Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Tale of the Two Worlds

I have just finished the blog diptych for my header and footer. Panel paintings fascinate me. They are like boxes within boxes, filled with picture of stories enclosed by wood. I like how they are enclosed, with several divisions sometimes leading to another set of boxes hidden behind the outer panels. Imagine they are drawers and bookshelves with tiny doors. Each chamber has paintings of stories, and in order to continue up to the end you must open the painted doors, which lead to the innermost chambers, where the most hidden part of the story awaits for you to reach it. Maybe that's the reason why I was fascinating with Netherlandish painting of their triptychs, as well as German Gothic altarpieces, and my favorite among them is the Isenheim Altarpiece. It is a polyptych altar executed by Mattias Grunewald for the hospital chapel of Saint Antony's Monastery in Isenheim in Alsace. It is a complicated, four-layered, painted structure. It was created for those who were ill, to give hope to them during that time when most people resort to their religion because medicine is still relatively primitive and almost as hokey as folk remedies.

Anyway, going back to my previous topic, the diptych was based on my little tale I created when I started painting them. It is a story about the two worlds with one name. Let me begin the story from the upper panel. There was a small village called Estrella.

It was named after the red angel flying around the evening sky to attach the jewel-like stars so that the villagers have lights in the evening. It wants to make the people happy so it does the best to do this.

Until the monsters from far away lands came and savaged the village. The sky became red, monsters are everywhere, and Estrella was no longer a happy, peaceful village.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Maiden of the Stars

Maiden of the Stars on my sketchpad.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father of the House

I have just painted my paternal grandfather Gonzalo wearing the crown of his house and the staff of his tower. Good thing that I still have time for a small illustration like this despite that I am working with my thesis and my other subjects.

I have a classmate named Sandra. She belongs to an old family of painters and artists. Her grandmother
Araceli Dans laid a foundation for her family to be artists. Born in 1929, she is known in Philippines for her realistic paintings. She even studied fine arts in my school. It was a great story for me. I admire those people who have tireless energy to build glory for their families and for the next generations to come. Probably that is the one that I like about family tree and genealogy.

My bunny came from a family of teachers, from her father who was a former teacher in our school, to her great-great-grand father, who was a maestro cantor. Speaking of my bunny's family, at last! She had just got her uncle Herman's family tree chart on There around 500 members, each with a compelling, unusual stories to tell. From their father of the house, who was born around 1850's, to her nephews and nieces. Somehow it is quite fascinating to know some of people's great ancestors who were honored for their deeds, especially their family.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I would like to tell to you a story about my father. Since I was a child, he had been telling me about his past, his childhood, adventures, and dreams in life as a young boy.

Long ago, years after world war two, he was born from strict, not so rich, and smoke-loving parents Gonzalo and Mercedes in an almost remote, mountainous town of Dio Duran. As the eldest son, he helped his parents with his best, from household chores to implementing codes of conduct towards his younger siblings, and to their rice fields, despite the fact that he was not much close to his older relatives, especially his paternal grandfather named Carlos. Because of his tireless effort, his parents granted him an elementary education. He was so happy for this.

The school was kilometers away from their town and he walked on foot, crossing woods, hills, and streams. And he said to himself, "This place won't fit my dreams." He studied hard, read books at night, and still helped his parents on the rice field. Sometimes, during weekends, he and his friends would go to the waterfalls to waterfalls in the middle of the woods. One time, suddenly, one of his friends disappeared. They searched for him but they couldn't find him. They reported this incident to their neighbors and started to look for him for weeks. Weeks later, they found him on the banks of the waterfalls where they bathed. The boy couldn't speak. They tried to ask him what happened, but he just stared blankly.Fortunately, after few days, he was now able to speak a little, but he can't remember what happened to him before he was found.

From that day, father and his friends only went to the falls seldom. Some say that he was abducted by spirits, and, upon returning him, they erased his memories.

Quite soon, he finished his studies. He walked on school rain or shine. And if it is raining,he would carry his sandals and walk barefoot. One afternoon, he was caught in a thunderstorm on his way home. He was a bit afraid so he hid under a tree beyond a field. He almost felt safe when he heard an explosion behind the tree he was hiding with. He realized that the tree next to him was struck by a lightning. My father quickly ran away from it until he reached the town cemetery. The rain poured harder so he decided to hide in one of the vacant niches (an apartment type) there. He told me that it was a bit cool and quiet inside so he fell asleep. Later, he woke up and he saw the rain had stopped but the sky was growing darker. He quickly packed his things and went straight home. He was worried not about the spooky things at the cemetery but at my grandma's deadly lashes.

My father's village was shrouded in mystery. Legends and superstitions were everywhere. But my father doubted them sometimes. When he went to the woods, setting up traps for birds and wild animals (where he once caught an unpalatable wildcat), he heard unusual of a bird somewhere. Just for fun, he imitated its voice, and the howl became louder and closer. He didn't hesitate to run. My father always heard stories about people being abducted by creatures, strange apparitions, witch doctors and religious cults living on secluded lairs. This time, father knew it was real. There was a tale about a Japanese soldier on top of a coconut tree. My grandpa said that that soldier thought the war was still ongoing. He had nothing to eat or drink there but the coconut seeds. Children would throw stones at him just for fun, and most of the people almost ignored the soldier.

