Project 52: Weeks 7 to 11

In an effort to not make my blog too saturated with Project 52-related entries, I’ve decided to post them in digest form. This endeavour started out as a way for me to put down ideas for possible future paintings on paper. But aside from being a creative exercise, this project has evolved lately into something reflective of what transpired in a week — sort of a visual diary, so to speak. But that doesn’t apply to all drawings of course, and I can’t be expected to specifically point out which ones visually encapsulate events that made such an impression on me or just sudden realizations and thoughts that struck me enough to make me want to draw about them. When a special occasion falls on a certain week, say for example Women’s Day, then my drawing would be something timely for it. So without further ado, here are five weeks’ worth of drawings, which I only found time to scan and add dashes of color to just now. This is the first of two parts. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Butterflies in my Stomach. Drawn for Valentine’s Day. You know what they say in life, love, and everything else – “No guts, no glory.” Literally.

Week 7: Butterflies in my Stomach

Week 7: Butterflies in my Stomach

Strength. It’s when they have crushed and burned every last inch of you that you discover how strong you truly are.

Week 8: Strength

Week 8: Strength

Chasing My Own Shadows (while I’m running away from them). I was listening to Matilda, my favorite all-female local band, when I thought of drawing this. This was inspired by a track from their 2003 EP called “I n Me,” a powerful song that has always spoken to me. Put your headphones on, play it at full blast, and do check out the lyrics. A side note: I had to incorporate a couple of Wayang Kulit in there since I was talking about shadows.

“Oh this is endless perplexity
Unless I understand me
Unless I forgive me
Unless I see, hear, feel, touch, heal
Unless I claim me”

Week 9: Chasing My Own Shadows (while I'm running away from them)

Week 9: Chasing My Own Shadows (while I’m running away from them)

Exit Wounds. Sometimes our best products are born out of our darkest moments. A drawing for International Women’s Day.

Week 11: Exit Wounds

Week 11: Exit Wounds

Sea Witch. I recently found my collection of children’s books while spring cleaning, and was reminded of how beautiful the illustrations are on the Ladybird Well Loved Tales series. “The Little Mermaid” was my favorite. Thanks to a friend (because I couldn’t find it in the book’s insert and I’m bad at Googling information), I learned that the artist was Brian Price Thomas. I must note that the Ladybird classics stand out for their appealing, non-saccharine, almost realistic but still whimsical illustrations. So yes, mermaids — can’t get enough of them. And this is my version of the sea witch, seated on her throne with an anglerfish for a companion just to show how deep within the ocean she resides.

Week 11: Sea Witch

Week 11: Sea Witch

Project 52: Weeks 4 to 6

Thanks to the northeast monsoon, Manila had a pleasantly cool weather for the rest of January. I was so wrong to think that a cold weather would actually get me to work faster on my paintings as sweltering summers slow me down. On the contrary, I found it very conducive to sleep so I pretty much slacked off. Haha! It gets a bit warmer every passing day now – a sad thing because we, Manila folks, have to start stashing away our coats and jackets. While I’m beginning to miss standing by one of my studio windows wide open – wearing a beanie with a shawl wrapped around my shoulders, nursing a hot mug of coffee – I welcome back sunshine and blue skies as I regain my regular speed and focus. Anyway, my drawing for Week 4 is an ode to the month-long abnormally cold weather we were able to enjoy. And if you assumed I named this after a Passion Pit song of the same title, then you are absolutely right. Yes, the one that starts out with, “Please unicorn, eat tacos with me.”

Week 4: Sleepyhead

Week 4: Sleepyhead

And yes, something has to be drawn in time for the Chinese New Year last week. I knew I had to come up with something related to that. First thing that came to mind was a line from Disney’s “Mulan,” which I and a couple of my friends love to quote whenever having tea. It goes:

Pour the tea. To please your future in-laws, you must demonstrate a sense of dignity… and refinement.

There you have it – a Chinese girl pouring tea. Couldn’t help but doodle in those filigrees coming out from the pot as I was killing time in a coffee shop.

Week 5: Pour the Tea

Week 5: Pour the Tea

The idea for my Week 6 drawing was something requested back in 2012 – a Matryoshka doll. Of course I couldn’t resist throwing in a few flowers, paisley patterns, and a kokoshnik. Right. Now that all six drawings are in, I should be able to post on time starting next week. No promises though.

