Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chocolates and Recipes

Part of the Bunny’s series of pictures from Spain, she sent me this delicious, mouth-watering, tummy-rumbling picture of a black pasta dish with a sauce that is not so familiar for me. And I recently knew that it is part of her experiment in perfecting pasta sauces and recipes, a process that has been very interesting for me since for the past two years. In most cases, I have been her guinea pig. Often, she prepares for me breakfast or brunch which she prods me into eating before we went to our morning classes together. Noticeable among these are the toast with a taste of a cinnamon-sugar syrup coating; rice with soy sauce, vinegar, and other spices like chinese parsley for a food called Adobo (normally a viand); or Java rice with lemon grass and turmeric; eggplant and sushi rice rolls; and sandwiches with, of course, unexpected but wonderful ingredients that truly I can’t say no to them. But sometimes she'd discreetly slip ginger into some of the food, that spice being, well, not quite to my taste, but she tries to introduce to me for the sake of my health. Once in a while, a smiling boiled egg would greet me with black pepper eyes, which she adds for artistry and in the effort to make pretty these boxed lunches.

I remember when we had our lunch during one hot summer noon under a tree facing a football field that is seldom used. There we ate our meal together before we took a short walk in the lagoon for the afternoon.

The wind was blowing at that time, and the sun was in the middle of the sky. I took this opportunity to take a picture as a part of the memories I had and now keep.

But truly, she is a great cook. Her sister sometimes strongly suggests to her that one day they should have a family owned restaurant. But of course, a good business has also a price: wake up very early to prepare a ton of food for the hungry customers who come could come in any minute. I guess the only one who is so, so very dedicated can stand that kind of business; which is the bunny couldn't really afford to do, since she gets tired very easily.

Anyway, back to black pasta, she made-up the sauce, and she called it Cuttlefish Spaghetti with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Pan-Seared Scallops. Sounds delicious, isn't it? Especially for those who are seafood lovers like me since she says the black pasta has a strong, salty taste of squid. The sauce complements it by being earthy and sweet. I look forward to having a plate of this!

Another picture is a chocolate in a tin with an Art Nouveau design cover based on an Alphonse Mucha piece. And she wanted to to bring the case when she returns home, though she couldn’t promise to bring it back with the chocolate still inside. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

For the New Blog Address

Sorry folks! I just changed my blog address from kingofarkhesus to thegialloantico.
To follow the new blog, click here.

And this is the new address (just in case the link above didn't work)

And since I just don't want to leave this page without a picture, I just post an illustration of a Slavic artist I recently discovered. His name is Stasys Eidrigevicius. He had this very beautiful works in painting and in pastel. You can visit his site located in my links at the blog. Speaking of pastel, i wonder if I should revive that technique since the last time I used it when I was in grade school.

Erratum: A user commented on an error about the artist being Baltic, and not Slavic in ethnicity. Thanks, Gediminas!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lubok Prints and the House Cleaning

While exploring the world of internet, as part of research for my next illustrations,I cam pass into this type of artwork known as the Lubok.

I told you about this before when I shared to you some Lubok illustration of a Siren. They are Russian popular prints in the 17th to 18th century. At this left is a example of a 19th century hand drawn Lubokor lukbi of a demon from hell. What's interesting here is that during their time, they are the cheap type of prints made for the masses contrast during that time were the Russian icons with gold leafs and other precious stones. But of course today, they very expensive, though probably because of the oldness and historical importance.

They were created for the lower class to gave them a chance to have an artwork that could display on their houses in an inexpensive way.

I am also became interested with lubok prints with pagan and fantastic themes. example of these is in the left depicting a Baba Yaga, the one who is riding in a wild boar or a pig, arguing with a crocodile which is probably a demon.

Baba Yaga I think is sometimes depicted as a good being, though it is very rare.

Lubok has also prints depicting wars and battles, particularly in the Russo-Japaneses War during 1904 to 1905. This art just also reminded my of the Edo prints in the 19th century Japan. They also produced cheap art prints since massive printing already invented in Japan. So masses-oriented that recently, they discovered an Italian Jar covered with Edo prints.


In Wednesday at 4pm is the official end of my semester, and that is the final exam in my geology class. Though it is very unfortunate to not to attend my friends and classmates' deliberations regarding their thesis defense since i will spend my time studying for the Asian History class. and in the next month, which is April, is their graduation day! I hope I can attend there to see them in their final days in the University. Though it is also a bit sad that I do not join their celebration from the victorious triumph over the past four hardworking, time consuming years.

And during this time, Papa is clearing our small house. The shelves is full of old books and some papers of my siblings. One of these things are my old plates and some papers and clippings. In our garage there are piles and piles of books, carton boxes, papers, and other small things waiting to be sold or gave to the neighbors. Though it is a bit sad to see some of my works are now sold to the junk shop,I understand since our house is a bit small and we should have an at least monthly cleaning and throw away what is not necessary.


