Saturday, December 13, 2008

seeing it real!?!

2008 is at it's closing stage and I need to catch up the remaining days of the year writing post for blog...this is a smart and polite excuse after a very long lethargic rest as a blogger!...

This year has been a great voyage as an artist and as a lover of all things beautiful as I've seen some of the the great works of Art done by emerging artist and Grand masters right before my eyes...

I have been to a number of Art Galleries, Museum's and Art Installation areas this year and every milieu that I've catch sight of reminds me of how dynamic and vibrant is the Art scene inside Singapore. From Southeast Asian Art to Indian Art to Chinese Art to Japanese to Western Art ... name it!...the small island can sing its own praises!....However, it's not a big joke going around to this places as you need to have a good pair of shoes to roam around.... in my case, i used slippers seeing that its easy and callus free!...terrible rhyme! .. if only, shoe mogul and Art connoisseur Imelda Marcos is still young she would definitely pick not a high heels but a Havaianas instead.

The highlight of the finest artwork I've seen was the statue of the Greek god Aries (the picture shown above). It is a part of a collection of Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre Museum in France exhibited at the Singapore National Museum last February.... by looking at the sculpture you can almost feel the blood rushing through his naked body...his skin is soft and his physique can put any famous alive male supermodel into shame.... his anatomy is perfect as I explored every inch of his body...his timeless emotions captivates all visitors....showing a postcard grin from an ancient Greek civilization....his youthfulness was preserved in marble for more than 2,000 years...indescribable feeling!...who ever is the sculptor of Aries in the past was surely a Gifted and very learned man!....a single day at the museum was not enough.....i went back the following day, savoring the moment again.

Trivia: The museum uses BCE (before the Common Era)when showing a period of the sculpture instead of BC (before Christ)as stated by the curator as they want to be politically correct.

Another piece was a sculpture by Salvador Dali at the heart of the business district stands an installation in black polished metal...I'm not quite sure of the medium but it really stands like a sentinel of an empire...its huge, massive and dynamic...its a jaw dropping site!....i made a sketch of it...a way of having a Dali...

With the all the artworks, my thirst for knowledge of Art grew more stronger...and seeing it real is close as the beat of my heart......a great year of exposure to my passion.....I'm excited for next year of what lies ahead, of what piece will I see...who knows if it might be a sculpture of Ramses or an artifact from the Forbidden City .....and I wish to see a Picasso or perhaps a Van Goh?.

Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Tea please!

The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration - all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup - ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. ~Lu Tung, "Tea-Drinking"

My fascination for Tea begun in the early years of my life. The reason about this magnetism on the subject of Tea is not in relation to the healthy benefits that I may get hold of but the inspiration in the Art of Tea making and Tea appreciation itself....

I remember my Mom used to brew some herbal plants like Guava leaves (
Psidium guajava L.) , Mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana L.) peel or bark of trees to treat an upset stomach or to aid digestion and all other medicinal value it may give. . . I was a kid then... and drinking that concoction makes me more sick than healed. . . . Gee! it was like drinking a liquid close to a poison because of its bitter taste. . . but it was in the making of that Herbal Tea when I then started to appreciate its value. The steam that comes out from the pot, putting the leaves in it up to the pouring of that golden colored liquid plus the fine aroma that could set your mood into meditation. . .It is poetry in motion!... It is Art.

Four years ago, I found this book about Tea in a coffee shop in
Cebu and it opens my knowledge about Tea's, a Pandora's box of Tea chronicles!...

Legend has it that, Tea was accidentally discovered in China ar
ound 2737 B.C. by a servant when a tea leaf blew at a cup of a hot water. That time water was always boiled for hygienic reasons, he then served it to his master Chinese Emperor Shen Nung and he too was enchanted by the refreshing taste and aroma of Tea and everyone followed. The beverage caused sensations around the world when the British colonized the Orient and introduced Tea to the rest of the world. It then became the worlds second most famous drink - next to water. Countless economies around the world spread out and tremendous forms of Art pieces sprout such as porcelain pots, Tea house's, garden, food, fireworks and gambling as well as literature emerged - all because of Tea.

