The Comeback

Hi! I’m back again 🙂
Sorry, I was gone again for what seemed like eternity. I’ve been MIA for the nth time (blogging, social media) because I was avoiding people (still do). There are just certain people that will suck out all the happiness in you. Yes, the Dementor kind. They are always right, dramatic, they bring you down, and drag you with them into the depths of their own misery and negativity — and this makes you question your whole existence. I don’t feel comfortable with them around me; talking to them always leave me drained and exhausted. Wait, what? Is it right for me to say that all those time I was “absent” from blogging (read: evading my so-called friends) and  moping in my corner I had an existential crisis ? Oh, that’s deep, dude.

I’m glad I went offline again for some time. I let all the negativities and unpleasantness wash over with the passing of time. The Dementors are still around (I didn’t want to alienate them or for them to think I’m aloof) but I don’t and won’t let their unpleasantness latch on to me anymore. I’m not exactly terminating our friendship because they’re also good people, but something like I won’t be seeing/interacting with them frequently, you know. I’ll keep my distance.

So far, so good.
I can now go back to regular programming 🙂
I’ll leave you with this little doodle with a positive message I did recently. Until next post, ciao.

Let’s all do.

Arte, arte!

Hello, blog.

Just an update (especially for those two of you who reads this).

So I have been doing some commission work for friends, nothing massive but enough to keep me busy all this time. Recently, an Indonesian who introduced himself as a font designer asked me if I could make him an exemplar in modern script (meaning, my calligraphic style), for a fee, of course. While I was flattered that I got offered to do this kind of job, I declined as this is not actually what I want to do or make. I found this guy’s online shop and — lo and behold — he is selling these kinds online! Tsk, tsk… these guys!

Anyways, I’m currently experimenting on gouache paint. It’s similar to watercolour paints, but it is more opaque and the texture more powdery or chalky. However, I like the colours though. Here’s one example:

Mixing gouache paints
Mixing colours is fun! These are pastel blue and pink. You can also see the bottles of drawing ink on the upper right hand side of the picture; I use them for calligraphy.

My younger brother requested for pastel colours. Since there is no pink nor any pastel colours on the gouache, I took it upon myself to mix colours. YouTube is a fountain useful of video tutorials, I found out. Choosing one tutorial to use is quite a challenge. Thanks to these generous people who upload their video, they are helping newbies like me! So, what do you think of the result?

I’m back.

For someone who’s coming back after a very long blog hiatus, what would be the best comeback post? Lol.
I don’t know who’s still reading my blog posts here, but if anyone remembers this poor blog and this poor blogger, here’s something that partially sums up what I’ve been doing or where I’ve been during my blogging absence.

minion

One day I had a lousy day or two, the next week there was so much to do at home, and the next, I lacked the energy to blog, and so on and so forth, that before I knew it, weeks and months had passed me by. I’ve fallen mightily behind with my posts and I don’t have any excuse for that. The past months have been spent on ‘adulting’. Very challenging, if you ask me, but since it’s part and parcel of life then I must keep on keeping on. Anybody here can relate, raise your hands, please!

My focus now is to get back into the blogging groove.
I’ve been reading blogs about how to successfully return to blogging after a long slump and I’m getting pretty useful tips from bloggers out there.

Wait.

As I am typing this, I can hear the soft melodious sound coming from my neighbour’s house. Their back window is open and I can hear the daughter playing the keyboard. I was amazed at how fast she learned the theory and played the instrument – I didn’t even know there are different types of keyboards in the market. But I digress. Funny, I know. Till next post.

Can’t get it out of my head

I am not a fan of Adele but her song Hello is in stuck in loops in my head, for some reason.

This song’s been going on and on in my head and the kids in school weren’t help at all as they keep on singing the chorus. When I got home, I sat down and watched/listened to it properly (on YouTube) and it made me think that the song’s not bad actually. It’s pretty good. Her vocals are great. You know what… I don’t know much about pop music – or music in general – but I’ll surely take her over Taylor Swift anytime.

Seasons greetings

Merry Christmas!
Are you all ready for the festive celebration?