There are actually true stories aside from what my father told me. In a remote Philippine island of Lubang. The soldier was
Hiroo Onada. He was sent by Japanese government to conduct guerrilla warfare during the second world war. Unfortunately, he was never officially told the war had ended. And he continued his work, hid from the jungle until he finally emerged and surrendered on 1972. Back to my father, he met an elderly man who usually grouped the children in a cottage and tell some stories about ghosts and malevolent creatures. The elderly man wanted to scare the children. After that, since he finished his stories almost midnight, he usually requested my father to take him home which was kilometers away. In exchange, he gave my father a kilo of rice.

By the time his elementary graduation was approaching, nobody among his siblings, nor his parents had time to attend his graduation. But it's okay to him because that was the date he will leave the village by train and head for the city. He brought nothing except his school uniform. There, in the city, he learned how to make money. He worked as a helper on a construction site where he performed dangerous tasks ordered by the workers. He worked there until he was found by his Aunt Carmela. She helped him finish his studies where my father wrote a poem about students, and had it published in a well-known magazine during that time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Forgotten Works

After Rackam's Freya the fair. One of my earliest illustrations I almost forgot.

A Seraphim

" Is that all you can give?"

They had been hiding in my cluttered shelf for years. I was about to clean my things when I discovered them. Somehow, I had the feeling that they are passed on, that I almost forgot them and they started to hide from me.Whatever that strange feeling was, I was happy to see them again that they are still in my shelves and I didn't gave them to my friends or collegues.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Conrad Witz

King Solomon by Conrad Witz. Another German master.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It will be busy for the next few weeks due to my thesis and academics. Let me leave you a picture of Tilman's head of a the Virgin. Good day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


A knight comes home from the battle.

He's coming home to his castle

Along with his trophy:

The stars, and the bunny.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Fearless Squire

Meet my Bunny's chivalrous squire named Sir Melk, protector of the Bunny, great guardian of her bookshelves, and an adventurer.
He always wanders inside the bunny's room, searching for adventures and fierce enemies. Here is his portrait in front of the cathedral where he held his coronation for his tireless effort to serve her lady bunny.

For the bunny :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Genealogy. Mysterious but fascinating. I find myself quite interested to them. I just like how generations pass as history moves on, and also how this epic story goes by. Sometimes, they produce bizarre stories that are very good to hear and to tell.

I had been looking for some prominent houses and dynasties many times. As you can see on the left, I found detail of a late medieval painting (or is it a tapestry?) in the internet about Austrian ladies in a family tree. It was made at about 1490, and it has beautiful, jewel-like colors. Although these kinds of family tree chart are quite hard to observe and trace, they are fun to look at because I find them nice in their over decorated manner ( Yep! I have a little bit horror vaccui).

My bunny lent me a book about the royal houses and dynasties in Europe. The book entitled Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe by Jiri Louda and Micheal Maclagan. Her older brother John gave this to her as a birthday gift. The book contains precise charts, as what they told, of family trees. The book includes individual heralds, but is not of that good a printing, though it manages a considerable information about the houses and their realms. What I found much interesting there is about the relationships between the dynasties in Europe. It says that probably the Queens of England are very distant kinswomen of the Hashemite Kings of Jordan. But maybe this kind of story is not new since houses in Europe intermarried each other, reaching even in the east such as the Spanish kings and the Moors, through their sons and daughters.

As I read it further, it inspires me and had given me some concrete ideas for my stories such as the Annals. I have been writing about imaginary kingdoms and countries with families warring and intermarrying with each other.

I also charted my parent's family tree, from my mother back to my great grand parents. Since I mentioned my mother's family, let me tell their little stories to you. Years ago, before the First World War, there was a man named Eulogio. He had three siblings, Caridad, Rosario, and a man called "Doleng (Cross-eyed)." Eulogio was the oldest of the four children. Years later, he met a woman named Mercedes, the youngest among her five siblings: Emerenciana, the oldest, Catalina, Felipe, Teodora, and Carmela. Just like other lovers during that time, they got married as soon as possible and had twelve children. Adelina was the oldest, next was Concordia, Ortencia, Corazon, Elena, Aurea, Lucia, Rosalinda, Aniceto, Jose, Antonio, and the youngest as well as my mother, Angela. Funny enough, whenever my mother and her eldest sister are together, you could mistake them as mother and daughter. My aunt Adelina's age gap from my mother spans about three decades.

As of now, I don't have the complete data about my family. I only know the surnames of my great grand parents. Perhaps I should visit my aunt on my mother's hometown in Tarlac to get more information and old pictures. I also roughly charted my father's family tree way back also to my great grand father, named Carlos. My father said that Carlos was a really tall man, with a pale complexion and a thin body. My father saw him before, though he never met him personally. Carlos had fifteen children, and he married twice because his first wife died early.

