Friday, February 29, 2008

Thirds and Threes

Click on photo to buy this painting.
Acrylic on heavyweight fine art paper, 2.5 x 3.5 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork, $42.

Third painting, third day on my twelve day pledge. My little man stayed a little longer on his belly-time the third time around today. He didn't like it as much. In fact, he dread those times.
It's a lot of work for a little guy.

If you're doing yoga, that's close to staying in 'down dog' position for the entire half an hour. That's one heck of a work-out. So, I give him a ton of credits every time he tries to stay longer. He gets more cuddling time and smooches from me. Oh, he loves that.

He loves art too. The first day we brought him home from the hospital, he just stared and stared in the huge painting in our living room. And whenever he's cranky, facing him in front of one of my paintings around the house (or any art wherever we are) will sure calm him down. Amazing.

There's no guessing where he got that from. Not surprising to most as I'm an artist, but I'm still perplexed how a three-day old infant back then can appreciate art so much. Perhaps I was one of those 'adults' who underestimated their wits because of their size.

I can tell he liked this piece today. He voted his approval by squinting his bright eyes and wrinkling his nose bridge all at the same time, when I showed it to him.

A leap year, another painting and a baby. Today's significant 'threes'. But only the third will constantly remain to matter the most. At least for me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Second Tulip

Click on photo to buy this painting.
Acrylic on acid-free & archival heavyweight fine art paper, 2.5 x 3.5 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork, $42.


Second day on my pledge, second painting. I love the contrast of the pinks against the blue background. Subtle yet powerful.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Dozen Pledge

'First Tulip' ACEO. Acrylic on heavyweight fine art paper, 2.5 x 3.5 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork. Price $42.

Starting today and in the next twelve days, I'll paint one artwork daily with one theme. No excuses. And what better way to celebrate the coming spring? Paint the season's most popular flora - tulips.

A tulip a day. Twelve paintings in twelve days. A dozen pledge. Another journey.

Are you ready to take the 'pledge'?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last One Minute

Notice the time stamp on this post - 11:59 pm.  A minute left before midnight, then a new day dawns.  You must be wondering how I was able to compose such narrative in a matter of minute.

I am no superwoman who can speed through the keyboard in a flash, typing more than a hundred words in a minute.  Otherwise, I'll be in the Guinness Book of Records by now, reaping royalties from my popularity.  Wouldn't that be nice.  Instead I'm persisting as a devout artist and writer.

Last February 14, I made a commitment to write daily.  I resisted putting up a blog for years, doubtful if I'll have the ability to scrape of a bit of my time from my 'too much in one day' existence.  This time, as a gift to myself, I won't just scrape out but 'devote' time to do the things I love the most - painting and writing.  It was Valentine, I deserve some 'self-loving' resolution.

I knew for sure it will be challenging.  Painting daily is already a huge commitment to keep.  Add writing to it, then you have two extra tasks to tackle with.  That's on top of working, mothering and running a household.

But life is too short to procrastinate.  Pursuing your dreams is a wisdom I strive to instill in the minds and hearts of the little people in my life right now.  Who are they?  My little man (who's growing too quick), three nieces and four nephews.  I hope to teach them to make the most out of every second in their lives.  To someday look back and not say 'I wish I've done that.'  

That it's never too late to live our dreams.  There's always that 'last one minute' waiting for us.  We can do wonders if we seize the time efficiently.  

Like write this whole blog in sixty seconds.  



Monday, February 25, 2008

An Apple and a Brush

Click on Photo to Buy this Painting.
Watercolor on cold press 140lb Montval watercolor paper, 6 x9 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork. Price $90.

Two interesting subjects but an unlikely combination. Why together?

The apple. One of the most beloved fruit. The symbol of man's first reproduction. An easy meal replacement or snack which is also conveniently nutritious. 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' won't be a popular phrase for no reason. It's pleasant to look at and boasts the prettiest primary color - red. For centuries, this succulent fruit has been the popular subject of still life paintings. The fine art masters painted it incessantly.

