Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Lotus Sublime

The lotus flower, described as one of Buddhism's best recognized motifs, occupies a special place in Buddhist scriptures and arts. It is a symbol of purity, literally rising out from the mud with a pristine bloom as eloquently put below (from here):

"The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment."

In images, it is often depicted as the vehicle for Bodhisattvas, either seated or standing. So it is not surprising that the lotus became the subject of my Arts lesson this week. The black and white drawings were done during the 2-hour class yesterday while the colored ones were done today.

The above four are drawn on rice papers while those below are on blank cards.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Smorgasbord of Drawings

With time, my collection of brushes has grown. The latest addition was gotten at the AOE Arts Supply, thanks to Linda, which is very close to our home. I figure that the small ring-like ribbons at the top of the brushes must serve a purpose beyond mere aesthetics. So I turned the styrofoam cushions that came with our PC into a hanging panel for the brushes, with push pins adding as hanging supports, tucked into a wall corner on the table. Instead of putting them into their respective cases, I would just hang them for air drying as shown. Just another instance of making use of materials, especially those about to be discarded, a crude DIY or sort.

My corner of Chinese brushes. The box in front houses the four brushes I recently bought from AOE Arts Supply that are among the hanging brushes. The Chinese calligraphy on the wall to the right is not by me, but by Venerable Hui Zhen.

Last week was another off week, for the Arts teacher. But not me, and here are the works in progress.

Mountain scene 1.

Mountain scene 2.

The Lan.

The butterfly.

The bamboo.

The Mei.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tulip in 5, 3, 2, 1 ...

I bought several stalks of tulip, still in a closed position, from Publix last weekend. The next morning I found the buds were all drooping pitifully, like kids hanging their heads after being spanked. But once I poured in some water into the vase, their buds became upright, well, almost. Apparently the stem must have taken in water to set up an osmotic pressure of sort to counter gravity. But I hope to be advised on that.

Most people like me usually associate the Tulip with Holland. But these prerennial bulbous plants are not native to Holland, but rather Central Asia.

Anyway, this morning the tulips bloomed, the petals opening up invitingly. I took up the invitation and settled down to draw them, tracing out their blossoming process.

First there was one bud, standing out in solitude, flanked by leaves.

Then there were two, the petals still closed, before the magic moment.

The magic moment has arrived, one revealing its full magnificence while two others slightly agape.

Then it's a party of five, each posing distinctly.

And this is the real thing, in digital format. Did I do justice to their splendor?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Nature in Simplicity

Words are superfluous when Nature is concerned as the harmony, the serenity, and the teeming life itself is beyond description. The next best thing to personally experiencing the sight, the sound, and the scent is through photography, its vividness seemingly jumping out of the picture.

But as far as personal satisfaction goes, nothing seems to be comparable to creating pictures out of a blank page. While this sentiment is held by the creator, the same may extend to the beholder as well. But as the saying goes, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I shall then leave it as that, except to say that I derive great pleasure in completing the following pieces, nature in simplicity.

The flowers and their many insect friends: a world of co-dependency.

Delicious black currants (blue?) drooping in numbers.

The Lotus and the unflappable leaves.

The willows, doing an impression of the pyrotechnic display during the day.

The Mei and the bamboo striking a harmonious pose.

The Mei striking out on its own.

Sprouting in unison, Nature's symphony.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mountains, Water, and Lotus

The Chinese call the genre of paintings that depict nature as "mountain and water" painting. So it's natural that such paintings feature majestic mountains, torrential waterdfalls, and placid lakes. And this is what I worked on for this week's Arts class, which was moved to yesterday from its usual slot on Friday.

Then today I spent some time drawing the lotus flower, which is cherished in Buddhism. Here are the results of my efforts.

Black and white lotus on rice paper.

Well, the water here appears transparent, its existence surmised from the sailing boats amidst the blank space. This is drawn on a lighter rice paper and the few shades of light blue highlighting the lake did not survive the scanning.

This has appeared previously here, but without water color, which was done here at the behest of my Arts teacher.

The head of the "Y" denotes two cascading waterfalls that spill on to the river carrying two boats.

The colored lotus on rice paper.

And one more to complete the trio of Lotus.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Feathery Ensemble

It seems like Hubby has opened the floodgate to my drawing spree. Since early this week, I've been churning out water color painting on one card after another. The completion of one card seems to buoy my enthusiasm for the next, which earns me the moniker, the prolific one, bestowed by Hubby.

Correspondingly, the high production rate has sped up the blogging rate to several times a week so that my drawings can "see" the light of the day. The turnover rate is such that Hubby is now neglecting his other blogs to focus on mine. But he doesn't seem to mind.

This collection has the theme, the feathery one, depicting the various avian species in communion with nature. Hope you like them, as I do.

The yappy birdies pirouetting above the chrysanthemums.

"Hello, fellow avians, the caucus is now in session. Please take your perch."

"Let's zoom through without ruffling the leaves."

Little birdie ogling at the flowers sprouting amidst the rocky landscape.

"Let's see. I go on top of Buddy here and Rocky can come on top of me. Then we should be able to grab that branch and pull it down with our combined weight." Just a silly bird game!
"Come on now, let's maintain formation, and for goodness sake, mind the mountain peak."

"Yipee, we are heading for the moon!"

"We are the humming birds, and yes, we are."

"Let's align our beak direction to, from the top, left, up, right, and down. Hello, I said, down."
The eagles soaring over the pine-lined mountain cliff.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Toothbrush-Comb Combination in Drawing

The Christmas Box of cards has ten different colors, each numbering six to yield a total of sixty. Today I picked up the black cards and was wondering what can be drawn on them when an idea struck me, one that I had learned while in grade school. The method involves a toothbrush, preferably a used one, and a comb. The toothbrush is first dipped in the water color solution, white in this instance so as to contrast well with the black background, and is then rubbed against the comb held just above the card. In this way, the tiny droplets are scattered like a spray onto the card, the density of which can be controlled by leveraging the speed of the rubbing action. Here are the results.

The Mei-flower-dotted branches amidst the snow shower in the nightscape.

The Bamboo night.

Putting the two together ... This must be a rare sight in nature.

And here's a belated Christmas atmosphere with Mr. Frosty.

The cascading star-shaped crimson leaves ...

And the Mei Flowers that would adorn the thank-you card for a job well done to our newspaper delivery man.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Botanical Garden: On Textured Cards

We took advantage of the Post-Christmas sale to stock up on arts supply, principally papers and cards, albeit with the Christmas theme. Most of these merchandise went for 50-75% discount. Some of these are actually generic in nature and hence can be used for any occasion, such as the blank colored cards (Christmas Box of Cards) with a special texture that we bought at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. At first I was not too sure whether the surface can sustain water color drawing and therefore elected to buy only one box for trial.

It turned out that the square stitched-like pattern texture actually enhances the radiance of the water color as can be seen below. However, the item was no where to be seen when Hubby revisited the outlet with a view to purchasing additional boxes. Guess we would have to wait until the next Christmas season.

The red Mei flower on pink background (This card was sent to CY on the occasion of her twenty something birthday that's coming up shortly).

Swaying leaves on green background.

This time it's the white Mei dotting the pink.

Bamboo on a light green backdrop.

Upward rising white Mei flowers on pink.

In contrast, the red Mei flowers on a white smooth card.