Friday, 29 May 2020

Keep Working




The latest post I read by Steven Pressfield said you should Keep Working because even if what you make doesn't make it to whatever it's supposed to make it to, it makes you what you are. >> Wow, okay that's vague, lol.

In my case, to reword what the gentleman said, I should keep painting (and drawing) because even if what I make doesn't make it to a show or get sold or whatever, it's what makes me an artist. 

So here are a couple of things I've worked on recently that didn't make it ^o^;

The first is an ink drawing that I sent to a museum that (if I remember it right) was asking for things to post on their Instagram account ~ I picked one of their three themes and (if I remember it right, again) drew a kid seeing the Spoliarium for the first time. I was thinking about how the humongous painting would look a gazillion times larger to a small kid, and how big of an impression it would make on her ~ the kind that stays with you even after you grow up, and it's things like that that make museums so important (cos if you really think about it, museums are for kids ~ to save things for them for when they grow up, so they can pass em on to their kids someday). 

Anyway the museum didn't take it ^o^; But I'm glad I did it because it allowed me to play around a little more with the pens I'd already been playing around with at the time. 

And then there's the painting I made for what I was told would be the last ever Kristo. If you scroll through this jillablog (not the jillablog) you'll see I've been privileged to be able to participate in a few Kristo shows ~ not every piece I made for them was a magnum opus; as someone who paints monsters you'll understand how it was something of a challenge for me to make something that was on theme but still true to me, you know what I mean?

I was awed by having been asked, and saddened to hear that this would be the last show in what I regard as a very important series at a time when more and more people are turning away from God. I really super wanted to make something *nice* ~ and I'm afraid this was the best I could come up with at the time. I really, truly struggled with this (and I bet it shows) ~ the theme was "It is finished"; where I go to church they say it in Latin as "Consummatum est" (It is consummated) so that's what I ended up calling it. 

It's meant to be a group of angels telling the story of the Passion to a small kid, and I was thinking of making the kid look super bored cos kids these days, they don't really appreciate, as much... I mean, as the generations pass, you know? (And in my old age I flatter myself thinking I belong to those recent generations of less appreciative x ungrateful kids.) ~ But in the end I couldn't bring myself to do it. 

The sad thing is it was only when I was nearly done with it that I thought of something else I could've done for this show (and it was something I really, really, really wanted to do for the longest time, too) ~ but oh well, this was more in keeping with the theme, I felt, anyway. And I'd already completed this piece late ~ good thing they kept moving the deadline because of "the current situation", because of which, last I heard, chances are they may never hold this show at all, anymore, at least, not until the tail end of this year, by which time all the other things they had lined up will have accumulated and such... 

Be that as it may I did what I could with it and I like to think I did my best, although deep down I know I could've done better. And now for sure I'll never get another Kristo to try again.

But again, I'm glad I did it because well, it's like Annlaw Clay-Shaper told Taran Wanderer~ the more you draw out the more remains, you know? And I'm grateful to God for giving me all these opportunities to *draw out* and *keep working* ^_^*


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Three Morses






It's so nice to be inky-fingers, again!

I finally got to use my new pens (or well one of them, technically) and nibs and this new bottle of ink I got for Christmas (or well I got to practise with it, anyway) over the past couple of days. When someone at art class shared this online exhibit they were having at a Museum in the States, and that exhibit was printing submissions in black and white, the opportunity presented itself.

The theme was 'art in isolation' (owing to current events) and it said your work had to show how you were dealing (or not dealing) with what's going on. So these are actually self portraits ^o^ And I used one nib per work ~ I just don't have the patience to switch nibs (or ink, meow ~ I semi planned to?) while I was working. In any case I enjoyed myself immensely making these, even if I did re-do the second one ^^; 

I just love the immediacy of making ink drawings (versus the time and the prep involved in painting) ~ no pencils, no worries, just inky fingers, you know? And the 'scritch-scritch' of the nibs on the paper (or maybe it shouldn't be 'scritching', lol). I'm pretty much self-taught when it comes to ink drawing, although I do remember we had to use dip pens at art school for a plate or two (I'm pretty sure we didn't have like a whole class for it, specially). Drawing with a dip pen was something I'd always wanted to do, and then I did it, and then I knew I always wanted to do it again.

So here I have ~and even if that museum doesn't take my work, I'm very glad I made these (and that I was finally able to make friends with that square tip nib ^^). I hope that someday I can have another ink show, and that I'll get better at it. I mean I know, I know, and, I know, but there's no harm in hoping ^^;




Thursday, 5 March 2020

Four Tiny Horses







I honestly don't know why I have this idee fixe on horseys. I don't ride, I certainly don't own one, I don't watch races (except to get a kick out of what they name them) or show jumping or whatever. But I can't stop drawing and painting them, even if I no longer have any real occasion to doodle them in the backs of my notebooks during class. They're not even anatomically correct, and have snouts more like... hounds, I suppose (lol). 