Not quite over here.  Christmas is not celebrated in Cambodia so naturally we are having a low-key affair at home. Nothing beats being (in your) home(land) for Christmas. *cries softly and runs away*

Anyhoo, even if we’re not feeling the Christmas mood here, it doesn’t stop me from spreading holiday love. I’ve been quiet for a long time (not blogging) and here’s what’s making me busy (and keep my thoughts off the festive celebrations elsewhere):

Calligraphy and hand-lettering
I’ve been practicing a lot and now I can see great improvements. I was very much displeased with my output in the beginning but through repetition, it gets me to satisfactory levels. I’ve wanted to do calligraphy and hand-lettering for the longest time but didn’t know where to begin with before. Thanks to generous artists who put up video and text tutorials on their sites for free, I can say that I am getting results that I am happy with.

Here’s some examples of my practice:

Practicing letters "R" and "V", as in, Red Velvet. Red watercolour in ordinary unlined, white paper.
Practicing letters “R” and “V”, as in, Red Velvet. Red watercolour in ordinary unlined, white paper.
Mail for my penpal. The envelope was designed with tribal pattern in gouache colours.
Mail for my penpal. The envelope was designed with tribal pattern in gouache colours.
Feathering. Pelikan royal blue ink on low quality paper-envelope.
Feathering. Pelikan royal blue ink on low quality paper-envelope.

Holiday cards
Yes, there are still people who send Christmas cards in this digital age and I’m proud to be one of them! And they’re not just any card, they’re handmade by me 🙂

Just one of the cards inspired by the designs found on Pinterest.
Just one of the cards inspired by the designs found on Pinterest.

I do not have the moolah to grant someone’s wish for a snare drum or a gadget or what-have-you but I do have the time to sit down and create a card. Sure it’s a major effort, as one of my friends pointed out, but I love to sit down and take time to make cards by hand for family and friends. Handmade cards are more special. Anyone can just get a card from any shops but these cards are sent out with all the love and care of the maker (me!). What do you think?

And I’m really happy that I was able to finish the cards on time and sent them by mail before the holiday rush swept in. My in-laws in the UK and my parents in the Philippines have already received their cards. I’m still waiting for word from my friends everywhere 🙂

Checking in, again

Hi, friends. It’s been a long while, isn’t it?
September just rolled in quietly and now we’re just 12 days away till we begin October. Time is just flying right before our eyes!

I took a temporary indefinite from blogging {again}. I guess I have this habit of dropping out of the blogging radar because… loss of blogging mojo, you know. Hah. There are just days that I cannot write anything on my blog even if I want to.

Modern calligraphy
Not Copperplate. This is an example of modern calligraphy. Just practicing my strokes.

Luckily, I have other activities that kept me busy-busy. As mentioned several posts ago, I’ve taken up calligraphy. I’ve been doing this since last year and I’m pretty pleased to tell you that my strokes are getting more polished. The two hours I spend every afternoon is getting results. Not only that I can now boast of decent writing in Copperplate (or English Roundhand), calligraphy is teaching me a lot of patience and I am loving it!

It amuses me to think that while calligraphy requires focus and concentration when practicing/writing, my choice of background music is rock – you know, fast, thumping, and screeching. Other calligraphers I know prefer the calm, soothing sounds of classical music or instrumentals from premier acoustic guitars. How is it that I can listen to this loud, fast music while still immersed with my writing? It boggles the mind.

Blue Monday: Cheap clothings

Ahem. I am back.
I wasn’t planning on a long leave from blogging. In fact, I didn’t have any plans to have a blog leave at all. However, since it is already summer – notorious for the scorching heat and persistent daily power cuts – I just stopped blogging. No pre-written posts, no photos in the drafts. Nada. Then the Khmer New Year came (we went on a holiday) and gone (and I didn’t really made an effort to go back, le sigh). I just sat back and allowed this blog to go stagnant. Meh.

Glad that I’ve woken up from that funk! So now I’m slowly inching to go back into the blogging groove again. Let me start again with this photo for our Blue Monday meme:

Clothes everywhere. Cheap, too.
Clothes everywhere. Cheap, too.

There’s so much cheap RTW (ready-to-wear) goods in Cambodia. Most of them are factory overruns, from hundreds of factories operating in the country. So you can imagine the quantity and the variety. In the above photo,  the goods are displayed in stalls in and around Psah Thmey (or Central Market). They are of good quality, and cheap, too. If you don’t mind the heat and sweat from digging through the pile, you are guaranteed to go home with the best buys. If this is not your preference, there are also air-conditioned shops nearby selling similar goods but more expensive.

