Wednesday 31 December 2014

New Art Friend Branch at Plaza Singapura

  A new Art Friend just opened to replace the one that was at Takashimaya. It's located at Plaza Singapura, B1-13. Apparently, it's not fully open though.. But I think it's the most beautifully laid out Art Friend branch; everything was easy to find and there was a good flow to the layout of the products. 

Look at the gigantic ad that was placed at B2!

Opening promotion: For every $50 you spend, you'll get a $5 voucher to spend on your next purchase at this branch. Valid till' 31st Jan 2015.

Polychromos. Gimme~

Buy ALL THE Derwent products!    \(^▽^)/
And the Graphik pens are already in stock. Woohoo!

They sell frames now?!? That's new to me. And they have a good variety too.

Paper aisles.
These are Daler Rowneys.

Fabriano sketchbooks.

  You bet your butt I bought things from the store. And yes; I did spend more than $50 to take advantage of the in-store promotion. ^-^

These were located near the check-out counter.
And this would be the equivalent of supermarkets putting their candy section near the check-out counters... You're all like, "Uhhh~ This looks interesting..." *grabs one and puts it into the shopping basket*

It's seven little sketchbooks by Fabriano. And each sketchbook has a name and different papers within them. All in all, they look really cute and I can't wait to try them out. $22.90 for the whole pack.

Red is "Vellutata", which is velvet.
Orange is "Pergamenata, which is parchment.
Yellow is "Goffrata", embossed.
Light green is "Vergata". They say it's laid paper. I think it resembles Chinese rice paper.
Dark green is "Ecologica". Ecological- which I think means it's made of recycled paper.
Light blue is "Naturale", and I think it's untreated paper.
Dark blue is "Marcata". It's paper meant for felt markers.

Always wanted to get myself some new watercolour brushes.
My old Pentel one was giving me troubles.... And these were $13 for one pack.

Another Fabriano product.
I thought it looked like a bible. hahaha

I thought it was cool because it had a mix of brown and white paper.

Kneaded eraser (a.k.a "putty eraser") by Faber Castell. I love Faber Castell, by the way. I think their students coloured pencils- the regular children's coloured pencils- are very affordable and give really good colour pay-off. I'm still looking forward to getting their Polychromos sometime in the future.

I needed the eraser for my coloured pencil drawings, and my sketches as well.
A very affordable $1.10.
Daler Rowney's Aquafine Watercolour Postcards.
I have a friend who is going to further her studies in UK. I bought this so that I could draw on the postcards and mail them to her over the coming year. This cost me $6.

Each postcard has a space for you to stick your stamp on, and lines to write the address you're sending it to. It's also really thick and sturdy watercolour paper, and I already have ideas on what I'm going to draw on them. I bought this mainly to use my Derwent Inktense blocks on.
Not from this haul.. These were actually Christmas gifts from a friend of mine. 
But in case you were wondering, this is how Inktense Blocks look like. Also in the picture are the Derwent Graphik Line Makers. You can read my review of them via this link.

   And that's about it for this Art Friend haul. To see a list of all the Art Friend branches in Singapore, you can click this link.

Monday 29 December 2014

The Earlier Mona Lisa Exhibition at The Arts House

  The "Earlier Mona Lisa" has spent the past four decades in a Swiss bank vault, from where it has from time to time been released to undergo expert examinations and scientific tests which have revealed that it is indeed a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, executed around 10 years before the Louvre work.

  The "Earlier Mona Lisa" came out of the shadows and into the spotlight during an international press conference in Geneva, Switzerland in September of 2012, sparking enormous worldwide interest.

  The exhibition is happening at The Arts House from 16th December 2014 to 11th February 2015. 

