Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Wandering Knight

A knight walks under the blue, blue sky. He has traveled over many lands, had lost his horse, and is tired of this long, long walk. But despite this, he, in his shining armor, still wants to finish his ultimate goal. This is a not so recent illustration of mine from my sketchpad. I drew it months ago in watercolor. I want to dedicate this to Alex, who is an old friend of mine. Though sadly, I haven't seen him again since the last time we met about a year ago. I wish him good luck, wherever he is.

Randomly, I placed a dragon and a bird at both sides of the knight. I put them there because I sometimes see Russian icons or Byzantine paintings of portraits,usually mother and child, flanked by figures of angels at their sides.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Of Paintings and Old things

This a small illustration of mine for my eldest sister Joyce of an Angel called Ardarel. As you know, Ardarel is an angel belonged to the Elohim class, and he is known as the Angel of fire. She told me that this is her guardian angel, and she requested me to portray her angel and post to her blog as her picture. So I started looking for angels and I come up with these gothic angels, which always fascinates me every time I see them in Netherlandish paintings or in illuminated manuscripts. So I looked for medieval portraits and depictions of angels, from the most grotesque, bizzare face to the highly realistic ones.

Of course, I look to the most familiar ones, including my favorite artist Jan Van Eyck, which I truly admire his strong handling of colors and details, as well as the faces of her angels and saints. I also saw, again, this painting of Van Eyck of a statue angel. He truly achieve the illusion of the angel, setting as a statue on a flat surface, and somehow, I am recently practicing this illusion, which is quite difficult to. I compiled this pictures into one and you can click it for better viewing.

I also encountered this Gothic sculpture of an angel by an unknown master. The technique used by the master in sculpture is somehow had a resemblance to Tilman Reimenschneider, another favorite artist of mine. The heavy drapery, thick clothing, and Gothic, elongated faces and bodies is their signature and this feature makes them unique and graceful for me.

Bruegel also influenced my angel. He painted this allegorical painting of the fallen angels. His bizzare figures always took me to his world. Somehow, Bruegel's works is another realm to me, and not just a mere interpretation of their beliefs. Every time I see his work I had this feeling that he came to a world far far beyond our countries, and then returned to his home and started to illustrate the world he visited.

Well, weeks and weeks after I finished the angel, I started to have interested to the angel's life. So I researched about him. According to legend, Ardarel was born mortal, with human parents. But soon he transformed into his real form as angel in the age of seventeen and joined other angels. To be honest with you, despite of my interest about celestial creatures, I don't much researched about their specific lives, even I had a story commissioned by a friend about angels and the after world.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Last time, you saw my pen and ink illustration of my mother's family tree for my second plate in my Advanced Figure Illustration class. For that cause, she gave me the full list of her direct relatives in their clan, including her cousins and the children of her cousins although she didn't know exactly their stories and histories in full detail.

Actually, mother hardly tells much of her stories about her past and her family. All I know is that she is the youngest among the thirteen children of my grand parents, which I never met personally, and that she was the only one who was fortunate enough get into a college. She said that it was because her siblings only wanted to spend their time in the fields, harvesting rice from their vast land.

Later on, fortunately, she gradually told me her past, as well as those of the other members of the family when I asked her about their family tree. I want to compile those stories as one in here, because mother didn't talk about the stories in just one seating (unlike my father who usually does that), and usually she refuses to talk about it too long. Perhaps because she doesn't like storytelling. One of the events that maybe made her tell some of those buried details was the recent wake for my grandmother's sister, who passed away this month. She attended the funeral of the last of the children of my great grand parents, along with her siblings and her cousins, who, according to her, possessed dubious personalities. So I grabbed this opportunity to ask her about them and the funeral.

So, let me start her story.

She was born from very kind and gentle parents, Mercedes and Eulogio, who had set up their own land in our present province, in Tarlac, away from their parents from another town. I think my grand parents hometown was different from their parents, that is, my great grand parents. I recently researched my mother's ancestors through the net and other documents. What I found is that most of my mother's supposed direct ancestors, dating back to the middle of the 19th century, was in the town of Pampanga, a few kilometers away from Tarlac. Though I'm not sure of the full details, this may suggest that my grandparents moved and settle on their own land, since my mother also told me that her grandparents didn't live in Tarlac in the first place.

Back to my mother, she was very special for her parents, as well as to her siblings since she is the youngest amongst the thirteen children. They gave her everything she needed, and, perhaps, also everything that she wanted. And in return, she served her parents and siblings, though not in the rice fields, but household chores and education

She had an aunt named Carmela, which she never dared to visit due to the woman's very, very strict and moody behavior. She was this aunt of hers who passed away this month. Her cousin's children, who took charge the funeral, also had a very very unpleasant attitude. So unpleasant that I don't want to talk about them all, but perhaps except for one. Her grand children inherited the same attitude. Her grand children, who have become very successful people, didn't want any children playing around where they were staying, and they even discriminated against their own aunts! So even if I didn't meet them in person, I can feel what mother felt about them as she recounted this. In this illustration though, Carmela's attitude is not related to what she is doing here.

