Sunday, March 30, 2008

Chrysanthemum Flourish

We had a 3-1 complement for the Arts class today, Mrs. Kim being unable to attend because of some mechanical problem on her car that needed to be fixed. But we plowed on, diligently cultivating chrysanthemum, out of water color that is, under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Fan. And here are the fruits of my harvest, a bountiful one I would say.

And the butterflies showed themselves, revealing themselves under my brush tip.

And silence embedded therein. This particular stroke combination of the Chinses character was patterned after one that I've seen in a particular calligraphy book. It does look slightly different from the one normally in print. I guess calligraphy, being a free form expression, may not have to be circumscribed within a rigid format, perhaps bringing much chagrin to the language purists in our midst.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Loving Kindness and Buddha, in form

It was time to practice another related hobby of mine, chinese brush calligraphy. And I have chosen to write two characters that are close to my heart, and which are essentially two rolled into one.

Buddha written in Chinese, meaning the awakened/enlightened one. I think this is one of the not too many Chinese words that have not been subjected to simplication in stroke as adopted widely throughout the world except perhaps Taiwan where the traditional strokes are still preferred. I was taught the traditional strokes in school but have since adapted to the simplified form when the government of the day decided that the change was desirable. Just as well, now I'm kind of proficient in both. Personally, I think the elegance, the forcefulness of the stroke, of chinese calligraphy is better expressed using the traditional form.

This is love, which has been simplified. Shown here is the traditional form which embeds a heart within. How befitting. In the simplified form, the heart and below have been replaced by another word that means friend, literally. I guess that would do too. The calligraphy was on a textured card where the vertical lines are laced by gold dust glued to the surface, giving the "sunken" apperance of the word.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Birds of Different Plumage

I did a water color drawing of a bird that we had seen during our day at the Lake Lettuce Park last Sunday for hubby's blog on that visit. It was an osprey, aka fish hawk. The drawing is reproduced here.

Then I recall that I have bought a book on birds from the used book store at the local public library some time ago. It's Reader's Digest BIRDS: Their Life, Their Ways, Their World. Published in 1979, the illustrations were beautifully done by AD Cameron. Despite the slightly tattered and faded front cover as seen below, it's actually a steal for $2, at 411 pages.

So I launched myself into drawing more of these birds, using water color for versatility. Here they are.

African Finfoot Podica Senegalensis, an aquatic bird (pg. 162, but I got the name from another image on pg. 37).

Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla Cedrorum (pg. 39).

Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos Sulfuratus (pg. 23, it somewhat resembles the Hornbills which can be found in Sarawak, Malaysia, to my untrained eye).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Plum Blossoms

Last week's arts lesson also included drawing anew Plum Blossoms. Over the weekend, I added several more, both on blank cards and rice paper. Here they are.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Riches and Honor: the floral kind

The Peony (Chinese name: Mudan), elegance extraordinaire, was the feature of this week's arts class. It's also known as the Fuguihua (literally, the flower of riches and honor). There are shown here drawn on rice paper, and captured using our Nikon Colorpix L6. Hubby used to apply the Autofix feature in the image software to enhance the brightness. But the result seemed less satisfactory, dulling the bright red color somewhat. So they are presented here, unaltered.

OK, this may be the odd one out. The Plum Blossom (Chinese name: The Mei). Because of its vibrancy in winter, it is one of the "Three Friends of the Cold" known in Chinese literature. (Care to venture a guess on the other two? No? There are the bamboo and the pine.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back to basics ...

In order to achieve a higher level of any endeavor, sometimes one needs to revisit the basics, further honing the skills, the so-called fundamentals. So that's what I did yesteday, acting as a human copying machine at the same time. I copied the strokes, first, then repeated the strokes until I can freely reproduce the strokes from memory. Then the next step of combining the different strokes to compose a drawing becomes a creative effort in itself. The more strokes one has in his/her repertiore, the more range one would have in galloping across the field of imagination.

Leaves, branches, trunks, and various combinations thereof.

Rocks, outcrops that make up the rolling hillscape.

Cascades, surfs, hugging the rocky terrain.

Shrubs, flowers, attracting the denizens of the insect world.

More on the tale of the flowing stream.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Work in progress ...

Another batch of work in progress, alternating between the animal and the plant kingdoms.
The quintessential pine cones.

An east-bound snail, following the map convention that North is always upwards.

The same snail on the return trip.

An entangled display of plant matter.

Two gold fish, one a red-top.



Weighting down.

Hubby likes this. What a glorious flourish.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bird Drawing

One can draw anything: inanimate objects or life beings; scenery or built environment; real or imaginery. Really, it knows no bound; wherever one's mind can roam. The best thing, at least from my perspective, is that one can draw in the comfort of home, at one's own pace.

Unlike bird watching or birding (though the more serious enthusiasts would differentiate between them), bird drawing can be done indoor. But just like the claim that birding is "Your lifetime ticket to the theater of nature", bird drawing would have to be the closest to the real thing for me.

So here's the sort of "still" birding for me:

The eagle, seemingly radiating its energy field in all directions.