Which brings me to the brush. What will be a palette and a paint without it? Unless you're a finger painter, this bristly tool is indispensable. It's art's most esteemed metaphor. Museums and collectors have prided themselves not by just procuring and displaying works of art but with historic finds of antique brushes used by the masters.

So this is not 'just' a still life painting. It's a toast to two of life's greatest symbolic creations. One by God, the other by Man. Two incomparable beings brought together.

Just like my apple and my brush.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Peeling Bananas

Click on Photo to Buy this Painting.
Watercolor on cold press 140lb Montval watercolor paper, 6 x9 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork. Price $90.

It's evening, I know. I missed writing this morning. We had a busy weekend. Ever since I became a mom, my outlook calendar has been filling up to the brim.

It's because our little man is taking his own spots from our hourly schedules. From doctor's appointments, wellness classes, visiting families and friends, to play dates. I can go on and on. Merging those with your pre-parenthood schedule (that's already so tight to begin with) is an art of its own. I think that's why God made moms young (or young at heart like me).

It gets trying at times. And it puts your prioritizing skills to the test. On occasions when it gets tougher, I let out a big sigh and tell myself 'This too shall pass'. We have to take each day one at a time. Then, we'll get through it and still enjoy the journeys in between.

While painting this piece, I realized those trying times are like peeling bananas. You can't peel the skins off altogether. You have to do it one at a time, then enjoy the 'fruits' of your efforts after.

I say, be creative. Don't just eat the fruit, make it into a bread, pudding or parfait.

Savor the sweet rewards of your hard work. Give yourself a pat on the back (or side, if you can't reach your back) and acknowledge that you have done a great job.

You may have not peeled your bananas perfectly, but it was just right.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pineapple

Click on Photo to Buy this Painting.
Watercolor on cold press 140lb Montval watercolor paper, 6 x9 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork. Price $90.

The icon of the tropics. It melts the winter blues away just looking at it. I bet whoever discovered this edible fruit long time ago, was very adventurous.

Who would think that inside the rough surface and spiky leaves is a sweet, tangy, slightly sour (when it's not overripe), juicy and fibrous meat. That's a lot of adjectives for one fruit. And don't forget the vitamins and cancer-fighting agents you get too. And again, the dietary fiber that is so good for you. I can almost hear my mom saying 'Eat your fiber.'

We ought to be more like that person who discovered it. Be more adventurous, look beyond the surface, love and appreciate others more despite their rough surfaces and spiky characters. Be a little more forgiving.

I can't wait to slice it and divulge on its sweetness. But first, let me paint it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Multi-Asking

I'm trying to think if I know someone who isn't doing multiple tasks at the same time. Trying harder. Nope, can't think of anyone. Even babies are tasked to do a lot. Try giving a four month old his tummy time and urge him to scoot few more inches each time.

It's a serious hard work. Really, put yourselves in their shoes (or their socks I should say, they barely keep their crib shoes on) and imagine mountain climbing over and over again. That's how I think they must feel if you figure out the proportion of their growing body weight vis-a-vis their velocity goals. Pardon me but I'm an accountant, my reasoning most of the times revolve around numbers.

Multitasking. Writing it already makes me feel little pooped. Just a little. Whoever came up with the word must had a background in numbers too. Break down the word in two - multi plus tasking, equals multitasking. Then there's the root word - task plus suffix 'ing', equals tasking. See, what I mean. The word itself is multitasking, a singular verb representing more than one noun.

I believe the word was supposed to be Multi-Asking. Think about it, the extent of the things we have to do every single day depend on how much expectations we ask from ourselves. Or allow others to ask from us. And the new millennium is asking that we do most of it at the shortest possible time.

Multi-asking, that should have been the right word. But it would sound funny, it needs that consonant in between to make it sound right. It would have been nice to have the 'hyphen' (or dash) as a 'break' in between the two words. It sounds a little more playful.

