fell in love with the book before I even read it. Wheeler’s illustrations reminded me so much of Mrs. Pepper Pot, the tiny spoon lady; otherwise known as “Aunt Spoon”. It is a Japanese anime that I used to love to watch when I was a young.

Two quotes of Miss Maple as she addresses her seeds that stood out the most were “Take care, little ones… for the world is big and you are small”; the second, “Don’t forget, even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds”.

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It is such a heart warming book. I couldn’t help wanting to be small again. There’s something about being little and unaware yet that gives you all the means of being captivated by the simplest things in life. Don’t you miss that sometimes? I think this is what makes books so precious at a young age. Children’s books are like a medley of life motifs, wit and appealing illustrations that stay memorable in our heads for a very long time and sends us daydreaming. I remember sitting in the dinning room cupboard next to a pile of plates and forks pretending to be Aunt Spoon then digging a hole in a pile of blankets pretending to be Beatrix Potter’s Rabbit with my plastic kitchen utensils and tea set. It didn’t matter how many times you read the same book, each time you did you learned something and it created an unforgettable “snug” experience. Makes you want to carry that on to the young ones in your family.

On a different note, the style of illustration reminded me of a book I have “The Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady” by Fanny Robinson. It was a common style during the naturalist’ movement for women to draw paintings of country poetic musings alongside watercolor floral illustrations. Wheeler’s style; however, is modern and almost Miyazaki-like.

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The only thing I regret is not buying the printed edition. The illustrations look very small on my iPad. There is a function to maximize the text but it eats up the sketches next to it.

What about you? What was your favorite childhood book?

 

 

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