Last Saturday a lot of people were downcast and angry from the sneaky Marcos burial, but I’m thankful I still got to end the day in delight. Saw the Nutcracker ballet for the first time (happy music and smiling dancers–sure to uplift!), and went to a live nude drawing/painting session that lasted til 11pm…the kind of geeky thing that makes me super happy!
I painted over 10 works, in full appreciation of the human body. This is a great hangover from reading Big Magic earlier this week, which really brought me back to making delight a part of my daily life. I think it is possible to fully engage the difficult (ie climate change, politics, economic strife, uncertainty), and yet find joy in the everyday. It is not self-serving escapism when seeking joy is done consciously, and it can even be considered a radical response or protest to the difficult.
In college I came across an interview with Pope John Paul II which asked him how he remained joyful amidst so much suffering and hate in this world. He said that the worst has already happened–we killed God–and yet something beautiful came out of it–we were saved.
Even if you frame that in different words, the message is the same. Joy and delight are powerful ways to actually engage fear and helplessness. We don’t forget or cast aside the difficult, but we go to battle, all in, and with an armor built from within.
Nude drawings and paintings from this session are available for purchase.
Here’s a slideshow of the rest of my loot (click on the arrows to view next):
Here’s my friend, Billy, holding a #wip portrait I did of him after we hiked the Taal volcano in Talisay, Batangas last month. Known as the world’s smallest volcano, it is actually a crater within a crater, with many other volcanoes next to it inside this big lake. Been wanting to do the hike for ages, so I was thankful to have an outdoorsy visitor agree to join me.???? Needed more time to work on the features of his face, but I really miss working outdoors like this! How’s your Saturday coming along?#outdoor #portrait #acrylic #painting #pleinair #wip #taal #volcano #lake #taalyachtclub #boat
Behind the scenes pics of that hike:
Finally hiked the Taal volcano and even got to boil an egg on the shore of the lake! The Philippines has so many hidden gems like this– so thankful to be living here.
#taal #volcano #crater #hike #egg
Will be posting a series of drawings for sale, starting with this sunset sketch of Nagtabon Beach, Palawan.
Colored charcoal on Paper
For sale at Php500.
Other drawings and sketches also available to buy.
#sea #beach #palawan #nagtabon #sunset #drawing
We braved the midday heat to explore temple ruins at the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Happy I managed to sneak in a quick 30-minute sketch!
#pleinair #painting #temple #ruins #ayutthaya #thailand
Final work after finishing touches at the studio:
Acrylic on canvas
#pleinair #acrylic #painting #temple #ruins #ayutthaya #thailand
I love the sea and rivers and anything with water, and was smiling from ear to ear when I was in Thailand and had easy access to them.
Sharing snaps and paintings/sketches from the trip below:
Happy to spend my last day in Thailand ferrying on the Chao Phraya River. As someone who loves boats and anything with water, it’s a shame that it took me 4 visits before I really gave this city a chance to amaze me.
#bangkok #riverside #ferry #thailand
Walked to the river on the other side of Chiangmai town this morning and got to sit and paint, so happy!
#acrylic #pleinair #painting #river
By the Mae Ping River
Acrylic on canvas
#pleinair #acrylic #painting #river #mountain #chiangmai
Chanced upon this lovely restaurant with a fantastic view of the river. Wow. I could sit here all day.
I sat mesmerized by this tree and took out my pen to draw. Tried using canvas as ground instead of paper. Was so therapeutic to do this. Thank you, tree.
#pen #drawing #tree
The yummiest mango sticky rice I’ve ever had…also because I made it! Spent the day learning to cook Thai dishes at an organic farm and was pleasantly surprised that curry and pad thai aren’t so difficult to make. I continue to be amazed at the level of organization the Thai have in showcasing their culture. We have so much to learn from them.
#mango #rice #cooking #thailand
I’m in Chiangmai to feel out the co-working spaces here and CAMP in the Nimman district (hipster side of town) just blew me away.
Open 24-7, serving all sorts of drinks and snacks, and set up to invite you to vegetate and spend hours and hours here.
Sockets are everywhere, there is indoor table/floor seating (with pillows!) and outdoor options too.
With a purchase of 50 baht you get a WiFi username and password for 2 hours.
Wow. Talk about a space living up to its name: Creative and Meeting Place!
Found my painting spot, yay! Thank you, CAMP. Amazing mountain and city view.
#mountains #chiangmai #sunset
Acrylic on canvas
July 18, 2016
#acrylic #pleinair #painting #chiangmai
Was hoping to finally find a good painting spot (scenic, quiet, with space to sit and stay put for a good while) in the mountain temple grounds today, but didn’t expect Doi Suthep to be swarming with tourists. Also felt wrong to bring out my gear in a temple, so I did what I thought was proper: sit still. I bought a book on Buddhism from a souvenir shop and after reading it, felt more ready to do a quick sketch.
#pen #drawing #sketch #trees #balcony #doisuthep #chiangmai #thailand
Finally settling in here in Chiang Mai. Love the area inside the old city with cobblestone streets and quaint shops and restos. Great for wandering around, even with the occasional drizzle. Happy there’s so much green everywhere! Seems the Thai aesthetic uses a lot of gardens to bring in the outdoors.
This morning I woke up to marching band music and saw a school parade happening along the moat on the perimeter of the old city. It lasted a good 15 minutes! The music reminded me of the funeral parade in Kurosawa’s Dreams. Great start to the weekend.
People here hire motorbikes for transport but I’ve been going around in the local red trucks equivalent to the PH jeepney, which lets one scale the city perimeter (2 sqkm on each side) while enjoying a good breeze.
It’s easy to get templed out in Thailand but this hilltop Wat on Doi Suthep had something that made me linger and find a dose of quiet amidst the crowd. I went up a little after noon and took a moment exploring the temple grounds before entering the main site, where a golden structure was built to house ancient relics. The king, in meditation, asked for guidance on where to build the temple. He then rode an elephant which circled this spot three times. Maybe those people walking around the structure do so to commemorate this in prayer. #doisuthep #temple #chiangmai #thailand
The prettiest Buddha I have seen. It had a throng of people offering candles and flowers before it.
#buddha #doisuthep #temple #chiangmai #thailand
Got up close and personal with this gentle baby elephant yesterday. Definitely a trip highlight. Signs of a happy elephant: flapping ears, side-to-side swaying, and swinging tail. A baby elephant eats 1000kg of fruits, leaves, and basically anything in the jungle everyday!#chiangmai #elephant
Love this! Pretty wood from fallen trees ready to be used in the community garden at Dominican Hill, Baguio City.
#greens #baguio #garden
One last hurrah before heading home! Baguio weather and views are so conducive to puttering and sitting by balconies. #sketch #mountains #baguio
Pen on paper
July 4, 2016
Quick sketch over coffee yesterday. Haven’t picked up the pen to sketch in years and it was great to revisit the straightforwardness of lines and black on white. Those mountains were such a crisp and pretty blue, though!
#arcasyard #mountains #pen #ink #drawing #sketch
Nature hangover from the weekend. Did you know that pine trees have a 60-year life span?
#baguio #arcasyard #greens #blue #mountains #clouds #sky