Saturday, June 30, 2007

What Am I Up To?

I have often been asked what have I been doing lately since I stopped working. Recently, I have adopted a simplified standard answer and it helps, no further questioning, my answer is “painting/doing art”. (Someone actually thought I meant painting my house?) To strictly say that I am painting is not fully right, though I must clarify I am not lying as well. I have really started painting again after 7 years.

Yet painting is not the complete truth. So now I am attempting to answer this once and for all, and if anyone asked me again, perhaps I shall give them a card with the link to this website, and ask them to read for themselves? (just a joke)

I did some designs initially, architecture per se, followed by graphics, went for a short business/travel trip. Since then, I started painting, editing a short little children’s story of mine, which is still far from good as my English has always been terrible. Hasn’t fully started on its illustrations yet, as I am still waiting for the inspiration, though some research has been done. This expedition seems daunting to me now, and may likely take another one to two years to complete, especially when I start working again.

I have finally started to compile all my little cartoons, hopefully into a booklet. As the days flew, the task seems more and more immense, though the amount of work completed has increased. The very first draft shall be ready soon, I hope, though it is still far from perfect, but to me it is at least a first step towards a little dream. When asked by closer friends, and told them I am compiling a little book, some commented I am really brave to do such a thing. (Perhaps silently they are thinking she must be “crazy”? To quit a stable job was perhaps the first “crazy” thing to some …. Then to do things of such was perhaps totally unheard of…Yet, I just felt when would be a better time to pursue a dream except now especially I can do it on a fulltime basis during these few months before I move on to the next phase? It really takes a lot of childishness (childlike faith?) to do this…. But to be honest, this childishness of mine, to indulge in this hobby, may not last very long since I am after all a very pragmatic person… that is the reason I am rushing to finish it.

Friends who heard that I am doing this also questioned how could I expect the task to be completed in a month? (I am giving myself only a few weeks to do this) Such a task sometimes takes years. I was initially quite taken aback, for it is true, but then who says it can’t be accomplished? The fact is 2 years worth of illustrations have been accumulated, and it was not done over 2 to 4 weeks, it was a journey I have taken for the past few years, now it is a matter of touching up and enhancing the quality.

Recently, I watched a documentary, just a short clip. About a designer who chooses his hobby as his work. The reason given by him that he can persist in this, he believes it is his simplicity and childlikeness that allows it to happen. How many of us dare to put down reasoning for a while, to go forth and do something they really like, it takes the singleminded, simple ones to go forth and do it… Perhaps thinking too much, asking too many “what if” is the deterring factor. Rather than spending time on “what if”, might as well channel the time to just do it first and see! So I hope I have given a good answer. Sigh, but the pragmatic me is catching up soon… time is precious…”what if”? Cheers!

Note: the above is the 1st real painting completed after 7 years. Used it to take part in a competition, didn't win anything, but it is ok, since right from the beginning, this painting was painted for myself anyway. Concept as follows:

Childhood dream etched forever in one’s mind, though it remains an episode of the past, but has subconsciously become one’s pursue for the future, thus forever vibrant and beautiful. “Now” the mundane routine of life becomes dull and depletes of colours. Seeking to repaint the present, start anew and boldly take on the dream of one’s childhood, like caring for a sapling in one’s hand, seeing the growth of the sapling in the realm of imagination, and never failing to take the childhood’s dream as a point of reference when journey of realization seems challenged and difficult.

Three methods of expression were taken, almost as a collage of images in one’s mind, vibrant colours depicts the dream. Grey symbolizes the present: career, finances, endless deadlines and time, which are portrayed by everyday items: set square, calculator, planner, and a watch that “time” finally comes to a stand-still on the canvas. Ink as a medium to explain the journey, from imagination to reality; translating between dream and future, via ink, stroke by stroke. The green sapling symbolizes a new beginning, fresh and new. How many dare to boldly take this step to start afresh- a new beginning?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Almost Ready

An illustration which was delayed for a month cos I was afraid of "kanna sue", as shown above, hope you catch it, perhaps only those in the building industry can appreciate the comic. It is just for laugh, and it is altogether hypothetical.

Another week has passed, I have been counting down since I stopped "working". I felt rested, and ready to set forth, and start afresh at last. And yes, I have finally acted, though it may take quite a bit of time before any further progress, but at least I have taken a step forward, and I am leaving the rest for my Shepherd's further input.