The J
apanese has the world's strictest etiquette when it comes to Tea Ceremony......etc.. I was having an information overload and since then I became a Tea enthusiast.....

I go by at this small Tea
shop in Neil Road with a facade of perfectly preserved Peranakan Architecture....... I can't remember the name of the shop since it was written in Chinese characters..... I was greeted by an attendant who speaks nothing but Chinese....I don't understand a single word but the attendant keeps on talking like a chirping bird....but her face exudes a wide knowledge about Tea....and then she offered me a cup of hot Tea..Jasmine tea i guess....... Inside was a sanctuary of remarkably 40 different kind of Tea's from different parts of the world. The interior reminds me that of an old world Chinese dwelling that I've seen in films, with soft calm and soothing music in the background....

With all the things that I've seen inside there's one corner designated for the pictures of Queen Elizabeth II in one of her visits to Singapore.....she looks powerful just by sipping a cup of tea....Oh God!.... she visits that tea shop?!..I wondered who among other famous faces visited there......that place has carve a niche in the Lion city's history.
I feel so healthy just by looking all the merchandise.... overall? was pleasant experience very enchanting.

Aside from its benefits , Tea can make us feel highly develop and sophisticated....We can build alliances and bridge friendships and have fine and excellent conversations over a cup of Tea.......with that I'll end my story this afternoon with a cup of Tea.....more Tea please! (in fine British accent!).

Above: "Cupp'a Tea" Mat Watercolor 9 x 12" 2004 Angela P. Barbaso Collection
Middle and Below: Part of the series of drawings about Tea 11 x 14" Squid Ink

Thursday, November 20, 2008

History unveiled

If history has the power to repeat itself, it also has its sway to revise its story and make it more fascinating, beguiling...and yet even more Romantic!

It was April of 2000 when I spent my summer break in Sindangan, a town about 2 hours drive south of Dipolog. That summer has no difference from the previous years that I've visited the small family land. . . too small to dig for artifacts!.

Bird watching, trekking or swimming in the river was one of the main interest the place has to offer; not to mention those tropical fruits and coconut juice all waiting to quench your thirst and satisfy your appetite... the place is purely organically agricultural!...truly exotic and marvelous, until I've took part of planting corn seeds and fighting the scorching heat of the sun. . . Indeed, I was really a son of a proud farmer!

Traditionally, planting corn is a meticulous task. Digging the soil is almost a rythm. By accident, we uncovered broken pieces of blue and white porcelain while digging, until we found out that the whole place was almost littered by those indigo to cerulean blue color against the alabaster white glazed pieces.... my jaw cannot move of what i saw!...

I made a study...

Originally, the place was inhabited by the "Subanens" a tribe of the entire Zamboanga peninsula. Known a the "river people", historically, they traded with the Chinese long before the presence of the Spanish Conquistadores. . . probably around the Ming dynasty period wherein China almost ruled the entire continent in terms of importing porcelain jars including the Philippines. Its a vow of two great cultures!

Based on the accounts of the locals, the place was a settlement area of the tribe, a burial grounds or it could be a ceremonial site, a place for tribal council or whatever that is.... history was unveiled out there!...

I decided to incorporate the artifacts into one of my paintings ( the picture shown aboved) copied the motiffs, characters and prints (of poor caligraphic brushstrokes) in the foreground and the colors of the tribal dress and stitching of the Subanens in the background to form into an Abstract painting. . .

At present, after 8 years I've met a friend in Singapore who happens to be an artist and at the same time a lover for all Chinese antiquities, and she explained of what she saw at the upper left corner of the broken porcelain was a Chinese character for a man and a woman - a character for Marriage.

The Painting is in itself a product of study, a product of passion for history, a product of two great cultures. The painting unveils the story of affection, of love, of romance. . . the painting is History itself!

The Painting was renamed 8 years after it was made. It is now in its private collection of the Artist.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Painting lost forever?!

It was the year 2001, that i presented my work for public viewing. . . and that was the first and the last time the painting was seen in public... what is was thought to be an imprint of (my) soul as an artist was taken away in view.... forever?!

Who would thought that at that time an amateur artist who dreams that his work be recognized and make it known at the opening of an art exhibit... and it was.... it was was sold to a woman named Shiela Solon. . . . God where is she now?!

