French Impressionism Art Appreciation at MFA

Water Lilies, Monet

I was thrilled when I saw that Monet’s paintings were being displayed at the Art of Europe galleries of Boston’s Museum of Fine Art (MFA). We went there on Wednesday afternoon, just in time too for the free museum Wednesdays from 5 o’clock in the afternoon til 10 at night.

En route to Gallery 252, I had an art attack seeing the fine art pieces from Pierre-Auguste Renoir (who painter outdoors en plein air along with Monet in the 1860s) and Camille Pissaro. And finally, the beautiful paintings of Claude Monet.

These are all the priceless works art that I stared at in awe.

Water Lilies, Monet
Grand Canal, Venice, 1881. oil on canvas Landscape on the Coast, near Menton, 1833. The Seine at Chatou, 1881. Rocky Crags at L’Estaque, 1882.

Spring Pasture. Pissarro

Free Museum Day At Boston’s MFA

No visit to Boston would be complete without going to its museums. Lucky us, we were there on Wednesday, and chanced were able to avail of the Free or Pay as You Wish days at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).

I always prefer going to the Fine Arts museums over Contemporary Arts because my favorite art is French Impressionism.

I was excited as we deposited our bags, I’ve seen a high score for this museum over at Google Maps. And I couldn’t wait to explore and be lost in the intricacies of the art. One thing I learned from past museum visits when I was short of time, is to stick to a plan, otherwise I might miss the highlight exhibitions. So, grabbing a map I prioritised the galleries I would go to. For that afternoon my goal was to see the European and American Art galleries.

We were immediately impressed by the layout of the pieces and the contrast of colors in some of the galleries, such as the red walls that were quite striking.

D’s favorites were the McElheny glass art from Gallery 247, the classically designed rooms and the this miniature art.

Here are some of the highlights from the galleries we visited. The French Impressionism pieces in itself require a blog of their own, so check out my story about that same time tomorrow.

Emperor Augustus

Sargent At Dusk

Clowns and Songs

Saw this while walking along Rue Saint-Paul at Quebec City, en route to our late lunch at Cafe du Monde. This was, at first, just eye-catching. And then I realized the clown was sad. Made me think of a couple of songs:

Sammy Davis Jr.’s (and then later on Regine Velasquez had her rendition) What Kind of Fool Am I

And, somehow of the same meaning, Send in the Clowns, which Regine also sang her own version of.

Such nice songs with sad messages.

Vintage Komiks

Quietly tucked in the walkway of my building’s parking lot, the lineup of Komiks front pages from decades ago caught our attention.

As a visual person, I enjoy reading through comic strips. When I was a child I would consistently check out Calvin and Hobbes from my elders’ daily newspaper. I also had a stack of Archie comics when I was a teenager. These days when I browse books at Fully Booked to kill time, I would head out to the comics section to continue where I left off on Nick Seluk’s Body Language series. This is after I’ve completed reading through (and having a lot of chuckles) Kris Wilson’s Cyanide and Happiness volumes.

Back to the comics cover pages currently displayed. These were works of Francisco V. Coching (1919-1998), Philippines’ National Artist for Visual Arts, posthumously awarded on 2014. He was known as King of Komiks. Most of his published works had been used in films – probably something my grandparents and their generation have seen, as some of them sound familiar even to this day (like Pedro Penduko – which my aunt sometimes fondly calls Pedro our sweet senior bulldog).

As a budding artist, I have high respect for comicbook illustrators. Their art brings me to places, scenes, worlds in my imagination.

So without further ado, let me share with you snippets of Francisco V Coching’s art.

You can find the Komiks exhibit at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines.

A Simple Touch of Welcome

Elephant origami from Haneda Airport’s tourist information center

Over my last couple of visits to Japan, I’ve started to notice and appreciate more of these  little welcome gifts in the form of origami. I got them when checking in on hotels, or even just dropping by tourist information centers, or entering museums.

