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Went to Bali and saw …

12 Mar

a lovely piece of charcoal painting.

image

The piece was hanging in front of a gallery along Ubud’s main street Jalan Monkey Forest and caught my eye immediately.

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Still.Life.August: Plateau-y Phoo-ey!

30 Aug

August was a busy busy month! In between National Day, Presidential Elections, a short holiday to Krabi and general mopping about having to start working again, I struggled to remain committed to my weekly Sunday sessions.

My dad’s progress in oil painting has been on the surge lately. So proud of my dad! 🙂

In contrast, I have seemed to hit a plateau. Though I take full responsibility of not practicising outside of Sundays, it is nonetheless somewhat discouraging.

Oh well… it is supposed to be a leisurely pursuit and not a competition so, it’s all good. 😉

So… I didn’t have any epiphanies this month. *shrug* Just a lot of lessons learnt.

Still.Life in Real Life

It was quite a range of materials that we had to work with this month!

I had to miss one Sunday because of travels but I am hoping *cross fingers* that I will one day paint a landscape from one of the photographs I took.

Which one to paint… hmmmmm…..

They all look good right?

Ok… at least in comparison to the paintings  I did this month!

*drum roll*

Presenting… Still.Life.August!!

One of these did not have the benefit of Teacher’s magic hands. I would think it is immediately obvious which one. No prizes for guessing which one though. 😉

Sometimes the works I do are so thoroughly “fixed” by Teacher and other Association seniors that I feel like it is no longer from my own hand.

Yet, when it is ENTIRELY from my own hand… it would look … well… bad, really.

*sigh*

To be helped or not to be helped… how do I learn?

Click here for web album to see the work in progress photos.

August 7: Wine bottles, peach & grapes

From Still.Life.August

This painting had a LOT of help from Teacher. If you take a closer look at the work in progress pictures, you would notice that the bottles have shifted quite a few times. The importance of composition! And how it escapes me…

But the grapes were more or less untouched. 🙂

I am glad to say that my study of grapes for an earlier project has paid off. Can’t say the same for my peaches!

Oh oh oh… did you even notice how extra fruits have magically appeared? Twas to fix my faulty composition. Bleh~

August 21: Sea-shell Montage

From Still.Life.August

The shell was my idea! And my shell. 🙂

I decided to paint with a tiny canvas this time round and focus just on my lovely shell. Heehee…

My first time painting with shells and it was education as always.

The highlight of the session was when I had two “Masters” come work their magic on my humble little piece – my wonderful teacher (洪老师) and the senior Chairman of the Association’s Art “club”.

Woot!

Chairman shared with me about colour mixing for painting shells – how it should be a mix of grey pink/brown/white instead of the brownish hues I initially used (see here). And he pointed out how my painting looks flat because there was not enough use of white and highlights. You just need to toggle the web album to see how much difference a different colour tone makes to the depiction of a shell.

En-lightening indeed!

He then passed me the brush and asked me to continue.

I sat staring blankly, absolutely stumped on what else I could do.

Fortunately,  Teacher came by. Seeing how comatose I was, he took over and worked his magic. With a wave of his brush here and there, he finished with a flourish and said that all that was left for me to …

… sign my big name.

“HOW CAN?” I said, exasperated, “I did next to nothing to create this work!”

Sigh.

August 28: Claypot Cabbage

From Still.Life.August

This last painting needs a whole lot of work!

The cabbage is a disaster! (Even with help from a senior who tried her best to teach me)

The tomatoes look garish!

The chilli is floating!

And the claypot – which is probably the most decent looking of the lot – is just F.L.A.T. (Fabulously Lacking Artistic Technnique)!

So much to fix… *shake head*

No wonder nobody was sitting at my spot to paint. I must have picked the “Experts only” spot. :S

“Hello friend, where you from?”

18 Aug

Friendly greetings assaulted us as we walked down the tourist filled streets of Ao Nang Beach. We can’t help but smile in return.

“Germany” my friend said.
“Gutten Tag! Wunderbar!” they responded enthusiastically.

“Singapore” I said proudly.
“Ah Singapore! Come, Shopping!” they replied.

