Wednesday 25 October 2017

not everything is black and white

  Last week was crazy busy for me. But I've finally found the time to slow down and get some ink on paper. :)

  Are you still keeping up with Inktober? I've been diligent in creating something for all the prompts but I've not been posting anything on my social medias.. which is a little odd. But I guess you do what works for you, yea?

  Here are my tiles for this week's Zentangle challenges:

For "It's a String Thing" #216
The colours in Abeko were done in Coloursoft coloured pencils. The background was done with Peerless watercolours. White auras were added using a Uni-ball Signo Broad pen.

Joey's 3D triangle... The string has gotten lost in the background. But basically, one side of WUD followed the edge of the string, and Frunky was used within the triangle itself.

  I happened to choose to draw my tile for Joey's challenge on black before I got to know that Laura wanted us to do something on black paper this week. So here's another black tile for her challenge:
And if you notice, I've changed my chop. It's on the lower right on this tile and is a stylised version of my Chinese family surname. I'm excited to use it in my future tiles.

   I think chops can be extremely personal. In Chinese calligraphy, your chop is hand-carved and your skills as an artist will not only be judged based on how your calligraphy looks like, but also where you place your chop and how it looks. A Chinese painting missing the artist's chop can be worth very little. Imagine that- just because of a tiny signature...

  I also feel that in my personal artistic journey, I've felt a need to change my chop/signature every time I felt a new chapter of my life starting... Have you changed your signature before? Or do you still use the very first signature you had?

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Review of the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy Calligraphy Exhibition

  Last Friday, I attended the grand opening of the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy Calligraphy Exhibition at The Luxe Art Museum Singapore. I was part of the media team, and got front row seats at the event. (Woohoo!) The event had light food, and there was a great turn-out of a blend of Japanese and Singaporean attendants.

In a sea of black suits, I stood out with my pink dress.

  Bokushun Kito, the first speaker, is Board Chairman Representative Director of the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy. During his speech, I found out that it will be the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy’s 72nd anniversary early next year. Mr. Kito said that he wanted visitors of the exhibition to feel and experience Japanese culture through the art works displayed.

 The second speaker, Kenji Shinoda, is H.E Ambassador of the Japan Embassy in Singapore. His hope is that the exhibition would inspire Singaporeans to understand the elegant and beautiful Japanese art form that is Japanese calligraphy.

  Following him, a representative of the Sunstar Group, Yoshihiro Kaneda came on stage to give his speech. He talked about how Sunstar wanted to act as a bridge between Japan and Singapore, and said that it was fitting that the exhibition was held in Singapore, where diverse nationalities and cultures mix.

  Finally, chief executive director of the People's Association, Desmond Tan was the guest-of-honour for the event. He was rocking it without a speech prompter or any notes. He was eloquent and talked about the importance of strengthening ties between Japan and Singapore.

  After the speeches were made came time for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Got white gloves and shiny scissors some more... Very stately and super official.)
Group photo!

Anddd~ Snip!
  After that, we were ushered into the exhibition hall where all of the art works were being displayed. It was time for the calligraphy demonstration.

  The first of three artists to perform that day was Matsui Gyokusou. After completing her painting, the emcee asked if she had anything to say to the audience about how she was feeling or anything she had to say about the painting. Matsui said that she wasn't nervous today. She also told us that we should take note that Japanese calligraphy doesn’t have to be drawn on a white paper. The paper used in her painting has gold flecks and a gradient. So when viewing the paintings within the exhibition, we should not only take note of the calligraphy but the paper, too.
I liked the light, airiness of her calligraphy.

  The next artist that performed was Ohtani Yoshun. His painting depicted a maiden on the Silk Road. Ohtani noted that unlike Matsui, he was feeling nervous today as there were many great Chinese calligraphers present at the event today. He mentioned that at the Japan Cultural Workshop Day that was set to happen the next day (21st Oct), there was a movie that was going to be shown called “Shodo Girls”. The movie tells the story of how a group of girls revive their sad town by organising a calligraphy performance competition. Then he joked that the movie had their "Shodo Girls" and he was, instead, a “Shodo Uncle”. The joke received a peal of laughter.
In Mandarin, we'd say that his calligraphy has qi.
A sort of strong energy that gives the art work life.

  The last artist to perform for the day was Kito Bokushun. He wrote a series of calligraphic words from a famous Chinese poem. The poem was written by a general going to war, and is one of Kito's favourite poem.
I really liked how the large and small words balance the art work.

