365 Women: Days 21-25

The past week has been very busy and stressful, culminating with me nursing a fever over the weekend. Despite my lack of updates, I’ve been keeping up with my 365 Women project which I managed to find time to scan just this afternoon. So, without further ado, I shall now proceed to bombard you with drawings from the past 5 days.

Day 21: Flower Child. She was supposed to be Lady Godiva until I turned her into a hippie.

Day 22: Victorian Cat Sisters. Twin ladies in Victorian garb and gatto masks.

Day 23: Little Red Riding Hood. Because Alice is overrated.

Day 24: Raven Hair. Literally.

Day 25: Our Lady of Poppies. Yet another study for a painting.

I’ll get back to fulfilling drawing  requests on February, which is just a day away. I needed to put down on paper ideas for paintings and images I’ve formed in my head.

Horns for Pigtails

I was fortunate to have been featured on Hiraya‘s blog yesterday. Hiraya is a travel agency that fosters and encourages voluntourism and ecotourism in the Philippines and in Cambodia. With their tours a mix of solidarity and adventure, Hiraya offers its clients an authentic and responsible travelling experience. Excursions are off the beaten track, allowing voluntourists to see the country as it really is.  “The solidarity missions, developed in collaboration with a local partner NGO, mainly consist of activities such as teaching, delivery of school supplies in schools of remote villages, games, art workshops, sports, cultural activities with children; and environmental missions.” Learn more about Hiraya by visiting their website and liking their Facebook page.

Click on the image to view the article.

The article was wonderfully penned by Max Guillien and I am very much honored and grateful for it.

On se laisse envoûter par un délicieux mélange de cultures et d’influences. Un univers étrange de couleurs nous transporte au travers de parfums tropicaux et de lignes vénitiennes, on ressent une finesse orientale mêlée à des tons « latinos », où l’on sent l’influence de Frida Kahlo sur son travail, le tout dans une ambiance bandes-dessinées fascinante. On est envoûté, charmé, surpris. Les couleurs chantent, les courbes séduisent, et le résultat réussi s’affirme dans un classicisme figuratif voluptueux, parfois osé, sans renier une modernité qui s’exprime plus dans la transgression que dans la substance de l’inspiration.

Let yourself be captivated by a delicious mix of cultures and influences. A strange world of colors takes us through tropical flavors and Venetian lines, we feel a delicacy mixed with oriental tones, “Latino” where one feels the influence on her work by Frida Kahlo, all in a fascinating comic book atmosphere. We are bewitched, charmed, surprised. The colors sing, the curves seduce, and the successful result asserts itself in a classical figurative voluptuous, sometimes daring, without denying modernity which is expressed more in the breach than in the substance of inspiration.

It’s in French, so for non-French speakers like me, Google Translate should come in handy.

Now for Day 20 of my 365 Women Project, I ended up making a study for a painting I should be able to start working on by mid-February. She’s a shaman in matador pants. A stylish high priestess perhaps.

Horns for Pigtails. A study for a painting.

Recently, I’ve began to realize how important studies are before starting to work on a painting. I usually find huge, freshly primed canvases sort of intimidating, but once I put my thoughts on paper, either through writing or drawing, the painting process becomes so much easier.

Sleeping Beauty

This is the result of almost two hours of waiting for my sister on a lazy Sunday afternoon as she took an entrance exam for law school. It took me approximately an hour and a half to finish this, which is probably the longest time I spent drawing for this 365 Women Project.

Sleeping Beauty. A peacock keeps her safe underneath its wings in her deep slumber.

It’s a reimagining  of the classic fairy tale character as a Maharaj Kumari sleeping upright with a majestic peacock as her protector. I decided to do without the usual splashes of colour for this piece and just keep it in black and white.

Flamenco Dancers

So far, I’ve already drawn a belly dancer and an Apsara dancer for this ongoing project. And now for Day 17, I came up with a drawing of three flamenco dancers as requested by Max Guillien. This isn’t my first work with these enchanting Spanish performers as subject matter. The first one I did was in late 2010 for an exhibit at Bacci. It’s a painting of a fan-wielding lady dancer with the ruffles of her extravagant bata de cola forming huge roses.

Spanish Rose (2010). 38.1 cm x 25.4 cm. Watercolor and acrylic on paper.

For this piece, I wanted to draw the 3 ladies dancing at first, but the size of my sketchbook wouldn’t do justice to the image I pictured in my head. I guess I’ll save that one for a large painting instead.

Flamenco Dancers. These three ladies are getting ready for their dance.

No bata de colas forming large blossoms this time, just three Spanish señoritas about to start dancing under the shade of cascading bougainvilleas. It’s sort of a study on their dresses and hair ornaments. One thing I love about this 365 Women Project, is that it gives me a lot of concepts that I could someday develop into series of paintings for future exhibitions. Perhaps dancers as subjects will be one of that.

Lace and Leather

As mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t able to draw anything for the 19th so I made up for it by coming up with 2 drawings yesterday, both of which are requests.

