Saturday, 29 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #5: Focus, Focus, Focus

Well, I must admit that I have been acting like a famished octopus for the past week, trying to savor everything I held in each persistent tentacle. And what do I get at the end from doing that? Feeling like an absolute fool, because nothing got done and eventually the only thing I ended up doing was to slow down and tend to them one by one. Yeah, serves me right, I say.

I realize that one of the snags of working in the creative field is when you come to the moments when multiple ideas burst altogether, trying to get your attention while you are, as usual, very short on time. The trouble is, if you tried to get one thing done, the others start screaming and begging for you to work on them. So what is a girl to do? Well, maybe next time I'll wear earplugs. (^_^)

Anyway, this was supposed to be my submission for Illustration Friday's Dusty. Late, I know, but better than never, right?

Dusty The Chimney Sweep, acrylics on paper

Meet Dusty. He's a poor and humble little chimney sweep who is about to embark on a new adventure in a world he's never seen before. Dusty here, is part of a new project I'm kicking myself to focus on and while the other ideas are still screaming on top of their lungs, I'm trying my best to focus on this little man. So wish me loads of luck with this one!

Have a good weekend, Amalia, oxox

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Luna The Long Forgotten Witch

So it's Sunday here. Time to grab the broom and duster for a little house clean up. I heard the boxes under the stairways whispering my name, so I had no choice but to roll up my sleeves and dive in. As I opened up the first box, I stumbled across a book. It was a book I made for a studio assignment during my second or third year in college a million years ago, and I couldn't help but smile as I read the title, Luna Si Penyihir Kecil, which in English means Luna the Little Witch. Written and illustrated by yours truly!

It's about a young witch who wanted to give her mother a surprise birthday cake. But because she was still learning her magical skills, her noble intention turned into somewhat of a catastrophe.

Here are some pages from the book... Note how it was actually bound using ring binders. Of all things!!

Discovering this precious souvenir of my past, I realized that this was actually the last time I had drawn or painted a witch as an actual artwork. Would you believe it? I don't know why I haven't done so in years, but when I think of it, I suppose it's something I should look more into.

Anyway, with this thought in mind, you would think that it's best for me to just carry on with the cleaning? I thought that too, but noooooooooooo.... I had to rush to my drawing table and paint a witch! Naturally.

Luna The Long Forgotten Witch, acrylics on paper
What do you think? I'd like to think that she is Luna, my long forgotten little witch. Of course, these days she's more than capable to zap up a birthday cake all by herself! Probably good enough to cater her own annual witch bash too! :)

And what about my cleaning? You might wonder. Well, there's always another Sunday...

Happy Sunday, Amalia, oxox

PS: Luna is available as 6"x8" Open Edition Print at my shop. I hope you like her! And just a little information for you, all my Limited Edition Prints are ON SALE until the end of January...another week to go! :)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #4: Originality is Golden Commodity (IF - Chicken)

I don't know if you'd agree with me, but these days I see art as a vast market with diverse sellers and buyers. Who ever said first that artists are doomed to live in poverty is probably biting their fingernails up to their elbow now! I know that success is a relatively flexible term, but be honest with yourself, would you feel the same way about entering this field, say 10 to 15 years back? Where I come from, especially when I was young, artists were equivalent to street painters who only made very little income compared to other professions. The successful ones underwent the same phase and typically found their fame in later years. I myself had a hard time having my parents to agree putting me to college and study art. Their skepticism was bitter and it haunted me for many years to come.

So what do you do to excel in the new world of art? I've been asking myself that very question every single day and one thing that keeps staring me right in the face is "originality". It's definitely one tall tree to climb because with the open realm of internet, you can view artists' work from A to Z and back, allowing ideas to run free from one corner of the world to another. Hence, the "right-click", and saved for inspiration. Not that it's a crime to look for inspiration, but sometimes too many can muddle up your mind and lead your imagination astray to all sorts of direction. Often, making you to lose focus, like I've done so many times before.

If you're familiar with Illustration Friday, you'll understand my point exactly about the obstacles of trying to be original. Especially when the set theme is an unglamorous, ordinary and plain word such as "chicken" (yes, bockbockbwockkk!). So anyway, this is my attempt and the process of creating it. I don't know about being original, but I sure had fun imagining it!

Left - the black and white graphite drawing as a start
Right - the finished acrylic painting

The finished work after a little digital touch up. The Traveling Companion, mixed mediums

Well, I hope you enjoyed my rambling this time. Hopefully it gives all of us something to think about the next time we face that blank piece of paper!

Hugs, Amalia, oxox

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sweetly Fragranced, From Me to You

If you remembered my last post on creating ACEOs, you'll know how much these little pieces of art have changed my perspectives completely. Of course, after that I now spend more time creating them because it turned out that it's a really good way of exercising my skills in refining details and compositions. Well, there's always room to grow and improve, don't you think?

These are my recent ACEOs. They're inspired mostly by the Inspiring Word of the month I'm using in my other blog.

Lily, 2.5"x3.5", acrylics on paper

Iris, 2.5"x3.5", acrylics on paper

 Rose, 2.5"x3.5", acrylics on paper

 Daisy, 2.5"x3.5", acrylics on paper


I'd like to think that each girl represents the characters of each flower...what do you think? Have I at least nudged it a little? :)

Well, I hope you like them. They're all available in my shop, spreading lovely fragrances among their fellow artworks!

