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.

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. ♥

Urban Sketchers Kyusi – Banawe Sketch Crawl

Finally, we are now at 2023 posts! The first one is about Urban Sketchers QC‘s first sketch crawl of the year at Banawe street in celebration of Chinese New Year. I went with Hannah on this one! They closed off the area at Banawe street corner Quezon Ave. They had food stalls, a stage, and decorated the place:

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I really liked the red lanterns. It was also the first time I actually got to admire the arch. If I remember correctly, they made this as a Filipino-Chinese friendship arch. We painted at a building nearby where there were a lot of policemen. I painted the arch:

Since there was still enough time, I painted my left view as well. I really loved painting those lanterns and the red tent. Below is our selfie after finishing our paintings:

After the activities were over, we met up with the other urban sketchers and did the usual latagan. All of them were soooo good!

We went home afterwards. Look forward to more USK QC event posts here. We were active this year with this group. ♥

Urban Sketchers Kyusi – UP Diliman

The last event of the 2022 is with USK QC at UP Diliman. Hannah and Shine were not able to join, but Kathleen (@deartoourhearts) was! She’s one of my botanical art friends in instagram, and apparently Aira’s classmate from high school. What a small world! We met up at UP Diliman, Sunken Garden.

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I’ve visited UP Diliman a number of times before. This is where Inggo spent half of his life. He also accompanied me that day as a moral support/body guard lol. He was supposed to jog but changed his mind. When we met up with Kath, we spent our first painting session near the benches. We tried painting the whole sunken garden. I hated my fist painting HAHAHA.

It started to rain so we looked for cover. I found a cluster of birds of paradise under the pavilion area and started painting those. I really liked this one because I got to do negative space painting. My talented friend started another painting, this time she painted the library:

Then it was latag time! Sadly didn’t get some pictures. I had a lot of fun that day. Inggo and I walked all the way to Maginhawa after. Plein air and landscape art isn’t really my thing I’m still game for future events! I think that I’ll learn something from joining more of this type of events.

PGW On the Spot Painting Competition

I mentioned before that PGW Convention is a whole month long event. I participated in the online on the spot still life painting competitions. It started in the morning until noon. The camera needed to be turned on, facing toward me while I’m painting.

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We were given numerous reference photos of the still life set-up. It was up to us on how will we interpret or express the composition of our artworks. I painted in portrait and focused on the leaves. What an experience. It was a continuous painting session that lasted for 3 to 4 hours. I was tired physically and mentally afterwards. But what an experience! Will definitely attend again.