But I love them just the same (especially when they have single horns), and even in the middle of working on a (regrettably blank as yet) canvas due in a few weeks which I know will pass all too quickly, I went and whipped up these four tiny horses as tiny thank you presents for four of my Instagram fans (it was the least I could do, and anyway, working on these was my absolute pleasure). Making them made me very, very happy, and I was loathe to part with them when the time came. 

But seeing the new owner of the purple horsey hold it and say 'Thank you, Tita Jill, I named him Starlight' was worth it. And anyway, I can always make more. Maybe someday I'll even have a show with just these horseys (just what I need, another horse show ^o^) and maybe a bucketload (and shedful) of taka's, too. I just don't know what it is. Painting them makes me happy. It's a very soothing, chillaxing thing to do. I just can't help it. Maybe that's what I should've done during my recent attempts to decompress and take time off to just 'lick my wounds'. Paint these little horseys.

Maybe I will. Who knows. We'll see. Who knows what the future might bring. But I think there'll probably be more tiny horses on the way ^_^





Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Potatoes in Disguise





I still can't really believe I joined this show (because I had already resigned myself to working on Aviary and really truly believed I had time for nothing else) ~ but I'm glad I did cos at least if people had gone over to this show instead of my show then they still woulda seen a little something from me ^^; Like everything else I've made this year, these Potatobots took a lot longer than I thought they would, but I'm glad I made them just the same I guess cos I guess they were like a little break from all the knifework that needed doin' ^^;

So basically people 'dug deep' for this show, and what I came up with when I did, for some reason was this little 'baby closet' that used to stand behind my bedroom door when I was about, oh, 11 or so. I don't ever remember having or using it as a baby, but I assume it was used about that time for me or the brother that came after me. When I say 'baby' closet, I mean it must've been meant for like a nursery x baby clothes ~ it was more like a small (as in I'm taller), freestanding (not attached to the wall) wardrobe ~ I'd say 'bureau' except it had a little door that swung open like a regular closet's would. 

On that little door was the painting of this long-haired dog with droopy ears, painted in that hokey, dated, meant-for-children style (not my brand of cute but I assume it was meant to be). The dog had a red string (it was way too skinny for a ribbon) tied around its neck and it was standing in a little patch of grass with a blue, striped ball (it had stripes same as a beach ball's) at its feet.

Speaking of string, the closet had these wooden balls (about a little bigger than a golf ball but definitely small than a tennis ball) for handles, but the handle on that closet door with the dog on it had long since fallen off, so we kept that door closed with a length of yarn or by wedging in a folded up piece of newspaper. I remember the lining of the closet was like shiny, and yellow (as in with age). The ball handles were painted in pastels; the closet itself was white.

But it was what was on top of that closet (it being a good head or so shorter than me) that I was particularly fond of ~ my armies of TransFormers killing each other in front of the back of the box of my die-cast Optimus Prime ~ the one Santa gave me for Christmas ^^ Cos there was a picture of a legit TransFormers battle taking place in the outer atmosphere of earth that I felt made a nice backdrop ^^

I'm pretty sure 99% of those bots weren't even mine but *acquired* from my brothers ~ but the Prime was mine and remains to this day one of my most prized possessions (as in they have to put that in the casket with me when I get buried (if my church allows that (they probably don't but you get the idea) (and if anybody cares enough to bury me when I'm dead). I still have the box and the whole shebang;  I have this idea Imma sell it when I'm starving and completely destitute (I'd rather starve to death ^______^).

Anyway so that's what this piece was based on and, like everything else I've ever made, I wish I could've taken my own sweet time over it and really, like, savoured the making of it. Not that I didn't (savour it, I mean) ~ and from here on out, I think I'm going to do my best to, you know. Stop being a painting factory and *savour* what I'm doing instead of *stuffing my face like it was a hotdog speed eating competition*. Less speed and more savouring ~ and hopefully better quality. I hope. I'm in the middle of um, thinking things through as I write this, and, I'm still figuring things out. But I think that's more or less what I'm going for. 

Until then, Potatobots, roll out ^^

Update: We've got some small renovation in the works at the moment and we tore down the section of the house where this small 'baby closet's' been all this time ~ turns out, it was my Mom's when she was a baby! So that's why I've always remembered the paper in it being yellow. Shame it's gone now, which makes me doubly glad I made these Potatobots.


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Aviary


This might very well be my last show for a long, long time. Or well maybe not "long, long", but quite a while.

You know how you learn something with every show you have? Exhibiting is like experience points in video games ~ you accumulate enough and level up, become stronger, get better weapons, kill bigger bosses. 

Well, this time around I think the bigger bosses blunted my sword and used up my MP, and 10 trips to the Enertron isn't going to fix it. 