My mother got into high school, and then to college in Baguio, far away from her hometown, where she graduated with honours. She even became teacher in her college after she graduated. Then she met father and they moved to the city, and set up their own land, though she still visits her siblings in Tarlac, where she and father once left my eldest sister Joyce for a while there when my sister was quite young.

Then, her siblings started to have families, except for the unmarried ones like Aunt Rosalinda--who lived in their original house, puffing unfiltered cigarettes while playing solitaire. My uncle Antonio also has no wife and lives with aunt Rosalinda. But most of the time he goes out early in the morning to visit their rice fields and guard them, or, according to him, to hunt birds or small animals in woods with his pump shotgun. But, they are very kind people, and among my aunts and uncles, those two are much closer to me, and perhaps to my siblings also. As you can see, I put a cigarette in my aunt's hands and a gun in my uncle's.

Their farm is a vast one, owned by my grandparents. But, something terrible happened to it. One of their sibling, uncle Aniceto, gradually sold their lands for a very cheap price,and without permission to those who rightfully inherited the lands. Like aunt Carmela, uncle Aniceto is a moody man. They complained about what their brother did, but sadly it was never resolved. And even my mother's share to the land was sold, all of her shares. But mother, who didn't want any trouble, just ignored it. And because she lived with father, she didn't much put attention to the conflict. I put a pouch of silver to signify he his betrayal in selling the major parts of their land secretly.

My mother's sisters and brothers usually have some conflict with one another, from the very tiniest of problems to the larger ones, and usually my mother tries not to meddle in such squabbling. But ironically, during their childhood days, they were kind to each other. Perhaps this is because, now that their parents are dead, no one can solve their problems, which is very sad to think about.

Speaking of family affairs and kinfolks, I am currently working on my thesis about families and clans due next year. Well, I also just recently realized that this is a not such an easy task as I have thought it would be, despite of my interest in the topic.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Fool

Staring at the sun. Trying to see if his eyes will go blind.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


As you know, I became interested to the family of rabbits, the Leporidae, when I met the bunny, the one who is with me most of the time and helps me to improve my illustrations. These fluffy and gentle creatures are different from hares, where they live above the ground, as contrast to the rabbits who had this rabbit holes. They are known active between dawn and dusk.

I've search their pictures and I find some interesting, and even grotesqueness, to them. I saw a sculpture this grotesque rabbit in Chartres Cathedral, and most likely it represents a malevolent creature with a face along its crotch. Animal symbolism is common belief across and around the world, as in the Chinese zodiac where they included the rabbit as part of it. As far as I know, in Western Europe, rabbits symbolizes fertility and he represents the Moon and night, probably that if you look closely at the full bright moon, you will see, among it's shaded regions, that there's a side view of a rabbit hoping eastward. This kind of observation is popular among the American Indian tribes.
Back to the grotesque rabbit, I'm not sure why they, the artist, associate the rabbit into an evil creature. But perhaps it's up to the artist's personal belief or interpretation, or even experience that he may be the victim of the bunny's being trickster.

In other cultures, rabbits, or even hares, are considered trickster, like in India, in
Panchatantra fables, rabbits are clever tricksters and its enemies are foolish lion and elephant. Also in native Americans were they had a popular tale about a mischief maker called
The bunny told me about the rabbits in Spain. She went there almost a month ago for her scholarship in art history. She told me that rabbits were selling to the market alive, and sell them for food. How pity they were she told me.

As I search further about the fluffy creatures, I look for blogs and illustrations about bunnies. I saw this cute illustration of a bunny crossing the lake in a flower pot. This was illustrated by Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven and she had other several bunny illustrations done in watercolor. Nakisha, known to them as the American Beatrix Potter, was born in San Fransisco and she grew along with other animals, especially to her beloved horse, Fox, during her teen years. Her parents encouraged her to bloom her creativity through art.Like the bunny, Nakisha is also a Tarot reader,and she had an illustration of cards which she featured White Rabbit and Dutch ( the black and white) Rabbit.You can see her other works for sale in this
site. But you can also see her official website for more info about her and her wonderful works.

