Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love Day 2017


This painting was painted as per request from my (grand) niece/god daughter when I gave her my Christmas card back in December. I initially wanted to give it to her on her Birthday as an art print but unfortunately the all print shops near my workplace decided to close early on the Eve of CNY (of course, DUH!) so I told her that I will only give it to her when I am back next time :) I thought this painting is so apt for Valentine's Day as well.  Killing two birds with one stone lol. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY everyone! I'm thinking of re-watching some old chick flick movies tonight and I think I'm gonna choose to watch either You've Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle? Or should I just continue watching k-drama? Currently watching Goblin and lovin' it so far. Ahjussi men somehow attracts me more 😂

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Lunar New Year 2017


Please excuse my absence in this blog because as soon as I am back from the Christmas holidays, I started work and the new semester also started as well. Got busy, adjusting with the new semester and all, then it is already Chinese New Year. So here I am again, back in my hometown for the CNY holidays. Initially I didn't want to be home since I was just home in December but alas, I decided it would be much better to spend my CNY holidays here in KK. Haven't been doing anything productive for the past few days, except for meeting up with my cousins, had a CNY dinner at my aunt's place and also had a mini road-trip with my girlfriends to Kokol Haven yesterday. The only productive thing that I felt I've done was today, when I met up with one of my oldest friend Aaron, to discuss about a freelance design job that I am helping out to do. I knew Aaron since primary school and we also were in the same secondary school so we've been friends for over 20 years. Anyway, had a really good catching up with him and hopefully I will be able to hang out with him again when I am back. This freelance job that I am partaking is very interesting but also quite a challenge as well but I told myself this year will be about taking every opportunities that I am offered without feeling afraid. Yeah...hopefully I can continue to do this.

Things at home still hasn't changed much, I think my boiling points here are more extreme than when I am in the Peninsula. You tend to get blamed over things that is not even your fault but...you can't do much about it but to just try to channel your 'zen' mode. Anyway, not gonna talk about this here, it'll just ruin the CNY mood LOL. I'm here to just pop by and wish everyone a Happy Lunar/Chinese New Year, may the year of fire rooster brings you more blessings, health, wealth and a prosperous year. May we can overcome all the challenges under God's faith and blessing as well. There are a couple of things that I wanna achieve this year, one of the important highlight would be to make my UK trip happen...die die also must go! Hahaha...as if the economy is now in good hands right? Well, have faith and continue to pray. AMEN.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Finding Joy (Belated Christmas Day Post)

Handmade Christmas card received from Ivan Ho.
Today is the Feast Of The Epiphany, which also marks the end of Christmas. The gospel today is also an interesting one, talking about the quest of Magi where they are on a journey to follow the one and only star, which is the Messiah. You know, I used to not like singing 'We Three Kings' during caroling because I personally find the song quite sorrowful since it's slow and a little bit down haha. But now, I actually liked it a lot and reading the lyrics made me understand so much better about the three wise men and their longing/quest in following that particular star after all these years hahaha. Pope Francis explained it so well on how the Magi represent people like you and me, people who are lost, broken and is out there seeking God. Pope stated that, “Don’t give Jesus only your “spare time” or “some thought occasionally, like the Magi, let us set out, clothing ourselves in light, following the star of Jesus, adoring the Lord with our whole selves.” Couldn't agree more :)

Anyway, I was planning to post something on Christmas day but, I was too caught up with helping out with the wedding stuff when I was back in KK and I just didn't had the time to just sit and write down a proper post. So I guess today will be the day I'm doing it since it's back to reality for me already pffft. I know I do get excited on being able to be home to celebrate Christmas with my family and friends but, I gotta be honest and I know I've blogged about this before in year 2013 & 2014 about finding the joy of Christmas, but the thing is...it is still so hard to find that 'joy' looking at my situation. One of the most important things in finding the joy for Christmas is when you are able to celebrate it with your family, together as a whole unified team. I have not felt like that for many years now and the sad thing is, I always need to find 'joy' out from my very own family. I mean, yes I do love celebrating Christmas with my cousins and best friends but it's a totally different feeling when you can celebrate it with with your own parents and siblings. That particular 'joy' is in my honest opinion, has already long gone. I think I was already holding down my tears the minute my parents came to fetch me at the airport on Christmas Eve. Our family car was in a mess, there was no effort to even make the house look Christmas-y and basically looking at my house situation, I might think it is slowly on the verge of collapsing, I'm not even kidding. I wasn't very happy about it and I was actually quite angry at that time, but the minute my mom said that she has to literally do almost everything by herself, my heart broke into a million pieces.  Not to sound like I'm exaggerating but oh man, I was asking God why am I feeling like this when I am about the to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year?

