PGW 6th National Convention

This post is about the preparation and the exhibit itself: September was a busy month! After painting the PaperCon commission, I painted a 15″ x 15″ watercolor painting for the PGW 6th National Convention the weekend after. It was the annual open call exhibit for PGW members.

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Of course I wanted to join! I didn’t last 2022 for reasons I cannot remember anymore. And the members are starting to remember me because I kept on winning raffles. It was time to change that! The theme for the member exhibit was Lakbay+Diwang. Travel and celebrate.

My concept was pushing itself too hard, but I really wanted it to work. Below is my artist write-up that I’m very proud of:

Banaba, scientific name Lagerstroemia speciosa, is an indigenous flowering tree native to our beloved country, the Philippines. It is also known as the “Pride of India” or “crepe myrtle” in other parts of Southeast Asia. The Philippines, as a megadiverse country, has an abundance of flora and fauna—natural wonders that I believe are needed to be represented more in our medium. This is aligned with the advocacy of Ms. Bing Famoso Tac-an, founder and current head of the Philippine Botanical Art Society, which I am also a proud member of. This group aims to showcase endemic plants of the Philippines through visual arts, specifically via botanical art painting. Our group hopes to educate and create awareness about the conservation of these indigenous flora since most of them are now endangered.
I chose Banaba as the focal point of my composition because it was one of the first flowers I encountered outside when it was safer to go out during the pandemic. I wanted to show through my work that we have a myriad of beautiful endemic plants which can be subjects to choose from aside from the more popular but foreign flower subjects like peonies, roses, sunflowers, etc. My piece is inspired by the botanical art style with a white background, a requirement for the Philippine Botanical Art Society as well as its international counterparts for portraying such works, with the aspiration of scientific accuracy to the best of my abilities.
Indeed, our local endemic fauna—Katmon, Waling-waling, Tayabak, Hoya, and, of course, Banaba (but ironically, not Calachuchi and even our own national flower, Sampaguita), among others—must be celebrated. Through painting these as subjects, one can inspire and instill the knowledge that one must simply look around, even in our urbanized Metro Manila, near our homes we live in, and all round our own barangays, to see that such beauty exists around us. What more can we see and appreciate once we travel around our own beautiful Philippines.

I was really satisfied with the details. Look at those folds! ♥ The convention kick off was also the day of the exhibit opening. I attended the convention kick off first in the morning. Inggo waited somewhere in Estancia. During the exhibit opening, my Ragnarok friends from wayyyyyyyy back came and visited! We had dinner afterwards and reminisced about the good old days.

I didn’t have any time to retrieve this painting for egress so I donated it to PGW. I sort of miss it, but I can make another one anyway! I loved the experience of being part of this community. I hope I could be a bit more active this 2024.

PaperCon – Commission

One of the most surprising experience during PaperCon was one of my customers wanted to commission me for a painting. I didn’t offer A4 prints of my works, but I’m planning on making small amounts for the next one this 2024. At first, she wanted it A4 size, then A3, and after PaperCon she wanted a 2 feet x 2 feet watercolor painting of cattleyas.

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I rarely take commissions because I’m not fond of doing them. I always offer a higher price for these. But she accepted my rates, so my weekend was spent making the painting. My usual commission process now is at follows:

  • Get all the info I need to create sketches. Offer 1 to 2 concept sketches before I start on the actual piece. Explain my materials – paper quality, watercolor quality, hence my prices. For commissions, I always use Arches 100% cotton 300gsm paper and artist grade watercolors. Always the best quality for client work.
  • After approval, request for 50% down payment before start of work. Always do this to protect yourself.
  • Explain my process to the client – 2 weeks lead time of work, progress photos will be sent per day, and delivery will be shouldered by buyer.

After that I start prepping my work area. I don’t have a large table at home, so I use our dining table when I do bigger paintings. That means cleaning the dining table and trying to remove as much oil on the surface as possible. After that I lay my watercolor paper, measure it to size using a T-square and cut the paper. Then we sketch.

If I’m finally happy with the sketch, it’s time to start painting. It usually takes me a day or two to completely be satisfied with a painting. I finish the painting on day one, and check another day with fresh eyes to see if it still needs improvements. The second day is where I take photos or scan, prep the painting for shipping, and informing the client that its done.

Really happy with this piece! I hope the client is happy as well.♥

Urban Sketchers Kyusi – UP Diliman Sketchcrawl

I’ve added another tag for all Urban Sketcher posts with USK QC. We’ve been active with the QC chapter since we also live in this city. So just in case we get to join other chapters, we could differentiate it with another tag. Anyway! August last year was USK QC’s UP Diliman Sketch crawl. This time around I invited my discord friends with me!