Elephant origami from Haneda Airport’s tourist information center
Elephant origami from Haneda Airport’s tourist information center

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. I remember doing this in a summer camp ages ago, but I didn’t get it back then as to what the fuss was about. Now that I’ve rekindled my interest in art and embraced simpler things in life, I am amazed at how colorful papers are tucked together to form these heartwarming souvenirs. Origami is a great productive activity for workshops – applicable for audiences of all ages. I had a smile on myself as I watched some of the ladies at the reception of Matsumoto Museum happily folding away – all the while focused in perfecting their craft. I’d like to think origami is not just an art in itself, but a good way to meditate and focus.

Fan origami that I got from the Matsumoto museum
Fan origami that I got from the Matsumoto museum

Because of rediscovering the beauty of origami, I excitedly bought origami papers of various colors from Daiso, and looked up tutorials in the net. Here’s a helpful website that I came across that provides step by step procedures on origami folding.

Crane origami on our kimono, a welcome gift from our hotel in Nagoya
Crane origami on our kimono, a welcome gift from our hotel in Nagoya

Have you tried origami? If you were to demonstrate origami right now, what project can you do from memory? I have yet to find mine – I will start with flowers.

Origami I got as a token from the Matsumoto Timepiece Museum
Origami I got as a token from the Matsumoto Timepiece Museum

 

Street Art Hunting: Mabuhay Manila

Mural

“It’s in your hands to make the world a better place.” Nelson Mandela

Mural

My hands are my tools to plant seeds, soothe one’s pain, encourage or appreciate through a simple pat, build, mold, communicate through writing or painting, save lives, and convey love and care through touch.

What do you consider as the most powerful things you have done with your hands?

The mural is called Mabuhay Manila by Bunnie Reiss. You can find this at the 7th Avenue, near the BGC High Street in Taguig, Metro Manila. 

 

A Potted Potter Experience

Potted Potter

Because I’m in the mood for rekindling my love for acting, I’ve booked tickets to plays and movies for the next couple of months.

First on my list is Potted Potter, The Unauthorized Harry Experience, A Parody by Dan and Jeff. This was written and created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner. I’m lucky I was able to see the ad for this show – see, I’ve already missed it thrice before, when it showed in 2012, 2013 and again in 2014. This year, the show returned to Manila, back by “magical” demand. The catch is there was only 9 shows, as they ran from only from March 20 to 24. I knew it would get sold out quickly, so when I saw some slots open for last Friday, I grabbed one right away.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I came in the hopes of being entertained. It was a parody, after all. When I saw the playbill, I was pretty surprised that there was only a pair of actors as cast. I wondered how they could pull it off.

A few minutes before five, both performers came on stage. They were James Percy and Delme Thomas. Delme started walking around the theater, shaking hands with the guests. Soon enough he gamely posed for selfies. The folks who were able to book tickets at Level 1 were lucky.

When the clock struck five, the show started. In a nutshell, both actors summarized the seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes: playing all the main characters (and having several costume changes in between), showcasing essential props, a “fire-breathing dragon”, songs, and an “actual” Quidditch game. Amazing how both actors were able to remember their lines and deliver them in such a natural way – they connected! And they were also able to do some improv along the way. The show was hilarious, and I had several good (and loud) belly laughs.

Overall it was an enjoyable 70 plus minutes’ whirlwind of nostalgia and laughter. Well done to the production team, James and Del. If Daniel Clarkson ever writes a a parody for Game of Throne (Potted Thrones, perhaps?) – I’d definitely line up for that!

An Attempt at Acting

I’ve been meaning to get back into acting workshops, but since I have just started work I’m still in the “settling in” phase. The first time I took a class was summer of 2018, and it was quite an interesting experience. I came to appreciate that acting entails a lot of preparation – from knowing your lines and being able to use them in different tones and ways, depending on the direction for that scene, to most importantly being able to establish a connection with the fellow actors. This is done through listening. At first I thought, listening meant being able to catch up on the script and knowing when my lines come in. But my acting mentors called me out on that wrong notion. When I did that, it showed I was waiting, and that I was just saying my lines – the connection wasn’t there at all. I wasn’t in the moment. I realized I had to listen to what, and how, my co-actor was saying, or not saying for that matter. When I listened, the subtle body language and nuances followed naturally.

