Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 8 / 台北城市生活旅行 8


I had had an inveterate phobia for hairy animals since my birth. For all my life, I had never tried to approach animals like cats and dogs. As a matter of fact, I shied away from them as far as I could. It hardly occurred to me that they can be really interesting major figures for my illustration. This summer, I guess it's art that opened my mind. Somehow a strong desire to draw cats and dogs took hold. Lately as I walk on the roads, my eyes and mind have been extremely sharp. The moment I see an interesting image full of possibilities, I will rush forward and take photos like a paparazzi journalist. I think many cats in Taipei have heard my notoriety. The following pictures are my-not-too-realistic record of cats' lives.



Lives of various cats in Taipei city

According to my observation, lives of different cats can be as different as heaven and hell. The cat of the cafe's owner is lazy in a very elegant manner. When it lies on the red carpet outside the cafe for a nap, the image is so Parisian. Besides, the cat is totally at ease in front of the camera. It seems born to be a super star. The owner must have spent tons of money and of course, love, on it.


One afternoon near our place, I spotted a very special cat with a ling of hair along its abdomen. I first wondered if I should do anything, but it took me less than 30 seconds to take out my camera. However, my abrupt change of attitude REALLY scared the little darling. It ran away immediately. Seeing no place to go, it hid under the car wheel. To coax it into coming out, this was the first time in my life that I tried to sweet-talk to an animal. It was to no avail and we were frozen with fear and helplessness for a while. I bet this car must have been hurt sometime in its life...


While I was waiting for the bus yesterday, the sultry heat outside was so intimidating that I preferred to take shelter in the corridor in front of the shops. The cat in the car factory dozed away happily. It was not bothered by the noise around. This seemed to be another lucky cat. Not as graceful as the cafe cat, it must have grown up with a lot of love as well.

Perhaps cat moms have to go to temples and pray to gods for giving their babies better human families...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Smiling in Her Dream / 夢裡也微笑




Get-well wish sent to Los Angeles

The hard-working girl fell sick. Her parents were utterly worried. Yet one night in the hospital, they saw her face bloom into a beautiful smile in her sleep. They guessed, "Oh, she must be dreaming of her dear violin."

As a matter of fact, she didn't think of anything. She smiled because she felt lucky to have such loving parents.

Thanks to the smile in her dream...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 7 / 台北城市生活旅行 7





Youth stolen from God

On the scorching hot summer afternoon, we risked getting a super tan roaming in Yon-kang Street after lunch in the famous beef noodle restaurant. We were looking for the gallery for Ms. Yao's exhibition. At the end of the famous yet short Yon-kang street lies a small square. The leafy plants in front of the mini-gallery welcomed our visit. We were quite delighted to have found the place like a breeze. Right when I held out my hand and grasped the doorknob, I realized that it was closed. We two were kind of disappointed, but it didn't stop us from guessing where the gallery owner had gone.

Knowing we wouldn't come back again, we leaned on the French windows and squinted our eyes to get a better view of the paintings inside. To be honest, I had never been so attentive in any exhibition. "Which painting would you buy if you had the budget?" We started a very serious discussion about the works and moved around to see every painting more clearly. Our loud talk and weird behavior must have aroused the curiosity of passers-by.

In the summer of August, in the summer before my 30th birthday, I take time with my life, as if I had endless youth. Friends of my age are busy raising kids. But in the choice I made, God decided to give me extended youth to make up for my solitude. And that is why I am as free as the wind...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 6 / 台北城市生活旅行 6






The city filled with memories

Two weeks ago I read in the newspaper about a small exhibition held by Shin Kong Life Foundation. Two Legacy Art Works social workers led a group of elderly people in recording their life experiences in the form of visual art. On seeing the pictures, I knew I had to go. I was there in Eslite Bookstore the first day. The artworks were by no means sophisticated, but they spoke to me, with the language I am obsessed with.