The Arts House
at the Old Parliment
1 Parliment Lane, Singapore

Here's a peek at what I saw at the exhibition:

  I went to see the exhibition on Christmas Eve, and surprisingly, there was a good turn-out. You'd expect everyone to stay home or go shopping... But it was a nice surprise, though. The exhibition helpers told me that they were seeing a better turn-out than they had initially anticipated, and I thought that was good to hear.
  The exhibition was mostly based on the tablets. Each person would get one tablet and you would get to choose either the kid's tour or the adult's tour. The adult's tour is very much more filled with information and has beautiful videos of interviews and reenactments. 
  The exhibition space is large and there are multiple rooms through the exhibition, so don't crowd in the first room. All the information boards were nicely printed and lit, and there was good flow to the exhibition and you could follow the story behind how the earlier Mona Lisa was finally accepted as a painting done by Leonardo himself.
  Finally, the last room of the exhibition holds the actual painting of the earlier Mona Lisa and I think that alone would make up for the amount you'd spend on the ticket. The information I learnt through the tablet just added even more dimensions to the whole experience and I thoroughly enjoyed myself that day.
  Tickets are available through Sistic or at the event's venue. For more info on the exhibition, visit

Friday 26 December 2014

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year~

  Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. ^-^

  I love the warmth of the festivity (and no, I'm not talking about Singapore's humid weather...) I love the good food, the presents, the fact that people have an excuse to be extra nice to other people without seeming creepy...

  I had a wonderful Christmas with my friends and family. We went to the Mona Lisa Exhibition, and then headed to my place to have a Christmas feast. We opened our presents. Good cheer was had. And then we ended the night with eating a wonderful log cake.

I received a parcel in the mail from Under the Ivy.
Look how pretty it's packaged.

They're actually a pair of earrings. It was a nice surprise to have received it earlier than I expected it to. They're so pretty~ The shop is run by just one lady, and she definitely deserves all the support she can get. ^-^ 

The Christmas favours I made for my colleagues.
These are just three of the dozen that I made.
I love chocolates~~~

Pretty birdies in Christmas outfits. 

Christmas present from a friend!
I decided to get the Inktense blocks instead of the pencils.
Also, Art Friend has started stocking Derwent Graphik pens. Read my review of the pens here.

#005 of my Illustrated Poem Series.
"By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower."
I'm still not too sure whether this will be the final poem for this drawing, but I'm very happy with how the drawing turned out. I wanted to portray that death is beautiful in the sense that we should celebrate what each person accomplishes during their life.

  I know the drawing isn't conventionally festive... But I think it's a good symbolism to the end of a new year.

  I'm thankful for the good company I had. For the good food and delicious log cake that my mum prepared. For the lovely gifts I gave and received (giving gifts is fun too!). And I've come to another year of my artistic career... Another year of blogging... Another year of drawing, sketching, and painting. There've been lots of twists and turns this year, and I'm really looking forward to what 2015 holds.

Thursday 25 December 2014

Book Review: Splash Retrospective

  "Splash Retrospective: 20 Years of Contemporary Watercolor Excellence", edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf.

  The Splash series has been around since 1990. Wow, that's a really long history. For all those of you who've never heard of the series; Splash is an international watercolour competition by North Light Books. The winners for each year's competition will have their works published in a Splash book. Splash Retrospective is a book with a compilation of the best of the best from the past winners. I think that was what drew me to buy it.

  The works are gorgeous and varied, and I enjoyed reading the little captions that were paired beside most of the paintings. The book itself felt sturdy, and the pages were well designed and well printed. It was an utter joy flipping through this book. I really can't put in words how good the selection of works is, so you'll have to watch the video below to see for yourself.

  I bought this book via Amazon, if you were wondering. :)

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Try Out Thursday: In The Box December 2014

  For Christmas, I thought of adding something interesting to the list of things I wanted to give to my mum. On my online search for unique gift ideas, I discovered something called "subscription box". The idea behind subscription boxes is that you would pay a sum of money for a box and the company you paid will pack a box for you filled with random things. Different companies go with different themes, of sorts. You can get make up boxes, organic products boxes, craft boxes, even art boxes. It was through my search of these boxes that I chanced upon In The Box.

  Now, they sell one-off boxes, or yearly boxes that they send out quarterly. The products within their boxes are natural, healthy and eco-conscious. And I instantly fell in love with their idea. So I bought one, and it arrived in the 11th of December 2014.

Such a simple packaging. Loved it.
(Address info is blacked out for safety reasons. As much as I love you guys, I don't need any of you to send me things or come looking for me during Christmas...)

Look at all the products~
See the tin heart on the bottom right... I loved that tin. So cute.

