Urban Sketchers Kyusi – Taal

One of our most memorable trips this year was with Urban Sketchers Kyusi at Taal town, Batangas. In celebration of the 450th anniversary of Taal, the municipal government invited USK QC to “Guhit ng Pamana“, a sketch walk of the heritage houses during their El Pasubat festival. The heritages houses were all open for viewing. This was a delight for us interior designers (Hannah and I).

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Hannah and I weren’t supposed to go actually. But when they said that the budget for the weekend trip was around 3.5k per person, it wouldn’t really put a dent on our wallets, so we went. Inggo was also there to accompany us but he slept all day at the hotel. Some sketchers opt for the day tour and went home after all of the activities. We booked a hotel named Paradores del Castillo for us three. We’re also thankful that USK QC rented a van so the travel time was smooth sailing. The photo below was one of the first architectural elements we found at Taal. Beautiful wrought iron gate!

We first had a brief introduction of the Taal town at the second floor of the city hall. They provided some local snacks – the one below is called tamales (but not the Mexican kind!). It was really good. The coffee they provided was barako coffee – also known as the liberica variant of coffee beans known in Batangas. We immediately asked the staff where could we buy this. They said they just bought it at the nearby palengke.

After that was sketching time! The photo above is my first painting for the day. This is Casa Maria near the plaza. Take note that we had around 16 heritage houses that we could visit and sketch. Hannah and I liked the striking blue color of the windows and the upper part of the house. We only had a few hours to finish to sketch because we had our first latag at Escuela Pia – the Taal Cultural center. This was also the venue for lunch. They served us local specialties for lunch – specifically tawilis. 

Above is a photo of the largest church in the Philippines – the Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours, also known as the Taal Basilica. We did not get to view the interior as there was a wedding. The rest of the day, Hannah and I explored the town with the other sketchers. We got to tour the Diokno ancestral house and managed to sketch the exterior at the karinderia in front of it. Mine was not perfect, I only noticed it after the photo.

A funny moment during this sketching session was when we managed to attract the attention of the locals. They were intently watching us and some even did a blow-by-blow of the painting process. They also said some morbid jokes, that some houses are haunted because someone was stabbed by a balisong. We heard that a lot on this trip HAHA.

As an interior designer I really appreciated the preservation of the heritage houses. We have so much culture that needs to be protected. We had our second latag of the day at a museum, then went back to the city hall after. All sketchers received a balisong from the local government. How cool is that?! After that, we went back to our respective hotels to rest. We had dinner at Don Juan Boodle House. Everything was delicious here!

Above – is the the second floor of our hotel. These are just displays of Philippine furniture. Sitting was not allowed sadly. Below – after our delicious breakfast and our trip to the palengke for pasalubong shopping, we still had time before our meetup with the van group. Hannah wanted to sketch another house, this was Villavicencio house. I didn’t bring any art materials this time around, but Hannah lent me hers anyway. So I had no choice but to sketch!

I really liked this house and the white bougainvilleas in their garden. Would have loved to see the interior but sadly it was closed on Sunday.

I only had one photo of our latag session and it was blurry! But most of the photos and artworks are available at Urban Sketchers Quezon City IG page. I could say this is one of my highlights of the year – travel, sketching, culture, food. I loved everything about it. Hoping that we could go back again next year so we could sketch the rest of the houses.

Holy Week Art Camp

Holy week was scheduled on the week of my birthday. I took a leave on my day and decided to paint for the rest of the holidays. I remembered that I haven’t watched most of PGW’s 5th National Convention videos on FB. So I decided to do my penance and finally watch and learn from the masters. This is one of the benefits if you join the convention – you’ll get lifetime access to the videos so you could look back and rewatch if you want to. 

I would not judge the quality of these paintings, nor compare it to the masters. I know these are my first attempts, and they should be celebrated because I tried something new. You wouldn’t always be the best on your first try. 

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Above – Frank Liao Xiao Ping Demo’s on Florals. I really liked his loose way of painting. He wanted to show the flow of the subject and not focus on the details. I tried my best – I even used masking fluid to protect the whites. I think I did good. The portrait painting is my paint along piece from Dan Macapugay’s Demo. Portraits are my weakness, I haven’t learned anatomy properly, and just relied on feeling most of the time. The face looks wonky as I wanted to paint this as soon as I can. I learned a lot with color mixing on this one. Now if you ask me what I learned, I’ll get back to you HAHA. ♥

Below – Rene Canlas’ Demo on Koi fish. This demo was 4 hours and 30 mins long. Lots of wonderful insights from veterans in this industry. But my attention span only lasted up to 2 hours. This would have been better I think if I used a larger paper to really capture all of the ripples and details.