I also encountered a wonderful illustration of a dressed rabbit by James Jack. The title of the work is Sioux Legend of the Personified Rabbit Who Enters the Lair of Pahe-Wathahuni Devourer of Hunters. Somehow, this illustration has a similar style and atmosphere with the bunny, some kind of a hazy and mysterious going on the scene even if you did noyknow its title. This kind of style probably what the bunny wants to achieve, and she kept practicing it many times.
The artist James Jack had a paintings of American Indian scenes. You can also look his artworks for sale

I also saw this picture of a brown bunny with a kitten at the same
site. This picute was taken by Jane Burton. She is known as a photographer of animals, paricularly domesitcated animals. You can visit her site at Warren Photographic to see more about her works. Though randomly, I encountered a site of an Australian photgrapher named Jane Burton. She had a great photgraphs of landscape in a sad, gloomy mood. I'm not sure if they are only one person since their photgraphs have different personality. You can visit the other Jane Burton in this site.

Coincidentically, last april, the bunny drew a sketch pencil portrait of me and herself in my new sketchpad ( the one I mentioned
earlier). But here, she depicted me as a ginger cat, giving a chocolate cookies ( with vanilla filling) to her, one of our favorite cookies and we sometimes eat it during free time afternoon.

Pictures of works of Jane Burton, James Jack, and Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven are courtesy of

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Tarot

Last year, the bunny showed to me her set of tarot cards in a green corduroy pouch. The cards were different from the illustrations of the most popular deck,
Rider-Waite tarot deck, illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith for a mystic Arthur Edward A.E. Waite. Still, when I first saw them personally, I was amazed by their obscure meanings behind the strange gestures and positions of the characters. I am quite interested to their symbolism and meanings, and also in their history. Somehow, their intricate allegorical details of these images still haunt me, leading to curiosity on how did these people manage to create such a bizarre and haunting symbols that are usually difficult to understand in our times, that the meaning behind the symbols of the figures had been almost forgotten, or at least arcane in the passage of time and in view of the various readings and contexts by which the present people are now able to read them with.

They said that Tarot card came from Egypt and brought to Europe about 12th century. But the first known Tarot card created about 13th century in Italy, particularly in Bologna. The Europeans added allegorical figures from the four suit deck, and they are called carte da trionfi or triumph cards. The oldest surviving Tarot card are painted for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan during their time. Later on, in the 18th century,
the cards are filled with some sort of divination or extraordinary powers. Until the cards became not just a mere playing but possessed powers and even can predict the future.

Probably so far, my favorite illustrations of the Tarot were painted by Hieronymous Bosch. They were as eccentric as his other paintings, adding grotesque figures like gnarled monsters. Aside from Bosch, there are also cards painted by one of my favorite Flemish painters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, wherein he usually featured peasants. There is also cards by Albrecht Durer, and he probably executed this in watercolor. You can look their works

I illustrated my own version of the cards almost three years ago. But I did only two, The Sun and Death. The story behind it is that I had a friend who I knew could read the Tarot cards (Aside from the bunny who also know how to read it). Just for entertainment, I decided to consult her using her cards and her skills in reading it. I remembered some of the cards that appeared and I decided to illustrate two of them.
But I cannot recall now what she said about the meaning of the cards from that reading.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Into the Dollhouse

Miniature houses fascinate me, especially when they are executed in exquisite detail that they look like a normal house, only shrunken. Though finding a craftsman for this art is not so easy as what it seems. In my college, very few people have an interest for this kind of craft, probably because it is rather difficult to create these houses, and takes time and patience. I know so since I made the church facade out of cardboard from scratch. But luckily, I found some of these craftsmen's works, and most of it urges me to create something like that. I'd like to emulate their wonderful works in a small scale. Recently, I saw the blog of Sumaiya Mehreen. Well, I want to show to you some of them.

This is a dollhouse made by Robin Carey and it is entitled Key West island house. I discovered it from the blog created by her fan Sumaiya Mehreen. There, you can see Robin Carey's other beautiful dollhouses. Sumaiya Mehreen is also an artist of little worlds, creating miniature people like this one.


While exploring the world of miniatures of Sumaiya Mehreen, I also encountered this fairy tale like tree house. This unusual dollhouse was created by Christell Jensen. It is a tree house probably the outer layer was made of real wood with barks. And inside, there lived a mouse.


As I go deeper to her blog realm, I saw this very whimsical tree house, although the both tree house both look good to me. It was created by Penny Thomson. What I like about it is that the tree house looks more suited as a model for a house in a fairy tale setting. Jensen builds doll houses that are as whimsical as this tree house. This one below is his too....

I saw some of Penny Thomson's houses, and they are more on medieval houses, except for the tree house, as far as I know.

Well, I'm in a bit of a bust right now, doing my academics for this year, and doing the household chores. I hope I can draw another work for the next few days that is not so academically related and post here.

Pictures courtesy of Thanks Sumaiya Mehreen! :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Air of April

I just remembered the atmosphere of April. The air was quiet, the sky was gray, and this tree had no leaves, but, instead, had flowers. How interesting to look at past events and contemplate on their beautiful memories.