Making Mixed-Media Portraits on My Art Journal

There is a mixed-media art revolution going on. And if you happen to be in it, you may have tried your hand at making mixed-media portraits. I have painted a few faces on my art journal and most of these are females. (I tried drawing a male face once and it ended up looking like a girl. What a disaster!)

There’s a plethora of mixed-media portraits on the Web and in social media. Some of these portraits tend to derive their basic composition from the works of Frida Kahlo. (You have probably seen a girl with huge flowers on her hair, yes?) I enjoy looking at these portraits and have attempted to make a few versions of my own. I still do.

Sometimes, though, part of me wishes to deviate from what is always out there. So I try to come up with something more distinctly mine — in an attempt to discover and preserve my own artistic voice. The faces that I make still look so much like the ones I’d drawn way back in high school. The only difference is that I now render my portraits with various mediums. And background elements are becoming more evident. When I’m unable to create a background, I draw and paint on textured environment. Wrapping papers are a favorite, as well as scraps of cardstock and old book pages.

mixed media portrait 001 WIP mixed media portrait 001

I drew this girl on Korean-made wrapping paper and lined and colored her with Inktense pencils and acrylics. I also did some rubber stamping. For some time, I was tempted to doodle words and quotes on this art journal page. But later on, I decided to just leave it as it is. After all, I prefer to “finish” most of my artworks in one sitting. I enjoy spontaneity when I can afford it, and try my best to not spoil the beauty made out of it.

If you wish to learn more about making mixed-media portraits, you can begin with Mixed Media Portraits by Pam Carriker. This Craftsy eGuide on Drawing the Human Face* should help you get started as well.

Enjoy your art no matter what!

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Decluttering and Remodeling This Old House

Since my parents-in-law migrated to California in 2009, my husband and I have been living in this old house. We moved here shortly before Candice turned 2. It’s a modest house with a relatively big lot compared to what usually sells now. We have a porch and a backyard, a garage, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a basement.

Living in an old house has its merits and disadvantages. While there’s comfort in simply following an established order, there’s always the principle of preventive maintenance. Do we just have this and that fixed or should we have the whole house remodeled? (We don’t even want to think about inheritance tax at this point. Shudder!)

I am, however, feeling positive at the thought of green remodeling. I’ve read and written a few articles on the subject and would someday love to try it in the future. We haven’t decided yet if we’re going to stay here after the remodeling or have the place sold or rented. In the meantime, I will have this green remodeling article* to guide me:

Going Really Green In Your Home’s Remodeling Project

With today’s many environmental initiatives taking place at virtually every level of society, it will behoove homeowners to really dig into and examine some “green” measures that are truly green.

At superior online web sites, such as, home and business property owners can explore the many categories and sub-categories available for remodeling jobs. These kinds of sites provide a wealth of information on green projects that many homeowners can start, carry out and yes, even sustain. Furthermore, these kinds of web sites are wonderful resources for finding knowledgeable contractors for your project needs.

Aside from the energy savings obtained when we raise the air conditioner thermostat, let’s have a look at other really green home improvements that help your home work better. All the while, you’ll be saving on utilities, helping restore your health and add lasting value to your home when resale time approaches.

Recycled Wood

Definitely renewable, enduring and just plain common good sense, using recycled wood in floors and other building materials simply means that less trees are cut down. Going prices for reclaimed wood specimens are about $5-$15 per square foot.

Passive Solar Energy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is at it again. This time, they are experimenting with color-changing roof tiles that actually turn either light or a darker color–depending on the temperature outdoors.

Not yet available on the market, developers claim they can deflect up to 80 percent of the sunlight if the tiles are white and thereby cut energy costs by up to 20 percent as opposed to a black roof.

Terrazzo Floors

When considering flooring, don’t by-pass the idea of recycled glass chips cast into a concrete slab mold. Terrazzo, known for its durability, is a greener choice than granite. Easy to clean, be sure to ask only for high-grade Terrazzo as materials are not all one and the same. Costs run about $57-$68 per square foot.