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I already forgot the location of where we sketched but its near sunken garden. Inggo was there as a guide for us just in case we’d get lost. We were with Hannah, Mico, Bea and her friend Ryzza. Bea is from Laguna and for some reason wanted to join us here in Quezon City.

I finally brought my foldable stool this time! And I finally used a bigger sized paper. This is a Hahnemuhle paper – around 9″ x 12″. I wanted to paint the tree and the field. It was hard because all you could see are greens and browns. But I loved mixing my own greens! It rained so the USK QC people took shelter under the film building. Another discord friend of ours also joined us here – he was having lunch near Area 2 and remembered that we were here for the event. After the latag session, we went to Friuli at Maginhawa so they could try it out.

I found it funny that the USK QC admin Nadj thought that our group was a bunch of tourists walking around UP Diliman but then realized we were one of them. Another group commented that we looked like a dance troupe because we all wore black.

It was a fun experience. I’m glad that more discord friends are interested in joining USK QC events. ♥

Personal Art

After Patrons of the Arts, I felt like I needed a break from con prep and make some personal art. Most of my works before are all for new products. But guess what, personal art is still flowers! ♥

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Above – I planned on making new washi tape designs. I made two designs – a rose and orchid combination, and a poppy design. I felt that I didn’t have enough roses and orchids, so I made some more. Eucalyptus leaves were also added just to have variety.

Below – I made the pink rose during our art tambay with discord friends. This was before our karaoke thing that night. The white rose is a practice piece on Baohong hot press paper. I didn’t liked it back then, but now it looks alright?

Above – you could see the difference in quality from the paintings. The middle one was painted on Canson 200gsm, and I really didn’t liked it. The magnolia on the left and the vanda orchid on the right were painted on Arches 300gsm cold press paper. Look at their details! The arches paper could really take a lot of water without buckling. I could detail a lot more as well.

Below – Left: Peony on Hahnemuhle paper. I don’t remember if I liked this paper – but I think I do since I’ve used it all up now. I still have a larger size that needs to be used up as soon as possible as well. Right: Poppies on my very old Strathmore watercolor notebook. I completely forgot about painting this one that I was pleasantly surprised when I found it again months later. Maybe I should hide my paintings? I end up hating most of my works and liking them months later after all.

I really loved this set of paintings. This was the pivot I think of using higher quality watercolor paper. I hope to paint a lot this coming Holy Week!

Urban Sketchers Kyusi – Bantayog ng mga Bayani

The next Urban Sketchers Kyusi we attended was at Bantayog ng mga Bayani last July. I was with Hannah and Mico. Shine also attended but she was with company. I never knew that there was a place like this beside Eton Centris.

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These two didn’t bring any folding stools and were complaining about the heat. So after sketching the subject, they proposed that we go to Starbucks and finish our works there. This is not the correct way to urban sketch by the way!

I sketched the statue but realized that my proportions were wrong! I didn’t get to include the head! Oops. I brought my Berkeley paper this time. Its a beginner paper but I really liked painting with it. Especially when creating dry brush marks on the paper to depict stone or metal. Hannah said that was my habit whenever I get tired of painting and wanted to finish it immediately. Really?!?!

Because we went to Starbucks, we weren’t included in USK QC’s group photo. So Hannah, Mico, Shine and I had our own latag session. I missed Shine, and I hope we could do more art tambays in the future. ♥

May come back

I finally had time to write! January 2024 was full of events and challenges it wasn’t even funny. I hope to write everything so I could finally catch up this blog. So around April, I discovered a new event by a new organizer and took the risk of joining. The event was Patrons of the Arts, last July 2023. I knew I had to make more sticker sheets, so I did more food illustrations.

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If I remember correctly, I wanted to even out the number of sticker sheets that I have. Last 2022, I had 5 sheets (2 flower related and 3 food related). I needed to produce 2 more sheets to make 5 food related ones, and 3 more for flowers. People wanted more food or dessert-related sheets, so I happily obliged and made more. I really love painting berry-related desserts. Something about their shine.

I wanted more variety so I made some chocolate and tart desserts. I like the detail on the left chocolate cake – the chiffon really stood out. The small plain tarts below is one of my favorite desserts – Portuguese egg tart! Lord Stows make the best ones in Metro Manila. ♥

The strawberry artworks was for the monthly prompt of PGW. I really love painting strawberries – they’re challenging, drawing those seeds need some planning/sketching to get it right, making them realistic and shiny! I had a hard time with the rainbow cake, it doesn’t really look that appetizing to me, and I should have sketched with more patience to get the details right. But oh well!

I’m feeling a little rusty with blogging. But I’m determined to really finish all of my 2023 posts! Let’s do this!

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.