Sunday 28 April 2013

Being Perfect: I'm Not

  It's not that I don't want to be perfect, I do. I try very hard to be perfect, but humans aren't perfect. We're extremely flawed, some of us more than others. That doesn't stop me from trying. My mother says trying to be perfect is a flaw in itself. You never get anything done because you want it to be perfect. Because you're not perfect, what you do cannot be perfect. As such, you do things half-way then stop. Because you know. You know what you do will never be perfect. It'll never live up to what you imagined it to be, so you don't finish it.

  I have an amazing father who is so good at what he does, and it just so happens that we share the same passion– Art. And I'm always scared of showing others what I've accomplished because what he creates is so beautiful, creative, awesome. Even perfect sometimes. I will never match his skill any time soon. I'm afraid that I'll live in his shadow with everyone comparing me to him. I'm afraid that I'll never be as good as him. I'm afraid that my art career will not go as well as I had hoped. I know it won't be easy. Nothing is easy. But I'm afraid that I'll not be good enough for anyone else to care about what I create. I know that I'm improving, but I wonder if it's enough sometimes.

  I understand that I have to finish things, then move on to make better things. But sometimes.... Sometimes that little voice at the back of my head says that I'll never be as good as my father, so why bother trying. If I finish something, that little voice picks out the flaws in the painting, and I get upset.

  I know almost everyone struggles with this problem at least once in their lives. I know I'm not alone in my insecurities. Still, at times it's difficult to cope with those sentiments. However, I'm trying to overcome this. I think I'm making progress. I've finished lots of projects this year. I'm trying to not be so hard on myself. I'm trying to remind myself constantly that it's okay to finish something imperfectly, so long as you did your best. I'm slowly coming to accept the fact that I may never be truly satisfied with what I accomplish. Wanting to be perfect is a good sentiment to have because you want to keep improving, but it can also kill your creativity. I guess it's a fine balancing act between the two. Funnily enough, though, I only feel the want-of-perfection in my Art. In all other things, I'm quite fine with "that's okay" and "you passed". I don't know why that is, but it is.

  I guess that I have to learn to accept the flaws in what I create and learn to finish the current project(s) I'm working on then move on to a new project. "The world does not reward perfectionists, it rewards those who get things done." I'm taking that quote to heart, and I'm taking my artistic journey a day at a time. :)

Thursday 25 April 2013

Recommended Artist: David Jon

  As promised, a new recommended artist for the day; David Jon Kassan. He's the founder of the Kassan Foundation, and the creator of the parallel palette.

He has a DVD for sale right now, and also does workshops. So head over to his website to see more of his works and learn more about him. Link is right.... here.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

"Girl With A Scarf" by Stephanie Jennifer

  Here's a recent sketch by me. It's done with Signo pens on a Monologue sketchbook.

  It was done after the works of Fontaine Anderson. Mine looks more Korean. Hers looks more Eurasian. I saw her work in a book titled "the beautiful- illustrations for fashion and style" which is edited by Anneke Krull. It's a wonderful book with loads of inspiration, good quality graphics, and it's printed very well. I highly recommend the book.

  I've been really busy these few days. I've pushed myself, and have thus completed 3 of my long unfinished colored pencil works which I hope to photograph soon. I'll post them up as soon as I can. I'm currently working to finish another coloured pencil piece of mine- if you can recall, it's one of a hazel colored songbird. It's coming along brilliantly and I'm hoping to make a time-lapse video of it after I'm done. :) I'm also reading more Art books and classic literature, plus having to fit in studying. It's been a pretty hectic week, but busy is good. Busy means I'm doing something. Busy means I'm getting somewhere.

  I'll be back with a Recommended Artist segment tomorrow or the day after so do check back soon. Until then, keep yourself busy with my 101 websites for artists post. Or you could always see previous "Recommended Artists" and "Paintings of the Day".