Products from right to left, top to bottom;
Heat balm, scented dough, soap and shampoo, moringa powder, soy wax,  one complimentary group mat class, vegan cookie, tea leaves, and a postcard from Make Room.
The white card is just a little card from In The Box. (not in picture: The heart tin box in the previous picture)

  The box had this earthy, spicy smell. I think it was from the scented dough...

  The heat balm is a bit like Tiger Balm, only the scent was less prickly. I liked it a lot cause it helped with my blocked nose. The scented dough was quite interesting. Mine was "Energy". Supposedly, you need to play with the dough for 5-10 min and it'd help via form of aromatherapy. My hand felt prickly after playing with it for a while because I actually have very bad blood circulation... You know, like when you have a massage and then your body will feel prickly afterwards... Yar, it was like that.

  My mum hasn't tried the soap and shampoo yet. I liked the packaging, though. Very simple and elegant.

  I still have no idea what moringa powder is, but I would liken it to green tea powder.. You can add it to your juices or smoothies. Haven't tried it yet so I can't say how it tastes like.

  The sox wax was nice. You can add it to your candles and it'd release a nice scent to your room.

  Group mat class- self explainable. I've wanted to join yoga classes for a while now, so I might decide to use the card sometime soon.

  The vegan cookie was so delicious~ And they have many other flavours too. They're currently having a promo for $3.30 per cookie, and I think it's worth it because of the size of the cookie and how tasty it is.

  Keiko tea leaves- haven't tried them yet.

  Postcard from Make Room.


  It was a subscription box that was very well-put together. All the products were lovely, and my mum absolutely loved the whole idea. She even said that at SGD$49, it was super worth it. And if you get a yearly subscription, you can save $40. How awesome is that? So head on over to InTheBox now to sign up for yours today.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Painting of the Day: Zenobia

"Zenobia" by Lane Brown
  Explanation of the painting:
  Zenobia was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria, who led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire.  She expanded the empire, conquering Egypt and expelling the Roman prefect, Tenagino Probus, who was beheaded after he led an attempt to recapture the territory. She ruled over Egypt until 274, when she was defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian.  It is said that she was paraded through the streets of Rome, bound by chains of gold.

  Zenobia on Wikipedia

View more of her works via her website.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

'K'rafers Paradise

  They're located at City Square Mall, #04-19/20/21 Farrer Park. It's so close to Farrer Park MRT station~

  They sell lots of craft things, paints, paintbrushes, KCK artist canvases (that's something new to me), and lots and lots of scrapbook papers.

Price list for canvases.

Do you spot the Faber Castell's polychromos in this picture.
*hyperventilates* I need them in my life.

  All in all, it's a great shop. The staff seem friendly enough. The store is well lit and well-stocked. And City Square Mall itself is huge, so it's great for a family day out or something along those lines. Worth a visit.

  If you know any other art stores that you think should be featured, tell me in the comment section below! :)

Thursday 11 December 2014

Leonardo Da Vinci's Earlier Mona Lisa

Leonardo Da Vinci's Earlier Mona Lisa: The Exhibition

  The "Earlier Mona Lisa" has spent the past four decades in a Swiss bank vault, from where it has from time to time been released to undergo expert examinations and scientific tests which have revealed that it is indeed a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, executed around 10 years before the Louvre work.

  The "Earlier Mona Lisa" came out of the shadows and into the spotlight during an international press conference in Geneva, Switzerland in September of 2012, sparking enormous worldwide interest.

  The exhibition is happening at The Arts House from 16th December 2014 to 11th February 2015. 

The Arts House
at the Old Parliment
1 Parliment Lane, Singapore
  You can view my review of this exhibition, plus a video for a peek at what to expect at the exhibition via this link.
  Tickets are available through Sistic or at the event. For more info, visit

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Pay It Forward This Holiday

  I just saw a website that I thought you guys would enjoy. It's 

  The idea behind it is that they got all these wonderful creative companies together to make a bundle of awesome things that you can get if only you would donate some money, any amount that you think is appropriate, for a good cause. This year they picked Watsi as their benefitting charity. 

