Korean Art


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.

Learning 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.

I Found Art In A Coffee Place

September 29 was National Coffee Day, and my husband and I were blessed  with an opportunity to participate in an activity hosted by the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Alabang. This was in line with their #HappyCoffeeBeanMonth celebration.

I admit I love my daily caffeine fix, but you won’t get an intelligent answer from me if you ask me to describe the aroma or acidity, and what’s the difference between Arabica and Robusta. Thankfully, the first hour of yesterday’s event was focused on talking about that: the history and basics of coffee. We also did a hands on activity on coffee cupping, which allowed us to taste and describe different coffee products of CBTL.

During the coffee cupping we were able to taste and describe three different coffee blends of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

The next part of the activity focused on coffee painting. This was what caught my attention to begin with when I signed up for our slots, as I’ve recently been honing in on art. I have not seen coffee art before, so I was pumped for this workshop.

Rev Cruz facilitated the coffee painting activity. He is a children’s book illustrator and had been using coffee for his art for almost five years now. It all started when he was on an all-nighter wrapping up on work when he accidentally spilled coffee on his nearly finished watercolor painting. The coffee spill turned out to add a beautiful effect on his art, and since then he has been using coffee stain as one of his mediums of painting.

For the coffee painting workshop we were provided with a paintbrush, pieces of watercolor paper, paper plate, and a sketch. Rev first made us practice making our own shades of coffee stains. He then shared tips on blotting and correcting, and drying the layers before adding on a different coat of paint. We used two practice sheets of watercolor paper before working on ‘the real’ project for the day, where we had to come up with our own artistic interpretation of the sketch that was given to us. Afterwards, all paintings were displayed for everyone to see, and Rev chose three winners based on the practical usage of the tips he shared during the workshop.

Overall, I’d say this was the best event by CBTL that I’ve joined so far. We went over time but I was having too much fun that I didn’t notice the time. Yesterday’s event gave me a deeper appreciation of coffee, connected me with the participants, and allowed me to discover a different medium for art. I can’t wait to practice more on my coffee painting!

Creating different shades of coffee and practicing painting tips