Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Nearly Year Ender Post

Before the advent of the new year, I just wanted to show you some of my works and some of our adventures for the past 12 months. First, I wanted to show to you a poem in Tagalog language (our native tongue) which I read last February for a painting.

 Sino Ako? 
 By Eugene Evasco

Ibang-iba ang ang aking "ako."
Ako'y ako-
panganay na anak,
kauna-unahang apo,
kaibig-ibig na pamangkin,
makulit na pinsan,
at sabi ni Ma'am,
"ikaw ang aking paborito!"
Minsan, ako'y ako--ang lider sa takbuha't taguan,
ang may-alaga ng mga pusang-ligaw,

ang kaibigan ng mga tutubi't tipaklong,
at ang batay ng aming tagong paraiso
doon sa likod-bahay.
Lagi, nahihilo ako
sa pagkakaroon ng maraming "ako."
Nais ko lamang maging akong-ako:
nasa lilim ng isang puno,
kalaro ang sari-saring libro,
kaibigan ang samu't saring kuwento.

And this is a paining based on Eugene Evasco's poem Sino Ako? (Who am I?). Done in acrylic on watercolor paper. Although it took me relatively shorter than my usual painting  in terms of executing, creating its composition took me a long time.
But first let me translate for you (as accurate as possible) the poem since I have no right to literally translate them word per word. It is about a unique boy who thinks who he really is. He thinks himself a a teacher's pet, the first (and favorite) grandson, care taker of cats and dogs, and many more. but he is still confused who he really is. But he realized he just wanted to read some books and explore the stories (which he considers his friend) he read under a tree. And that makes him himself.


As you know, I just can't figure it out automatically the placing of the characters, the smoothness of the narrative, and the type of style to please the people since it's my application for one of the honored art organization in the Philippines.

With the help of the Bunny's advise to use a 0.1 chinese brush and a 0.0 sable brush, I managed to detail the smaller figures such as the cats and the facial expressions of the people, which also consumed most of my execution.

And there you go! Another new painting after a very very long time of corporate work. More post to come this coming year!

You can also visit this painting in my Behance portfolio site here!


My lovely girl, The Bunny, went to their boss' house to decorate it for the Halloween. He is a well-known attorney in our country and his father used to travel around the world collecting curious things his eyes caught on. and their house is filled with antique and odd things! From Pre-colonial artifacts and artworks to vintage cars and masks from different cultures.

What the bunny struct most is this antique chair from the province of Leyte in the Philippines. and not just an old chair but supposedly a royal chair where probably the Sultans of old used to sit on it.

What I like about them is the armchairs. It depicts and old man and a lady holding something. In our educated guess, the statues were copied by a Filipino native from a Spanish colonial statues and adopt them in their own folk stories, which were relatively common during that time they called now as Folk Christianity. 

The lady on the left armchair was holding some kind of decorated veil. We think it was a copy from St. Veronica and her veil which reveals the miraculous face of Christ.

St. Veronica with her Holy Kerchief , attributed to Robert Campin

There is another chair beside it! What it seems to be its twin chair, probably made for the Sultan's wife or his heir we are not sure. What we do know is the figures are different from the other chair. It depicts two men. one is probably a native and the other one is a foreigner, as seen in his western clothing. But the "foreigner", although he wears western clothing, is still bare naked, suggesting that he might be also a native in foreign clothing, or a mestizo

But another piece that really caught our attention. A mask! A folk healing or medicine mask from Sri Lanka.

We have no idea how to wear this mask, or how heavy it is due to its richly ornate wood carving. but probably it is made of light wood so that the wearer could easily carry it on his or her head. I saw a website that might help to bring more light about this piece since I am also intrigued by it.

But sadly, the younger generations didn't care about this precious things. they probably don't know the historical and cultural importance. The Bunny saw some of this priceless pieces as towel holders, that they used to hold the towels from their swimming pool.

We also had time to walk to our lovely school again, where the sun is bright and the December wind passes through the trees.

And lastly, a sneak peak of  a personal painting, done in acrylic on wood. I will show it to you next year tell you a story about it. Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two Paintings

Ibrahim offered his son to God as his sacrifice after He told him so.

And later on the Angel Gabriel went to the scene and told Ibrahim or Abraham in Christian versions, that it was only God's test of loyalty.

And instead they offered a lamb (in some versions, a sheep or a ram). 


The Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions share a common patriarch: Abraham or Ibrahim. In similar anecdotes, they tell the story of his devotion to his faith that will serve as an example to later generations.

The anecdotes begin in the same manner: God bids Abraham / Ibrahim to go to the mountains to sacrifice his only son to Him. With a heavy heart, Abraham/Ibrahim leads Isaac (in the Judeo-Christian take) or Ishmael (in the Islamic story) to the sacrificial altar, but--having proven the man's exceptional devotion--God sends an angel to intervene. The boy is released, and a sheep (or lamb or ram) is found nearby and is sacrificed in thanksgiving.

Last October, I was tasked to make a small illustration for Manila Bulletin, a local newspaper, in celebration of the Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. It is a sacred day for our Muslim brothers and sisters, based on Ibrahim's story above. It was rather challenging to paint this because I had to do justice to this sacred theme the best I could given my Catholic background, and also because I wanted to make the painting relevant not only in an Islamic sense, but also to other people.

At first I had a vague idea of the theme and its rituals. So, I decided to focus on the origins of this day rather than on the traditions, so that a reader can remember where it all began--a lot of Filipinos are familiar with the parallel Abraham story because the majority are Catholics. I also used this painting to try emulating the techniques of a favorite artist of mine, Jan van Eyck. As you might know from my previous posts, I usually try to adapt a technique or two from my favorite artists for inspiration. Exploring their handling of subject or material sometimes helps develop my output.

I drew some sketches of the composition, along with some of the smaller details (which I'll show it to you if I had courage enough to do so!)

Here are some images of Jan van Eyck's work, which I got from this very useful website called
Closer to Van Eyck: Rediscovering the Ghent Altarpiece
, which features that masterpiece by the brothers Jan and Hubert van Eyck. Whenever I look at these pictures very carefully, the amount and skill in every detail really takes my breath away.

What I really like about his style is his absolute mastery of the details, and in my opinion, he is amongst the pioneers of hyperrealism. Although I don't particularly aim for his degree of hyperrealism, as it is really quite above my present skills, I want to learn how he handles details and colors. I still have so many techniques to learn even after graduating from art school.

I tried to make my painting as accessible as possible for the three religions that shares Abraham as a patriarch, but there is a hint of old Moorish ornamentation. I wonder if you can see the nod to the many religions that sprouted from him in the bush below.


The second painting! One will be on display on December 8th, in a show called "Fornever Friends: An Exhibit of Unlikely Friendships," organized by Ang INK (Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, or Illustrators for Children). It's one of my first experiments with painting on wood, done with acrylics. This was also inspired by Jan van Eyck, since I'm pretty obsessed with him at the moment. It's a small work, at 7 x 10 inches, so I had to pay a lot of attention to the small details.

The theme was about opposite characters or subjects striking up odd friendships. For that, I chose a devil and an angel dancing together, holding hands. They're surrounded by other little demons, perhaps wanting to join the dance, or just plain curious about this odd couple.

This would be my second non-academic exhibit.

Here's the poster designed by one of my colleagues. 


We also had the chance to visit our College school, which happens to be the venue of our exhibit. How we really miss this place.

You could also visit my work here on Behance! I am still wondering how to sell some of those works.