I just want you to know that I changed my blog address from to I just cnange it for the consistency of my name. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Of Bestiaries and Herbal Lores and Other Pictures..

I told you last time that I am currently making a bestiary for my story for the bunny. So far, I created sixty creatures, some of them have small drawings in pencil so that I can remember what might they look like. And I am also working on some mythical plants, trees, and flowers as well as their uses as medicines or herbals, or any magical functions.

During this long process, I looked up some existing bestiaries, both real and fictional. And I will tell you that some of them are really quite interesting to read.

Among them is the Aberdeen Bestiary. It is a 12th century English illuminated manuscript from Scotland. This one is interesting since you can clearly see that during these time mythical and real creatures had a very thin boundary in between, sometimes disappearing altogether. And you can see their delightful depictions of creatures.

Since I began seriously studying medieval manuscripts for the first time few years ago, I just couldn't stop exploring further the worlds they record with their ink pens and paints.

You can see the complete pages of the Aberdeen bestiary at this

Aside from ancient bestiaries from the Middle Ages, there is also contemporary one in the form of an interesting site about animals. The first post from there is about mythical animals. Their site is called Animalarium (Rima suggested it! :))

And the 19th century illustration below, if I am not mistaken, is an example of the Sirens, the fantastical bird women. They are rather distinct from another type of bird women, the Harpies, in that the Sirens are known for their beautiful features and fatal voices which are known to lure seamen to a trance as they either stop moving their ships to listen, or crash against rocks. Their legend is more prominently derived from stories of "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Odyssey." In the first story, the ship Argo is saved by one of the crew members, Orpheus, son of the Muse Calliope, who sang a song on his lyre so beautifully that it overcame the spell of the Sirens (indeed, his power of song is great enough to allow him passage in the underworld and move Hades to a tearful compliance in another story that this feat seems so easy for him and conceivable for us). In the Odyssey, the protagonist Odysseus instructs his fellows to lash him to the mast of their ship as the other stuff their ears with beeswax so that he can hear the song of the Sirens while the others manage to row their ship to safety.

It might be odd to know that the illustration here is from the 19th century but looks older, nonetheless. This type of illustration came from Russia, and is inspired by both the iconic and manuscript tradition of rendering; it is referred to as lubok (you can click the word for more information).

For more information about the post and the Animalarium blog as well, you can click here.

Another thing is about medieval herbs and planting. It is quite interesting to see how they are attended to. But of course, one of the best preserved practices in herbal medicine is observed by the Chinese, who still resort to many plants (as well as other things) to treat ailments even until today.

This is an example of a book about plants and herbs during the Middle Ages. It is the "Book of Simple Medicines" by
Matthaeus Platearius which was written around the 1480's to the 1500's. For more information about this book, you can go here.
I will use some of the facts here as part of my fictional bestiary. Though some are not useful to today's medicinal standards, it is still interesting to study these plants as if they belonged to a separate world. Perhaps that is why I like history in general because I find them as if they belonged to another place utterly distinct from the present.

The bunny said that she will finish her studies in Spain by mid-June. She gave me recently, as what I wished for the last time we talked, some pictures from there. And I think this is a cherry flower which is blooming recently there, though we are not that sure what exactly the flower is, or if it is cherry, what type of cherry blossom it is. Why we wonder is because the trees from where they came come forth with a range of pink to white blossoms; but then, they do not so much as resemble the cherry blooms from Japan, which we think is much more common or known to us.

She told me recently that for the past few weeks, the sky is still gray there and the streets are windy so she frequently has a hard time walking in the streets. Which is contrast in here, where the sun is shining brightly and the sky is still in burning blue (which I told you in my recent posts). And during her idle hours, she either studies, draws some random pictures, or indulges herself in fiction (in book or in animated form).

Another picture is her colored pencil drawing, which is still in progress, of a Harpy. The differences between Sirens and Harpies are that the latter is not known for their singing; and that they possess faces of repulsive women. They will often torment other creatures by stealing food or making general disturbances: screeching, terrorizing, and so and so. Again, their legend is known mainly from the journey of the Argonauts, who encounter the bird-women as they torment the man they seek, the prophet Phineas. Curiously, they are addressed as "the dogs of Zeus;" there is a long association with them as punishers of those that incurred divine wrath, or who are deemed as sinners (Dante Allighieri, in the Divine Comedy, describes those dead from suicide delegated to the Harpies).

And this is the finished work. A beautiful illustration of a Harpy by the Bunny.


I am also planning to earn some money this summer for my next semester. Since the services of Etsy is not available in our country, I am thinking to sell some of my works in Multiply or eBay. Well, probably I should find some part time job before I enter business, is what most of those I know say.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Living a Hermit's Life

For the past 9 months, I could be seen almost always sitting on the grass with patches of light and shadow from above, under a canopy of branches sheltering me from the sun during noon. All is silent, except for a wind passing by and the sound of cars from the distant roads. And in the afternoon, when the sun is about to set, I usually sit alone, or sometimes take a nap from the stressful, classroom hours,
in the middle of random people playing, chatting, walking, passing me by.

