Recap: January 2018

Hello 2018!

Hello blog – I’m still alive! Pictured here is one of my commissions completed this January.

I went from blogging every month to not updating for two months! Hope you bear with me on this very lengthy update. Last December I had two trips to Japan – one with my friend to watch Bigbang’s Last Dance Concert and the other one with my family. When I started my official leave from work I just wanted to spend quality time with my family and friends. Leaves are precious when you are an employee so I really aimed to get my much-needed rest and relaxation. I still painted of course, and even brought my Escoda  watercolorbook and brushes (thank you Escoda family!) to Japan!

I’m not sure if I will be writing a lengthier post about my Japan travel with my family. But I do have a vlog from my early December Japan trip with my friend Nikka since it was my first ever out of town trip with a friend. Feel free to watch our crazy antics and of course, subscribe to my channel! 😀

I used my Escoda Watercolor sketchbook to capture scenes from my Japan travel. Mt. Fuji greeted us every morning from our hotel window. What I would give to see that beautiful scene again.
Mt. Fuji. We stayed at the Cerulean Tokyo Tower in Shibuya.

Now it’s the new year and this is what greeted me – a mountain of work!!! And I also colds and allergies. 🙁 It was not a good start of the year (health-wise). Still, one must get up each day to face the world (runny nose and all).

For what I’ve been up in my art life (probably the only exciting part of my existence tbh) well, it’s going to be a long one (so grab a coffee or tea). Here goes-

I had my first watercolor workshop last Jan 27 – and I was grateful that I hit my quota of student early on. Surreal. Teaching is really so much fun so even though workshops take a lot of planning and effort it’s something I keep going back to. I like breaking down my process so I can help others understand how to paint. With workshops I also get to learn a lot from my students. I’m going to keep doing workshops this year, just as long as I don’t get sick from overworking myself (My mom is freaking out over my poor health). I hope to do more YouTube tutorials too.

We had two topics – cotton stalk and roses for this workshop. My next workshop is on Feb 17 and that one tackles sunflowers and peony. 🙂
My students are super fast learners!!!

I also had a number of commissions that I was happy and proud of. My clients were so understanding of my schedule since I am not a full-time artist (yet hahahaha). I put a lot of effort in each one and spent numerous late nights painting (side note: I need to find a good eye cream). When I get acknowledgement from my clients that they love the painting all my tiredness disappear! If I can say thank you (with heart emoji eyes) a thousand times I will.

Love making these cotton stalk studies. My client will be putting them up on her study. I think they’ll look so calming as decors!!!
A client from Singapore requested this scene where she and her fiance spent their new year inside a comfort taxi while watching fireworks over The Shoppes at Marina Bay. It was challenging but I wanted to do justice to her story by capturing all the important elements in the painting.

My temporary floral tattu design for Tattumundo also launched last year and I love how it turned out! I like dainty and inconspicuous looking designs (at least for tattu) so these are perfect! Tattumundo have them up on their website and they ship internationally!  There are also other designs from badass artists and legit designers so go check them out.

I love the tattu sheet. It does not come of as tacky and the print stayed true to the colors of my painting!

Lastly, I teamed up once again with Faber-castell to demo their new GoldFaber watercolor pencils for the NBS Words and Letter event in Shangrila Plaza. Only the love of Faber-Castell and their pencils will get this person to the north by commute. The event was super jampacked that I didn’t get to sit in their booth to do a pre-demo. Though I am pretty comfortable with public speaking (chalk it up with previous experiences of project reporting to top management) I still felt nervous. The demo went great and I realized that the technique is really to keep talking. Like non-stop. I talked about everything I can think of that would be interesting: Goldfaber (duh), paper, colors, waterbrush, Goldfaber, flower arrangement, coloring, Goldfaber. And I was silently praying not to let out a cough for 30 minutes.

Thank you to everyone who came by to support me! Some even left me messages in IG that they went to the event just to catch my demo – thank you!!!

Thank you again to Faber-Castell for inviting me to talk about your products and for sending me my very own Goldfaber Aqua watercolor pencils! 😀

With all these happening in just a month I am just so grateful for my support system for understanding why I am almost always busy (and sick). I am not planning to go full-time anytime soon but I have to keep learning to balance the areas of my life that I value. And a healthy mind and body is top priority. 🙂



October Workshops And Suggestions for Artists Planning a Workshop

I had a back-to-back art workshop at Art in Aura last October. I don’t know what came over me to schedule workshops for the weekends, as if holding one workshop wasn’t a challenge enough! Looking back, I was pretty stressed out about it (talking to so many people reminded me of my management trainee days), given once again it decided to rain very hard (why the typhoon just happens to hit Manila when I have a workshop is a mystery….).