The young lady from the Foundation introduced to me the elders' artworks with enthusiasm. She said that most old people in the nursing home were taciturn. However, the program helped them tell their past with lines, colors and collage. Underneath their quiet appearances, their inner worlds were overhelmingly colorful. And I saw the past of this city. Though their first love, dreams and wishes were deeply buried with time passing, at least they were once there. That makes this place warmer and less empty.

I wanted to do a painting to show how I was touched by these pictures. I was most impressed with a grandma whose dream was to grow veggies and cook them for other people. This is a simple wish, yet so full of thoughtfulness. I used all kinds of green and came up with an abstract picture. When I saw the result, I couldn't help thinking of Bruno. He is an expert at painting plants. Mine looks more like a cheap imitation of his works:-).

I am wondering, on which memories can I feed in my old age?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Brand-new! / 新店開張


I finally have my website! ( It took me practically a month to design and sort out my works. Well, this did not include the four-month-long courses I had taken before this summer. I know it is far from fancy, but last year at this time, making a website was nothing but a remote dream for me. I am very happy with my rapid progress:-). My website is a more condensed version of my blog. If you have a little time and a little passion, please come visit my little room!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thirty / 卅




Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Play / 荷花池裡的捉迷藏

Botanical garden, Exhibition of Spanish toys, sixteen-year-old girl. I combined all these elements and turned them into the illustration for Illo Friday this week!

Visiting the botanical garden is one of my summer highlights. I need to check if the lotus flowers are doing fine and take a look at other dear plants as well. This summer, there is an interesting exhibition of Spanish toys at National Museum of History, so Little Kim and I went together. We were amidst crowds of young kids and girls, and suddenly I became one of them. But the young Kim, who is almost half my age, found me to be too childish!

The tickets to the exhibition are really cool and Kim was kind enough to give me hers. I decided to put them into my lotus painting. How did we play in the botanical garden? In my illo this week, I imagined that Kim and I, each with a big Spanish doll, played hide-and-seek in the lotus pond! Kim was happy to hide herself so well that I couldn’t find her. Want to know the truth? In real life, it would be completely the opposite!

If you are interested in the beautiful botanical garden in Taipei, I have some pictures here from last summer!



因為小眼睛美少女的美意,我得到了兩張票根,不想浪費如此珍貴的素材,再加上本週Illustration Friday的主題是「玩耍」,我便想到,小眼睛美少女和我在蓮花池裡玩捉迷藏,瞧她一副開心的樣子,其實在現實生活中,剛好是相反的。


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 4 / 台北城市生活旅行 4






The IKEA Dream

In the US, I was a poor student. I wasn't into cooking, but I desperately wanted a spacious and beautiful kitchen. Sets of exquisite plates and bowls filled the cupboards. When the visitors came, I didn't have to take out the recycled recycle-free paper cups, which I quite felt ashamed of.

In France, I was nothing but a visitor. I had a borrowed kitchen. It was full of homey décor and sincere feeling. No matter how delighted I was in using it, I was always aware of the fact that it didn't belong to me.

In Taiwan, I am so used to take-out food. In fact, I would feel terribly upset without it. Still, I want a kitchen badly. The small space has a soft feel with the warm orange light. After a day's hard work, it's a place for me to relax. I breathe hard to take in the lovely smell of veggie soup boiling on the gas stove. While waiting for the soup, I think quietly about the picture I am going to do tonight.

My dream hasn't come true yet, but IKEA has sketched its contour for me. And now, you get to see what it is like.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 3 / 台北城市生活旅行 3



Sleepless in Taipei

It's late at night. Apart from those who sleep tight, in Taipei City, some people work hard so quietly that you are hardly aware of their existence.

The moon tonight is fat and round. I sleep sound. The young doctor is awake, alone. He ponders over life, death, old age and illness in the dark.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 2 / 台北城市生活旅行 2



Garden in the Air

The Liu family has a lush air garden. Papa and Mama Liu water the plants with love every day. The plants are their dear babies. Because of them, the skyline of Taipei is more than black, gray and brown. I like the Liu's garden in the air.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Traveling in Taipei 1 / 台北城市生活旅行 1



Drinking a Cup of Tea

I'd heard Wistaria Tea House for many times, but I never had a chance to really go in and sip a cup of tea there. Strange to say, I seldom drink tea, but I am highly interested in tea art. It must be that I cannot resist old and beautiful things...