So in the meanwhile, time is really precious, there are still quite a bit of things done halfway through. This break to me has been fruitful, I have finally started on what I set out to do right from the beginning, a childish pursue but I felt it is worth all the while...been working about 8-10hrs a day at home on my own, no one to impress, just wanted to act on a long time dream and the satisfaction is rewarding. The time flies and work doesn't really feel like work, though there is no monetary gain yet. There are times it seems there is no inspiration, and yet there are times rivers flow unceasingly. B, may need your help soon, to check through my stuff, can? Think another 1 week it should be ready... Thanks, remembered you said you can help me?

It's been years since I spend so much time at home with my mom, perhaps the last time was when I was in my university. Unlike most of my peers, I am one who worked pretty well at home alone, for I am someone who didn't like to be compared with or to compare or interested in what others are doing, or having peers looking over my shoulders to see what I was doing or had completed, as I just didnt like to be in a competitive working environment, I enjoyed doing things based on my little target set each day and at my own pace, almost like a scientist in deep research. For I felt most at ease working in this manner, and strange enough, this method of working has never caused me to be the slowest, in fact many a times, I ended being one of the fastest among my peers. And this has been my methodology for the longest time, even when I am working in the real world.

Been pondering. I thank the Lord for this working methodology, listen and look within my heart, for the answers are there already, supplied by the Shepherd. There were a few occasions I adopted others' methodologies, looking to others for inspiration, comparing my speed with my peers, trying to conform, to impress and please people above, and the results have turned out almost disastrous. As I looked back (it is a bad habit to keep looking back), those miserable last few months when I was feeling frustrated was perhaps I was trying so hard to please, to live up to what I thought I was supposed to be? And perhaps I started comparing, looking outward instead of within and looking to others instead of Him for assistance? For that period of time, I forgot I was working as unto the Lord, which was what I was doing before that all along. Let me never forget this again, my Shepherd.

I have learnt a little during this break. May my Shepherd always, constantly remind me that He alone is more than sufficient for me, and He will always supply. Cheers!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

16th June 2007


Yesterday was my niece’s 21st birthday. In fact, I was planning to post a special illustration yesterday just for her, but there was simply no inspiration and therefore it is postponed until now, when the idea came last night at a concert. Hope you like it, Xiang, you are forever as lovely as a rose, prized highly in the Shepherd’s eyes. In fact, both your sis and I thought of getting you a bouquet of flowers last week when we celebrated together with you…cos of various reasons…. We didn’t get in the end… so here it is, a pretty lasting rose so long as this blog continues…. We as a family love you deeply! Have not been catching up with you much, as you have been so busy with work, though hearing news about you on and off from your sisters and mom, how fast time flies, seen you grow from a baby into a pretty young adult (this does not mean I am old), at times a babysitter for you (I think I did, cos I baby-sit your sisters so many times, I presume I did that for you too)… you have also been an item for my sketches when I was schooling, I looked through my old sketches, there was a portrait of you with your pillow and pacifier, didn’t have the courage to post that, as the sketch needed quite substantial touching up before it is presentable. Our Shepherd has given you wings to fly and excel in your dream, and therefore continue to dream big! You are ever so bold and sure of what you wanted to do in life, may you in the pursue of the dream in your heart, that your revelation of His love for you increases everyday!


This illustration is also dedicated to a beloved friend, who is going through a difficult time now. I know my lovely niece will be glad to share this illustration with you too, as this picture came when I was thinking of my niece and you. Friend, quit doubting about yourself, you truly have a talent placed in you from above (write this cos it is true and not mere comforting words, it is so visible to us, perhaps you can't see), you are just in the middle of the journey, and you have not seen the plan of God for your life unfolded fully before you yet, surely He who places the dream in you will provide you with the strength and ability to fulfill that dream as well. I will always be a listening ear whenever you need, but most of all, our Shepherd will never leave you alone. Love you, friend! You will come out of this stronger with the Lord soon. You are a precious beautiful gem to Him, for He deems you worth His entire life!

16th JUNE 2007

A lot on my mind today, as I would normally spend the entire Saturday morning reading the papers, as it was the only free day in the past to catch up with the entire week’s news, and I would read almost anything except sports and money, somehow these 2 don’t excite me that much. Therefore this explains the length of today’s journal, cos so much needed to be penned down.

Read about the slaves in the brick kiln, read about how some people survived with US$2 a day. And then I read about space travel possible soon, costing one about $300 000 per ride into space yesterday. How disparate 2 lifestyles that can co-exist in this world, where on one extreme, people are living in abject poverty, while a few are spending millions on seemingly crazy pursue. Lives seem of no purpose in the first situation, when humans are treated like working robots. It reminded me of a question I did ask myself when I was a kid while watching all those Chinese kungfu drama, how people killed one another, especially in scenes where there was a war going on, how all the soldiers who were dying in the background became seemingly just props for the story, didn’t they too if in real history, had families, where each of them meant a great deal to someone, yet why was it that they became so common and just one in so many here in the small screen? Isn’t everyone in this life remains forever dear, unique to another individual, be it one’s parents, friends and most of all, our Shepherd? (Think too much lah!)