"Pamasin" - a group exhibit by University of the Philippines - Cebu Fine Arts Students and Alumni and it was organised by the Luna Gallery (no longer existing today).. also, it was held at the former Mezanine hall (now the Duty Free area - lobby) at the Cebu Waterfront hotel in Lahug, Philippines.

As a juvenile in the Arts arena at that time, the feeling of having your painting sold at the opening of an was extremely overpowering! the exhibit can be paralleled to that of joining a auction attended by the highest echelons of society (to exaggerated!) or like an athlete running not for gold but running to beat a world record imaginably!

Until now everything was still clear to me at that time........rage?!.. no!..

As the exhibit was formally opened... i stand beside my painting trying to entertain and answers questions to whoever wants to take a glimpse of my artwork.... until, suddenly a Woman by that name stated above approached and asked anticipication of, she announced to buy the painting!... Holy Ghost!... its Sold!.... and the organisers put a Sold mark at the top right area of the painting. We took photos of the painting, me and the organisers and of course the new owner of the artwork... for sure, the documentations of that exhibit are still kept today..... if I may try to dig it....

The arrangement was, the painting will be paid and to be claimed after the exhibit ends for a month,.... we exhanged contact details (no emails yet at that time - i regret!) and she'll be the one to fetch the painting and contact me for the bill.......i waited until month ends.

Also at that time (around February, 2001), I was busy finishing a number of paintings intended for another group exhibit as part of a project completion for that school year.....Busy! ... extremely busy!.... its normal if your a Fine Arts disciple.. you may never forget an oil paint than food and time...but spare red horse please!... its the solvent for every artist dead or alive.......

So, time has come ive contacted the woman who "bought" the painting.....i was greeted by her tremendous reasons that she doesnt want the painting ..... and stated that she only reserved the painting and she never bought it......reserved, bought, sold or whatever conditions I was stunned!.... i don't know how to react..... and the phone conversation was cut at that time as she said that she is leaving for Thailand.... catching her flight..... all my neurons shuts down!

For all I know....time has passed by so quickly, so quickly that I wasn't able to attend the egress of the Pamasin exhibit....... i wasnt able to keep track of the painting..... i didn't get a chance to ask the management of the hotel about the painting.......... i was lost!...

Was it a negligence?.....or someone must be pointed on this?....... i dont know!......

The last information about the painting that it was hanged at the west side lobby at the hotel as seen by a friend of mine who is also an artist herself....

Almost a decade had passed by still no news about the the Painting lost forever?!

The picture above is an original study of the lost painting which was completed in year 2001. The lost painting is part of a series of paintings made in 2001.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

for the love of art

for non - artist, Art for them is almost valuable, precious and very a expensive thing, some view it as a commodity and for the common people they would simply say that it is only for the well heeled society..... it is deep,

i would definitely say, that art is in the genes....... genes from our distant ancestors who first painted the caves, who gathered animal bones, extracting animal fat and pounded pigments of plants to produce natural dye and
started to paint abstract forms on the walls of ancient caves.

from the dawn of history our ancestors view art as part of their lives or they don't have idea that they were already producing Art . It is embedded in their day to day activity. in their lives and in their culture itself...... they produced forms and shapes that can be both functional and aesthetic..... and they mastered their skills.... and from then on it turned to become a talent....

As time goes on, countless forms of art emerged as a product of acquiring the very good genes from the humble ancestors........I, myself has a share of those precious genes. I'm proud to say that. and with that, I've been producing drawings and sketches at an early age until i finished the Fine Arts at a University.

before entering the fine Arts i have know idea how broad Art is.... how wide its scope and how vast is the meaning of it.... this must be the reason why people view it as only for the rich and those who can afford it.... but instead, i make art for my satisfaction; just by holding the pencil and began to produce shapes, forms and harmoniously arranged it to make a visual feast...... i think its the same characteristic that i got from those unknown ancestors who used to gather what are available and abundant things in the environment and produce Art.

but Art comes in different disciplines, in music, dance, love, sex, religion etc..........Art is something you produced, admired and be appreciated......Art is in us.... its in our genes.... waiting to be unleashed....