Wednesday, 11 November 2015


An old friend of mine and I were chowing down on these fantastically large bentos recently and we got around to talking about our pets; specifically about how we had the great misfortune to lose them. As we reminisced, I was reminded that every pet is special (and I don't mean that in an 'incredible' way). 

Once in a looong while, though, you come across this one, eeextra special pet whose *specialness* isn't just bestowed on it by its owners, but is honestly and truly all its own. 

Horton of Playa la Caleta was a real personality. I could tell stories about him you would have to experience to believe, as I understand that hearing about a dog who literally takes care of his master's guests may be difficult to take at face value. But people really did literally go to *his* beach just to see him; I know I did, and all the stories fell far short of the reality. He was so funny and charming, and thoughtful and accommodating ~ not that he was an angel; he once right before my eyes tried to drown his colleague, a hapless black dachshund, for trying to horn in on his act. Even so, he was everyone's best friend on the beach, whether you were on two legs or four.

I really wish I could've gotten to know Horton better; I was hoping he would get to know me better, too. But everyone's favourite 'thing' about Playa passed away quite suddenly; it was quite a shock, and I don't think anyone who's ever known Horton has quite gotten over it yet. So I don't normally do this sort of thing, but I decided to make my own tiny tribute to one giant of a mini Schnauzer ~ one of a deluge that flooded his master's inboxes once word got around. Like the stories I'd heard about him before I had the privilege of making his acquaintance one year ago, my humble little canvas doesn't do him justice. But it was made with lots of love, longing and a keen awareness that no other Schnauzer or beagle or whatever can ever take his place.

Monday, 7 September 2015


So I wrote these exhibit notes while waiting for class one day ~ yes, I wrote my own notes this time; I'm a big girl now, after all ^o^;

Like a lot of other little girls growing up, I used to find mermaids fascinating. I remember drawing entire cities of them with giant, upright clams as buildings. There would be a hospital clam and a school clam and a mommy mermaid and a daddy mermaid going to his clamshell office, and other mermaids all going about their business…

This fascination with people who were half-human, half-fish stayed with me until I grew up. But as I grew older I realised I kept drawing mermaids the same way, and that "same way" was more or less a regurgitation of what I suppose you would call your "default mermaid", which was basically what you'd find in illustrated copies of Hans Christian Andersen or Edith Hamilton's "Mythology". 

It was around that time, I guess, when I kind of started to try finding myself artistically. And that was when I came to realise that nature itself, which is basically God's art, or the visualisation, expression or execution if you will, of His ideas, offered a far more infinite variety or possibilities for designing monsters in general and mermaids in particular. I began to experiment with different body types and different species, and fusing not just their lower and upper halves but characteristics like skin type and markings, other appendages and the effect of their lifestyle and habitat on their appearances.

This particular collection of mermaids (or just plain "fish" as I like to call them) is really just the tip of the tip of the tip of an iceberg that stretches faaar below the surface of the lowest oceanic trench. There are just waaay too many wonderful and awe-inspiring life forms out there, in the water, all bearing testimony to the greatness of their Creator. I could never hope to paint them all, although it would be fun to try. 

Because I think that for as many aquatic creatures there are out there, there are just as many possible variations on the human figure (not to mention personalities, which can also affect what humans look like). And after that, why stop at the human figure, when there's just so much more out there on land that you can combine with what—or who—you find out there in the water.

That said, with this collection, I've limited myself to the aquarium—a little drop of water in comparison to the mighty ocean, and to the "traditional mermaid formula" of human top half + fishy bottom. I'd like to thank God for making so many fantastic fish (and humans), Miss Cecile of Sigwada for allowing me to finally get this series out of my head and into the water, as it were, and to everyone who has supported and borne with me during its production. Hopefully I'll be able to explore this type of monster in a more in-depth (har) fashion someday and that I'll be able to present the findings of my explorations. 

