Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Old and the New

December is a special month for me. Aside from the fact that I was born in that month, on the 19th day, and that there's a chilly wind during the days and nights, gifts from Christmas, and people simply merry-making, it is the end of the year. This something really special for me. From there you could see the summary of what you did in that year, that is, the last 11 months. Just reminiscing about them, the beautiful times as well as the worse ones. Sometimes, I try remember them and write about it like a story of sorts. With this, I could see how the story went by throughout the year.

I can still remember the December from two years before. The sun shone on morning dew on the grass, and there was fog over a distant green field. We saw this the morning after that painful night when we slept on the cold stone corridor of the college. During that time we were working overnight for the float that will be shown for the annual lantern parade in our school. And after a short sleep, the bunny and I spent the beautiful morning walking and taking in this wonderful view before we had our breakfast in a cafeteria. The cold numbed our ears and fingertips as we slowly walked on the damp road. It was a wonderful experience. We seldom have the pleasure of strolling during mornings when the sun shines gently, with morning dew on the grass and cold breeze brushing our faces. But if I had another chance, I won’t hesitate to do it again.

As I have said before, my childhood age had ended this past year, on my 21st birthday, and a fresh new phase is starting for me. For that occasion, I received a watercolor pad from the bunny. I always wanted to have this so that I can practice more on my watercolor since I started watercolor as a medium about two years ago (yes, before that my primary medium before was pastels and acrylics). A fresh start. But of course, I cannot deny that cannot help feeling nostalgic sometimes, that I always want to recall some of my beautiful memories, and wishing I can relive them again.

And now it is the new decade. I have to wait for several months more before December, before I can have a chance to experience all those memories again. There is no winter in our country, or snow, but I still feel happy about it. And for me this is December.


I saw this random antique house interior in the blog called "Iloilo on Foot". It is a very wonderful blog that features old Spanish colonial churches (which are some of the places I'd like to explore) and other things in Iloilo, in the Philippines. You can visit their site here. I just remembered my grandparent's house (that is, my mother's parents) in our province, Tarlac, in this picture. Similarly, they had many religious statues during my grade school days. But my aunts and uncles gradually dismantled the collection one by one, bringing the icons to their own houses.

When I was a child, my aunts to make me draw religious icons for them.They sometimes called me "Father" (as in Reverend Father) during that time because I would almost draw religious things excusively. Almost one and a half decade later, when we last visited our province, my Aunt Rosalinda showed me some of my drawings, done in pen on cheap paper, of those religious images that kept all those years in her old wooden cabinet. I am quite happy for this since she kept my drawings there for a very long time (because I don't keep much of my works since my shelves are too small for all them). The picture of Saint Rita above is from a book about religious icons in South america. Though I forgot what was the name of the book but it features Latin American images from around the 16th to the 19th century.


This year, I must find a sideline to earn some money for the next school year since my sister told me that I'll be paying for myself from now on. And also I must buy new sandals and bag since they started to retire from their jobs (they are the ones the bunny bought for me as a present before she went to Spain almost five months ago). I wonder if I should sell some of my works over the net, or to my colleagues. I know it is hard to earn money; especially it is your first time to experience it. But I don’t have plans to place ads in my blog. I just want to tell stories here and keep it that way. Stories and beautiful art should somehow be told and done for themselves.

This is a recent illustration of mine entitled Chasing the Sun. I made it last December. I haven't posted this illustration last time because of other things, and that I've been working with my recent posts. With this illustration, I tried to do an exaggeratedly bent body but with Limbourg faces and tones, but it was hard to do it with watercolor. Though I don't have much words about this one, I leave the theme and the message of the illustration to you. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Panels, as you know, always fascinates me. They are architecturally odd, that sometimes the frames are decorated with architectural motifs, especially when they look like old door-like buildings that swing open and unveiled its wonderful interior of paintings. They are like doors that lead to hidden worlds set in oil paints. The most popular and one of the most wonderful diptychs, triptychs, or polyptych makers are the Flemish during the renaissance. Among them is the famous Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck and, supposedly, his brother Hubert Van Eyck, an example of polyptych, a diptych for Jeanne of France by Rogier Van Der Weyden, and The Last Judgment by Hans Memling. Aside from Flemish, the Germans are also good at this, like Matthias Grunewald and Albrecht Durer. My Art History professor showed us byzantine paintings of Madonna and child in a palace-like throne. They also create beautiful triptychs and sometimes in a cross shape.