  If you'd like to watch a video of the three artists creating their art works specifically for this event, you're in luck, cause' I filmed:

  I mentioned to Teacher Joni how much pressure I'd feel if I were asked to perform in front of a large audience using such an unforgiving medium such as ink... I really tip my hat to the three wonderful artists who showed us different types of Japanese art styles that day.

  After that, we were allowed to walk around the exhibition hall to admire the art works hanging on the walls. As I've mentioned before in a previous post; the exhibition covers four categories: Sino-Japanese ideograms (“kanji”), Japanese syllabary (“kana”), new calligraphic art and seal carving. And even if I couldn't read a word of Japanese, I kept my heart and mind open to this new experience...

  I followed Matsui's advice and took note of the paper that were used in the art works...
Look at the pretty floral embellishment on this art work.
I also super loved the soft peach colour of the paper.

A painting in a painting...  Notice the soft blue mountains on the lower portion of this art work.
It was done by Hasegawa Gyokuri and depicts a waka poem expressing the beauty of the ocean.

Here's a poem by Li Bai about looking at a mountain.

This one was drawn by Ohtani Yoshun, the second artist that performed that day.
Again, I really love the energy in his work.

Lastly, here's another seal carving piece by Shimamura Misao that depicts some ancient Chinese phrases. I really loved the deep cobalt blue of the background.

  I've studied Chinese calligraphy before, and one of the stark differences between the Chinese calligraphy exhibitions that I've been to and this exhibition was the way the art works were framed. Chinese calligraphy is still displayed in its scroll form, hung from a nail on the wall. Whereas the paintings in this exhibition had really modern, minimalistic silver frames. I really liked that.

  All in all, I was really pleased with how well-planned the event was. The emcee/translator at the event was great. Attention was paid to even the small details: Like the fact that they had a backing paper for the paintings that were done for the performances... In this way, pictures of the paintings would show up better because the black inked words would contrast better against a solid white background rather than one piece of sheer rice paper. There were microphones for all of the guests. People were ushered in an orderly manner. The food was lovely; as were the people who attended the opening ceremony...

  I had a wonderful time viewing the art works. The Luxe Museum is just behind Plaza Singapura and is accessible by MRT (Dhoby Ghaut) and other buses. If you have the time this week, do drop by. The exhibition will run all the way till' the 25th of October 2017.

Sunday 22 October 2017


  #ANTSinSINGAPORE is South African artist Lorraine Loots’ first solo show in Asia. The exhibition will showcase one hundred of the artist’s prints from her Potluck 100 | Paintings for Ants series, as well as five original paintings made just for her Singapore exhibition.

  Visitors can look forward to paintings from four different themes: ‘Microcosm Mondays’ features impressive watercolour paintings of galaxies and nebulas; ‘Tiny Tuesdays’ presents vintage book covers in minute detail; ‘Fursdays’ is a collection of animal paintings; and ‘Free Fridays’ lets Loots go wild with her paintbrush.

  The exhibition is being held in K+ located inside Scotts Square, and ends on the 29th of October 2017. So do drop by soon if you're in the Orchard area. It's well worth the visit.

They provided magnifying glasses for viewers.

Tiny galaxies!

Teeny tiny circle featuring one of my favourite from her works.

Zooming in with the magnifying glass...

"To Kill a Mockingbird". Look at the details!

  Her exhibition was an absolute joy to visit. If you really take the time to look through the art works, you'll notice tiny details that pictures on her Instagram don't often show. I loved the minimalistic frames, the way the art works were grouped, and the amount of space visitors had to explore the art works. The magnifying glasses were a great touch to the exhibition.

  I didn't take more pictures so that you'll still have an element of surprise when you visit the exhibition. It's happening at K+ in Scotts Square, till' the 29th of October 2017.

Friday 13 October 2017

to the click of my heart

  Here's my tile for the fourth day of #InktoberTangles. Featuring Diva Dance Waltz and Aquafleur. I saw a tile done by a CZT where she drew Aquafleur in this way and I knew I absolutely had to draw it this way, too. I used Tombow markers for the colours.

  And here's my tile for this week of Joey's challenge, featuring Poke Leaf:

  The lower left corner of the tile was actually an oopsie... I tried something that didn't work out so I just drew over the entire area with black ink and added Printemps in silver Uni-ball pen.

  And here's the nine tiles that I've drew for her challenges over the past nine weeks:

  I'm completely thrilled with how it turned out! I tried to have each tile have its own personality but work together as a whole drawing, too.