Another thing that I learned from class was that there was no room for being conscious as to how one would look on camera – I had to, in a sense, let go.

There were times when, after a certain dialogue I’d be emotionally drained – and then we had to repeat that for a couple more times, and I remember I had a migraine after that scene because of the repeated rush of emotions. But no pain, no gain, right? I was glad to have gone through that exercise.

Another perk that I had from my acting workshops was being able to establish friendships with people who I shared the same passion with. It’s cool that the appreciation for this form of art comes from different ages and personality types.

So, my plan for this year is to enroll in theater acting workshops. I bet it’s gonna be a different ball game, but I’m up for the experience and the learnings. And while I wait for the sessions to start, I’ve lined up some plays and shows that I will watch.

First on my list: Potted Potter this March. Watch out for my review of this show!

Korean Art

Minhwa

Late last year I took up an awesome Korean art class called Minhwa. It was a a series of calm, and almost therapeutic, Saturday afternoons when I would go to the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines in Taguig City to work on my ‘masterpiece’: a colorful portrait of peonies.

My work had been completed and it now hangs on the school’s lobby, along with my classmates’ beautiful pieces. It will be on display until the school relocates to their new building.

Picture of Peony, Mo Ran Do, uses peonies which are regarded as symbols of wealth and prosperity. In the oriental society, peonies are known as the king of the flowers. These paintings are usually displayed in wedding ceremonies.Minhwa

Pictures of Lotus, Yoen-hwa-do, shows both the flower and the seed. It is believed that the lotus flower shows the creation of life, and the seed denotes being gifted with many children. Minhwa

Ten symbols of longevity, Sib-jang-sang-do, are believed to protect one from disease and lengthen life. The ten symbols include four unchangeable beings or things – the sun, the moon, mountains and clouds; three animals – crane, deer and turtle; a youngji mushroom that translates to youth; bamboo that symbolizes integrity; and peach, which is a longevity fruit. MinhwaMinhwa

PaintingsIf you’re around BGC, check out these art works on display at the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines. For now they are located at the 2nd floor of Mancor Corporate Center at the 32nd St.

Street Art Hunting: Unsung Heroes

Magsasaka

Magsasaka

Years ago I left the corporate world to practice what I learned in the University. I took a project with the government and conducted market studies for three farmer group proponents, finding out what sustainable crops they could focus on. I was able to spend time with farmer groups of Real, Quezon; Negros Occidental, and Misamis Oriental. It was a truly enriching experience as I got immersed in community of farmers. In Real, at the time, there was no electricity in the farming village and we used gaseras at night. I sat with the farmers as they talked around a bonfire sharing stories of their lives. There was no radio, and I was lulled to sleep later on by the sound of the seawaves. That was why a few years later when the province of Real was hit by a typhoon my heart ached for the farmers who were mourning the loss of their crops – they worked half the year toiling the earth and in an instant the hardwork was literally washed away by the fury of mother nature.

The mural above, Magsasaka is made by Archie Oclos and Aleili Ariola. It’s found next to Burgos Eats along Rizal Drive in Bonifacio Global City. A tribute to the unsung heroes, the magsasaka (in English, farmers), who tirelessly work the fields, rain or shine, to provide rice – the Filipino staple food.

Thus this artwork resonates to me so much and whenever I see it I am reminded to honor the Filipino farmers who work with passion and perseverance, everyday.

Street Art Hunting: Pangako

“I’m not going to swear an oath I can’t uphold. When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies.” – Jon Snow, Game of Thrones

I just had to put that quote out there. Because, Game of Thrones. It’s just around the corner. And I. Can. Hardly. Wait.