Hugs, Amalia, oxox

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #3: Make Promises and Carry Them Out

Hey there sweet people! How are you settling into 2011? Do you have promises still waiting to be carried out? Any requests you've agreed to that still stubbornly hide inside your pockets? Well, I have a few of those! Last year, I agreed to do a drawing for Jenny May from The Swede Records. Long overdue as it was, you can now see my drawing on her super delightful blog. If you've been there before, I'm sure you know the kind of fun loving thing she has going with her man. At least that's what I sensed when I visited her for the first time. It's always nice to step into a world where you feel so welcomed as with Jenny's. So many smiles and laughter in all her posts!

Partners in Love, 8x10, acrylics and tea stains

Well, as you can see, I'm still pretty much in the vintage mood. I now have this craving to smudge, stain, splatter, tear and wrinkle! I'm sure it's a pretty common thing with artists during the beginning of the year to adopt a new addiction? Yes? :)) As usual, this one just made it into my shop.

Anyway, back to promises... Want to know something I'm very lousy at? Passing on awards!! My deepest apologies, I just never seem to have the time. But that of course will have to change. At least I'll do my best. So huge thank yous to Yeevon and Sara Lynn for giving me the Stylish Blog Award!

Now to share 7 things about me...

  • I cherish my first sip of hot coffee in the wee hours of the morning. Usually around 3-4 am!
  • Breakfast menus are my favorite. I would have them 3 times a day if I had my way.
  • I can never keep a sketchbook. They either mysteriously disappear or make their way to my girl's desk for her own use.
  • I have watched The Sound of Music more than 50 times in my life. Gotta love those puppets they played!!
  • When I was little, I once adopted an old, mangy, tattered looking cat off the street and named him Timmy, whom I loved adoringly.
  • I'm very good with visual memories but very bad at remembering dates and year.
  • One place I'm fanatically dying to see is Santorini in Greece.

And to pass the awards to some deliciously stylish blogs:

Anne of El Milagro Studio: Little Miracles of Art
Rossichka of Out of the Shell
Heidi of Art Journal of Heidi Alamanda
Faerwillow of ~Serendipity~
Ann Marie of My Dog is a Pancake
Cecilia of doodle doodle dum dum
Katherine of Katherine Thomas Art
Yasmin of Mundo Mundaca

There. Promises carried out as intended. And it sure feels good! Well, I have the same award passed on to my other blog, and you're welcome to read about it there. Have an inspiring weekend, friends!

Hugs to you,

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #2 : Memories Are Treasures Worth Saving

I have been carrying on with life recently, just running and doing, that blogging became somewhat neglected. I suppose the beginning of the year is always a rush and work is already pulling me to scurry along. Do you ever feel that life seems to be moving a pace faster and you constantly look back, afraid that you might have missed something? Well, I have been feeling like that ever since my daughter first went to school in kindergarten. I don't know, maybe motherhood makes your biological clock ticks louder and you can hear it tick-tocking in the back of your head. Makes a pretty good reason to just slow down and watch my children create their memorable moments.

It just so happened that I came across this picture the other day. Yes, that little girl is me, stuffing myself with a very curious sort of snack. And the boy is my older brother, who was a friend and a foe back then, all in a loving sort of way. Take no notice of his unbuttoned shirt and opened fly! Makes you wonder about the kind of things he was up to those days... Well, this is one of the very rare tokens I have of my early childhood. Sadly, I don't think my parents were the photographing type, so most pictures I have as a child are the embarrassing ones my siblings took when we were older. Which I'm afraid will never grace the walls of this blog! (^_^)

Later on that day, I created these paintings, inspired by the two little birds in my life... and both are available in my Etsy shop.

 The Philosopher, 4x6", acrylics and tea stains on paper

The Clown, 4x6", acrylics and tea stains on paper

So with all the flashbacks and memories flowing in, I realized that time can, in fact, stand still. All I have to do is slow down and just sit quietly as I watch every little thing marvels around me. After that, life will carry on as before, but I'll always have my chest full of treasured memories.

I'm sure your chest is as full as mine.



Monday, 3 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #1: Small is Often Bigger Than It Seems, So Look Closer

Ten long years have passed since we entered the year 2000. Looking at it that way, I can't help but think about all the leaps and stumbles that have brought me where I am today. What kind of advice would I give myself this time, when I can still see repetitions in my long list of resolutions? Here I am again, reenacting my previous attempts to make myself a better and hopefully wiser person. So, good luck to me.

Well, one of my biggest flaws, I'm afraid, is the tendency to underestimate the tiny details in many things. I've always focused more on "the bigger picture" than I need to, especially in my own work. For instance, I've never quite understood why some artists dedicate their time to creating such small scale original art like ACEOs. Prints I can understand, but originals? Why bother? But then something tickled my curiosity when I saw the delicate pretty little cards my friend Lauren had created. So I set out on a quest...

After several unsuccessful attempts, a few crumpled papers and oodles of erasing, I watched these two sketches with blurry vision in amazement. How small they were compared to my other sketches and yet, it took me twice as much time to make just one!!

And now the next trick was to have them painted without losing my patience completely... or better yet, my sanity!!

...and I was, at the end, proven guilty as charged for my lack of appreciation in these small things. I realize now that size can be misleading, and it's good advice to always experience before passing out judgements. So here they are, the fruit of my labor, Ophelia and Marian. They will be reminders of a lesson learned.

Both are available in my Etsy shop.

Sunshine kisses to all of you!