This is one of my favorite painting haha. Done in my beloved and overused Prang.
Wrong spelling hahaha but it was circulated in IG before I had a chance to correct it. >.<

Before diving into the workshop pictures, I’d take this opportunity to write about what goes on when I decide to have a workshop.  If you are just interested in seeing the pictures, feel free to skip the succeeding paragraphs!

Setting up a workshop takes a lot of work and I’ve been doing it almost for each month this year – this is part of my “artist” goal if you could call it that (I feel embarrassed calling myself an artist because there are real artists out there). I’m not exactly a positive-thinking-rainbows-and-unicorns kind of person either – more of the opposite. But I like to think of ideas and execute them. (Later on, I’d lament on the many little things I could have done better to make things perfect.) I want to keep pursuing something beyond the confines of the traditional office (it gets deathly boring in front of the computer and I finish up my work pretty quickly). I want to inspire others and ignite their passion in painting as I firmly believed that art and painting led me to a much more peaceful state. You don’t have to be the best painter, but you feel happy knowing you created something for yourself.

Anyways, I have default topics for workshops – Beginners Watercolor, Florals and Portraits. I really like Florals and Beginners Watercolor which I’ve done several times this year. Sadly my portrait took a back seat and when I do portraits now I cringe at my work – buuuut I resolve to practice! After choosing a topic, I’d make my pricing/supplier management if needed. Then I have to decide on a date to announce it. I was advised to put my workshops on the week when people have their pay – higher chance of people actually paying! But I find that it doesn’t really work that way, when people want to learn from you, they find a way to pay. Heck, I even had people pay months in advance just to confirm their slot. I create an Event in my Facebook page with a date, some workshop info and a link to Google forms should they want to register. I like making an Early Bird rate to encourage people to register early – this is especially important if you plan to order bulk items with discount from suppliers. Art materials suppliers offer discounts with 10 items or more so of course you need to shell out money first and pray that you get 10 students or more. But if you plan to hold several workshops in the future, I’m sure you’ll be able to get the ROI from those cost.

Does it matter if there is an inclusive materials or not for the workshop? Yes, if you plan to include materials in your workshop, make sure you get the eye-catching and artist grade brands like Sennelier, Holbein, ShinHan, etc… People will always ask me – “What are the materials included?” Before I used to get Prang as the material (it’s still one of my fave honestly!) but now people want paint which they don’t have. And that goes the same with brushes. Most likely the people enrolling workshops these days already have materials – and they are even better than yours hahaha! The number of times I drooled at a student’s watercolor set and brush!!! I would suggest to offer an option with materials and without materials. 🙂

When it comes to tie-ups there’s a lot of coordination happening on the week of the workshop. Especially when the weather decides not to cooperate. I had to request to Art in Aura for the workshops to be moved indoors due to the rain and I take it it was difficult to get permission to set up inside the mall, plus getting plastic tables and chairs. I would suggest to approach cafes for any workshop packages. You can include food in your workshop too as a way to payback the use of the space. I find that people get hungry after concentrating for so long in their painting. Especially if you teach kids. I also bring some candies and chocolates and put them in the center of the table so people can nibble while they paint. It creates a nice and relaxing atmosphere.

Of course while doing all of these, I’m also prepping the lesson plan and taking notes of what I wish to impart to my students. I am more or less more drawn to teaching my process (since I am self-taught) after tackling the basics of watercolor. It is easy enough to know wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques but how to approach a certain painting? Where to start? What to add? Should you stop adding? What color to make it pop? I don’t know how others teach watercolor, but this is just what I find useful to share. 🙂

Now on to the photos of my workshops. I have more photos of the Watercolor for Beginners (coz I have kind a sponsor like Faber-Castell and my friend, Toni, who took photos!) than the Graphite Portrait one.

Such a beautiful venue – we are inside the mall! And tucked in a peaceful corner! Thank you SM Aura!
Watercolor for Beginners was sponsored by Faber-Castell. They provided the materials for use during the event and gave me my own Connector Paints to use! *cries* I’m so touched!
Workshop was overbooked! Thank you again for the support!

A lot of familiar faces also dropped by and took photos of me. Thank you. Do I look masungit (mean) when I teach?
Class picture! 😀

Then on the next day, I had my Graphite Portrait workshop. This is the first ever kind of workshop I did and I just had an idea of wanting to teach portrait with a twist. And those that follow me in Instagram know how I love my Artgraf Viarco watersoluble graphite pan so this was the highlight of the workshop!

