Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bali - 2

One of the most dynamic sketch artist i have come across was a dwarf of a man who had the yearnings and appetite of a Bohemian. When I met him Ageng I Kt. Sumerta impressed me as a very highly skilled painter after viewing his Bilinese dancers paintings, however I was more impressed by the pseed in which he executed the sketch he did for me in my sketchbook. I hope someone with the means would discover this guy and help him set up his own studio in UBUD.

While travelling in Central Java I felt like i was on a pilgrimage of somesort. I made many discovereis about myself as an artist as well as a man. I was well received and treated with respect wherever i was and i made friends just as readily along the road and wherever i stop to rest.

People never fail to impress me down to each single individual i cross path with. It had always been my habit to greet everyone either with a smile or with a nod of my head as a token of respect, sometimes i bow like the Japanese, something i picked up living in Japan for three years. I find that this habit of greeting others irregardless of their appearences or status has always been a positive trait that had allowed me some great discoveries about others.

In Bali there is no doubt that their sculptures impressed my most especially the wooden ones. The rendering of the human figures in the Balinese sculptures defies imagination. Here the imagination is stretched to the limits and what the artist can do with wood is just phenominal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bali Hi! - 2008

If there was a moment in my life when I could have turned my back on the world and taken on a whole new life no matter how simple and lowly it may present , it was lving in Bali.

In every thing i saw when I was in Ubud , Bali albeit a painting or a sculpture, a home or a temple, a rice field or a river, I saw the beauty in creation and harmony of man and nature.

Bali was to me a land full of myteries and fantasies, a land with people in love with nature and they express it through their spritual practices. Sadly enough that this too is coming to an end as commercialism and economic exploitation takes a bite at her by the very people who adores her, people like me the tourists, I helped to bring the fall of Blinese cultural heritage.

The Monsters and demons still haunts the ricefields and forest groves. And the Monkey God still stands in protection of the temple gates, but Bali I saw has lost her innocence through the incursion of those who seek to escape from their own hell and spend sometime in the midst of a people still existing in the shadows of Mount Agung with their rich cutural heritage of Hinduism.

I still dream of having an art studio in Bali if and when I can afford it!

Random Sketches 1989-2

Catching people in action by sketching is a challenge as it is unpredictable as to what or when the person is going to change his or her posture. One has to have an intuitive feeling for the moment and execute, it is somewhat like taking a picture with the camera only you have to be sure and fast at it.

The sketch of the Cambodian girl came from black and white photo I bought at a secondhand book store on Clements Street in San Francisco, The Green Apple was the name of the store. I bought quite a few old books from this store including one by Yousof Karsh called 'Faces of Destiny', which I later donated to the Miyagi Museum of Modern Arts' open studio library. Black and white photos especially taken by the masters like Karsh is a precious sources to have if you like sketching in black and white. For that matter so are the black and white older Japanese Movies by the legendary Akira Kurosawa.

having spent ten years of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area I was exposed to a whole different Artistic culture where the quest to being a good artist was not so much as to how well off you are financially or how famous you may become through your reputation as an artist, but how well you have lived your life as one. How mindful and sensitive you are when in the midst of the day to day living among others.

I try to record life around me where ever I am and as i sketch a scene i am fully exposed in my senses towards all that was happening in and around me, sometimes I can feel the thoughts of others, their happiness and their loneliness, their joys and sorrows their curiosity and their disdain towards me as an artist sitting there among them a complete stranger recording a moment in the lives.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Sketches of 1989.

There was a time in 1989 when I lived in Daly City on the outskirts of San Francisco a few of these sketches were done while wasting my time in the back yard of the place I rented.

The sketching of the cars parked by the roadside was done on Courtland Ave right next to the Daly Pub, a sandwich shop ran by my friend Emad Yaiz formerly from Lebanon.

The crow on the electric pole is a classic anywhere in the world where crows are common.

I love to catpture the sights that is so ordinary and simple that it is often missed by many. I try to find the aesthetic beauty in these and express them as unique in my works.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A visit to the Museum of natural History San Fran.

I lived a few blocks from the Golden Gate Park in the 80s and nineties and when I was babysitting my two children I would load them on the double stroller packed with food and toys, my flute and sketch materials and spend a good amount of time at every corners of the park.

my favorite spots were always the De Young Museum and the Museum of Natural History. I would also spend soemtime playing my flute inside the 'tunnels' found in saveral spots in the park and enjoyed the echo it provided.
These sketches were done from the animal exhibits at the Museum of natural History.

San Francisco 1989 reflections on my mind.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chickens Everywhere!!

A few old pictures from my past at the Zen Center

Yesterday after dropping my daughter off at work at six thirty I I drove all the way to the Sungai Batu Mosque located just after Bayan Lepas, where the Penang International Airport is. Along the way I dropped by The Jerejak Resort and SPA ferry terminal where i used to work as the terminal Supervisor. Talked to an old friend, a spunky lady who I had almost got attatched to at one time had it not been for my late wife beign still alive at the time. She and her husband, the man who got her instead runs the restautrant there. Things is about the same as far as the Resort is concern, same old pains and poor management according to her.
I arrived at the mosque as the call for the Maghrib prayer was being blarred out of the minaret speakers and i joined the prayer. After I joined the Muzium Gallery Boys at the Star gazing corner outside the mosque while listening to the cheramah being given from inside by the invited Ustaz. What he said hit right home word for word expecially about the social woes and the decadence of the Islamic society today. The cure for this illness that we are all experiencing he said is here in the mosque, the house of God. I was again moved to remember that this was my negligence too and hence my emotions getting the better of me and spiritual energy getting way low below the acceptable level by my standards. Whe your spiritual energy level drops your creative energy levels suffers a down curve,so I have noticed in myself. I am not trying to convince anyone that the mosque is the only place for them to find the solace and tranquility and far from it that am I trying to convert anyone to Islam when I write about the religion,but it is me i am the one i am refering to when I talk of Islam. You whoever you are will have to find your own church corner or temple corner to find your solitude and peace from the humdrum of this rat eat rat life we are living. However find it we must for we all of us need a retreat of one form or another a place where we can unwind or drop off all the bonds of life that have been anchoring us to the ground or for some dragging us into it. We need to en-lighten ourselves even if it is just for a brief period in our daily lives, to retreat from the pressures of life and at the same itme to recharge our energies physically, emotionally, psychologically as well as spiritually. This is our space, inner an outer where none can touch or is allowed to come anywhere near. This is our inner sanctum, the place where we emanate from, our center, our core of being; this is where God resides in us and herein lies the Secret of Secrets.
Early this morning after dropping off my daughter at the place she works, (she works at the Bon Ton Cafe in Penang) I dropped by a market place on Carnavon street to do some life sketching. The place where thye were selling fowls got my attention and I spent a few hours there amidst the smell and the noise watching and sketching the scene and being encouraged by the workers who were mostly Chinese and Indians with a few Malays who does the Halal slaughtering of the chickens. It was fun to be able to ahng around this place and not be offending anyone and better yet being accepted and thanked for, for taking the trouble to do the sketching of the place. The feeling left me with an answer as to why or what i like about my art. It is the action the moment of creating the feeling of being a part of the whole whatever the scene may be when capturing the moment in time. This is something photography cannot do as the camera is often seen as offensive or intrusive by most especially if their action involve getting dirty, such as covered head to toe in blood. Sketching after the initial step creates a kind of rapport between the subject and the artisit. An artist ust also know how to entertain if and when approached by the subjects and not feel aloof as to who he is compared to his subjects, here humilty goes a very long way.