Tag: watercolor

‘Shrooms

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I was sick with cough and colds last week, so I wasn’t really able to sit up too long and paint anything. I’m feeling much better today, though. I thought I’d have a little fun. I had the idea while having dinner with my husband and a friend last Sunday. We had some awesome mushroom chicharon (deep fried mushrooms that taste like pork cracklings)  for appetizers and oh mah goodness. Those things are delicious! If I were blindfolded, I wouldn’t have guessed those were oyster mushrooms. I thought the little folds and textures were interesting.

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On this page, I drew/painted oyster mushrooms (yum), morel and chanterelle mushrooms.

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On this page, shiitake, enoki and porcini. It was lots of fun! I had a great time exploring different kinds of browns, yellows, and reds.

Colors used: (Sennelier) Naples Yellow Deep, Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Payne’s Grey (Artnebulaph.com)

Paper: Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Journal (Stationer Extraordinaire)

Busy, Busy Week

It’s been pretty hectic in the office these past few months, but especially this past weeks. I was hardly able to get any writing done, though I was able to make a bit of art here and there. This week was less brutal than the week before, so I was able to stay up a bit later than usual to finish a few watercolor pieces.

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It started with World Watercolor Group’s theme about dandelions. I was never a dandelion chaser when I was a child. I just let them be. I thought they were beautiful when little bits of it are floating on the air. Other kids would run around and catch them, making wishes before they blow them off to the air again. I enjoyed making the dandelion painting so I thought I’d try a few botanical paintings again. I only made one botanical painting before, I believe, of a basil plant. I thought I’d try other things.

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I found a tutorial on Youtube about how to make blueberries, but it turned out to be a bit darker than I wanted. I still like it, though. I don’t always make paintings that are big like this, but I must admit that it’s enjoyable to have a lot of space to work on the little details too.

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This one’s my favorite, it’s a coffee plant based on a photo of cafea arabica I found online. The beans are smaller and the painting less detailed than the blueberry painting, but I like that it looks cleaner. Also…coffee. ^_^

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The last botanical painting I did was of Anona Squamosa L. or better known by its local name, Atis. Internationally, it’s called sugar apple or sweet sop. It’s one of my favorite fruits, even if it’s a little difficult to eat. It’s full of seeds inside, and the sweet pulp wrap around each seed. So you pop the seed in your mouth, eat the sweet pulp and spit the seed out. It’s a lot of work to eat, but I really enjoy it. 🙂

I loved this little foray into botanical painting, though it takes time to work out the little details and lay down all the layers in every part of the plant. I think i’ll keep on working at it when I have time. 🙂

Family Dinner

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A few days ago my husband and I joined his side of the family for dinner. We had family from the US on vacation, and it was a dinner to celebrate birthdays and the despedida. Traffic going to Megamall was abysmal. I haven’t been to that part of Manila in a while, so I was completely floored to see how EDSA was just a carpet of red tail lights slowly inching forward. It was horrible, and I was so relieved we got to Megamall around 7:45 PM. Dad’s was full, which was a little surprising given it’s a Tuesday night. It wasn’t so bad, though, the food was good and the service was polite and punctual. Dinner with family was also good, it’s nice to see the cousins complete and just enjoying each other’s company.

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We stayed until closing time, and it was pretty sad to see the cousins lingering around each other because goodbyes suck. 🙁 Despedidas are bittersweet that way. Eating soothes the difficulty of parting, sending family members off with best wishes and happy memories.

Here’s looking forward to the next family gatherings.

A Party and a Departure

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Yesterday was the Christmas party for our bible study at Las Pinas City Jail. It was an incredible feeling, to walk into the corridor and stand in the middle of it, realizing how much we’ve grown from about 12 members to 60. We can’t fit into the corridor anymore so many of them set up chairs inside their cells instead. We couldn’t really play our usual Christmas games anymore because there’s a lot of them and I didn’t want to cause any undue commotion that will put them in trouble with the new warden (a very nice and gracious young lady). They requested if they can group themselves into 6 and make their own Christmas presentations.