The Russian icons are also amazing about this. Here is a beautiful example of Madonna and Child by Paolo di Giovanni in about 1300's. Perhaps when I will have enough time I will practice these kind of technique (except maybe that I will have a real gold leaf). You can look for other Russian paneled icons here.

Aside from these classic masters, I also encountered wonderful paneled paintings made by various artists who had beautiful works. One of them is the Russian artist Vladimir Gvozdariki. He had this collage of antique and curious things in a decorated box container that has doors that you can open. You can look his whimsical artworks here.
About four years ago I created an unfinished polyptych of my mother’s clan (not the one in Bloodlines) in a cross-shape with six panels. The outer wings have the illustrations of the wives and husbands of my mother and her siblings, facing the family tree. Although I don’t have the plan to finish it, I will create a new one for the bunny’s clan, which I will use for my thesis next year. Though sadly, I do not have any picture of those, but I can post them if I already revise them.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Tour from the Past

Top to bottom, left to right.

1. Across the Universe 2. The Tale of my new Header 3. My Mother’s Family Tree 4. Curious Expeditions 5. The Bunny goes to Spain 6. Memories of April 7. Memories of March 8. Memories of the Rainy May 9. Memories of Sunny February 10. Tales about Rabbits 11. Pia’s art and the Memory of the Storm 12. The Moss and the Tree 13. My Old Header 14. My New Sketchpad 15. Rima Staines 16. Pictures of Kitty 17. Gabriel Pacheco 18. The Church Model 19. My Cathedral Model 20. Our Portrait 21. Father of the House and My Father’s Tale 22.Warfare 23. Bernt Notke’s Danse Macabre 24. Rediscovery of Old Works

The New Year has arrived! And also, it has been a year since I started this blog. And since it is its first birthday, I'd like to remember those that had happened in the past 12 months. It is quite good to recall the days of old and reminiscence on good memories. Like what I did last time, when I visited the place where I once passed through, like the hospital where I was born, the church where I was baptized, and the schools I went to before college. It is quite good to revisit them after some long, long years.

I remember when I started this blog twelve months ago when my very first entry was about the book I read about The Battles of Thirty Years War by William Guthrie. I was, and still am, fascinated by warfare as part of my childhood memories when I used to play soldiers, putting them in mock battles, with horses and dinosaurs and knights brandishing swords and weapons. And I put a picture of a morning star (a kind of mace) in the mosaic.

I wrote also about my plates and projects in school, like my pop up work, a project for my one of my most unlikeable classes since I was in grade school, Mathematics. But somehow that project worked and I got a good grade.

Speaking of projects, I also made and later talked about the model of a Cathedral façade for my Art History class. Made mostly of recycled materials and cardboards, I did it well. And also, there were two plates for my one of my favorite classes, Advanced Illustration. The first one is about the songbook for "Across the Universe" by Fiona Apple, and the second one is a portrait of my mother’s family tree, going as far as my great grand parents to my generation with houses on the head of the married male. You can look at what I am talking about.

Speaking of families, this is also the main topic of my thesis next year, which speaking about the essence of family portraits.

For the past twelve months, I also discovered and encountered artists who moved me and became inspirations of my work. There is Rima Staines who made these beautiful grotesque artworks and the colors of rust, of amber, of umber, and of brown, that makes me delighted. There are also the beautiful pictures by Kitty, those landscapes and green field makes me at ease and also gave me ideas for my stories. And there is also the hazy and wonderful work of Gabriel Pacheco, who is a favorite artist of the bunny and me. In his work, these misted atmospheres and dream landscape always fascinates me. And of course, I should not forget the old masters like Jan Van Eyck and Arthur Rackham.

The sites and realm of blogs such as the Curious Expeditions, where I am amazed by its combination of history and mystery, Sur la Lune the wonderful blog of old children’s book illustrator masters, and the other blogs who shared their lives, and thoughts, works of their art and other people’s works.

There are also the memorable months for me; the sunny February and March, the April when the Bunny and I went on our own job training; and the rainy May when we finished it, and at the same time, I was starting to paint my recent header, and some random pictures.

And also, I should not forget my old, almost forgotten works like my old header and those that have hidden in my shelves for years. Good thing that I did not give them away, but they are still hiding from me I guess.