Break and play. If you're going to add more from your 'to-do' lists, make sure you squeeze those in. Do yoga, make funny jokes or tickle someone. Find a breathing room, even if it means just closing your eyes for a minute or two. As simple as that.

Then, you'll be more than ready to tackle the 'multiples' in your lives.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dialogue

Every morning, my son wakes me up to have a dialogue.  Yes, a dialogue.  A two way conversation.   I try to remember if he woke me up from sleeping (if I slept at all) or from one of my shut-eye wanderings.

He never ran out of things to talk about.  We talk about his plans for the day, how I was, how good he slept.  These days, we even talk about the ongoing presidential primaries.  Why me and his Dad are for McCain and why not for Obama.

There's the topic of breakfast too.  And again, he'll bring up how much he likes his little aquarium.  Not the real one though, just the one you plug in and the fishes move around in a little cone.  The artists who made it did a good job, for they sure look real to both of us.  Except you don't see the bubbles go up.

My mornings aren't the same without our dialogues.   He reminds me to always try and stay sharp,  so we can have more meaningful conversations.  He looks forward to it as much as I do. I can tell, especially when he swings his chubby little legs up in the air and reach out to touch my face or grab strands of my hair.

His vocabulary is growing fast too.  On top of the oohs, aahs, nehs, ehs, aws, there are now the meme, nene, eees and all sorts of chuckling and mumbling.  Often I hear people say 'how cute his little sounds are'.  Sounds, they make it seem like he's an ipod or a little machine making 'sounds'.

I call it 'talking'.  He is talking and those are his words, his own unique jargons and phrases.  And every morning, he spends quality time with me to have a dialogue.

Oh, did I mention he's fifty six weeks old.  That's adding up forty weeks inside my womb and sixteen from the time he was born.

I don't 'baby talk' to him much, but I blow bubbles in his tummy and rosy cheeks a lot.




Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Door Alarm

Our fridge when left open for five minutes will alarm with a beeping sound.  The continuous beeping annoy us sometimes, but it's a reminder we opt to keep to prevent our food stock from spoiling.  

Especially on weekends, when we have five little ones (nephews and nieces) rummaging inside for goodies.  Then we'll hear the beeping incessantly a couple of times.  On those occasions, I don't get annoyed.  How can I, my little buddies are so adorable.  Many of their gestures remind me of my own childhood.

This morning, as I stood in the kitchen wondering what to drink, holding the fridge door open, I was startled with that alarm again.  Was I really staring there blankly for five minutes?  Whew! Okay, so I have to make up my mind quick - what will it be?  Juice, milk or juice.  I decided not to get either.  The pressure must have gotten into me.  I had water.

Life is like that too, buzzing with alarm when something is amiss.  But how often do we pay attention or act on those reminders?  How long do we wait until we make up our mind and close the door before the sound becomes too loud to bear.

Some call it 'conscience', others 'guilt' and mildly, 'responsibility'.  I call it the 'inner self'.  It's the person inside of us - the one who, when stripped of all pretenses, knows right from wrong.  It's the raw 'you'.  It's one of life's dynamic that is most ambiguously defined.  We just know it, we hear it.

There's one of mine, saying 'It's time.'

 







Monday, February 18, 2008

How To Draw

Drawing - the start of a painting.  It is as essential as learning how to stand is to walking.

Once we learn it, do we keep on practicing it or are we more likely to skip it most of the time.  Mastering the basics is the best foundation for creating the best artworks.  In pottery, you mold before you bake.  In sculpture, you outline before you carve.  In canvas, you prime before you paint.  

My pen drawings are artworks of its own.  They're basic and pure.  No paint took over their beauty.  It gives me pure joy.

Perhaps in our lives, we should do more of the basics.  Or be content with living with the basics.  Then, we'll appreciate those beyond the least.  

Anyway, we just don't get up and walk.  We stand before we stride. 

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pause

How many of us get up in the morning in haste, oblivious to the countless chores that lay ahead of us.  Contemplating which one we'll do first.  Or how much we can do in a short time.

Slow down.

