Sunday, May 27, 2012

sneaking away

I only have less than 72 hours to complete my report which is due for presentation next week. I only have the title slide and the research background slide finished. Nothing yet on the actual findings of the research except for scribbles and notes and diagram sketches.

But today I am taking 8 hours to attend a digital photography workshop that I have signed up for a few weeks ago, right about the same time I signed up for the watercolor workshop. Yes, this month is turning out to be a learn-a-new-thing month. Well, the fortune-teller in Hong Kong told me last year that this month will be my month of fortune, so maybe these new things will be the means to that fortune! Hahaha! I wish!

So this workshop should teach me more about taking better photos and I especially want to understand lighting. It's the same thing I want to understand in watercolor painting and my brain seems to be having a twisted time trying to grasp the technical aspects of it. I also want to be able to create moods without having to tinker too much with photo editing software.

I should get this camera working harder after today. Well, after my report presentation at least. I believe I will have to pull an all-nighter or two to catch up with the report analysis and writing. That's always the hardest part-- translating all the ideas into something concrete and understandable and usable. It's true for life matters not just report-writing.

I'll be signing out now. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

working hard

I miss all my routines. Everything has been put on hold (as usual) as I work hard for a report presentation next week.

I miss practicing my knitting and my watercolor and my art journals. I miss my books. I miss baking cookies.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

art journal progress

One of my Life List goals is to go back to my art journalling - basically it meant writing and making collage art in my journal almost every day. I used to do it when I was still going to school but when I finished college and found a job, most of my creative activities were slowly shelved.

I have managed to get back slowly into writing journals (by this I mean pen and paper) but it was only yesterday that I stumbled into the perfect groove of turning it into an important part of my day. The key idea was putting everything together. I realized that I have scattered too many pieces of my selves across different files (on paper and online and in computer files) and it has become very difficult for me to trace myself. So I decided to gather all these pieces of me and pour them all in a single journal -- all thoughts, morning pages, ideas, random notes, quotations, and even lists. I realized that in my effort to "organize", I overdid it and oversplit my life into too many categories thereby rendering the whole quite incomprehensible and without pattern nor easily discernible meaning.

So when I sat down to pull my selves back together, the themes in my mind and my heart were cohesion, wholeness, integration, unity, harmony. As I pooled many bits of myself together I started to feel energy pooling as well. Energy that I can use to fuel more creativity.

And as I write this I also realize that this is yet another part of my distillation process -- of keeping only what is essential in my life and trimming away all that do not contribute to my learning and growth.

Have a fruitful weekend!

Monday, May 14, 2012

snapshots of a day

I made myself clean up the mess that usually creeps in whenever I'm in the middle of a work.project. I really look forward to the days when the rest of my life will not have to take a pause every time there is work. Work should not be eating up my days like langoliers. In any case, I realize that I really love the colors of my home.
The sky was interesting again today, with great gray rainclouds threatening the sunny clouds. By late afternoon it had begun to rain.
My attempts at practicing watercolor. So that's an hour less from the 10,000 required for mastery.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

wielding a brush instead of a sword

Today I went to a watercolor workshop instead of kendo practice.

I discovered the workshop through a Facebook post by my bookseller friend last March. I wanted to join it then but my schedules were unpredictable. Then to my delight, another set of workshops were offered in April and I had signed up immediately. But at the last minute I had to back out because of work schedules. I thought that was it. No painting for me.

Then the workshop instructor, Valerie Chua, emailed me to let me know that there will be one last session this month. Well, that was it, it was then or never! And it must be really meant because third time's the charm, so they say. I also remembered that inspiring line that says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
I have to admit I was actually nervous and apprehensive on my way to class. I never had any form of training on any art. I was relying purely on my genetic skills and hoping fervently that my grandfather's artistic blood would weave magic through my hand.

The workshop was simple and straightforward and that's what made it so effective and useful for me. At the same time there was warmth and good camaraderie in the studio, even though according to Valerie we were a pretty quiet class -- a roomful of introverts most likely, as we all spoke in soft hushed voices and giggled to ourselves at the perceived disasters on our paper.

It took four hours but no time was wasted. I especially loved watching my own attempts at still life progress from a sketch to something that at least looks a bit like what it's supposed to be.

I enjoyed mixing colors and trying to capture the same shade as the image source.
I finally understand how those shadowy colors (called undertones) are made.
It's hard not to be messy at some point.
Finished work, with a few very instructive finishing touches from the teacher.
It was said that only practice, lots of it, will really help us get better and improve. I guess it is also the best way for us to learn tricks for ourselves and to develop our own styles. Valerie said that it has been mentioned somewhere that you need 10,000 hours of practice if you really want to be good at something. She advised us to paint every day. Pretty much like what Julia Cameron says in her books about writing everyday. Practice is the key. And I would add something else to that, practice fueled by passion. That is the best combination I believe.

I came out of that workshop feeling happy and optimistic. It was a different kind of high, and a different kind of victory. As I took this creative step the path before me has become brighter with possibilities and promise. I certainly want to explore more...

looks like rain

The sky caught my attention on this late Saturday afternoon as I doggedly prepared for a full-day work session tomorrow.

Yes I owe you stories from the beach but let me sort through more than a couple hundred of photos. Oh, and I need to also get some urgent work done until mid next week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

seven days on an island

I'll be off in a few minutes to the airport. Will be spending the next seven days on an island. I'm attending a friend's beach wedding and then extending it to a much-needed and much-wanted vacation. There's some work tucked in my backpack but I promise that they will not be the master of this trip. I just don't want to pay the price when I get back home of scrambling to catch up.

Meanwhile I'm all dressed up and packed up. Just waiting for the banks to open so I can do just one more errand before I shut down my city life for a whole week. Bills to pay and all that.

I think there's wifi where I will be staying so I might be able to do some blogging while I'm there. Would certainly love to be able to post the lovely view from my window.