Week 6: Matryoshka

Week 6: Matryoshka

Oh Despicable June!

June was, in a positive light, challenging to say the least. Right, challenging would be a good way to put it. Being a type of person who lives in the present, I did savor every bit of the obstacles it hurled at me. Couldn’t have gone through it and survived the whole shebang in one piece without my friends and cousins.

Truthfully, it was a very unproductive month – the worst of its kind. It completely and mercilessly sucked out all of my creativity, which is a rare occurrence if you know me personally. I’ll be honest. I had to put on hold my 365 Women Project for the whole month, save for one exceptionally fine evening. Drawing felt like the most natural thing to do as I sat in a coffee shop, killing time on that evening of June 3rd – the calm before the storm. Call it an “epiphanic piece” because it really is that.

Day 149. Pouring My Heart Out. Drawn on a night of a Full Moon in Sagittarius.

They say full moons mark either the culmination or the beginning of things. That particular night of a Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius was a day for trusting instincts, taking leaps of faith, setting goals straight, breaking through barriers and limitations, and listening to the Universe. And THOSE were exactly what I did, and so much more! I can not even begin to explain the lengths I have gone to without a second of hesitation in the days and weeks that followed. Then again, some experiences are worth having, but not worth repeating. Let’s not get into the details.

June wasn’t all that bad. We, successfully, launched our four-women show towards the end of the month at Secret Fresh. A week later, a wonderful article was written about it by Ms. Elizabeth Lolarga, which came out on the Lifestyle section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer last July 1. (Read the article here.)

For the said exhibit, I tried my hand at designing a munny. It was the last piece I crammed for the show. But since I am used to designing masks, the whole thing took me about 2 hours to complete. It was such a fun experience that I’m sure this will not be the last time I designed one. While it is open for interpretation, one could say that this is my literal take on the Tagalog idiom “naiputan sa ulo.” Anyway, I have a lot of concepts in mind for munny designs. I just need to be able to find time to execute them in the coming months.

My first munny. I named her Vanessa.

In hindsight, I do so believe that June brought out the best in me despite being a horribly tough month. If there are some things it has left me with, those would be enduring lessons, tons of inspiration, and an EPIC story to tell.

So this July, I’m back with a vengeance! On the second day of the month, I got to tick one item off my bucket list, which is to learn Muay Thai. I’ve resumed working on my 365 Women Project and I’m doubling the effort for slacking off for the past month. Aside from that, I’ve started a new painting series – the darkest I’ve conceptualized so far. If that’s not snapping back into action, I don’t know what else is.

The Last Two Days of January

January has come to an end two days ago and I can’t help but feel proud of myself for committing to this 365 Women Project. It may be too early to celebrate, but this is the longest I’ve kept going on a 365 project. I’ve tried starting a couple of times before but stopped producing works in less than 2 weeks. So as much as I am busy preparing for my two exhibits on March, I shall try to catch up and make my posts more up to date.

For day 25, I drew a re-imagining of Princess Tiger Lily from Peter Pan with facial tattoos. As for day 26, I drew a water nymph – an undine brushing her hair, engulfed in water lilies and waves. That’s 1 month down and 11 more to go!

Tiger Lily. This brave princess is my favourite Neverland resident next to Captain Hook.

Undine's Spell. It is said that these graceful water nymphs can not get a soul unless they marry a man and bear him a child.

In other news, the date of DLSU Moo Media’s 5th Young Multimedia ang Graphic Desigers’ Summit has been finalized. It’s going to be on March 10 at Yuchengco Hall at the DLSU campus. Do mark your calendars!

I am slated to be the first lecturer. To say the least, it is an honor to be part of this summit’s 5th installation and to be chosen alongside some of the brightest minds in our current local multimedia scene.

The 5th YMGDS is open to all. To pre-register, visit For De La Salle students, ticket selling locations are as follows:
1st week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 3) — Velasco Walk Bench 8 (near Velasco Entrance)
2nd week (Feb. 6 – Feb. 10) — SJ Walk Bench F (near Zaide)
**For outsiders, contact: 0915-897-7538.

March 10 is definitely going to be a busy day with the talk happening in the morning and my two-man show with Ponj Roco opening in the evening. I am very much looking forward to it no matter how nerve-racking that day may be.

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.