And then in May comes the Philippines Elections. I’m not even gonna delve on that topic. All I can say is We deserve who we elect.

But back to Jon Snow’s quoteand putting it into context: Have you ever made any promises that you had no intention to keep to begin with?

I know it’s just words, but for every promise I have made there had always been a pure intention to see through it. And when things don’t always turn out as planned, for example, ending a relationship that just won’t work, there are several emotions that occur afterwards: sadness, anger, guilt, regret.

img_3798

Pangako is a mural by Anjo Bolarda. In English, it translates to promise. It can be found at the side parking of Bonifacio High Street’s B3.

Street Art Hunting: Where the Heart Is

The Way Home

The Way HomeThe Way Home is a composed of 3 murals, depicting its creator Solana L. Perez’s homesickness. They can be found at the One Parkade at BGC.

What comes to mind when you think of home?

I could take it literally and choose which dormitory, house, or apartment made an impact to my memory from the time I moved out of my folks’ to go to college, until I married and settled into a house of my own, with D and the boys. Or I could take this question metaphorically and think of what, where, and when I find peace and happiness most. I’d go for the latter – when I am true to myself and accept the people around me.

Right here, and now, as I write this: I am home.

 

 

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai

Dragon Dance

Yesterday was a non-working holiday in the Philippines in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Holidays meant I got the chance to sleep in, have a late rush-free breakfast, and time to catch up on blogging and chores. It was a breath of fresh air walking around the traffic-free Makati neighborhood on holidays.

While we were walking back to our apartment, D and I were summoned by the sound of drums a couple of buildings away, and came upon colorfully-clad folks with props, getting ready for a dragon and lion dance. I’ve always been fascinated by this dance, though I never truly knew why I see them all the time during this holiday. So, for this year, I decided to get to know a little more about the Tsinoy (Chinese-Filipino) traditions during Chinese New Year. My friends were more than happy to talk about their happy family practices, and here’s what I gathered so far:

First off, though the words “Kung Hei Fat Choi” are widely said (and printed on tarpaulins, ads) in the Philippines, the more proper way for the Tsinoys to be greeted is “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai”. Majority of the Tsinoys are Hokkien, and Kiong Hee, for short, means “I wish you happiness”.

Ang Pau

These red envelopes have gold patterns printed on the outside and have money inside them. They are given by the elders to the younger members of the family, as a sign of passing on good fortune and blessings. Many Filipinos have accustomed to giving out ang paus during the Christmas season as well.

Food for Prosperity

A usual sight on the dinner table are the kiat kiat, pineapple, tikoy, pansit and whole fish.

Round shapes are believed to bring solid wealth, hence the kiat kiat – a small orange.

Kiatkiat
Kiatkiat

At the center of a fruit basket is a pineapple, which is believed to bring good luck. In Hokkien, pineapple is called Ong Lai, which translates to ‘prosperity comes’.

Tikoy, is a sticky cake, is known as the Chinese New Year cake. We receive this as a gift from our Chinese friends, and we usually dip it in beaten egg and fry it. The belief is that because it is made of sticky rice, it ensures the family’s togetherness.

Pansit, or noodles, are cooked and served uncut, to symbolize longevity.

Lastly is the fish, which must be cooked and served whole. The usual way to cook the fish is by steaming. My friend said it symbolizes sagana or surplus.

Dragon and Lion Dance

For families with stores or establishments, they hire dragon and lion dancers as they are believed to bring good fortune for the business. The lion dance is composed of 2 dancers (the head and the tail), while the dragon dance is composed of several dancers holding the body of the dragon on with sticks. My favorite part when watching this is the beat of the drums and the movements of the lion. In today’s dance, I saw the lion reach out to receive a gift mounted on the entrance door of the building.Dragon Dance

I wish was able to go to Binondo to see more of the dragon and lion dances and experience the celebration of Chinese New Year more up close.