This is my routine at school during break time, and during my peaceful visits to this small thicket I usually work with my stories for the bunny (particularly the bestiary of mythical creatures and plants and the Annals), writing in my journal which I will give to her when she comes home from Spain, eating my lunch, and doing random doodles and sketches which sometimes convert into proper illustrations with watercolor or in my sketchpad, which I will show when they're finished.

I usually work alone, whether in the library browsing through books, or in the lagoon spending time thinking, contemplating on other things and thoughts. I sometimes see myself as a hermit, despite being among other people. Living in seclusion is not so bad, though I don’t say that it is good at all. I have sometimes have a plenty of time for exploring other things that people ignore sometimes. And they never realize their marvels and wonders.

I would like to end this post with a story I wrote for my Creative Writing class.


Walls that Divide

The house is separated by a single stone wall from another house, as that is separated from the other houses next to it. Inside, there are eight rooms. Each one could fit only a single member of the family in our house. Between them are dividers of plywood and cheap cement. There are no doors, merely a window, so that everyone could see to each other but it can only fit our faces. The rest of the body and the room are kept hidden from view.

But I prefer to shut my window. I have boarded mine up, the slats nailed to the cement with a resolute clatter.

I can only hear the mumbling sounds of their conversations behind these dividers. If I try, it becomes nothing more than termites gnawing.

I shutter my eyes to sleep to dream to leave these walls.

As they became Strangers from the Place they knew.

Footsteps without Footprints

The seashore is one of my favorite places in this world. I have been always amazed to see that deep blue stretching to the end of the world, and the sand moving to and fro by the shoreline.

My family and I went there a long time ago during our vacation to my aunt’s house by the sea. I stood at the edge of the sea, between the brown sand and the blue water, watching my feet as they skip in and out of these places.

I was caught between these two worlds. And yet I never left a trace in any of them.

I am a stranger of the tidelands. A stranger of the two worlds, despite myself living in both.

Among the myriads of people

I am a nomad, traveling endlessly amongst lands that are people. Along the sides of the road are hundreds and hundreds of faces I will never know at all. Somebody told me I have to choose among the myriads stretching over the horizon of years pulled too thinly, though I could not say if they will choose me back.

I cannot stay long. And no one stays that long.

And so I walk on.

I really don’t know where I should go, what is at the end of this road, this journey, this halfhearted persistence called existence where I meet people for a moment then leave them forever.

Why should I always leave them?

Because if you don't, they'd be the ones to leave, someone tells me.

And so I walk on.

The Tale of the Blue Girl

There was girl in blue dress who had a bunny, traveling inside the dark vaults of a library. The towering shelves and brick-thick books of moth and molder dominate the narrow hall as the young girl explored this place, heavy with paper, wood, and stone. Holding her bunny tightly, she found many things within the spaces between the shelves as she walked the corridors dimly lit by deep and narrow windows.

There, she met a ballerina dancing in the hall. They befriended each other, and the dancer became her guide. They traveled together in the library until the ballerina she met saw other ballerinas and ran away and never return.

She became upset. But she continued her journey.

At the darkest corner, where light hardly passes, through she met another girl, with white hair and dressed also in white, sitting on a pile of books on the floor while reading one about lives of famous men. The blue girl stopped by, and decided to read along with her. They explored the books further, reading them from the shelves of stories of whispers of worlds outside theirs which they never would even see, and leaving them on the floor. They began to know each other quite well, and were happy to be together. But, soon enough, from the other side of the shelves, a group of young girls with white hair and white dresses passed by. The white haired girl decided to leave the blue girl to come to join the other white haired girls.

The blue girl became upset for the second time. She cried, rand and hid back again in the darkest corner, her bunny clutched to her, and the books they read together at her feet, and decided not to continue the journey anymore.

Someone spoke to her. It was a boy on a horse. He asked her what was the matter, but she did not answer.

He came from a long way, from the far end, he told her, and asked if he could sit with her. When still, she did not answer, he sat down.

She began to cry harder. Pity, she said. Pity that he'd leave as well.

He held her hand, asking her to stop her tears. But she would not.

His hands were warm from those of others. Oh, he would leave, like he left them, and they left her.

He held her face. No more. He was tired, and did not wish to do that anymore.

The blue girl beheld for the first time and saw he too had wept.

I will never leave you, he promised.

No one has ever said to her that before.

She smiled, took the boy’s hand, and began to ride with him across those halls. Nothing had changed: the corridors were still shadowed, the pages crumbled on, and the sound of distant laughter walked those paths like ghosts, and they still knew not where the end was.

Nothing had changed except for one.

With that, they rode on.



The road seems very long, but I know, and I believe, an end of it awaits me.

But then I realize, I have already come to the other side of the sea, on a shore where I can see my footprints left behind.

I am happy. I am home.