Day 15. MindlessSpirit wanted an angel with phoenix wings done Art Nouveau style. So I took inspiration from a couple of works of Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, and tried to keep the few splashes of colours I used close to the warm palette he used for most of his paintings. Then, I gave a little twist to this angel. Instead of making her a celestial being, I turned her into a Victoria’s Secret Angel complete with lace lingerie.

Art Nouveau Angel. Her wings were inspired by how phoenixes are usually depicted in tattoos.

Day 16. Vida was very specific with this second request of hers. She wanted a girl with long, wavy hair in a leather jacket and boots. So I gave her exactly what she wanted, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and a cigarette included.

Friday Night. She just might be Batwoman Kate Kane with an undercut.

It’s kind of a wishful thought of what I should be doing on a Friday night instead of working. Haha! I’d like to think she’s a biker chick or maybe even Kate Kane.

Cats and Coffee

I’ll be honest. I haven’t done a drawing for yesterday, so I made up for the day I missed and I’ll be posting 2 later. This mask is to be blamed for that. Haha!

Anyway, for day 14 of my 365 Women Project, I granted Mariel‘s second request and drew her a girl with many cats.

Cats and Coffee. Sipping coffee al fresco with 6 cats doesn't seem like a bad idea at all.

I toyed with a couple of ideas while working on the sketch for this. Either I turn it to a girl having coffee while taking a break from painting while her cats nap around her (which would be a self-portrait) or a girl in a cafe who took her cats along with her. I went with the latter. The cat on top of the girl’s head was inspired by a photo of my friend Myka.

Apsara Dancer

A request I got from Jaqueline Junginger for my 365 Women Project was that of a girl with many hands. The first image that came to mind was the dancing representation of Hindu deity Shiva, more specifically known as Nataraja. I scrapped that idea because I did not want to draw Shiva as a female, and came up instead with the next best dancing figure I could think of – an Apsara with three pairs of hands.

One of the Apsaras at the entrance of Bayon temple.

Taken at the Angkor Wat.

One regret I have when I went to Cambodia in 2010 was not being able to go to an Apsara show. I remember reading about these female figures intricately carved on Khmer temples. When we finally had our fill of exploring the Angkor Wat complex, I was really looking forward to seeing an Apsara Dance. I was, however, discouraged by one of my companions.

Yes, it would have been a very touristy thing to do, but it would mean a lot especially for a Cambodia first timer. Besides, it is said that no visit to Cambodia is complete without attending at least one traditional Khmer dance performance. So the next time I return to Siem Reap, it will be second in my to-do list; taking more portraits of people being the first since I concentrated too much on architecture the first time around.

Apsara Dancer. Three different photos were used as reference for her 3 pairs of arms.

A bit of information: Apsaras are beautiful, elegant supernatural females who are proficient in the art of dance. As wives of Ghandarvas who make music to which they dance to, each of them represents a distinct aspect of the performing arts in Indra’s court. This makes them somehow equivalent to the muses of ancient Greece. On the other hand, the Apsara Dance is a traditional Khmer ballet-like performance known for its distinct ornate costuming, arched back and feet, fingers flexed backwards, and slow flowing movements. More than a dance, it presents a story inspired primarily by the Reamker (the Cambodian version of the Ramayana) and the Age of Angkor.

Korean Girl and Russian Spies

Day 11. While I have a queue of drawing requests to fulfill, I just felt like drawing something off the list for that evening. I began sketching a girl mindlessly, her hair entangled on branches of plum blossoms. I drew her a gown with a balloon skirt at first, then decided later on to change the skirt into a chima with floral prints. Her top being converted into a jeogori (a short jacket in Korean traditional clothing) followed suit.

Entangled. A visual concept I plan to develop for a painting.

This sudden change of clothes was partially due to the fact that there were lots of Koreans at the coffee shop we hung out at after the exhibit opening last Saturday. Yes, my drawings do get influenced by my surroundings during the time I’m working on them.

Day 12. If my grandfather was still alive, this is exactly what he would request me to draw — Bond girls. I grew up watching James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Batman films because of him. And that is why this request was such a pleasure to draw.

Bond Girls: Tatiana and Anya.

Ponj didn’t want just one girl; he wanted two. He particularly requested for Agent 007’s sizzling hot leading ladies from “From Russia With Love” and “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Of course I had to look up for a couple of photo references, threw in an Art Nouveau backdrop, and voila! Here’s Tatiana Romanova and Anya Amasova! A quick backgrounder: Tatiana (played by Daniela Bianchi) is a corporal in Soviet Army Intelligence, while Anya (played by Barbara Bach) is a Soviet KGB agent. James Bond loves Russian girls alright!

Drawings and Instant Doodles

Last Saturday, I dropped by the Even More Instant Doodles exhibit opening at My Little Art Place (Greenhills, San Juan). It was a spur of the moment thing. I wanted to go out for coffee and look for inspiration outside the four walls of my studio. Meanwhile, Jooley had planned to go and was looking for someone to attend with her, so I thought I might as well keep her company. Coffee and sketching can wait until after the event. And I’m sure glad I went.

Lady Arachnids Dione and Isobel, Jooley, and Nicholas.

Continue reading