Longing for that kind of 'joy', I am not even sure when will I get to experience it again. I talked about this to my cousin Merl on Christmas Day, while we were busy hunting for wedding stuff. I guess she and her siblings are probably having a harder time than me because they've lost both their parents and it's definitely hard for them not to think about their parents during Christmas. But what we agreed upon was that, we just have to find joy from each other and I think we are just going to continue doing that in years to come. During the Christmas Eve mass, I was very surprised when the priest said that it was hard for him to feel the joy of Christmas even when the choir was singing the opening hymn about glorifying God to the highest. I was like, "Father, you don't feel the joy too?" But I think it was because of the pressure and stress that he must've felt since he had made a promise to the parishioners that the air conditioner for the Church was supposed to be installed few months back but it wasn't ready yet till now. Well, I don't blame him as I know that he's been doing a lot of things for the Church and also he had to take care of his health, which is more important. But being a good priest he is, even if he personally said that he did not felt the 'joy', he still managed to deliver a good homily that evening stating that Jesus was born for a reason and we should open our hearts and give him a chance to be inside because through him, is where we are able to find the 'joy' that we are looking for. Let Him work within our hearts, all we have to do is never lose faith in Him.

I think that's why Advent is such an important time to give us the time to not only reflect and reconcile but to me, it was like a challenge in finding the faith, hope, joy and peace in what we do, the people we are with as well as our surroundings. Maybe it is difficult for me to find that particular 'joy' that I wanted during Christmas, but I have to always remind myself to constantly be thankful that I am after all still with my family. I can pray for the 'hope' that one day, I will eventually feel the 'joy' of Christmas again. All I need is to continue to have 'faith' in Christ, always be patient in His timing and eventually learn to have 'peace' in my mind and also towards my own family. The true joy will come, in His time. I pray that God will not give up on my family, just yet. I hope you did had a wonderful and Blessed Christmas. Let's look forward to continue our journey to walk along the way of God's mercy and tenderness, as stated by Pope Francis :)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Behind the scene of the 2016 Christmas cards



To be really honest, when I was done with the design of my Christmas cards, I was feeling a little bit down and all the negative/over-thinking stuff hits hard on me again. I think one of the main reasons was because of peer pressure that was around me and it clearly led to me thinking I am still not good enough no matter how much I've tried *sigh* Seriously, I might think I am bound with this problem for life and I just don't know how to get over it. I know how 'commercial' looking can my artworks be and obviously my precious little penguins won't win the hearts of Catholics because, to the eyes of the Catholics, Pope Francis is numero uno haha. But it's okay, as long as I have fulfilled my main 'objective', which is to spread joy and holiday cheer to my friends, then I am all good. Always remember to do it all for the glory of God. 🙏  Well, that's easier to say than done but...I'll try.

Anyway,  this is already my 4th year doing this 'Christmas project' and although I've blogged about this Christmas project and posted photos of my WIP before, I never really got into the details on it. So I thought I'd do it this year and bring you the behind the scene or the making of this year's Christmas card. Fyi, I don't claim that I am the best in what I do and I know that some of my students could do better anyway haha...but again, as a self reminder: Do it for the glory of God 😁😁😁  I think there are still people who get the misconceptions of designer/artist and they would probably think that all we do is just draw and design...what's so hard about it right? Well, for a person who have studied in this field, we do put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into producing a good artwork plus, the time and effort that we dedicate into out work is very valuable to us. This is why we can't always give 'special discount' or 'friend's price' especially to our own friends whenever they needed help in doing design stuff. I mean, unless you don't mind a shitty design then I guess it is okay?  For my case, it's an exception because it's Christmas season and it is also a time for giving so here I am doing an one woman army job, from painting to printing and all the way to sending out the Christmas cards. So here goes~