Tough call we'll say.  How do you slow down these days, when each of us are expected to deliver more than we ought to.  'Carpe diem', seize the day.  How often do we let the day seize us instead.  We'll lay at night drained with energy from all the multiple roles we played.  I'm guilty of that.

Today, I resolve to slow down.  To take a pause every once in a while.  It doesn't have to be an elaborate relaxation routine.   I'll take more deep breaths and perhaps do little stretches here and there (while waiting for the light to turn green, checking out of the grocery, in the elevator and walking to the parking lot).

I'll play a little longer with my son, make funnier faces and sounds, and tickle him more.   Read and snuggle with my husband more and do the things I love the most.  Paint and write.

Few minutes each day will do for a start.  And as I progress in the lessons of the 'art of letting go', I'll savor the moments that matter most.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Red Rose

Click on Photo to Buy this Painting.
Watercolor on cold press 140lb Montval watercolor paper, 6 x9 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork. Price $90.

Valentine's Day, it comes and goes. And it went quick.

What did you do with it? I wrote my first blog and painted the first painting for my new still life series. I also looked forward to what my husband has in store for me that day. Every year, he always manage to make each one extra memorable.

Extra because he goes further than any man I know to make an already special moment even more memorable.

Our first Valentine date was in front of the Sydney Opera House. We didn't watched a show there, we're both bad when it comes to making reservations. We sat in one of the parks and watch the city skyline lit up.

And what does an artist do in times like those? Paint! He was thrilled. He loves seeing me do what I love the best.

Two days after, a marriage proposal in a disappearing island at the Great Barrier Reef. Early evening, the island is submerged under water and disappears in sight. Wow, that was four years ago today.

Next, a wedding. Let's save that for another story.

Third, a trip to Hawaii while battling the grueling morning sickness. I was on my first trimester. Again, another story. Let's just say, the helicopter ride wasn't at all an 'easy ride'. Morning sickness and a jiggling ride on the air - not a good combo.

Hubby set himself up indeed for higher expectations. I wondered if this year will be a flower and card thing. With our little one constantly grabbing our attention, will we have time to do something special.

An hour massage. That's what he had planned for me that day. Ah, what every new mom needs. Of course, he didn't forgot himself. If a mom needs it, a rookie dad needs it too. So of we go, baby in tow, to the spa. He dropped me first then drove around with our little one checking out properties for sale, while I doze off in the abyss of relaxation.

When my time was up, I took our baby and walked to the nearby Starbucks. Then off to dinner we went. Call it lucky, but we were so fortunate to squeeze in one of the jampacked restaurants. No reservation, did I say we're bad with that? Fifteen minutes wait, the waitress said.

This is where the red rose comes in the story. I looked around while we were waiting and saw couple of ladies, young and not so young, holding single red roses on their hands. The restaurant has two big pails of long stemmed roses in the entranceway for free.

I told myself, no roses from hubby but I got to have a hot date with my two men (I mean, my man and our little man). But I admit, I was secretly hoping I'd get a bud that day. My contemplation was popped up when a little girl walked towards me and handed her rose.

She didn't say a word. Just a smile. Oh, but a lovely smile. I said thanks and she walked back to her mom, little sisters and brother. There it is, my Valentine flower. I regret not asking for her name. I was so taken by her gesture I couldn't think straight. Now, that hit a big score on my big Valentine dates record.

What did I gave hubby, a handmade card with watercolor inscription that said 'I Love You'. And big, big, tight hugs and kisses. Perhaps, when the little one is not too little anymore, I can plan big dates for hubby too.



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Still Life

Click on Photo to Buy this Painting.
Watercolor on cold press 140lb Montval watercolor paper, 6 x9 in.
Watermark not present on original artwork. Price $90.

Can life really stand still, I wonder.

Even if we resist to move or compelled to be stationary, our life moves with every breath we make. Time passes with every brush stroke.

But how about those destined to be inanimate like my still life subjects. They may be still (for now, before I or my husband take them for a bite) but they give life to my painting.

Thus, the name 'still life'.

That makes sense.
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