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

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Pen and Inks to Kick-Start 2013

The first exhibit I joined this year was a group show called A Third Helping of Instant Doodles. It was a huge exhibition held at My Little Art Place in San Juan, Manila participated in by as many as 50 artists spearheaded by Piaget Martelino. Considering I’ve been preparing for another solo painting exhibit on April, working on my pieces for this show was a big break from using brushes and tubes of oil paint since last year as I opted to go with pen and ink, my secondary weapon of choice.

Blossoming

Blossoming
10.5 inches x 10.5 inches
Pen & ink on paper
2013

Meet Me In Hoi An

Meet Me In Hoi An
10.5 inches x 10.5 inches
Pen & ink on paper
2013

Consider them teasers of some sort for the April exhibit – ao dais, lanterns, overlapping patterns. My imagery is constantly changing; I’d hate to see stagnancy in my works. And yes, I’m still pretty much brimming with inspiration from my trips to Laos and Vietnam late last year. With that said, hints of Lao aesthetic are also to be expected. I think I’ve collected enough photographs of textile patterns and decorative art in temples from my short stay in Luang Prabang to serve as references.

I remember a short conversation on Facebook with my oracle extraordinaire friend Abbee. She had shared “Blossoming” on her Wall having found it freakishly resonating. Asked what is her interpretation of it, her answer was, “Getting in touch with your Divine/Sacred Feminine.” While that wasn’t the concept I had in mind when I drew it, it occurred to me that it rung true for me to a large extent. Note the use of past participle.

That’s what I love about not spoonfeeding my audience with information regarding my works. I have always found it interesting to hear people’s take on my paintings, especially the ones that they could actually relate to. That room for interpretation that could even lead to self-discoveries is priceless.

The illustration features a girl disrobing to reveal a single flower blooming from her chest that has been cut open. She is in a trance; you could say in a state of feverish ecstasy. To say the least, “Blossoming” is about new beginnings, of overwhelming positive changes, of spontaneous and necessary transformations. Something is growing.

Meanwhile, “Meet Me in Hoi An” is my mini tribute piece to a place I fell in love with last December. It is a quaint heritage town in the Quang Nam province of Vietnam filled with lanterns, and architecture that is a mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese. I could go about describing what I love about it in this entry, but I’m saving that for a travel post solely dedicated to that town.

Surrounded by cranes representing auspiciousness, a girl wearing a nรณn lรก (conical hat) stands waiting quite impatiently. Lanterns hang on branches of magnolias and apple blossoms at the background. Is it related to “Blossoming?” The answer is yes.

Two Nuns and a Tourism Ad

I studied for 12 years in a Catholic exclusive for girls school run by nuns. During that time, especially when I was in high school, they reprimanded me for the smallest things. Once, I was called to the Student Discipline Officer’s office (Yes, she’s a terrifying nun.) for asking my 1st year HS History teacher too many questions. She thought I was testing her knowledge. Another time, I was ordered to report there once again for playing basketball inside the classroom (I wasn’t! I was simply dribbling the ball). Most of the time, I got in trouble for my skirt’s length that exceeded the 2 inches below the knee standard.

Although I might not have had a good experience with nuns, I never failed to notice how their veils frame their faces beautifully. This explains why I spontaneously drew nuns for the following illustrations. I started drawing a female’s face and instead of giving her a thick mane, I gave her a veil. That’s when I decided to just come up with 2 portraits of nuns. So, on with Day 2 of my 365 Project. My weapon of choice this time was a black 0.5 Dong-A My-Gel pen.

Nun 01. I started working with pencil for this drawing but halfway through, I decided to go with pen.

Nun 02. Again, I didn't bother erasing the pencil parts. I thought it's best that they look sketchy.

Looking at them now, I think nuns would be good subjects for a painting series in the future. I didn’t give them well-thought-of titles because I know this won’t be the last time I’ll be drawing nuns.

In other news, there was a huge commotion yesterday on Twitter and Facebook regarding the Department of Tourism’s new slogan — It’s more fun in the Philippines. Naysayers thought it sucked or that it wasn’t good enough. Someone even dug up a very similar old Switzerland tourism ad just to put it down. Personally, I don’t think it was ripped off from that ad; just total coincidence.

While it might not be the best tourism ad out there, I find it brilliant and effective in that it sparked a lot of creativity and imagination from people who loved and supported it. Texts were added on photos that were intended to justify why it’s more fun in the Philippines. And because I’m all for the said ad, here’s my take on it.

Photo was taken at the MassKara Festival in Bacolod in 2006.

Go ahead and create your own ad in support of DoT’s new Tourism slogan. In case you’re wondering what font they used, it’s Harabara.