Project 52: Weeks 12 to 16

Frailty. March started off with me helping a good friend fulfill her new year’s resolution — to lose weight. So the theme of the first half of the month pretty much revolved around goading her into eating right and getting plenty of exercise. While my drawing has nothing to do with getting fit, it does depict a very thin and fragile woman. The idea stemmed from my numerous conversations with my friend regarding body weight perceptions as she went on a diet that required her to cut down on carbs and restricted her meat consumption to just chicken and fish — an incredibly difficult feat because we LOVE food. I guess I now have a whole new-found respect for people who strictly adhere to a certain diet and really commit to it. I originally named this “Anorexia” but decided to settle for “Frailty” instead, since the latter is more apt.

Week 12: Frailty

Week 12: Frailty

Moon Worship. I have always paid attention to the moon’s waxing and waning, and the particular full moon on the week of March 29 got me to draw this. I was driving home from grabbing a quick coffee when I noticed the huge moon tinged with a faint orange. While continuing to work on a painting that same night, I decided to watch “Practical Magic” for the umpteenth time, which happens to be my all-time favorite romcom. Sally Owen’s romaticizing the moon in her letter to her sister Gillian combined with the beautiful image of the moon I saw prompted me to come up with this.

“Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing, I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon.”

The result: Three Wiccans under a full moon. Cue in Toploader’s “Dancing in the Moonlight.”

Week 13: Moon Worship

Week 13: Moon Worship

Wallflower. The week I drew this, I was craving for a Hainanese chicken fix at Wee Nam Kee. And this was inspired by a wallpaper in that said restaurant. Craving satisfied, weekly drawing assignment accomplished.

Week 14: Wallflower

Week 14: Wallflower

Leona and Castora. This was a requested drawing by my friend Emiliana Kampilan, the artist behind the web comic Dead Balagtas. If you haven’t heard of it, I urge you to check it out. It has been listed in’s 5 New Komiks Artists Worth Following with its retelling of events in Philippine history backed with insight and intelligent humor. Anyway, Emiliana asked me to draw her favorite heroine, Leona Florentino, in time for the latter’s natal day last April 19.

A brief background: Leona Florentino is the Mother of Filipino Female Literature and (essentially) Feminism. A statue of hers sits proudly at the center of the historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, her hometown.

“Her poems, which are widely quoted, were characterized by their originality of thought and elegance of expression on topics such as the glory of Filipino womanhood, and the romanticism of her nation.

According to her biography: ‘Passages from her works were quoted profusely in the theaters, in daily conversation and by suitors seeking the favors of their fair ladies.’

It was the same poems she dedicated to her fellow Ilocanos that were exhibited in the Exposicion General de Filipinas in Madrid in 1887 and in the International Exposicion in Paris in 1889. It won fame for the Philippines and her works were included in the Encyclopedia Internationale des Oeuvres des Femmes (International Encyclopedia of Women’s Works) in 1889.” Read more here.

Castora, on the other hand, is Leona’s wine seller and muse. Most of the latter’s love poems were dedicated to her. So in celebration of the Ilocana heroine’s birthday, I decided to draw her in a gentle moment with her unattainable Castora.

Week 15: Leona and Castora

Week 15: Leona and Castora

Sierva Maria. In honor of one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Drawn a couple of days after his death, this is based on his book “Of Love and Other Demons,” which, aside from being my favorite next to “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” has a wonderful cover art I consider one of the most beautiful ones I’ve seen. The cover features the protagonist Sierva Maria holding a bunch of white flowers almost entangled in her cascading copper locks, arms covered with beaded bracelets.

Week 16: Sierva Maria

Week 16: Sierva Maria

“When I stand and contemplate my fate and see the path along which you have led me, I reach my end, for artless I surrendered to one who is my undoing and my end.” — Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Of Love and Other Demons

February Projects in Retrospect: Postura Project Art Wall & Picket Lines

Dalawang Maria
Watercolor and ink on paper

While most of February was spent preparing for 2 exhibitions (“Women on Women” and “Tattoo My Colors”), I was able to squeeze in a couple of projects sometime towards the end of the month. One of which was an illustration for Postura Project’s Platform Event.

Postura Project is a movement started by four fashionalism advocates, namely Knox Balbastro, Sarah Meier, Arriane Serafico, and David Guison. It aims to inspire and get Filipinos to patronize local brands and to incorporate something Filipino into one’s everyday outfit. And how do they aim to do that? By starting a blog that documented themselves wearing a piece of Filipino fashion for 30 days which went on from mid-February up to the later part of March.

The four Postura fashion advocates posing on the art wall I illustrated (L-R): Arriane Serafico, Knox Balbastro, David Guison, and Sarah Meier.

The Platform Show was the culmination to the 30-day fashion challenge. It was a huge youth culture convention held at the Ronac Art Center last March 18 that showcased the works of young designers, retailers, and entrepreneurs. The art wall I illustrated was put up on that event along with the works of 4 other artists. I was in Jogjakarta at that time, so I unfortunately had to miss out on it.

My design for the art wall was my first foray into fashion illustration, and seeing photos of it made me feel like a proud momma. Plus, it was a refreshing experience to suddenly shift back to watercolor and ink, given that I was working with oil for a couple of months before I accepted the project. It gave me an opportunity to come up with a Filipino-themed piece – something I’m now considering in developing into a series of paintings for a future exhibit. I took “posturang postura,” a local expression used to refer to someone who looks very well dressed, as an inspiration for the concept and translated it into an illustration of two Filipinas, looking poised and regal in traditional gowns.

One other project that kept me busy last February was shooting portraits for Kooky Tuason‘s upcoming coffee table book called Picket Lines. Yep, I got to put my camera into good use again. As much as I want to post samples of my work for the book, I’m not allowed to do that until the book gets launched. But I am, however, allowed to post this:

Model: Roxanne Barcelo
Make-up and Styling: Gab Lopez

Note that this is just a teaser and not the actual photo that was chosen for the book. Anyway, it’s an amazing project I’m really happy to be part of. I worked with a really hardworking all-women crew that managed to make our working environment a fun and healthy one no matter how stressful some days may be.  And most importantly, I got to take portraits of awesome women, all experts in their respective fields. Picket Lines is set to be launched this merry month of May! The sales of which will go to the Women’s Crisis Center.