Last week I finally decided to visit the tea house with Alison, who is as carefree as me during summer break. I would like a very Oriental afternoon tea and think back on the good old days. On walking into the tea house, I fell in love with it right away. It's a wooden house with everything made of wood in there. There is a small shop near the entrance. The antique-looking tea cup sets lay quietely on the display shelf. Everything was so calm and relaxing. There were only two or three tables of customers, and that made the tea house seem bigger and brighter. Most of the visitors were middle-aged people, so we two were like young girls that went into the wrong place. We talked and laughed as if no one had been around.


I am a layman when it comes to tea art, so I let Alison do all the tea-making stuff. Meanwhile, I was busy taking pictures. Alison looks like one of those young heroines in kung-fu fiction. The way she lowered head and concentrated on making tea gave me the illusion that I was back in ancient China. However, the bustling road outside and the ultra-modern architecture took me back to the 21st century. Occasionally, tourists came took photos of the small yard outside the tea house. They were not stingy with their film when they saw the green vines, the poetic ditch and the stone sculpture.


We chatted on and on. The sky outside turned from light blue to dark red to indigo. Our conversations were about the past one and half years. Yet it seemed timeless in the tea house. Without the external reminders, it was hard to imagine that minutes slipped by so fast.


If you have a lot to say, then, let's go to Wistaria Tea House...


Note: The series "Traveling in Taipei" was inspired by this new book on Kyoto. (This time I really have to apologize to my English readers because no matter how I searched on the Internet, I couldn't find the author's name in English and even the title of the book. It was written and illustrated by a Japanese woman writer.) In the book, the author introduced many lovely old and new places in Kyoto worth visiting. Taipei is not as historical and elegant as Kyoto, but this city has amazing vitality.


In the book, the author shows how to make tea. It looks like I should read the book first before heading for Wisteria Tea House!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Capture / 捕

"I don't want to capture any heart. I just want to tame one that I really adore..."

Huei's film-making project still goes on. And she never doubts the decision of my role, which is the only and one lead actress. A few days ago, she came to my place to shoot the scene in which I painted. I was quite anxious since my brain was literally drained that morning. It would be unprecedented to film someone who painted nothing but air, and I didn't want to disappoint her.

I did have an image in mind, but I wasn't sure if I was calm enough to put it down. Then it occurred to me that I could express my whole concept only with simple lines and shapes. Thus started our silly little spy game. I knew what every line meant, but Huei was puzzled. As time went by, she saw more and more cryptical symbols on the paper. At the same time I said to myself silently, "Come on, this is easy. You should know what I want to convey!"

That day, I enjoyed how it felt to be an abstract art painter. In fact, it doesn't matter what I want to say. What you get from the picture is far more important. At least that's how I console myself when I try to appreciate abstract artworks.





Friday, August 04, 2006

Single Women 2 / 單身女郎 2



She has her own house

I envy her because she has her own house. Every morning when she wakes up, she can see the blue sea right out of the window.

At home, there is Mom, who always shouts my name like I am her dearest pet. My dad is slow but funny. Also, my little brother and I still play with each other like two ten-year-old kids. I know I might feel kind of lonely in my own house. Yet I still feel like living in a place I call my own.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Clean / 弟弟啊!

My little brother is a clean boy living in a clean room. His heart is as clean as his looks. When he sleeps, he has the habit of pinching his security blanket. When he wakes up and while his eyes are still puffy, he would drink Yakuto like a baby, holding tightly the remote control in his hand.

The baby of our family started the first job ever in his life this month. If you see a clean and polite insurance salesman, please give him some words of encouragement. Because that's my clean little brother...