Then I went on to read my favourite sections of the papers, Life! And Saturday. somehow both touches on a hyper sensitive topic to me, architecture, one that can evoke much talk from me, so here it goes. En bloc and iconic buildings were the 2 topics. In the last 6 years working in this field, interesting enough, I have actually touched on situations related to them, just before I left my job. I would say it is a really sad thing to begin with, buildings were thought to be built to last a lifetime? Yet now, building stands for 10 years and it is time to be torn down. (Perhaps that is why I really didn’t want to do condominium design anymore?) Gone were the days of those childish dreams of an architect of building something that last? Architecture has become a style, a fashion statement? I thought buildings were for the betterment of mankind, to create a space to engage, hold a dialogue, evoke feelings, and possibly improve human lives. And the idea of iconic buildings? I have seen the Beijing’s new grand theatre from afar in my last trip, and to be honest, I am not at all impressed. Iconic without a story is an empty shell. Perhaps my ideal sounds childish still, good design should have an engaging story, a deep-thinking process involved, and the beauty came forth as a result, this I saw in the beautiful Temple of Heaven, Tabernacle of Moses, in them nothing redundant, everything oozes with meanings and symbolism. I have never produced a work of such caliber so who am I to be a critic of others? (Only in Him will that be possible in my life.) Paiseh…. Perhaps the Jewish Museum in Berlin would have come close, though I have never been there myself (wish to go one day)… and anyway… the registration is full for the Daniel Libeskind’s talk this coming week, before I even had a chance to register!!! Sob! (I must have been too “bitter” of not getting a place and therefore become such a critic!) Who would offer me a seat to attend? Help, Daddy God!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Painting . Architecture . Cartoon . Change . My Shepherd

Painting is a passion, Architecture is my rice bowl, Cartoon is my dream, but the Lord Shepherd is my All.

Life’s dilemma entails a great deal in decisions. Everyday, we are challenged almost at any instance, to make decisions, some are harmless, some constitute great impact to our future while others create no small impact to others. Be it deciding what to eat for lunch, shall we watch this movie or that, what shall I do next, this project or another, shall I take up this job or not, shall I accept the Lord’s offer of salvation, etc, they are decisions we have to make at one point or another, some may have great consequences.

The 1st real painting since I started my working career, has finally finished yesterday, after a week of fulltime painting (with OT but done willingly), now in the touching up process. Looking back, I only painted twice for myself, once close to the turn of the year 2000, and the other one, now. Those I did in school were mainly to fulfill school’s requirement, and in fact, I was doing more designing than painting in the past since my secondary school days. I realize only recently that I actually quite like still life, and composition of different methodology of presenting an artwork, and I didn’t know I can actually paint quite well…(boasting here), that my Daddy God has actually given me a gift that I hardly use all my life… At least not too late in discovering it now…

Architecture to me is still a love-hate relationship, though through the years, the Lord has helped to dissipate the hate aspect more and more, and love for it has increased at a very fast pace. To be honest, designing is not 2nd nature to me, it seems that I always have to go through a process of deep quietness, a pondering process, even at times struggle, almost to the extend of needing to seek the Lord for breakthrough each time, and perhaps it was precisely because of this, there arised a “dislike” of it, as everything seemed so unsure, yet it makes me ever so dependent upon the Lord, as only through architecture, can I see I am nothing without the Lord. Yet the satisfaction when the idea drops from above, is beyond words.

Drawing cartoon is a dream I had as a child, seeing my brother drew cartoons at the corner of his book and flipping it quickly always amazed me, and Walt Disney (the person) is always an inspiration to me. To produce cartoon be it in the form of a book or even a movie (dreaming still) that captivates the human heart is a dream… For cartoon unlike art found only in museum and gallery, is a layman’s art, that anyone can relate to, and this is what I really love, I call it art for the simple folks, cos I am also simple.

Now in the process of in between jobs. I have difficulty deciding the next step, indeed… I have. To be honest, I am afraid, as I didn’t want to be trapped in the mindless attempt of struggling to keep up with the schedules in work anymore, all seems so vain and crazy, the rush, the datelines, the occasional “rejections”, abortive works, now that I am out of the picture, I can see it objectively. Change, is it possible in this line? Can Architecture be to me a hobby rather than a rice bowl? All things are possible with God.

