Thursday, February 28, 2013

spring 2 / 春天 2


To overcome my artist's block, I make myself observe the details of my everyday life and take delight in the little things. Also, I am learning not to repress any emotion or urge. Luckily, there is so much about spring I can record...

Good night / 晚安


On a spring evening, after our singing session, I pretend to fall asleep to coax Kai into going to bed. 


Though Kai is not tall enough to reach the switch, he still figures out a way to turn off the light for me. He is my guardian angel...

Monday, February 25, 2013

spring / 春天


This spring, we go for a long walk in the sun and collect pine cones every day. For us, we don't worry about anything at all during these beautiful moments...

Saturday, February 09, 2013

New Year's Eve / 除夕


What do you do after the yearly clean-up on Chinese New Year's Eve? I went on a shopping spree and bought the picture books in the name of the numerous children at home. Every kid will get a picture book as his/her New Year's gift with a hand-made card attached. Well, that's the art class for me on this special day. 


The little girl, whom the card is meant for, is still in her mom's stomach, but she will arrive with spring. Taro Gomi's color schemes should be a fantastic gift for a newborn baby. 


I freaked Kai out a while ago in the episode of the big bad wolf. When he didn't behave himself, I threatened to call the wolf. He acted really calm at first, running home to his grandpa, who told him that the big bad wolf doesn't exist. He came back to me trying to prove me wrong. When I picked up the receiver one more time, he burst into tears, explaining he hadn't meant to hurt his god grandmother. 


This book will show to Kai that the wolf isn't scary at all. 


I love this book Orange Horse written by Mr. Liu She-gong. It is a gift for the elder brother in the twins in our family. 


The book Little 1 illustrated by Paul Rand reminds me of the only child Wright. We do have tons of young and old people to keep him company! 


The starving ghosts in the story The Funny Little Woman set new goals for Von. We have been carrying out our new year plan--Little Giants Want to Gain Weight! Before and after every meal, Von and Kai fight to measure their weight. I am the coach that decides how much weight they have to gain after eating. Silly as it sounds, the boys take the project seriously, and I am having the time of my life! 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Shidong Market / 士東市場


Before the winter break, my colleague mentioned Shidong Market in our small talk. Tianmu is at the other end of the city, so naturally I do not frequent the area. However, this weekend, I had a chance to visit the market by coincidence. 


I  did a little bit of research on the Internet beforehand. Shidong Market is thought of as a high-end market by a blogger, which only made me more curious. Not a housewife, I do not have a clue of the prices and quality of fresh produce, so I can't confirm the blogger's statement. As soon as I arrived there, I headed immediately to the second floor, where the eateries gather. The crowds looking for somewhere to sit for lunch, again, disoriented me. In the beginning I couldn't put my finger on the feature of this market, so I had to observe the surroundings while having lunch. Next to the pho stand is a small cafe, where the customers chatted and enjoyed themselves. Right, it occurred to me that I should draw the scene, which isn't so commonly seen in markets. After lunch, I asked the owner if I could stay to sketch the cafe. He wiped the table clean for me with loads of sincerity. This was the first time for me to have a chair and a table for doing a sketch this winter. 


For me, I define Shidong Market as high-end because people know how to relax here in the hustle and bustle of everyday lives. Not everyone is capable of that...


Today I had an epiphany about myself while sketching. I was always asked if I am an art major or if I work in the related fields. Despite my year in London, I would still say "No" for I didn't think drawing brought me any material gain. Still, I studied illustration! Next time I will say bravely, "Yes!" And one day my belief will become reality. 

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Longshan Temple / 龍山寺


I hadn't got to draw a temple after having sketched for a few weeks. I knew I would though because it's a ritual for me to go to Long-shan Temple for new-year praying. It is one of the most famous temples in Taipei, certainly worthy of being recorded in my sketchbook. 


When I arrived at about four p.m., a huge group of followers were reciting mantra together. In the beginning I attempted to find my place in the crowds when worshipping the gods. A voice in me beckoned, "Hurry hurry hurry." However, after I sat down to draw, I succeeded in ignoring the unceasing footsteps by my sides. People in my image made a uniform gesture of holding the incense in their hands, but such a simple act, for me, had a very devout feel to it. 


I hardly raise my head to look at passers-by who pause for a glance at my pictures. My sketchbook is always open, inviting those who are interested to join me either in silence or else. Since I started to sketch regularly in Taipei, I have found that people here are quite into drawing. In fact, I attract more attention here than in London. 

When drawing complicated architecture, I have to rely on my imagination to fill in the details my eyes don't see well. Maybe my viewers, standing next to me, see a bigger picture than me. In the end when I lost track of what I was drawing, I still gained much praise. I ran into a lady today who asked me if I was drawing an illustration. She also draws, buildings in particular, so she loves my temple very much. She even asked if I have a business card so she can recommend my works on the Internet. 


The night was about to fall. Sketching is racing against time and standing one's ground. When others compliment me, I always give my standard answer, "In fact, if you are willing to sit here for a while, you will come up with something similar too." I don't have answers to many questions, but there is one thing I am so sure of--as long as I spend time sketching, I won't fail to produce images. 


I am halfway through the winter break. Over the past weeks, I have been sketching to accumulate mental forces. Now I have felt new determination rising. I guess I am blessed by the gods in many ways... 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Keelung / 基隆


I grew up in Keelung, but to be honest, I am more tourist-looking than many tourists. I never figure out which street is which, so the best way for me to get my bearings is sketching. The roads in Keelung are narrow, the houses dilapidated. But from the perspective of a sketcher, this city stands out once you put it down in paper. 


At 10 a.m., the fish shops on Xiao 2nd Road are already closed. The major color scheme there is dark gray; still, I can't help recalling my trip to Lisbon. Both cities have that weathered look when they are no longer prosperous. I spot a fish shop under the bridge in business, so I sit down in front of the lottery store across from it and start my sketch. Soon a black automobile slides into view. While I am wondering when the driver will move it away, the owner of the fish shop, whom I want to draw very much, leans on the car talking on the mobile. What can be better than the model posing just for me? Meanwhile, an old man stands behind me to take a glimpse. After a few minutes, he finally utters some words, "So, what is the sketch for?" I find the question funny, and to show it, I reply, "Because I am happy doing it!" 


Walking a little bit forward, you can't miss Bo'ai Market. Seeing the sign saying that there are all kinds of eateries on the second floor, I am tempted to go. I usually lose a little bit of zest after having done the first sketch. Yet, the market is throbbing with life, and it is so contagious that I don't want to waste the colors and images I see there. Soon Bo'ai Market has become the number one market on my chart. 


Aside from yummy food, another feature of Bo'ai Market is that there are numerous beauty salons. If the owner does not have a budget to rent a shop, several chairs are placed along the corners with towels hung on the hangers from the ceiling. Some salons are run by middle-aged Taiwanese women, but some are run by immigrants from Southeast Asia. This market reflects how people live their lives truthfully, and that's why it's extremely charming for me. 


Away from downtown Keelung, we head for the seaside, whose beauty is enhanced on sunny winter days. There aren't many people in Chao-jing Park. I am again enticed to take out my sketchbook after taking in the scenery of mountains and sea glistening with light. 


In the evening we visit Fang-zai Harbor, where many fishing boats are anchored. While drawing the boats in the distance, the foreign fishermen on the boat by my side speak in a language I don't catch. However, the music of the garbage truck which circulates the small village is so familiar. The trip today is both local and international. Though I do not travel far, I have enriched my five senses in every way.