  And here's my tile for Diva's challenge, featuring Striping. The little secret is that this was done in a page in my sketchbook. And what happened was that I messed up.... I was drawing a beautiful Waybop and having a good time, and then I made a bad decision that I really REALLY didn't like. So I just... I just decided to glue a white tile over the oops. haha

  But it fixed it, though. I absolutely love the colours that I picked. It's just two Tombow markers 725 bright pink and 676 purple. If you live in Singapore and you'd like to purchase Tombow markers (singles or in sets) visit this link. They're having a promotion right now all the way till' the end of this year!

  If you were wondering the process of how I created this drawing... I drew a string in pencil, then added the stripes in pencil too. Then I added the colours... Let them dry. Erased the pencil lines, and then outlined the outside of the tile and the loops that were sticking out of the tile with a black 0.8 Micron pen.

  Lastly, I wanted to tell you a little story... 

  Tuesday earlier this week was a tough day for me... It didn't go so great. And I was set to have a class that night. I'm a strong believer of leaving your baggage at the door of the classroom. People pay me good money to learn the Zentangle method from me, to learn new creative skills from me, and to have a good time in my classes. So when I step into a classroom, I make sure I'm 100% present in the moment. So all that hubbub that happened earlier that day... that all melted away when I stepped into the classroom.

  And I was genuinely happy to see my students. I am so blessed to have wonderful students who bring such great energy, creativity, and joy to every class. Then one of my students, her name is Diana, took out a small click eraser. "It's a gift for you," she said. And a huge smile spread across my face.

  See, last week, I saw that another student had a similar eraser in her pencil case. I loved it. I'm overly excitable and get happy over small things. I mentioned that I had only seen large click erasers- never small skinny ones. And I gushed over how cute the small click eraser was.

  So Diana had heard the conversation and gone out to get me a small click eraser. It was wonderful. I'm still smiling now as I recount the story to you. :) That small gift brightened up my crappy day so much. I love teaching tangling to others, and it's small moments like these that I hold close to my heart.

new classes and all that gems

  Last term, as part of our weekly classes, we learnt how to draw pearls using coloured pencils. This upcoming term, we'll be learning how to add some colour gradient to our tangles to give it that extra pop of fun. 

  If you'd like to join us to learn how to do that, here are the dates that our weekly classes will fall on:
  • BUKIT BATOK EAST ZONE 3 RC: (Next to Bukit Batok East Community Club. To get to the RC, you can take bus 173 from Bukit Batok bus interchange and alight at Blk 254.) 1:30pm to 3pm. Saturdays. 21st, and 28th October, 4th, and 11th November 2017.
  • CHANGI-SIMEI COMMUNITY CLUB: 4pm to 5:30pm. Tuesdays. 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th November 2017. 
  • TOA PAYOH CENTRAL COMMUNITY CLUB: 7:30pm to 9pm. Wednesdays. 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th November 2017.

  We'll also be teaching craft classes. The earliest one will be happening at Toa Payoh CC on 1st November 2017 (Wednesday), 7pm to 9pm. This class will teach you how to use fabric markers to draw your very own creation on a beautiful cotton tote bag. A one-of-a-kind creation. 

Here are other two venues that we'll be teaching a tote bag craft class:
  • BUKIT BATOK EAST ZONE 3 RC: (Next to Bukit Batok East Community Club.) 25th November 2017. 1pm to 3pm. Saturday.
  • PASIR RIS EAST COMMUNITY CLUB: 2nd December 2017. 10am to 12pm. Saturday.

  In addition, we're also thrilled to announce that we will now be teaching greeting card classes! The class will focus on helping you learn how to use colours in your Zentangle art and how to draw gemstones...

 In the two hour creativity class, you will get to learn a number of Zentangle patterns and how to combine them to create a multi-flap greeting card. You will also be taught different techniques on how to use Tombow dual brush markers such as misting, colour blending, and how to create gradients. You will also be taught how to draw beautiful gemstones that you can use to add a spark of magic to your art work.

  We know you've been waiting so long for us to come up with a class like this, so we do hope these classes will be well-received.

  Excited? So are we. Here are the venues, dates, and timings of the greeting card classes:
  • CI YUAN COMMUNITY CLUB: 28th November 2017. 10am to 12pm. Tuesday.
  • BUKIT BATOK EAST COMMUNITY CLUB: 9th December 2017. 4pm to 6pm. Saturday.
  • CHANGI-SIMEI COMMUNITY CLUB: 13th December 2017. 2:30pm to 4:30pm. Wednesday.
  • TANJONG PAGAR COMMUNITY CLUB: 17th December 2017. 10am to 12pm. Sunday.