Amid all these, a decision... only the Lord knows the next step… He leads me beside still waters, He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake… Meanwhile, I am still in indulgence… Selah.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Beginning of Baa & Meow?

Been feeling great recently, and I mean GREAT! For the past few weeks, I have finally started the engine of my train, to start doing what I have been wanting to do during this “sabbatical break”, that is to draw and paint. I am having such great fun in my time of solitude, and I am still in the midst of it! I had almost forgotten what it was like to paint, and even forgot the fact that I can actually paint!!! When was the last time I decently paint a painting, except those small ones I did for this blog, it could be more than 5 years ago? In fact, I am really thankful to God that this blog has spurred me on to draw again, a hobby that I love very much. It has become a tool to express and a tool to encourage, especially myself.

Painting to me has a strange therapeutic effect, it has the ability to relax my mind, and I really enjoy the process, of mixing colours, painting on the canvas, standing back to check proportion and colour, etc. I am thankful to my Shepherd for giving me the ability to draw and paint, and most of all, for using this to teach me to rest, and also it has no agenda attached as I truly have no one to impress this time round except perhaps myself!

The truth is I may have finally rested quite a bit recently, somehow I caught myself with “heightened ability” to notice the unnoticeable and small sudden spur of inspirations here and there, to see things which I don’t normally do. For the past week, being alone, having to visit the neighbourhood to get lunch, dinner and papers, I started noticing my estate, my neighbours, my surrounding, and I felt so blessed. One of them is my neighbour’s cat. (Remember I mentioned about my neighbour’s cat?) You would never know that it has in fact become a source of inspiration to me.

One day as I was going out of my flat to run an errand, I saw my neighbour’s cat, lying lazily along the corridor, looking out through a gap in the parapet wall. It is having a great time of its own, I pondered. At that moment, I was actually jealous of it (fancy the fact that a human being is envious of a cat?), it does not need to worry about the next meal or to find a job to stay alive, and it is so well fed, having all the time in the world to play! I was then reminded that I am in a better position that it, as I am the prized possession of my Shepherd. Selah.

I realized several times my inspiration comes while I am having my shower, and this happened again today. I had an idea of a comic strip which can run for a long period of time coming to me in that instant, “Baa & Meow”, the enmity between the lamb and the cat living within the same estate! Cool! So this is it! I have started on the draft for the cat, searching for the perfect cat image to match my lamb. Please vote, pals, bearing in mind how my lamb always look!

Having so many things I want to do, and in fact I am kept pretty busy almost everyday, drawing, painting, learning new software, reading etc etc, I am also already experiencing haven! This to me is really enjoying life, no need to spend much, yet so fulfilling and feel so enriched everyday. I am excited, having so many things to do and to learn… hope you too have an enriching week ahead! Cheers, pals!

(A friend commented that I look so relaxed recently, the "tense" look has slowly dissipated, all thanks to God for inventing the principle of rest! And also thanks to all my dear friends and loved ones out there, for the past few weeks, I have been reminded by them to think about asking for copyright and even publishing my comic in the physical world and not in virtual world, I will start to look into this seriously. But the Lord has to open the door for me, please pray for great favour for me then in this area, actually I am totally blur as to how to proceed with this, although I say I will start looking at it seriously.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Home Alone . 5000 Hits

Been pretty busy since. Celebrated my XX birthday over the period of last week, simple, cosy get together times with family and friends. This week is perhaps one of those rare weeks that I am alone at home for 5 days, as my mom and brother are away. Having to do a little housework which otherwise I would not be bothered, so that I can at least survive, like boiling water for self-consumption, watering the plants, prepare some simple meals if I am too lazy to go out to get my food.

Despite the fact that I have spent quite a bit of time drawing since the past week, I have done none for the blog.... therefore this explains the above, a collage combining 2 past works.... just felt this deserves an illustration to celebrate the 5000 hits mark and yet I had little time to draw one. Thanks to all friends who have supported this blog. There are simply so many things I want to do in this month. For example, to learn (self-study) to do some simple web design and to publish one perhaps to earn some profit, to paint a painting for myself to mark a new beginning (still conceptualizing), to draw a dream I have been cherishing for the past year, started on this, but the task is quite daunting, and it has been a long time since I really, seriously draw, as in DRAW.... Time is so precious!
So I wouldn't be writing too much, time to switch off my mind now for a little TV entertainment... Tomorrow is a brand new day with new inspiration from the Lord! Cheers!