  If you'd like to see more of my sketches, follow this link.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Painting of the Day: "Box of Sixty Four"

"Box of Sixty Four" by Cesar Santander

Acrylic on Panel, 42" by 64"

   The nostalgia that hits you when you open a box of crayons. That smell that drifts out of the carton box. All those colours, which to choose? That's what I think of when I see this painting. I used to have a box of 72 crayons. It was one of those special editions that Crayola put out that came in this red plastic box with a handle for the kid to tote it around. Let me tell you, that box showed the ugliest side of me. I was so selfish and possessive over that box of crayon that when it came to colouring time, I would boast to everyone that I had so many colours, but I would not share. Needless to say, all my classmates left me by myself but it didn't seem to bother me much as I would colour pictures in my own little corner of the classroom.

  I've changed now, I'm much more willing to share and not so possessive. But I still have that box of 72 crayons in its original red plastic box. I think those of us who used to draw with crayons when we were kids all have our own little story of how crayons were special to us. Crayons are a symbol of childhood– the many colours there were, the many happy times one has had.

  And let's all be honest, Cesar Santander did a pretty darn good job in painting the above painting, no? The colours are very true to life, and the lighting reads very well. Although I'm not quite sure of the lower left hand corner of blue-green. It's the box, I know, but I kind of think it'll be better if it were neutral or black. In any case, it's still an excellent painting and I applaud his ability to portray a scene so realistically.

  View more of his works here:

Friday 19 April 2013

Recommended Artist: Shintaro Ohata

  Shintaro Ohata is an artist, born in Hiroshima in 1975, who depicts little things in everyday life like scenes of a movie for example that of convenience stores at night, city roads on rainy day and fast-food shops at dawn etc. What brings magic to these scenes, though, is the light. He is also known for his characteristic style; placing sculptures in front of paintings, and shows them as one work, a combination of 2-D and 3-D world. He says that it all started from when he thought that he could bring the atmosphere or dynamism to his paintings in a different way if he placed sculptures in front of paintings.

  I quote from his site, "Many viewers tend to assume that there is a light source set into his work itself because of the strong expression of lights in his sculpture." and I completely agree. It's almost as if the artist opened a window to another realm of reality and a character stepped out of that world just for our viewing pleasure. It's a combination of a realistic background with a person painted in an impressionist way. The colours are very well chosen for each piece and I am left wanting to see more.

Visit Shintaro Ohata's site at:

Sunday 14 April 2013

Great Resource for the Artist

  I have a post titled "101 Websites for Artist" (previously called "References for the Artist: Master List"), and I really think you should check it out. It has got links to websites that provide free images, many links to tutorial sites, a link to the pdf file of one of Andrew Loomis' book titled "Creative Illustrations", great Tumblr blogs for illustrators, and lots of other cool stuff.

  Check it out. Tell me how you like it. And if you know of a website that deserves to be on the list, leave me a comment. :) Anonymous commenting is enabled.

  A Recommended Artist post will be up tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that. (edit: I'm sorry I didn't keep my promise. An emergency cropped up at home. But I'm back.) And as always, I'm open to suggestions, questions on Art, and recommendations. You can contact me at or at or <> or <>

Friday 12 April 2013

Painting of the Day: "Miu Chu"

"Miu Chu" by Paul Lung

  One 4B pencil. 45 hours worth of work. The above is the result. I just love tonal drawings, where all colours are removed– it's just composition, expression, and the artist's technique. Humans have emotional responses to colours. By taking that away, you have to have a very strong composition and subject matter to invoke a "wow factor" from your viewers.

  You can clearly see how different the texture of the fur is when compared to the eyes of the cat. She (he?) is a darling, and what's more, I love cats. Good usage of perspective to add depth to the piece too.

  Visit Paul Lung's DeviantArt here.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Painting of the Day: "Inksect"

"Inksect" by Nanami Cowdroy

  I think she uses her lines extremely well. The composition is balanced. The drawing is balanced. There's a very good variety in the lines, and overall it's extremely ascetically pleasing. Also, I'm a sucker for dragonflies. ;) The red stamp mean "seven seas" in Chinese. Perhaps that's her name? Or a little logo she has adopted. Either ways it's charming.

  Visit her website via this link.

Monday 8 April 2013

Does Hard Work Beats Talent? Yes, It Does.

  A certain someone e-mailed me two days ago. He told me that he enjoyed drawing very much but he didn't have talent. He said others told him that he could only draw if he had talent. I told him it's all about working hard and having the passion for it.