Monday 9 October 2017

Japan Calligraphy Art Academy Calligraphy Exhibition at The Luxe Art Museum Singapore

  Sunstar, a company with Japanese origins, will be hosting a series of Japanese calligraphy art and cultural event in Singapore this month. The events will be hosted by the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy (Nihon Shodo Bijutsuin), co-organised by Sunstar and Japan Creative Centre (Embassy of Japan) and supported by The Mainichi Shimbun / Mainichi Shodo Kai. Through the events, they aim to both promote cultural exchange between Japan and Singapore; as well as use Japanese calligraphy as a channel to direct the attention of local communities to the importance of holistic healthcare.

Japan Calligraphy Art Academy Calligraphy Exhibition

  Since 1945, Sunstar has been a strong supporter of the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy in holding various Japanese calligraphy exhibitions. This partnership also illustrates Sunstar’s commitment to its corporate motto of helping people achieve better health and enhance their quality of life. Fun fact: The Japan Calligraphy Art Academy is one of Japan’s oldest calligraphy art institutes with 70 years of history! Wow!

  The exhibition will showcase over 60 pieces of curated masterpieces by members of the Japan Calligraphy Art Academy. The exhibition will cover four categories: Sino-Japanese ideograms (“kanji”), Japanese syllabary (“kana”), new calligraphic art and seal carving.

  So where and when will the exhibition be held in Singapore..?

  It will be held at the Luxe Art Museum. (That's the building with the lizard statue outside of it, at Dhoby Ghaut.) The exhibition will happen from the 20th to 25th October 2017.

  If you visit the exhibition between the 20th to the 24th of October, try to time your visit to happen between 2pm to 3pm so that you can watch wonderful calligraphy performances done by visiting calligraphers. They will also be there to provide opportunities for you to learn and practice calligraphy. The number of participants for the calligraphy trial is limited, but all activities are free of charge. Visitors will also receive an exclusive calligraphy art gift and a lovely Sunstar goodie bag, while stocks last. Don't say bojio ah.

Japan Cultural Workshop Day

  You can also choose to take part in the series of workshops and events that will happen in heartland areas. These events will happen only on the 21st of October 2017. You'll be able to watch calligraphy performances, learn and practice calligraphy, and enjoy other Japanese cultural experiences. The events will be held at:
  •  The Japanese Association, Singapore (JAS) – starts at 10am. There will be a calligrapher performance, and calligraphy trials on Uchiwa (Japanese Fan)
  • Japan Creative Centre (JCC) – starts at 10am. There will be a calligrapher performance, and calligraphy trials on T-Shirt (Limited to first 40 participants)
  • Choa Chu Kang Community Club (CC)* – Afternoon to Evening. There will be a calligrapher performance, calligraphy trials, a Japanese Cultural Booth, plus a movie screening of “Shodo Girls” and a kids dental show held in the evening. The dental show is an oral health edutainment show to raise awareness about the importance of oral care which sounds like great fun for the little ones. :)
  • Our Tampines Hub (OTH) – Afternoon. There will be a calligrapher performance, calligraphy trials (Limited to first 50 participants), and a movie screening of “Shodo Girls”.
*Do note that there will be an admission fee for CCK CC, but all other venues are free.

  Through the Japanese Calligraphy Art Exhibition and the other cultural events planned, Sunstar hopes to offer an immersive cultural experience to increase appreciation of traditional Japanese calligraphy art and culture. I'm planning to visit the exhibition on the 20th to try my hand at Japanese calligraphy. I hope you'll join in the fun, too.

  Get updates on this event by following their Facebook event page: 

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Inktober Tangles Week One

Here's a tile I did for Travelling Tangles Project. It was sent to me from Laura van Erp. She did the two little Paradox-Cadents. (If you'd like to learn how to draw them, you can watch this video.) I added Diva Dance Waltz and Hollibaugh, then used watercolours to complete the background, and finally, added some Printemps using a white Uni-ball Signo pen.

  Here's my seventh tile for Joey's challenge. Featuring the lovely Printemps.

  A little Bijou in my sketchbook for Diva's challenge.

  And here are my first three tiles for Inktober Tangles. Bunzo, Dicso, and....

... Feeling Knotty. I really liked exploring the different ways I could draw Feeling Knotty. If you'd like to find the prompts to the Zentangle version of Inktober, you can visit this link.