 

 

 

 

Street Art Hunting: Courtship

Tagpuan

Tagpuan

This beautiful mural by John Paul Antido is called Dating Tagpuan. In English it translates to the old meeting place. Very artistically done, where the painting was done on two joint walls. It’s located near the side street of BGC Central. I like passing through this street when I take the long route home just so I can see this art work.

Oh, the age of innocence! Sometimes I’d bring my thoughts back to the days of my youth, when the world seemed bigger and everything was simpler.

But way back in the olden days, the concept of ‘courtship’ was observed. Men would formally visit a woman’s home and bring gifts, usually for both the women they are courting and the women’s parents. They would make their intentions of courtship known, and they would patiently wait until they get the woman’s “matamis na oo” (in English: sweet yes). I believe this practice originated from the time the Philippines was colonized by Spain.

I had my fair share of this back when I was in the university – I also experienced my own harana (serenade) though it was more of a thing the guys did for for fun really. They jammed and sang Eraserheads songs outside the dorm window.

For me, personally, I cringed at the thought of courtship. I mean, it’s so formal and one way, I’d  just say no outright to save the guy his time and effort. More than a couple of times I found ways to dodge guys who would ask if they can go to the house to court.

Anyway, I digress.

Whenever I see this mural I would hum to Kanlunganan old song that my friends  and I strummed the guitar to back in the university. Its lyrics go like this:

Natatandaan mo pa ba nung tayong dalawa ay unang nagkita,

 Panahon ng kamusmusan sa piling ng mga bulaklak at halaman

Doon tayo nagsimulang mangarap at tumula.

In English: Do you still remember when first we met, we were young.

Amidst flowers and trees, that’s where we started to dream and write poetry.

Have you ever courted anyone, or been the one at the receiving end? How was it and how did it turn out? Would you prefer for this Filipino tradition to be revived?

Street Art Hunting: Bear With Me

Art
Art
Artwork by Nate Frizzell

Welcome to the first part of my Hunt for Street Art in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City, Philippines.

Many would consider BGC as the new Makati. It’s a fast developing CBD, with new high rise buildings popping up before I could even familiarize myself with my surroundings. Last December I moved into my new office here, hence I had more time after hours to explore what the place has to offer. As an appreciator of art, BGC proved to be a feast to my eyes. One of the first art works that captured my eye is this painting by Nate Frizzell. It’s called We Are What We Pretend To Be, and here are the thoughts that came into my mind as I looked at it.

No Dramas, they say, but just you wait…

Nonchalance, when deep inside bubbles of anxiety are brewing…

Fearless, because there’s really nothing left to lose…

Stoic, after hardening one’s heart from all the hurt and pain…

Boisterous laughter, and if you look closer there’s no joy in the eyes…

I’m ok, LOL, why do you ask, it was not about me, don’t you worry. Life’s a blast.

 

 

 

 

30 Day Song Challenge

Musicians

Took me a while to get into the challenge – I couldn’t find who started it. Came across the posts by Fandango and bereavedandbeingasingleparent and was enticed to also join in on the challenge.

To the one who started this challenge, thank you so much! I used to love singing, but eventually settled to just appreciating music. Here’s my take on the 30-Day Song Challenge, covering Days 1 to 15.

Challenge
30 Day Song Challenge

Day 1: A song you like with a color in the title – Not really a color, but THE color. Lauren Christy’s The Color of the Night.

Day 2: A song with a number in the title – reminds me of college days, when Leo was such a big heartthrob! This is from the soundtrack of Romeo + Juliet: #1 Crush by Garbage.

Day 3: A song that reminds you of summer time – yet another song from one of Leo’s movies, The Beach. This one’s from All Saints, called Pure Shores. When I was in El Nido, I was humming to this song when we were at Duli Beach.

Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget – I don’t want to delve on explaining this LOL

Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud – Muse’s Starlight. Thank you.

Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance – Larusso’s On ne s’aimera plus jamais

Day 7: A song to drive to – D first heard this when he was en route to The Great Ocean Road when he visited me in Melbourne years ago. I like it too!

Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol – this one’s a Filipino song by one of the most prominent bands The Eraserheads. It’s called Spolarium. The chorus, when translated to English, says something like: and now we still don’t know why we’re here, can you please stop the world from spinning around.

Day 9: A song that makes you happy – before my first ever visit to Paris, I played this song again and again. Aux Champs Elysees. Now whenever I hear it it brings good memories.

Day 10: A song that makes you sad – I’ll Never Love Again by Lady Gaga, from the soundtrack of A Star is Born. This is the part of the film when I bawled my eyes out.

Day 11: A song you never get tired of – speaking of A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s Shallow is one of the songs I just don’t get tired of. Argh I’m still having goosebumps listening to it now.

Day 12: A song from your preteen years – Madonna’s Like A Prayer, released in 1989 when I was still in grade school.

Day 13: A song you like from the 70’s – Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, released in 1973.

Day 14: A song you’d love to be played at your wedding – done that more than a decade ago. If D and I were to do it again, I’d include this in the list of songs. Louis Armstrong’s La Vie en Rose.

Day 15: A song you like that’s a cover by another artist – in the spirit of Christmas, I’d say The Twelve Days of Christmas by Disney. My particular favorite is all of Donald Duck’s lines.

Cine Europa 2018

Cine Europa

Last Thursday I took a packed MRT and commuted all the way to the heart of Edsa to participate in the Cine Europa 21. A series of European films were lined up for showing at The Red Carpet at Edsa Shangri-La. I intended to go on a Thursday to skip the madness of the weekend crowd.

I got there a little past 4pm and made it to the next show which featured short films from Austria namely “Mathias”, “Fuddy Duddy” and “Wannabe”. Cine Europa

Mathias (2017) is a story of a transgender who was transitioning – to a job and at the same time on relationships.

Fuddy Duddy (2016) ran for around six minutes only. It was more of an abstract film showcasing black and white shapes and effects, using pulsating sounds resembling a plane taking off. It was mesmerizing and at times I had to look around to see how the audience was taking it in because it was quite unique. I felt I was going to dream about it – I was thinking am I being hypnotized?

The last short film was Wannabe (2017) which was about a young woman who was struggling to make it big in YouTube, modeling, and film. It reminded me of the different faces seen in social media, where some people sadly pretend all’s great…

Glad I had the chance to see some films in this year’s Cine Europa. I look forward to seeing more in the years to come.

The Cine Europa runs from December 6 to 16, 2018. Entrance is free on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Getting Ready for Christmas

DIY gifts

Time flies! I’ve been holding off starting my gifts, until I realized Christmas is just around the corner. You see, since last year, I’ve been doing DIY (also known as labor of love) gifts for my family and friends. I’d like to think it’s more special that way, plus I’m not keen on squeezing into the malls of Metro Manila for my Christmas shopping. I’m a late bloomer, having discovered the perks of Pinterest and viewing the tutorials in YouTube just mid of last year. I was so excited to give them a try. So for 2017, my DIY gifts comprised of crochet coasters, linen sprays and roll on scents.