Right… there you have it. My fellow Singaporeans… now you know that when we go to foreign lands as tourists, our cultural identity becomes crystallised into representations of our spending power.

The Land of a Thousand Smiles smiles for our SGD.

We shall henceforth become culturally identified as uniquely Singaporean due to our spending power.

We are more than our crisp dollar bills surely!

But no matter, nothing would have gotten me down after being greeted by the splendour of nature ala Ao Nang beach on a low season day!

When small irritations become something to smile about, it is perhaps possible to find your own little paradise.

See what I mean below… (Click for a panoramic view of Ao Nang beach, one end to the other)

Click me for panoramic view!

Nice right ?!?

I used the free photo stitching software called Microsoft ICE editor to create the image above, which is linked with a sharing site called Photosynth.  And here’s my Photosynth stream. Feel free to follow!

I had the luck to catch a good deal on Groupon.sg and paid $93 for a 4D3N stay over at the Krabi Resort. You can get really good deals during the off season. Photo below from their website (I do not have a helicopter in case you are wondering…).

The Resort was clean, nice and located right next to the beach. It even has its own private beach and the hotel provides deck chairs and towels for you and all your lounge-y needs. Convenient and far away from the main business street/beach stretch.

Much better than the other side of the beach which I found to be swarming with locals trying to sell their massage services and rental chairs. There was a lot more vibrancy and activity to see, though it won’t be a good choice if you were just hoping to get some chillax-ing done.

A lady plays tag with a frisky puppy!

I’ll post up more projects from previous travels soon. 🙂 This is fun!

(Yes… the Singaporean-ness in me has an auto radar for good bargains and free stuff… maybe that’s uniquely Singaporean no?)

Woe begone: Woe is me, my TSA lock is gone

27 Jul

Taking a break from talking about Art-y stuff to get something off my chest. It might not serve any purpose to the general public except maybe a note of precaution for general knowledge.

And emotional diarrhoea.

Last month, my cousin and I took a trip to Kuala Lumpur/Cameron Highland. As we both hated long coach rides, we decided to go the way of a short flight on a budget airline over to Kuala Lumpur, flying into the LCCT, and then taking a local tour up to Cameron Highlands.

Mistake!

Either that or I, like most Singaporeans, am just spoilt rotten by Changi Airport.

When we got to the LCCT, we marveled at how backward the airport felt but reasoned that we couldn’t expect much from a budget terminal anyway. We happily proceeded to collect our baggage, knowing that we need to get going to catch the half-hourly Skybus shuttle bus from LCCT to KL Sentral (a one hour trip).

We bought a bus transfer ticket from the counter right outside the baggage carousel and walked out of the terminal into the mess that is the LCCT…  We wandered out feeling a little lost and a little exposed, whatever illusion of security we had for airports was slowly fading away. We scanned the crowds and looked out for any signages indicating the pick-up point for the coach.

There was none.

After enquiring with the counter girl again, we proceeded in the general direction she pointed out to us.  Luggage in tow, we traversed uneven concrete and eventually reached what we thought was the end of the terminal building.

Still no signages whatsoever. Yikes. Where were we?

An airport staff pointed us to the direction of the bus bay, where the Skybus and all coaches were parked. We walked over and the men on duty called out to us.

“Skybus?”

We approached cautiously and quickly realised that we had tickets for AEROBUS instead of SKYBUS. We thought we got Skybus tickets since the lady who sold us the tickets stood under a Skybus sign, but we should have looked harder. I guess we were complacent. The Skybus folks waved us on to the next bus bay.

“Genting?? You go Genting??”

“No, KL Sentral.”

“Ya lah, same same.”

“Not Genting ah!”

“Ya, correct.” said the man in dreadlocks, ciggy hanging from the corner of his mouth. His partner at the back shoved our luggage into the storage compartment.

Oh well, too late. As long as we get there right?

And so, we grudgingly boarded the rather beat up yellow bus feeling somewhat cheated and found a reclined seat at the back.  I say reclined not as a description of comfort, since it was not a matter of choice for us. The seat would not budge from its incline! Not comfortable at all. And the bus, being filled with passengers, didn’t offer any alternative seating. Crap.