Sustainable Rain Gardens

By this environmental method, much soil erosion is reduced simply by arranging plants in shallow depressions. Once the rainwater falls, it can be readily soaked up by the soil.

Moreover, the quality of water improves even as the chances of flooding decrease. However, the costs vary somewhat depending on the size of the garden and the type of plants used–preferably native, regional plants.

If you find a contractor today, you will no doubt receive more information to help you make the right choice for you and your home. As you can see, all these are truly green projects that add not only lasting value to your home but help aid the environment as well.

* Printed with permission

What’s Playing In My Little Red Car

violin photoPhoto by geralt (Pixabay)

Every day I drive my 5 y.o. to her kindergarten class and fetch her after 3 hours. It normally takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get to her school and back to our home. In that short span of time, we get to enjoy “Mommy’s car music” (as Stella puts it).

What’s playing in my little red car?

Radio music – I’ve always preferred radio over everything else. My default station is 98.7 DZFE. I love to listen to soft classical guitar and chamber music, especially in the morning after dropping off my kid and I’m on my way home or to the church. When I’m sleepy or terminally bored, I tune in to 96.3 Easy Rock, 103.5 K-Lite, or 105.9 for some ‘80s and ‘90s oldies. (I can’t seem to catch up with the latest music anymore. But Taylor Swift is an exception.)

Kiddie songs – I have 3 CDs of children’s songs that take turns in my player. There’s “Beatles for Kids” (Stella’s favorite), Lea Salonga’s (Candice likes this one), and Christmas songs sang by children. I hope to have some Broadway music too. The Sound of Music is already in my husband’s car. Perhaps I can have songs from “Annie” and “Les Miserables” and “The King and I”.

Soft music – I have but two CDs from our collection: Vienna Teng’s “Waking Hour” and Jim Brickman’s Christmas album. I adore these two artists for their strong classical background and talent for composing.

I don’t really bother to store a lot of CDs since I’m often tuned in to a radio station. But if I were to make my own playlist, I will include the following:

  • Some new wave songs from the ‘80s. (On Spotify, my kind of new wave is “New Wave for Girls”.)
  • Some Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Schubert
  • A recording of Perf de Castro’s classical guitar renditions (I was never really a fan of River Maya or of any of its old and present members. But when I heard Perf’s recording on DZFE, I took interest in his skills as a musician. I just find it awesome how he can play different types of guitars and music so well. Apparently, this guy is from the UST Conservatory of Music.
  • Standard music, please. It’s the kind of music that our dad taught us to like, and I want my children to appreciate them too.

So there, this is all I have so far. What’s playing in your car?

Painting Fuchsias in Watercolor

I love painting flowers in watercolor, and I like them soft and loose. I’m still learning a few techniques and experimenting with composition. And this is why I keep painting various flowers whenever possible. Practice is key to discovery and mastery. Here’s a watercolor sketch of fuchsias done on my A5 Monologue sketchbook:


This takes after an exercise from a book on painting flowers in watercolor. (Wendy Tait’s flower painting books are just so awesome!) It’s supposed to be done on a larger scale and in full, but I decided to just work on a portion that I like. I also opted to use colored mechanical pencils for the preliminary sketch instead of a graphite pencil. I used green, light green, red, and purple mechanical pencils.

2015-fuchsia-01 2015-fuchsia-02

Here are the colors I used to render the sketch: purple, cadmium red, ultramarine, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, aureoline hue (Sakura Koi); sap green (Van Gogh); hooker’s green light, mauve, purple lake (Winsor and Newton Cotman); yellow green (Louvre)


I used my trusty Pentel Aquash water brush to paint most of the details. I so enjoyed doing the greens here and wished I could do more leaves! After doing all these fuchsias, I then used my Pebeo #10 to create light background washes. Just some ultramarine and cobalt blue here and there + a hint of aureoline hue.


This is by far the “softest” that I’ve done. I’ll work on more fuchsias next time. If you wish to try painting fuchsias too, you can find lots of pictures on Flickr and on Pinterest. Have fun!