Monday, January 22, 2007

Revisiting Old Places

One night I paid a visit to Dennis Villegas' blog, and the pictures he posted of the 400 year anniversary of the Black Nazarene, had evoked feelings of nostalgia. I was so happy to see pictures of my old stumping ground; my favorite haunts when I was young--from a tender age of 7, when my mother would take me with her--until I finished college. The belfry of the Quiapo church, a very familiar sight, reminded me very much of the time my mother and I used to go there to pray to San Antonio, the saint of lost souls. But it saddened me to see the interior of the church. It had been remodeled to a more contemporary style, which does not match at all the architecture of the exterior. Preservation should have been the key to keeping the original architecture of the interior.

The street along Quinta Market is where I used to catch a bus to get home. The bus would pass under the bridge (ilalim ng tulay) and go straight then make a right on to another bridge. I have forgotten the names of the streets and bridges after all these years.

Thinking of the places and writing about them bring back sad memories that almost always bring tears in my eyes. The people I was with--my parents, my siblings, cousins, and other relatives, friends and neighbors now all come to mind. I miss them all; the happy times I spent with them in those places.

Avenida Rizal my favorite haunt has changed. That was one of the places I would go to shop and watch movies. But, alas, it's now so crowded and with an overhead street just above the avenue. And I thought, "What did they do that for?"

A lot have changed. I've been away for so long, and , of course, as expected progress and population explosion would change the place. The only unchanged landmark that I can remember is the church (the exterior) and I'm glad, it remained intact.

The Chinese style ham that I missed so much, at the Excellente Ham store makes me wish for a piece of that mouth watering meat; the queso de bola, I have longed and craved for when I first got here. Sure we have cheese here--all kinds, sizes shape and flavor--but queso de bola has a taste of its own, and it's a must-have for our holidays; the roasted chestnuts (kastanyas) makes me wish I'm back home munching on some.

Ah, memories of days gone by have resurfaced through those pictures...those days of my youth.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Portrait on Scrap

I met a lady artist about a year ago. She was sitting in the shade by a building taking cover from the sizzling hot sun. I took cover myself, and sat about 4 feet away from her. She sat there reading a book and was intently looking at a picture of a painting, her hand moving, mimicking the movement of a brush. I stroke up a conversation with her thinking probably that she is a painter, an artist. “Painting book?” I asked. She looked up from the book and answered me politely with a, “Yes.” “Are you an artist?” I asked again. She is; had done all media: pencil, pastel, water color, pen and ink and others, except oil. (I never asked her why she stayed away from oil.) She had attended classes and workshops on art; gone to parties with her sketch book and drew the attendees. I told her that I’ve taken an oil painting class; done some paintings, but have never ventured into portraiture. She had encouraged me to take it up, and as she looked up at my husband (who stopped by) she said I should use him as a model. Yes, perhaps I can try it; I’d never know what I can do unless I try my hand at it.

Her husband, a nice tall gentleman, is a veteran of WWII; been to the Philippines during the war. Both of them have experience the days of the depression era; nothing goes to waste. To save her husband’s half-full bottle of coke she poured it in her half-full can of coke.

When it was time for me and my husband to go I said goodbye to her and told her she had inspired me; that I will try my hand at portraiture. She in turn had expressed the same, and to pick up her brush again, as she had for a while been on a hiatus.

A few days after I met the lady, I tried painting a portrait of the First Lady, using her picture on a magazine as a model. As I sat on the couch watching TV, I grabbed a scrap paper and a pencil and copied the picture on the clean side of the paper…the other side has writings on it.

This is what came out. I would say not bad for a newbie. The writings on the other side of the paper came through the scanner. For some reason, if I do my drawing on scrap paper, I do well, but on a better quality clean drawing paper, somehow I screw up.

I tried to do the same portrait, a week ago, on a clean Strathmore drawing paper and this is what came out. Argh! I didn't do justice to the First Lady. Argh, argh!!!! It could be that my hand was shaky then, as I was still ill and not strong enough? That’s my excuse. Ha!

I'm not a professional artist. What I've done here, my artworks, I do on my spare's only a hobby. But someday, I hope to devote more time on it.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Sixth Day

We are on the sixth day of the New Year, but for me nothing seemed to have moved on. I have not budged from where I am--a painting I have started remained untouched. The days are still short, although we are getting sunny days and unusually warm (80 degrees) weather this time of year here in Southern California. My neighborhood is as always quiet—no ambulance or fire truck sirens, no car chases, hardly any car or truck passes by and no gun fires (as in drive by shootings). It is so calm and quiet it is lulling me to sleep. It reminds me of siesta time which happens at this same hour (3 pm) of the day back home. The glare of the sun hitting the blinds makes me sleepier, I feel like slipping under the covers and taking a catnap.

My husband bought a new cell phone to replace his old one which does not recharge anymore no matter how long he leaves it plugged in. It didn’t take long before he started getting calls from an unnamed caller with the numbers 000-000-0000. He hardly uses his cell phone; there are times he forgets to take it with him when he leaves home. The landline he uses mostly for important and business calls and it would take him only a few minutes to make his calls. When he’s home he would put his cell phone on a shelf at the hallway and forget about. One day out of curiosity I picked it up and noticed he had a missed call. When I opened it he has 21 calls he missed from 1 caller only—the 000-000-0000 numbers. So he thought he’d put the cell phone near him so he would not miss the call. Then it rang and he answered it. What do you know? It’s a telemarketer! My husband asked him for his name and the company he’s working for. The caller immediately hangs up and never called again.

It seems we're not safe from telemarketer even with our cell phones.

I can't believe I wrote the draft above on a piece of bond paper and a pencil. I thought I'd write something and it's the nearest thing I could grab.

Now for that catnap.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Evolution - A Dove Film

A new film from Dove shows how the "effortless" beauty we see on
billboards is actually created.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Farewell and Hail

A nice send-off to the old year--blue sky, white clouds
with streaks of contrails over Southern California. A bit
warm weather, though I was cooped up in the house as
I was not feeling too well.

Clear blue sky welcomes the New Year.

A quiet warm New Year's Day.