Above – Yeye Calderon’s demo on landscapes. I learned the scratching and splattering techniques for the branches here. This was fun. Below – this photo is from a friend and I wanted to apply what I learned from Yeye’s demo here. Wasn’t really satisfied so I added gouache and pencils here.

Really happy with the results. This year was the 6th National Convention and guess what? I didn’t get to attend the demos again HAHA. Looks like I’ll be doing the same thing again next year! ♥

March Hiatus

I’ve been wondering about this one for a while. What triggered this hiatus? Even my Instagram post at that time was cryptic.

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So there are the paintings that I did while on hiatus on social media. Below – Waling waling orchid painted on my Etchr watercolor pad and rose paintings using my new Daniel Smith paints.

Above – Amaryllis painting requested by Ruth, an art jam painting. Below – I wanted to paint cattleyas. Did you know that cattleyas have different colors asides from white? I liked painting the frilly petals.

And then I painted food for some reason? I think I was preparing for StickerCon summer. But we didn’t get in. Looking back, I think I have an idea what my drama post was. We were “callunteered” into making the crafts for an office event. We had no choice at that time. It was a stressful month.

SW March – Watercolor Workshop by Thea Ong

I find it amusing that I’m just writing about this workshop now when I’ve emailed my resignation as club head last week. This year, the office clubs received some funding so we could hold our own events within the office. I did a survey on what topic are the members interested in – and watercolor basics was the top choice. So I asked a friend, Thea Ong, to be our workshop instructor.

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Thea Ong is a watercolor and mixed media artist, crafter, and art teacher. She’s a great art teacher that holds workshops of different subjects for all ages. I offered the workshop to all employees instead of gatekeeping this to our club members. Thea conducted the workshop online. We streamed the workshop in our office pantry for those who are in the office, while those working from home can attend the workshop via zoom.

I brought all of my watercolor sets and some watercolor paper for those in the office. Thankfully they also brought their own, mostly Prang and Seamiart sets. How nostalgic! I still keep my old prang at home. One thing that I didn’t expect on this workshop was that I was also the host. I would ask Thea questions or supplement her statements with additional info. Also, we were supposed to print the workshop materials but all of us just drafted the shapes. Just architect/interior design things. ♥

How was the workshop? It was my first time attending one as well! Thea taught us how to take care of our art materials, the basics of watercolor, some tips, and finally a workshop piece which was a landscape artwork. I think all of my members did great! They had some funny questions for Thea, one that I remembered was “What do I do if my paper already has a hole from too much water?”. Thea laughed so much on this one and suggested to please do not put a lot of water on your watercolor paper.

This was also the first workshop of all of the clubs in the office. More than 30 employees attended this one. I think it was a successful one! I got feedback from officemates that they learned a lot from that 1 hour workshop. It was a lot of fun that I actually planned the next one for May.

How time flies. I was really passionate that time for this club.

Daniel Smith launch at Art Caravan

Around March, PGW announced that Art Caravan now carries Daniel Smith, one of the watercolor brands that artists covet for. Their store is located in BGC, so we had to commute to get here. We had the chance to try out the watercolor sets from Daniel Smith in our table. I really loved the Jean Haines master artist set:

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We also participated in games, got to know more about the art store and the watercolor brand, ate some food (it was gooood!), got to chat with other PGW members, and managed to try out ALL of the Daniel Smith colors available. My wallet was ready for this event.

Look at all of the paints that you could swatch ♥.

And then there was a quiz bee about watercolor and Daniel Smith. I was grouped with 2 more people. We won because I am a watercolor nerd. Look at all of the goodies I got! ♥ I also won a Daniel Smith apron from their raffle, and I think that solidified their thought of how lucky I am with raffles. (I won around 4-5 last year).

I bought so much Daniel Smith paints. ♥ And then at home, it was the process of elimination for the reds. I wanted to replace some older paints with Daniel Smith alternates. I also wanted to switch up my custom palette to include colors that I could use for urban sketching (hence the Buff Titanium and Lunar Blue). I also got a Lunar Earth because I really liked the granulation of this one, and I thought this would mix well with my other paints.

So, was it worth it? Did it make me happy? Was my plan on using the custom palette for urban sketching successful? All of these questions have a yes as an answer. Will I buy more in the future? Maybe, if I had more money haha. I spent around 5k+ for 13 pcs of paints in 5ml and 15ml tubes. I hope to paint more, so I could buy more.