My bunny told me that her uncle Herman also drafting their paternal family tree. What's interesting there is that he also researched the dates of their birth and death. He even researched their occupation, some old pictures, and some highlights of their story. She promised me to give me a copy of them by the time she gets hers from her uncle. I had thought of making a family tree similar to the one above.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sandwich Man

Actually, it's a sandwich board man. They are people who wander around the city carrying advertisements written on the two boards. It was probably originated in London. They are also called the human billboard.

It came across my mind that one would invite visitors into my blog rather than advertise on streets. So I started this little drawing with a not-so-planned sketch and paint. I added a crow who was about to land on the sandwich man's head.

My bunny helped me to execute the lettering in charcoal. She also added some rendering like the nails' shadow and lines on the wooden board.

She put a random grotesque motif of a jester below the letters, staring blankly while his head is resting on his hands.

And now it's done. He is now ready to welcome visitors into my blog.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some tiny works

My enrollment this June was a bit easy despite of the heavy rain. Thank God! I got all of my subjects for this semester on our online pre-registration, so I didn't need to fall in a very long line. As I didn't have time to draw during the first week of June, my bunny just took pictures of some of my sketches from last month.

Heads surrounded by the writings about them. I was trying to sketch some characters a few months ago for my third story.

This is my little sketchpad. Here, a little girl is posing, though for no reason. I called her a Wittle, one of my invented creatures for my first, fourth, and fifth story.

A mythical creature called Tikbalang. They are malevolent creatures that get people lost into the woods under their territory.

Creatures called aswang. Actually, they are considered to be people with various, unusual skills. Some of them can change their physical appearance into animals like bats, cats, and pig. Some can curse a person by means of other things, as in witchcraft. Some can halve their own body, at the torso. The upper half has bat's wings, and flies during the night, their entrails hanging down, scouting for people whom they'd prey on. Some of them live off the bodies of the dead, especially those who had just died, fooling the bereaved by replacing the corpse in the coffin with a banana trunk and spiriting off the real thing (because of this, Filipinos have the habit of making a lot of noise--eg. drinking, gambling, eating--in the presence of the coffin during the traditional nine-day wake, in order to dissuade any aswangs from taking their dead). Some of them have a hollow tongue which they use to suck the viscera and/or blood and phglem of people, especially the dying, thus ushering death; and in the cases of pregnant women, the tongue will stray towards the abdomen and from there, eat the unborn child and the liver of the mother. This particular type is rather popular, making pregnant women uneasy whenever they hear footsteps or clawing on the roof, and a curious tik-tik-tik sound by nightfall. They say that when the aswang are far away, you'd hear their screeching, like the violent death-throes of a pig or the tik-tik sound, as if they were hovering near. But when they are really hovering near, their sounds seem faraway. Those who don't know any better might venture out into the night to their own demise.

A fool standing in a corner looking at the sun.

This illustration was done by the bunny for my blog. The Fool and Death with our college motto: Ars longa, Vita brevis (Art is long, Life is short).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


The rain has begun. The wind has started to swirl on the street, raindrops knock on our roof. I spent some time looking at our gate as the water ran down the railings.

Our house is about two decades old. Not so old compared to some houses that are as old as my grandparents. Historical houses fascinate me: their oldness, strangeness, and the important events that happened there. Their stories always lead me to be curious. I've been searching for beautiful old houses many times.

Recently, I saw from a newspaper a century-old concrete house in the middle of a vast sugar plantation, in a place called Talisay, in Negros. It is now in ruins (hence its name as "The Ruins"). Only the skeleton is left after it was torched by guerrillas during the Second World War. It was owned by a "sugar baron" named Mariano Ledesma Lacson. He was the younger brother of a revolutionary general named Aniceto Lacson, who fought in 1898 against Spain. Some say that Mariano had a beautiful wife named Maria Braga, a Portuguese and a daughter of a ship captain. It is quite a huge mansion, measuring 903 sqm. and is made in the Italianate style.

Anyhow, here comes June! It is time to go back to school. This will be the last time I will enroll there, and surely, this will be a busy week. Luckily, I had time back in May to roam around the school together with the bunny. I took pictures of things that had been forgotten, and that had caught my attention.

Broken drawers and paper files eaten by termites.

Old asphalt road spattered with moss.

The wood in agony.

Marble chessboard on a bench.

(The bunny says that the tree awaits strangers to sit down and play a game of chess with it. The pieces are but stones, though what is at hand is more than a matter of these stones. See how there seems to be no one playing with the tree, for the tree has lost to no one, and those who lose to it are lost in the tree forever.)

I take pictures to find some good references for my illustrations, and to have consistent colour patterns.

The bunny will not go to our school this year. She'll be going to Spain for a scholarship for ten months. Things will probably change during the next months.

Pictures of The Ruins courtesy of