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Blue Monday: Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink

Hello, friends.
At the outset, sorry I was not able to visit your posts last week. So many things happened and, yesterday, I was informed that a cousin’s son died suddenly. We are all heartbroken – so young, at 17. The last time I saw my nephew was when he was only a six-year old boy, a shy but sweet one, always hiding behind his mum. It pains me to think that I will never see him again. May he rest in peace.

On a lighter note, I have been practicing more calligraphy at night time, when everyone is asleep. I devoted one hour each night since I could not go back to my regular daytime schedule. I find it hard to do with all the household chores, errands, and dogs to mind. I’m not complaining, though. When you want something, you have to work hard to achieve it. My husband also bought me some stuff – his Valentine present, if I may say so. He bought me a Pelikan ink 4001, in Royal Blue. Along with the ink, he also bought me these Japanese coloured cards for my craft projects. How sweet is that.

Grateful to my thoughtful husband. Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink (right) and coloured papers from a Japanese shop.
Grateful to my thoughtful husband. Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink (right) and coloured papers from a Japanese shop.

The Pelikan ink is designed for use on fountain pens but can also used in dip pens, as told by many season calligraphers. So, of course, I sprang to action right after we got home. I wanted to test the Pelikan ink with my Nikkon G nib.

blue  monday calligraphy quotes on blue
So much inconsistency in the shapes of the letters. Need to practice my strokes more.

The Pelikan ink has a beautiful, vibrant blue colour! Too bad my camera could not capture the vibrance of the colour. Although loading it on my nib was a bit challenging, it has a smooth flow and dries easily. However, the paper I used to write it on was not the proper one. As you can see, there was substantial bleeding on the paper. When I wrote in another paper, a printing paper I snitched from my husband’s printer, it wasn’t the case. So, I have to test more to find out which ink works best in what kind of paper.

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Blue Monday: Me, Max and the blue swing

Hello, friends.

We have a fantastic weather here in Phnom Penh and we are all loving it. We are approaching summer and hoping that it won’t be as hot as the previous years.

So what to do with a lovely weather? Outdoors, of course, and play with the doggies.

The blue swing was made by my landlord for his grandchildren. And while they're in school, I love sitting here and basking in the sun.
The blue swing was made by my landlord for his grandchildren. And while they’re in school, I love sitting here and basking in the sun.

This photo was actually taken two years ago and I remember we had the same fine weather then. It reminded me of that old place where we used to live – across Chhba Ampov bridge. In the compound is my landlord’s charming wooden house and one of his married children next door to us. I love it there because there were lots of plants, we get a lot of fresh breeze, and most of all, we have a big yard for our dogs (we had two then) to run around.

Speaking of dogs, I was surprised that Max didn’t mind the camera when my husband took this photo. Normally, she would just walk away as she is not comfortable with the camera pointing at her, and hasn’t warmed up to it up to now.

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Blue Monday: Tools of the trade

Hah, last week, I posted about my current “obsession”. Today I’m posting some of the tools that I use because they are – wait for it – in blue 🙂

A. Paint brushes

Cheap watercolour brushes.
Cheap watercolour brushes.

First of all, I’m not a painter but I use a fair bit of watercolours in my drawings and calligraphy. Also, I use brushes not only for colouring purposes but also for loading my nibs with ink. Before starting calligraphy, I read blogs of expert calligraphers and they have really helpful tips for newbies like me. Dunking the nib to the ink-well or bottle can be done but it makes a mess and, more often in my case, loading copious amount of ink to the nib causing the dreaded blobs and blots.

Also, I wanted to buy brushes of different sizes. The smaller it is, the better since I like to be able to do small details. These are cheap brushes that I bought from a Chinese shop close to where I live and so far, I’m happy with the results.

2. Pens, pencils, and erasers

Pens, pencils and erasers.
Pens, pencils and erasers.

There is nothing more important to an artist than a pencil. It is the very foundation of many great masterpieces. I use a pencil to sketch my idea. Again, any pencil will do. An eraser is equally important to me, too.

Gel pens are very useful when I do faux calligraphy on black (or any other coloured) papers. I love them – especially metallic colours. They’re so pretty in black paper and/or card stock.  I’m also looking for the white gel pen but, as most art stuff, it is hard to find them here in Cambodia. The black pen (Pilot G2) is also a must-have for me and I use it for usual writing (postcards, letters, etc.) and also some special hand-lettering projects, too.

So there you have it, these are but some of the tools in my long list.
Have a great week ahead, my friends. Thank you for dropping by.

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