We tried to find a comfortable position for the one-hour trip into KL Sentral. There wasn’t any but we tolerated it, being still excited about the trip to come.

When we reached the basement bus bay at KL Sentral, we had a rude shock.

After retrieving our luggage from a hump of others carelessly thrown atop one another by the lackadaisical staff, I noticed for the first time that my lock was missing! I had used a small TSA approved padlock for my zippered trolley bag. I quickly told my cousin and guess what, her lock was gone too!  We escaped from the touting cab drivers to find a quiet corner to check our stuff.

I was lucky, nothing was missing except for my lock. My cousin didn’t lose anything either but her luggage was thoroughly ransacked! Zips left open, items rummaged roughly, secured items strewn messily inside. It looked like a deliberate search for valuables.  Luckily, we were sensible enough not to put any valuables in there in the first place. I shuddered to think what could have happened if we had any valuable items in there!

Our thoughts circled upon whereabouts the act was committed and we knew that it would be a lost cause to claim any damage since we ourselves were not sure if it was the fault of the airline, the LCCT or the bus company! Besides… nothing valuable was lost… except maybe our peace of mind?

It is an unnerving thing to find one’s luggage lock broken and stuff ransacked.  Especially more so if you are on a supposedly relaxing holiday.  Over the next few days, the initial anger morphed, over a long period of contemplation, into a cess pool of simmering doubt and (dare I say) travel paranoia.

It very definitely cast a gloomy doom over my short holiday. 😦

A series of unfortunate things happened along our way to Cameron Highlands. We had our first hand experience of “Malaysian hospitality” and an attitude of general disregard for good customer service.

Sigh. Were we too pampered? I don’t know. Was it wrong to expect better from another capital city?

Ah well, we live, we learn. At least we didn’t suffer the indignity of having a sanitary pad get stuck on our luggage. Though it felt equally revolting.

The morale of the story is:

If you are travelling to KL via the LCCT anytime soon, pack things you won’t mind losing/are replaceable and BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE. Don’t be niao!

On hingsight: At least we reached safely, post trip research turned up feedback that would have been good to know beforehand…dangerous driversharassment at KL Sentral…verbal abuse.

Gosh. We were lucky after all.

I say "Flush bad experience after use"

HotM: February

13 Feb

This month’s header is inspired by Love.  A tribute to Valentine’s Day, dedicated to all the single ladies! LOL.

"New Man meets New Woman" by Australian sculptor Vince Vozzo

This sculpture was carved out from a block of carrara marble (from the cave of Michelangelo) by Australian sculptor Vince Vozzo.  Vozzo also carved earlier works which were titled “New Man” (a tribute to Michelangelo’s David) and “New Woman”.  I wonder if these works might be related.  In any case, personally, the sculpture reminds me of Colombian artist Fernando Botero.  (Trivia: Botero’s sculpture “Bird” can be found along the Singapore River.)  Botero is well known for sculpting/painting voluptuous subjects. Doesn’t this work by Vozzo also seem to portray two particularly rotund individuals in an embrace? Heh.

The picture was taken during my visit to Sculpture by the Sea over at Bondi last year, where Vozzo was one of the many artists featured.  It was my second time attending this annual exhibition (yes, i flew to Sydney to attend it!).  Two years ago, I met two Australian women while I was guiding for the Singapore Biennale and they were the ones who introduced me to the exhibition.  It’s interesting how people you randomly meet can bring you to places you never thought of before.  Keep an open mind, always. 🙂

Here’s a montage of some of the works I saw at the 2010 exhibition, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

There’s something about seeing crowds meandering in and around artworks that seems very festive to me.  The enthusiasm was infectious and it was nice seeing people interact with the art works – taking photos, posing with the art, discussing the art… I wonder why I can’t find similar inspiration in Singapore.  Maybe it’s hard to enjoy leisurely strolls in our humid climate and everyone’s distracted with the pursuit of activities that come with air-conditioned comforts instead.  Ah well.

The coastal views from Bondi to Tamarama Beach were stunning and it was icing on the cake having the art works to enjoy along the way.  Contemporary art lovers should try to make at least one trip in your lifetime to this exhibition.

Bondi Beach (2010)

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