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?

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: Balloon

My husband and I drove to the Post Office to pick up mails and then we were off to the vet’s clinic on the other side of the city to get my dogs’ vitamins. If only we have something like a local EntirelyPets Pharmacy nearby, then we wouldn’t have to be driving that far.

Anyways, we were glad to be out once in a while. It’s nice to be driving around the city on weekends when traffic is not bad and the weather is just right. By the way, we are still having a cool weather and we are loving it!

It was just one of those weekend drives we take across the town when we chanced upon this random scene… a giant while balloon.

Huge balloon in Phnom Penh
A weather balloon? Not sure.

They are being followed by two guys wearing blue shirts, on separate motorbikes. The guy immediately behind the balloon is a security guard, that explains the blue top. The other one must be the owner as I saw it following the balloon before turning right.

Now, how many of you have seen something like this? No, not the giant balloon but having it transported across town on the back of a moto-dop (moto-taxi)? I guess you wouldn’t have/get this in your part of the world 🙂

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Blue Monday: Sky

Good morning, friends!

We woke up to another chilly morning in Phnom Penh.
Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of locals in thick jackets again. It’s a beautiful day today so we went out for a drive and get some stuff for the food pantry. It was nice to be up and about early in the morning – the sky was a clear, gorgeous blue shade.

blue monday traffic in PP

But I think we stayed too long because, on the way back, a moderate build-up of traffic greeted us.

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Blue Monday: Thankful

Today is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception in my hometown in the Philippines. However, the week-long celebration supposedly culminating today was cancelled due to the arrival of typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) in the province.

Thankfully, our province is not in the direct path of typhoon Ruby, and the destruction was not as massive as during last year’s Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Still, it was strong in other provinces, wreaking havoc in most-affected towns. We were lucky that my hometown was spared this year, and for the other provinces that were not, my heart goes out to them. Hopefully, they’ll be able to bounce back from this natural disaster in no time.

I have been worrying since yesterday but my sister assured me that they are all okay. According to her, the weather today is good – no more rains and winds. What they’re busy now with is picking up the pieces left by the typhoon. Cleaning up and drying out things under the sun. But only after they’ve come back from hearing mass today. And yes, there are so many things to be thankful for today. Typhoons and other disasters come ago but the faith of my countrymen is very much alive and unwavering.

A statue of the Immaculate Conception at the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral, in my hometown. Photo by my sister-in-law, Minmin.

This is the altar of the Immaculate Conception church, photo taken by my sister-in-law. This is where I was baptised, as my father and other siblings were. Although the church is newly-renovated, it still is the same altar that I remember, and the same statue of the Virgin Mary cloaked in a blue robe and golden trimmings.

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Blue Monday: Toy logging truck

As per usual, I was blog-hopping and came across another photo meme called Blue Monday. I followed the link and I arrived in the mother-ship of Blue Monday meme. There I read the mechanics, which is very easy, and decided that it is doable. So here I am, on my first Blue Monday meme. Hope to find new friends as well 🙂

My first photo is a toy truck I found in a toy store in Phnom Penh. To most of you, it’s just an ordinary toy truck carrying logs.

This toy truck carrying logs is actually thought-provoking.
This toy truck carrying logs is actually thought-provoking.

Illegal logging is a major problem in Cambodia. Not only does this activity degrades the forest and other natural resources, it also promotes corruption and human rights abuses. So, to see this toy truck sold in a toy store really struck me considering I live here and for years have worked with many local farmers depending on the forest and land for their livelihood.

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Tones on Tuesday: Sunrise

Scattered Horizons

Walking the dogs has its perks. I don’t usually walk them in the mornings but when I did sometime ago, I made sure I had the digicam with me. I’m glad I did. I was able to catch the sunrise – the first time this year, so far.

tones on tuesday sunrise focal black and white
I’m just annoyed at the electric wire. It marred an otherwise great picture of the sunrise.

I have a thing for sunrises and sunsets.

I love the idea of the sun slowly slipping away beyond my horizon and leave me in darkness to go and light the other side of the world.  It is mysterious, eerie, magical, and magnificent at the same time. I took lots of sunrise and sunset photos and planning to take advantage at a friend’s offer to make them into a book of sorts. Maybe make a lot of them. Will I have the guts to sell my books? I wonder.
I also wonder if anyone – apart from my relatives and friends – would find it interesting, lol.

Tones on Tuesday: Sunset silhouette

Scattered Horizons

Now you see me again, hah! I haven’t been posting in a while because of flu. Darn. Perhaps I caught the flu virus two weeks ago when my husband and I went downtown to canvass the price of a printer. Actually we can find prices of local printers online because there are now a lot of Cambodian online stores but my husband insisted on going out and check the units and prices with our own eyes.

So anyways, despite the flu, I’ve managed to prepare photos for my blogs this week. And here’s my Tones on Tuesday entry:

Kep, Phnom Bokor, silhouette

Kep has arguably the best sunsets in the whole of Cambodia. The lifestyle is as tranquil as its waters. On the background is the lovely silhouette of Phnom Bokor in Kampot, some 30mins away from this point.

This photo was taken one afternoon, not too long ago, in the coastal town of Kep. Located on the southernmost part of Cambodia facing the Gulf of Thailand and the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, it reminds me so much of my hometown in the Philippines.

I will never tire coming back to Kep. It’s our (my husband and mine) home away from home.

Tones on Tuesday: Empty


Scattered Horizons

I took this yesterday, on the second day of the Khmer New Year.

tones on tuesday empty

This is the third time we are celebrating the new year this year. First was the International New Year, followed by the Chinese New Year, and now the Khmer New Year. With three celebrations in one year, it should be all good, right?

Sure hope so.

The Khmer New Year is one of the merriest, if not the merriest holidays in Cambodia. The celebration is three days long (officially) but the locals who reside in Phnom Penh start going to their hometowns weeks before that to be with their families and relatives. Most expats also take this opportunity to go outside the city or overseas. Which is why, the city is almost empty during the three-day holiday.  But for us who opted to stay put, we enjoy the peace and quiet. Over the years, as Phnom Penh develops, so does its traffic problem, and it’s actually a nice time, a welcome relief to be in the city during the Khmer New Year.