This show has made me realise my limits. Or well maybe it's not so much the show as my old age ^o^ But doing this show was a lot like rushing headlong into a deep, dark tunnel, and it took so very long for me to get out, but I had a time limit to get out, and I had (still have) no idea what's waiting for me at the end, and I wanted to plan ahead (you know me, Little Miss Plan B) for when I got out? But I had to focus on getting out first.

In any case I did get out, or at least, I've made it to the mouth of the tunnel ~ I can feel the air coming in from the other end. And whatever happens I at least know that for what it's worth I was able to finish all the canvases. Iono about quality though, having made the quantity (I just hope it's enough; everyone knows maths was never my best class at school) ~ but I like to think I did the best I could under the circumstances. 

I really always did want to have an Aviary show ~ I've always loved birds and winged, things. I mean who doesn't like flying, right? (Or this might be an "everyone likes ice cream" generalisation.) And I'm just grateful to have been given this opportunity. I keep hearing Robert Alda Gershwin's old piano teacher saying "Is that the best you can do?" Is the work the best you can make it? Well I tried, Professor Franck, I tried. 

Every time I have a show I always wish I had more time ~ to sleep as well as to paint, I always wish circumstances were different, or "ideal". I'm not sure myself now what "ideal" is, but I do see now that the "painting factory" can't remain open. Or at least, I need to change the operating hours. I can't live my Batman life, anymore. Bane has broken my back.

But broken or not, like I said, I made it, and here are my birds ~ my poor caged Avians (or well quite a number of them aren't actually IN cages come to think of it), the "children of my captivity" as Faria put it, the progeny of my palette knives. In keeping with tradition, you'll find previews on the jillasite. And in keeping with tradition I'd like to thank all the people who made this year's monster production possible.

Il Santo Jude (patron saint of lost causes ~ and policemen) (Everybody needs a friend ^^), Saint Rita, Saint Philomena, Saint Claire, Saint Matthew, Saint Joseph, Dear Mama Mary, Saint Expeditus, my Guardian Angel, Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Dymphna for making sure I didn't do anything stupid during all those times I got lower than I ever remember getting before. 

To Saint Luke, Blessed Fra Angelico, Saint Francis de Sales, Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Catherine of Bologna, Saint Ephrem and Saint Maria Goretti. 

On earth, to my Mom for lugging that four-foot framed under glass painting around Serendra and for making sure I ate. To my sister. To my brother Q (not Bond's). To my dad for driving me to that other gallery and taking us to that Japanese restaurant where the chef was tickled pink when you told him "Oishikatta". To the folks at Vetro for giving me this break, and to everyone at NEO360 for their boundless support and infinite patience ~ especially Mr J, Mr H, Daylin, Rhea, Brenda, Marrya and Christie. And to Camille and Marielly. To Vincent Seah for believing in me. And to Father Fortin over at Our Lady of Victories. 

Sometimes, you just gotta count your blessings and look at the bright side. You just gotta look at the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, you just gotta look past the bars.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Estrellitas


So I know I said I wouldn't have a show this year, and when I said it, I meant it. 

In a way this isn't 'really' a show I mean I am but one of the guest artists of the gallery with Ysa Gernale as the Featured Artist, but I suppose it is my work displayed in public and as a set unto itself, so... 

See what happened was I... I guess you could say I got talked into it (or had some sense talked into me). And I know now that I just, can't, help myself. 

It's a shame, though, I mean, this really is such a rich concept and I would've very much liked to explore it more (as in a lot more). I know for sure and certain there were a bazillion other things I would've liked to have done. As it is I did my best 'in the time that was given to me'. And I am grateful for what I've been given.

Thank you to Mr Jonas for having me on such short notice. Thank you to Mr H, and to Mrs Christie ^^ for talking me into it. Thank you to Mr H and Christie and Daylin, my mom, Bassints, Mias, and Mr V for all their support. It's times like this you begin to find out who your real friends are. Thank you also to PT Bintang Toedjoe, Asia Brewery, Nestle and Red Bull GmbH lol.  

But thank You most of all to God, to Dear Mama Mary, Saint Jude, Saint Rita, Saint Philomena, Saint Claire, Saint Matthew, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Blessed Fra Angelico, to Saint Dymphna, my Guardian Angel and all my other 'friend Saints'. Again, it's times like this you find out who your real Friends are. And again, I am truly, deeply grateful.

And who knows, maybe I will explore this theme in depth someday. Just for kicks ^^ As quickly as I've had to make these I had fun and it was fascinating. Truth be told I'd always wanted to make paintings like this, about stars and constellations and such, and there are still a bazillion zillion zillion zillion zillion things I wanna make. It's like I keep thinking of junk and the time and the resources (and the talent lol) I have can't seem to keep up. But as long as I've still got moving parts ^^; stuff to paint with, a little space I can work in, and God's go-ahead... 