- Jill, A Monster
July 31st! 2015

I just have a few shout-outs to some people (and People) I'd like to offer my most sincere and heartfelt thanks; as always, (however very much I'd like to sometimes haha) I don't make things in a vacuum:

God · Mama Mary · Guardian Angel · Saint Luke · Blessed Fra Angelico · Saint Francis de Sales · Saint Charles Borromeo · Dear Saint Catherine of Bologna · Saint Ephrem · Saint Joseph · Saint Maria Goretti · Saint Dominic Savio · Saint Thomas Aquinas · Saint Lawrence · Saint Benedict · Saint Michael the Archangel · Saint John Chrysostom · Saint Aloysius · Saint Alphonsus · Saint Mary Magdalene · Saint Augustine · Saint Matthias · Saint Catherine of Sienna · Saint Cecilia

Fr Saa · Bassints (for making my invite and all my layouts) · Hopa · Javo (for helping me with my Lapu-Lapu painting) · Sofie · Mom · Dad · Mozart ^_^ · Miss Cecile

So I've got a few previews on my online folio at, and a few things I need to sort out before I start making things again. Honestly, there's nothing I want to do with my life more than to make things, i.e. to paint, and to draw; to make the best jillapaintings and jilladrawings I possibly can, to get as good at it as I possibly can, before I die (I don't know if I'm getting any better at it; I hope I am ^o^; ) ~ but, like I said, I don't make things in a vacuum, so… 

So please pray for me, I guess, because there are still so many, many things I want to make ^_^; Hopefully, they are worth making ^o^;

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Rainbow Duster!

The folks at Ang InK and Adarna were very kind indeed to let me join their show this year which I understand was meant to mark their 35th anniversary ~ what they did was pick out 35 books and have them switch illustrators around to make alternative covers. The book that was assigned to me was about this town that was all dusty and grey, until a painter came along and cleaned it up and gave it a paint job ^_^ 

I was in the middle of working on some *serious*, comparatively drab-coloured stuff when I worked on this so, it was rather nice to take a break from all that and *loosen up a little*. I admit I wasn't quite sure of what I was doing; I knew only that I wanted to do something that had something to do with arnis and for one of the sticks to be a rainbow duster. I don't own a rainbow duster but I've always wanted to have one, and I don't know why arnis; I think it had something to do with my vague idea that the painter who came to the town was some sort of dust-busting, drab colour-fighting superhero, and that the cover would very loosely echo a comic book cover. Plus the fact that my youngest brother is an arnis super Amadeus, has a goatee, and always carries his sticks around on his back like that ^_^

My warmest thanks go out to Adarna and InK for having me at this wonderful show, and to my family and friends (who -are- family) who came out to see it. Thank you to Miss dela Rosa for creating this delightful book, and to God for allowing me to complete this cover in spite of well, everything. Pity the show won't be up for very long; I understand it's only going to be up until the 30th ~ so if you're ever in this neck of the woods I highly recommend you come out and see it while you can, because everyone else's work in this show is AMAZING. 

Hope to have something nice n new to post here again soon (around September, to be precise) and on my online folio at Wish me luck, or better yet, pray for me ^_^;

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Dio Ai Bambini

It was very nice indeed to get invited (thank you, Sir Delan ^_^; ) to this year's Kristo, whose theme this year is "The Child Christ". I'd recently read somewhere that when Saint Joseph (thank you, Saint Joseph ^_^ / ) had taken Mama Mary (thank you, Mama Mary!) and Baby Jesus (thank You, Dear Jesus!!) to Egypt to escape from Herod, they'd stayed there until Jesus was about seven years old. (I'm quite ashamed to say I didn't know that; I mean I didn't think they'd stayed there for that long!) So I thought I'd show Jesus at about four or five on His way to help Saint Joseph out at his carpentry shop, with some angels about His own age helping Him carry the tools and stuff ^^; It's not a very original concept, I grant you (I recall a Pre-Raphaelite painting on the subject, for one), but then I had been told once that my work might have been revolutionary ~ 300 years ago ^O^; In any case, with "Apprentice to Joseph", I just wanted to try my hand at more detailed stuff again (with a *new* set of watercolour tubes whose brand I's unfamiliar with) after all dem blobs ^^; (because I'm needing it now for what I'm trying to work on ^^; )

Cathy and Jojo and Cathy's and my classmate Malyn are in the show as well, which I'm told is going to move to Megamall in June? Although I understand it's going to be in Cebu and at the NCCA in May ~ so the photo up there (and the invite) was from the preview over in Arte Pintura Gallery. 

As always, you can find this and other ways in which I've indulged my obsession with maya wings at my online folio, And as always, I'm just grateful to be a part of this show, and grateful to be still making stuff ^_^; Santo NiƱo, Fiat Voluntas Tua, Deogratias!