1. Sketch out your ideas
Always start with sketches to generate your ideas. Even though we are living in the era of modern technology where Google and Pinterest are always available for us to look for ideas, I still love doing the old-skool way, which is to sketch. This method has been instilled to me way back in my college days and have been continuing to do this even when I am studying my MA. Sketch as many ideas that you have, although in the example b example below doesn't seem to have much lol. Mind you, these sketches were done while my students were doing their assignment in the computer lab and I had extra time to spare :) The ones with the Christmas carol lyrics was also part of the plan but alas it didn't made the cut 'cos it might take a longer time to finish it since I am still in the learning process of watercolour lettering so...I'll save it for next year.




2. Execute your idea
The next step is of course to do the execution once you've confirmed with your idea. Actually, this year's Christmas card is similar to the owl and cat illustrations that I've done previously...but the reason being was because I wanted to make it into a series so I can sell it as a set next time. This second step is actually my favourite part because I get to paint! Sometimes I get worries that I might screw up my painting and had to redo everything all over again, but these things is inevitable during the process so the key is to try and be careful while you paint especially if you're left-handed! So, being a certified night owl, I normally would start painting at night till...late. The earliest would probably be around 10pm and the latest is at midnight. I know it is not a great lifestyle to practice at my age, but I dunno...it's like I am very immune to start my work late at night because I felt it is easier for me to focus. Maybe it's also because it is more quiet during this hour, hence I can put my heart and soul into my work (okay, this is not exactly true haha 😂 ) What's the ideal time for me to stop and go to bed? Well, it really depends...but I try not to go overboard so it's usually around 2-3am. The next day will be hell at work due to the lack of sleep again but like I've said, I'm so immune to this so it is already a norm to me.




The raw and unedited outcome, before it is transferred to Photoshop

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The low key Birthday


I've mentioned about this on my last birthday post that, the more older you get, Birthdays would just feel like any other ordinary day and this year, I am experiencing the same thing as well. Maybe it is also because I don't exactly fancy big celebration and also the fact that non of my family members are even here to celebrate it with me so...it totally turned out to be just another ordinary day. When it becomes ordinary, you can't really expect much...maybe the one person that you thought or want to get a Birthday wish from probably won't even remember it was your day and...you just have to be okay with that and move on. Once again, I'm taking this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone for their wishes...a lot comes from social media because that's how we live these days haha. I'm grateful to have friends who genuinely loves to host people coming to their house to have a feast, I am grateful for my BFF who calls me every year to personally wish me and updating each other with the Korean drama that we are currently watching (this year, it is Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo), also I am very grateful to receive a call from my dad because he never calls me at all! And to know that he actually remembers my birthday surprised me a lot 😭

I am also going to be forever grateful to share the same birthday as the blessed Holy Father, Pope Francis because although he is THE POPE, he also celebrated his birthday in a  low-key style, without any grand or big celebration but instead, he chose to have breakfast with the homeless people in Vatican. His true humility shows how important it is think about the others and to give whenever we can even if it is a day to celebrate our birthday. We always hear people say "Another year older, another year wiser." As cliche as it sounds. I do hope that I can practice to be more wiser too in a lot of aspects in my life. The more wisdom that we can get, tho more fruitful our life can be. Pope Francis mentioned this during his birthday. "Old age sounds ugly, and cause fear. But old age yearns for wisdom." So in turning 32 years old this year, I pray that I will continue to learn and have more wisdom and also to constantly look/spread joy in whatever I do or wherever I am. Thank you and God bless everyone.

"Old age is quiet and religious, but also fruitful. Pray that mine will be that way, quiet and religious, fruitful and also joyous." 
 ⎯ Pope Francis