  I gave him some encouraging words and a good link to an online drawing course. He thanked me for my help and said I gave him the best reply he had ever heard. Today, I chanced upon a video that touched upon the very subject he asked. To the certain someone that contacted me on the 6th of April, this video is for you. :)

  As always, you can contact me via < > if you have any questions, comments, or if you are an artist/know an artist that should be featured on my Recommended Artist segment.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Painting of the Day: "La Esencia de Klimt"

Mario Ville created this beautiful photograph depicting Gustav Klimt's famous "The Kiss" painting as real people.

And for comparison, here's the original painting:

  I feel the man is slightly too skinny in this photograph. Gustav Klimt was trying to play on duality– the softness of the female form against the sharp angles of the male form, female sexuality against male masculinity. In Gustav's painting, the man is seen almost enveloping the woman. They are two different entities yet they complement each other perfectly.

  I do like the way the photographer handled the background and foreground, and the color scheme used is good too. And the attention to detail is well done too– did you notice the garland on the male model's head?

View Mario Ville's Gustav series here.

Saturday 6 April 2013

Recommended Artist: Gzegorz Wrobel

Since early childhood, Gzegorz Wrobel had always had an interest in drawing and painting. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Warsaw. Watercolour techniques were particularly fascinating, however, he only began learning how to paint in watercolour in 2002. Since then, he paints and is involved in numerous plein air outings in Poland and in many other countries.

  He reminds me somewhat of Alvaro Castagnet. Alvaro uses bolder brushstorkes and brighter colours, but Gzegorz Wrobel's works have their own charm. I like the salt effect in his paintings, and the rustic colours he utilises.

  Visit his website here.

Friday 5 April 2013

Recommended Artist: Si Scott

  Si Scott is a full-time artist, designer and creative consultant based in the UK. He’s renowned for his unique style, blending hand-crafted and hand-drawn artwork that has gained him the opportunity to complete projects for Matthew Williamson, Vogue, Nike, Tiffany & Co and Sony to name a few. He also has contributed to advertising campaigns for Guinness, Absolut and American Express.

You can see his other works here.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Recommended Artist: John Pusateri

  John Pusateri graduated from the Syracuse University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He currently teaches in the Department of Architecture at Unitec New Zealand and currently has a number of works available through Seed Gallery. Pusateri's drawings and lithographs tap into the artistic tradition of memento mori, a practice dating back to antiquity wherein artists include imagery designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the transience and fragility of human life. In this owl series though, the birds look very much alive. Have a look-see.

  John Pusateri's owls in coloured pencil are the most fabulous depictions of owls I have ever seen. I love the detail in the owls' eyes and the plain backgrounds that don't detract the viewer from the main subject. They're colourful. They show the owls' inquisitive nature. They're full of personality, and he adds just enough details to keep you engaged.

  You can see more of his works here.

Monday 1 April 2013

My 101st post: I got a custom domain

    It's April the first, and I'd like to wish everyone a happy April Fool's Day. But this isn't a joke, I really have bought my own custom domain. I'm really happy about solving all the technical issues by myself through google search even though I'm not terribly good with computers.

  This is a small stepping stone in my journey. Yes, I am slightly dramatic about it, but it's how I really feel. It's loads of fun to keep this blog running, and it also a source of inspiration and confidence to me. From setting it up last year, having to abandon the blog for 6 months to take care of my grandmother, and getting back on track. It's not been easy. Life isn't easy.

  I see myself going somewhere now. I have a shorter-term goal that I'm striving for– that is to get myself into Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore in 2015. I'm working to build up my portfolio. I recently had a breakthrough with a quote I found online; "The world does not reward perfectionists. It rewards those who get things done." And, I had a breakthrough. I've had a few other moments like that throughout my life where something in my brain clicks and all the little pieces fall in place and I just get it somehow.

  I understood that I could not keep striving to be perfect. I had to keep doing. If I left my paintings half done because I thought they weren't that good, I would never have a portfolio. It is much wiser if I finished one piece, then moved on to do an even better one. Get one thing done, before moving on to the next. That's how my portfolio would grow and not just be half-done works.

  So this blog is a chronicle of my progress. I'm hoping to expand my online circle of friends. Get more involved. Do a video or two. Show my Art more often. Get connections. Strive for perfection. This is my journey, and I'm glad you're able to be a small part of it.