Urban Sketchers Kyusi – Retiro Sketch Crawl

Another USK QC sketch crawl – this was the March event at Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Minor Basilica at Frisco. Fun fact – I used to live nearby here! But I never knew that this was the oldest church in Quezon City.

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I initially sketched the church facade while waiting for Hannah. It was the first time that I brought my new folding stool. Really useful!

We were also allowed to sketch inside of the church. They toured us at the underground tunnel that apparently used to connect to Sto. Domingo Church. I found the atrium inside and sketched the parish’s dormitory. Really liked the capiz windows and the cast shadow from the trees.

Above – my painting vs subject photos are always blurry! Its so hard taking a picture with one hand. Below – our usual latagan. This was also the time that I got jealous of the sizes of the other artworks and promised myself I’d bring a bigger paper next time.

And that’s it! Really enjoyed this one. We also got a chance to hang out with some sketchers after the event. They told us of the April sketch crawl which was an exciting one – they were invited to Taal!

PGW Artworks

I tried to be more active in PGW this year. Every month, they have a prompt where you had to paint 5 subjects and post it in the PGW FB group. I tried. These are my February and March entries:

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Above – A rabbit for February. I used a new paper for this to test it out. I don’t remember the specific paper but it was a sampler pack from Canson. I didn’t liked it. Below – plum blossom on Canson 200gsm paper. Yup, still don’t like this one!

Above and Below – these are a mix of Feb to April entries. I really liked these ones. Especially the sunflower painting. ♥

Around April I stopped participating because my focus went to convention preparation. That’s it for this one!

Sunday Nudes

Hannah had always wanted to try out life drawing, but it was hard to look for an event like this. I already experienced this during a PGW Art Tambay before. I followed Sunday Nudes on Instagram after so I could be updated on their events. Thankfully, we were available on the weekend that they had they March event. The venue was at Art Whale – I bought a different sized Hahnehmuhle watercolor pad and a giant brush this time.

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I’m not the best at this. But at least I tried! We had 5, 10, and 15 minute poses with break time in between. I started with pencils, but was adamant on using my watercolors but I really had a hard time. The blue painting was the model’s choice and I won some stickers.

There is of course another latag session after the event. Its really cool to see all the other artist’s works and how they sketch. If I remember correctly, Hannah also won an award. Glad she had fun!

I really liked this group. Unfortunately, this was the only Sunday Nudes event we participated on. We focused more on urban sketching and conventions this year.

If you’re planning on joining a Sunday Nudes sketch, please follow their instructions on their instagram account. Its also strictly LGBTQ and ally only, which is understandable given their history. Please respect and don’t push yourself in this group if you’re a male.

Urban Sketchers Kyusi – SketQCthlab 

Another USK QC Sketch crawl, this was the February event at Quezon Heritage House Social Hall, Quezon Memorial Circle in partnership with the QC government tourism and promotions department. I mentioned before that I joined a discord group of PH artists – so I invited them to this event. Hannah also joined this one! ♥

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The first part of the event was a brush and watercolor painting workshop by one of the USK QC members – Nadja. I didn’t have a decent photo of our works there, but I remembered that Hannah was struggling with Chinese style of painting. After the workshop and demo, we were free to sketch around QC Circle using our newly acquired techniques.

Can I just say that I still suck at Urban Sketching. But! I still attended a lot of events this year because I was with friends the whole time. ♥ The photos above is my painting, plus a blurry photo with the subject HAHA. Really liked the trees here. Below is a photo of the Heritage House where we had our workshop. I would love to sketch this one in the future!

A compilation of our works ♥. The upper right one I think is made by a first timer with watercolor. The lower right one is from Mico. After that, we went back to the venue for the usual latagan of works.

Thankful that a few days after this event, the QC government bought our paintings! I appreciate that they support our local artists. ♥

Ink Sketches

Something different. Asides from watercolor, I sometimes doodle on notebooks that I could easily grab from my desk. One of these notebooks is a brown kraft notebook that I bought from Papemelroti. I use this an ink practice book on flower subjects. Sometimes straight from a pen, sometimes with pencil lines.

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I have a lot of ink pens actually. Most were from my college years that are still alive today. Some I bought from shopee, majority from seamiart. I wanted to try drawing with brush pens. The variety of lines that I could do with one pen intrigues me.

Really love the rose piece above. The three below are drawn with seamiart pens. The Chinese characters written are the pen sizes indicated in their covers.

That’s it for now! Time to photoshop again the remaining 2023 blog posts! ♥

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