DIY gifts
Stuff for my DIY gifts

This year, I’ve experimented and practiced on bracelets (beads), foot soaks, and perfume. For the bracelets, I was inspired when my friend Pam made me one – that motivated me to study how to do them too. I sourced my materials from Quaipo in the heart of Manila – there’s a street there called Villalobos Street just outside the Quaipo church that is a crafter’s haven of beads, charms, and so much more. I’ve only been there twice – my mom brought me there for the first time and I was overwhelmed with the rows and stores of items, that I promised myself to go back, which I did, a week after. Sometimes I’d have to search for long because I’d get distracted by other beads that would give me an idea of a totally new designs, that I’d remind myself to stick to the plan. The best time to go is after the morning rush, and before 4 PM when the streets of Metro Manila will become more congested. Sundays and Fridays are the busiest days, I was told by the vendors, as people go to Quiapo church. Needless to say, those days are off my list too. I’m itching to go back this week because I ended up buying the wrong charms for a design I’m completing. But as holidays draw nearer, the more busy Quiapo gets to be, so I’m summoning all my EQ and opted to purchase online. Yep, I should have done that before, but then the thrill of hunting through hundreds of good (and very cheap) finds would have been lost. I was in a trance as I asked about the prices of the merchandise in Quaipo (example, for a string of crystal beads where I could make 3 bracelets, it would cost me P60, or a little over US $1). And then, there are the bottles and boxes for my packaging – my mom bought these cute little hanging car diffuser bottles for less than P18, and they cost P29 at a store near my home – I was shocked to see some online retailers sell them for thrice the price). I bought these really cute pens for such a bargain – and they sell four to five times more in the malls! I am currently working on a way to convince D to go with me to Quaipo after the holidays because I’d need an extra pair of hands next time I go back – to check out the wood handicraft and local souvenirs.

Church
Inside the Quiapo church

For foot soaks, I’ve been using my DIY versions for some months now and I wanted to give it to my girl friends to share the relaxing feeling (and the heavenly scent). I got the ingredients online for this one – epsom salt, sea salt and Himalayan salt. I am using my favorite blends from my stock of essential oils.

And lastly (and the one I’ve been holding off on from making) is the perfume. I stumbled upon a packaging outlet store at a nearby subdivision and that’s where I get my bottles and scents from. It so happened that for a minimum amount purchased, they provide perfume-making class. I attended this late December last year, and since then planned to use what I learned in making this year’s gifts. I held off because I couldn’t find the glass cylinder I purchased online – I needed those to measure the ingredients. I guess, I’d have to go find one now so I can get them started.

Making the gifts is my form of meditation because I focus on making them right. Just like how I feel when I’m focusing on my art. When I did the foot soaks and the bracelets, I didn’t notice the time. I just had so much fun!

 

Learning Minhwa

Minhwa

I’ve been honing in on my art skills, and I’m keen learning any medium that I can. Earlier this year I’ve participated in an acting workshop, attended basic drawing and oil pastel class, did a bit of coffee painting, practiced water color and acrylic painting, and most recently I’ve enrolled in a semester of Minhwa classes. Minhwa is a traditional Korean art using painting as a medium. My teacher, Teacher Yoon, said during our orientation that Minhwa was art done by the common people, when they expressed thoughts and depicted everyday life through painting. Usually the subject is an animal or flowers. They use vivid colors when painting.

My first Minhwa painting
First finished work

The class that I am attending is held at the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines in Bonifacio Global City at Taguig. For 12 Saturdays I would go to class and paint for 3 hours. I always look forward going to class because I quite enjoy mixing colors, deep breathing while painting, and listening to the different genres of music that Teacher Yoon plays. I have fun focusing on my work and I would barely notice the time when I start painting.

My Minhwa
My Minhwa painting – still a work in progress

Because I am a beginner, I was given flowers as subjects of my paintings. My other classmates who are more seasoned animals and landscapes as their subjects. We use hanji (Korean paper) and a mixture of Korean oriental painting colors. The paint is similar to acrylic when it comes to its vibrance, and its texture is similar to water colour. I would do two layers of paint to make the colors pop out more. Like water colour, I would let the first layer dry first before I apply the second layer. The paper is thin and absorbs water quickly. It also takes just a few minutes to dry. Teacher Yoon created the wood frame for both of my paintings.PaintBrushes

Overall I find the class worth my time, and I look forward to enrolling to other semesters so I can do more paintings. There is another class being done in the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines and it’s called Mooninhwa. I’ll try to find out what the difference is and see if I can also enrol to that class next semester.