Summer and Bali

Just when I thought that this blog will never be consistently updated (what with the long hours I spend for studio work and illustration projects in-between), by some miraculous twist of fate, I have somehow found a way in my current schedule to allot days devoted to blogging. Having said that, this post is intended as a final hurrah to summer. Yes, even if the rainy season has already set in.

A summer ago, I and my friend, Evan, found ourselves in Bali after exploring temples around Yogyakarta. While it was scorching hot in the latter, Bali weather was erratic, much like the current weather condition here in Manila – one morning we’d be sweating while taking photos and marveling at temples, the next thing we know we’re running and looking for shelter from a sudden downpour, usually settling for the nearest cafe (with Wi-Fi!) we can find. We arrived on a rainy night; our flight from Jakarta was even a couple of hours delayed. A one-hour cab ride took us through lush rolling hills and rice terraces to the town of Ubud, Bali’s center for arts and crafts, dance, and music. We had difficulty looking for our guesthouse as it was tucked away in a narrow residential area, a good 10-minute walk from the main road where most of the other guesthouses, curio shops, and restaurants are located.
IMG_1621 IMG_1916The best part of our room was the huge terrace overlooking the guesthouse’s garden. I would wake up early each morning and enjoy my quiet time alone, having breakfast and sipping a good cup of coffee. I brought my handy sketch pad with me, and I would draw away during lazy afternoons and evenings, listening to Beirut and Florence and the Machine. That terrace is just perfect!

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Jaipur and Patterns

Jaipur was next on our itinerary after a day trip to Agra. A 2-hour train ride took us to the Pink City on a cool April night in 2011. We stayed at Baba Haveli, which was just a quick tuktuk ride away from the train station. The owner, Mr. Vijay Gautam, was an excellent host – a relief after an exhausting and quite a bad day in Agra. Albeit not so spacious, the rooms and hallways are quaint and charming, lavishly decorated with elaborate frescoes and tasteful furniture that exude old world charm. Our room has a tiny balcony facing the street. Despite that, we didn’t have a problem with noise and were able to sleep soundly.

Early the next morning, we started our tour. Tuktuks (autorickshaws) and local buses are the best modes of transportation to get around the city. But for time-challenged people such as I and my friend during the time we visited, private cars are available for rent. I highly recommend Real Rajasthan Tours. Aside from English-speaking drivers, they offer various tour packages and even customized ones for your convenience and travel satisfaction.
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Dubbed as the “Pink City,” Jaipur takes pride in its distinct pink-painted buildings, which were intended to resemble the red sandstone Mughal architecture. The capital of Rajasthan is a bustling city filled with magnificent forts and palaces, and bazaars teeming with varied textiles, shoes, and Rajasthani jewellery – the latter being its famous commodity. It boasts of being India’s first planned city, known for the width and regularity of its streets. The city is at its most picturesque during late afternoons when its rose-colored architecture glows vibrantly under the rays of the setting sun.
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Glorious decorative patterns can be found on almost every wall and structure, whether painted, carved or etched. I tried to capture these in photos as best as I could for future painting references. Composite tickets are available at a reasonable price of 300 INR for tourists that would grant you access to five monuments – Amber Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall, and Hawa Mahal. Additional charges apply for some sites if you’d like to take pictures.

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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.