I was so touched by the preparations they’ve made for us. From the hand-calligraphed sign on the whiteboard to preparing the sound system and all of their group presentations. The effort they’ve made is precious to us.

All the song and dance numbers were great! I especially loved that song one of the groups sang, Ako’y Binago Niya. The song was about repentance and hope, and how God can really change people. Everybody sang it, like an anthem, and it was such a profound experience for me to observe them singing together and with many of them crying quietly because they’ve made the song their own.

We distributed the prizes and our little tokens to them, and as usual I separated some items for a sick inmate. She had been sick since the first day that I joined the ministry, and some of the other inmates always made it a point to tell me if she needed anything. I couldn’t visit her inside her cell and she was too sick to visit us, but we always sent our love and made sure she heard about Jesus too. Last Monday, as I was handing the gifts that I had packed specially for her, the inmates quietly told me that she had died. Her colon cancer had taken its toll and she was taken away.

I just stood there for a moment, feeling like I could not catch my breath. It was astonishing, how my heart ached so much for her. One would think that she had died alone in jail, but though her family had all but forgotten her, she was surrounded with friends who ministered to her needs until the very end.

These moments with inmates, I treasure them in my heart. They’re golden. With the death of one of the inmates, I think God gave me a very real glimpse of His love and how very precious every single soul is to Him. I grieve for my lost sister in Christ, but I understand how it’s the end of a long and painful journey for her. Now she’s truly free.

The Old Is Gone, The New Has Come

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These days, the pervading attitude towards inmates and even those who struggle with drug addiction is more uncharitable than I ever remember in my life. It’s like all those people are lumped into one huge pile of subhuman specie. If you have a family member who is struggling with addiction secretly, this uncharitable attitude would probably make them think twice before coming to you for help. Especially since a lot of them die anyway, as collateral damage in a drug war that’s becoming increasingly violent. Admitting your addiction may even put your life at risk.

I was in the middle of a hiatus from the prison ministry when this drug war commenced. I was overwhelmed with work and could not fulfill my duties in the ministry properly. But day by day I see people talking about addicts and offenders as if they have forfeited their right to live. All this made me remember my sisters in Las Pinas City Jail so I broke my hiatus (even though there was no change in my workload) because I could not stop thinking about them. These days we have to hold our bible study at the main corridor of the female dorm because we don’t fit into the visiting area anymore. I welcome this problem though. It’s a happy kind of problem. Everybody is welcome.

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I realize how impossible it is to change the minds of people who are riding the wave of hate and violence. I cannot change the flow of the tide. I can only do my best to work with the inmates together with other people who are in the ministry with me, help them focus on the Word and remind them of how God sees them, instead of how the world sees them.

A lot of people say that nobody in jail will ever admit that they’re guilty, but that’s not true. A lot of people in my bible study group have owned up to their guilt, are quietly serving their prison sentences, and dealing with the regret of wasting so many years of their lives, aside from the years of incarceration that stretches ahead of them. Many of the inmates we work with are there because of drug-related charges. A lot have been there for years while still waiting for their first court appearance. While many may have been drug addicts, as you can see by the way years of drug use have ravaged their appearance, a lot are already in the process of waking up from the stupor. They’re realizing how they’ve damaged their lives, how they’ve hurt and alienated their family who now refuse to visit them. It’s like they’re waking up after a rampage and are only beginning to comprehend what they have done. Many have not seen their families for years and have endured…are continuing to endure incredible loneliness as part of their punishment. Prison is a dark place where people are soon forgotten.

Our bible lessons are always hopeful, helping them deal with the reality of their present as well as the possibilities of their future. As deep and dark as the pit may be, the light of Jesus still shines. And though the vast majority will treat them like vermin fit for extermination, we try to remind them of a simple truth:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17