...I reckon there be more jillamonsters a-comin' ^^;

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Take Me To The Fair


My brother has arranged for some of my work to be included in an art fair this weekend organised by his brother-in-law. He came to the house this past week to root around in my 'archives' and pulled some random pieces out (along with the sort of write-up about me from my show last year):



(Kinda banged up and worse for wear; I'm amazed they didn't throw it out.)

Anyway. Here are some notes about the pieces above.



So this is 'Flying Sarao' from my 2011 show, 'Horseplay', and he's done up in acrylic (with more than my usual amount of moulding paste) on canvas. It's actually a hood ornament used on jeeps; I haven't seen any out in the street for quite a while (then again I don't get out much ^^; ).


This is "Big Fish' and he's actually meant to be hung together with 'Small Fry' to end up looking like this:


I remember it kind of bothered one or two people at the exhibit they appeared in at the time (I made these quite a while back; 2006, I think), but I also remember I had a lot of fun making them. They're done up in acrylic and oil pastel on paper (canvas paper? I forget). (Honestly, I should keep better notes x records of these things; I have tried, though.)


This is 'Khazad' from my 2013 show, 'Horselords'—he's a tikbalang made out of a Shetland pony and a person of short stature ('khazad' is Khuzdul (Dwarfish) for 'dwarf') and he's done up in acrylic on canvas.

This was a challenge for me because I had to establish scale; looking back I'm not sure whether the tall grass I added succeeded in doing that, but see I didn't want him to be standing in a field of tall grass and I wanted him to see the sky (better), although why would there be bits of tall grass in a field of grass-grass (so fail! on my part there) (among other things).

Having figured out recently that I am / my actual image is a Shetland pony after all (however much I'd like to be / my self-image is of an Arabian ^0^), seeing this again after being taken out of storage has a little more significance for me.


This is Makintana—he's an engkanto whose job, if I remember correctly, was to keep an eye on the real x human world, and in doing this he usually transforms into a bird (and boy did that work out well for him (lol), depending on how you look at it ^^). (You see, he met his human wife that way.) He's acrylic on canvas and he's part of a collection I made some ten years ago illustrating that (incredibly cheesy and deliberately derivative) story a friend and I made up.


This is '28 Candles' (Yes, there are actually 28 of them if you care to count, haha). See when I turned 28 I didn't have any money to do anything about it, so I took some canvas I had lying around, built myself a frame (badly, I admit—the frame twisted when I stretched the canvas over it), used whatever I had lying around (acrylic and oil pastel), and painted whatever I wished I had money to do on my birthday hahahahahahahha.

I vaguely remember not finishing this on my birthday itself (I think it took a few days? Mraow, I forget). Mom took this painting and hung it on the ceiling over our dining table, but we took it down to have it framed and because of the oil pastel, it had to be framed under glass so it became too heavy for the ceiling (and since our dining table has a glass top...). I'm glad I had it framed, though. It's a very personal painting for me. 

You know my dad actually thinks I didn't 'paint' it (he thinks I 'just drew' it)? I remember him saying 'there is no paint in that picture / that picture was not painted'. I did though, Dad, honest—I painted it first and then I put the oil pastel on top of it ^o^;


Finally, there's half of a diptych called 'Paintball' which I did in acrylic on canvas in 2010, and which I remember my mom didn't like because she said it was violent. Honest, though, Mom, they're just playing x it's only paintball and not actual guns or anything. It's nice to see different species having fun together x it was all in good fun and nobody meant anything anyway (hopefully). Both sides were evenly matched so they ended up playing all day until night fell. I don't think anybody really 'won' ^^

Anyway I'd like to say thank you to my brother (and his brother-in-law) for thinking of me x having me at this art fair—wish I could've gone again to Capitol Commons (in Ortigas) this afternoon. I saw a couple of paintings there that I liked very much when I went yesterday, and I was particularly pleased to run into an artist who used to work at the gallery I had my show at two years ago, but who's now been doing very well since taking that great leap of faith (not entirely by choice, he admits) to do art full time. I have to say I really rather envy him, and the thought had crossed my mind in the past couple of days to do the same thing. 

In any case all this 'reminiscing' can't entirely be a 'good' thing—with heartfelt thanks to God, Mama Mary, my Guardian Angel (it is their month this month after all!) and Saint Dymphna and to the support and encouragement of my Mom, my sister, Mr H, Daylin, Rhea and Christie, I'm slowly getting back on my feet and back into the game. So hopefully I'll have something new to post here soon instead of flashbacks, lol. 

And even if I don't take the plunge (yet), I'm hoping to, you know. Make up for all the lost time. I realise now that I wasn't resting (indeed, I've had no real rest at all) (well, you know what they say, 'No rest for the wicked')—I was just lazy

'All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.' You were right, Gandalf. You were right.