  This offer is on till' end of December, and you don't want to miss it. :)

Recommended Artist: Iyan de Jesus

  I first saw the works of Iyan de Jesus at the Affordable Art Fair Nov. 2014, and I fell in love with them. There's a sort of Art Nouveau combined with steampunk look to her works, and that's what makes her unique. The softness of the female form contrasted against the straight lines of metal work. I also loved how you can see how much she has evolved over the years from her early works to her current style.

  You can view more of her works via her Deviantart.

Monday 8 December 2014

The Vatican: All the Paintings

"The Vatican: All the Paintings" by Anja Grebe

It's the complete collection of the Old Masters plus more than 300 sculptures, maps, tapestries, and other artefacts, and this thick volume is being sold for SGD$120 at the Da Vinci exhibition which I have reviewed before (click me).

Intro From the Book
  The Vatican is one of the wonders of the world. With more then 5 million visitors each year, it houses many museums and palaces containing some of the world's most renowned works of art. Never before have so many of treasures of the Vatican been out together in one book.

  The Vatican: All the Paintings is an unprecedented celebration of this great collection. It includes every painting currently on display by Old Master's including the masterpieces of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Carravaggio, Raphael, Fra Angelico, Giotto, Poussin, Titian, and Pinturicchio, as well as more than 300 sculptures, maps, tapestries, manuscripts, and more.
  The book is organised into 22 sections representing the museums and areas of the Vatican, including the Pinacotera (painting gallery), the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, the Borgia Apartments, the Vatican Palaces, and St. Peter's Basilica.

  Each one of the 976 works of art represented in the book- including 661 classic paintings on display in the permanent painting collection and 315 other masterpieces- is annotated with the name of the painting and artist, the date of the work, the birth and death dates of the artist, and tge medium that was used, the size of the work, and the catalogue number (if applicable). In addition, 180 paintings and other pieces of art are highlighted with 300-word essays by art historian Anja Grebe on such topics as the key attributes of the work, the artist's inspirations and techniques, biographical information on the artist, and the artist's impact on art history.

  The enclosed DVD-ROM contains every image from the book and allows readers to view them at a slightly larger size and to search and sort the paintings by type, artist, era, and date, or by location in the Vatican museums.

 Some people have found certain written errors within the book, like having two paintings having the same name, or a wrong record of which artist painted a certain painting... I haven't read the book. I just like the fact that it's an extensive collection of all of the Vatican's art works. I am a little annoyed that some of the paintings are pictured really small in the book, but I think for the number of pages the book has, it's completely worth the price. (I've paid more for a book of much lower quality, so I'm not complaining.)

Thursday 4 December 2014

My computer crashed...

... And that is why I haven't been posting....

  I was making a video about a book titled "The Vatican: All the Paintings". I had *just* finished editing it, and it was being exported, then my computer crashed. I rebooted the computer. The video was lost, but it wasn't too big a deal for me- it was an hour's worth of effort, mind you- but nothing that would make me get overtly angry. I shut down my computer properly to restart it, but then it wouldn't start up. :/

  Long story short; I had initially thought the hard-drive was fried, but it turned out to be a fixable software problem. I've since bought a new computer, though. I already have posts scheduled for the coming week, and I'll be back on my regular posting schedule immediately after that.

  Apologies for the lack of post. I swear I'm not being lazy and that it was a technical issues.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Book Review: "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be"

"It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be" by Paul Arden

  It's an advice book a lot like "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon... I feel that this title is more directed towards those in commercial arts like designers, illustrators, and advertisers rather than focusing on fine art artists. Nonetheless, it was still a good read for me and had very feel good vibes and good advice within. The layout of the book is splendid- font size is great, text and picture placement is excellent, colour choices within the book is on point, and the quality of the book is great... The writer does inject some humour within the book and I appreciated that a lot.

The book opened with this sentence.

It also contained a variety of quotes and personal anecdotes.

And most of the remainder of the book consisted of segments like the above.
Some pages had pictures to go with the text.
  In all, "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be" is an entertaining and feel-good book with some advice on how to get further in your art careers but you probably can finish reading it within a day, and I'm not sure whether I'll want to read it again after...

  (Borrow your friends copy of the book if you can.)

  6 out of 10 stars.

  Stay tuned for my review of his second book, "Whatever you think, think the opposite."