Enjoying a nice cup of flat white at Providore Backyard before the workshop.
It was a little weird teaching in the middle of the restaurant (people in the nearby table kept giving us weird looks) but it was a lot better than getting soaked in the rain!
Plus, we can order coffee and snacks too! Thanks Providore Backyard!

These are the last workshops for the yearrr!!! For these last two months of 2017 I’m working on my merchandise – if you haven’t followed it yet, check out Hanamiph, where I handpaint pouches, notebooks and sell my floral designs in notebooks, postcards and art prints! Perfect for Christmas gifts and/or giveaways! 😀

Next year, I’ll be back to teaching and I hope to see familiar faces in class. Cheers! 😉


Those I Hold Dear

Lucky to have a holiday after such a hectic week. As usual I spent my time hanging around my favorite corner, while there is still natural light pouring in through the windows. I’ve had this small table for ages, which I bought for only 499 pesos in CDR King. You’ve probably recognize it as the table I use for all my IG posts and even my attempt in filming for my Youtube channel.

Sometimes I take self-portraits because I like to document my creative journey and this part of my life where I feel most alive. I’d like to remember this moment – the tranquility and content – of just spending my time painting.

Unfortunately, I only took pictures of my back facing the camera. I like this angle because it shows a little more of my room and my precious windows. Honestly I look weird when I face the camera hahaha.

After almost an entire day, I finished it. *congrats self* My personal pieces are under-appreciated but I love them and will continue to make them. Hope you enjoy the closeup shots below!

I was feeling down so I drew black birds with my florals. It’s my first time to draw ravens – but people think they look more like crows hahaha!

Bonus: Here’s my cat who always watches over me when I paint. Another reason to be happy, her tumor is now smaller and one disappeared. We don’t know how that happened but we’ll keep on observing and visiting the vet for check-ups.

Looking at her is a reminder of the many blessings I have in my life, sometimes I forget to be grateful and this post serves to remind me that I am living a good life, not perfect but it’s all good.

Thanks for reading!



Art Weekend at Commercenter Alabang

I was invited by Artnebula to conduct a Realistic Florals Workshop last May 6 at Commercenter, Alabang. I didn’t hesitate to the offer because (1) it was artnebulaph, an online artshop which I love, providing the materials, and (2) it was going to be in Alabang! I only held one workshop back then in Molito and I really wanted to have another session in the South. We need more art events here!

Artnebula also prepared booths for the invited artists to sell their merchandise! So thoughtful! I’ve never tried selling any of my merchandise (if I have any) in a booth so I had to think about what to print to make it look interesting. I decided on my fave A6 notebooks on different floral designs (keeping with the theme of realistic florals keke~)

I also had some art prints and postcards printed. The colors are crisp and lovely! It looks like the original!

My booth ♥

I also framed the original paintings and put them up for sale/display. Many people thought I hand-painted each notebook and postcard. The quality is that good~

I also got to meet some of my fave people in Instagram – the lovely couple Alfie and Vanessa of Artnebula, Pin of tutubingkarayom, Steph AlvarezKat Gosiengfao and Drew Europeo. The day wouldn’t be half as fun without all the funny chika!

My workshop slot is around 4:30 so it was a little bit dark but a lot of students turned up! More than what I was expecting! Good thing I made extra practice sheets.

The workshop is inclusive of materials from Artnebula. We used Sennelier paints (I chose the colors beforehand) and Raphael Kaerell S series brush. I’m loving the brush and even use it extensively until now. I’m actually eyeing an Isabey mop brush from their site. Next time!

Aside from this being my first floral-centric workshop, I also made a point to teach drawing so people know how where to start.
Look at that Hydrangea! My students are fast learners and they each have their own “style” in painting.

Crossing my fingers for another workshop collaboration with Artnebula! This experience was awesome!

If you wish to join my mailing list for workshops, please head over to this form. I’ll make sure to contact you as soon as another workshop opens!

Staycation at Rockwell (plus where we ate)

Our family checked in at Aruga by Rockwell for a short staycation for the holy week. We rarely go to the Powerplant mall so it’s a refreshing change of scenery. I’m mostly sharing here where our family ate when I’m not locked up in the room, binge watching Daredevil or painting.
Hello from the Chua family 🙂
We stayed in the bedroom suite, good for four persons with two rooms (1 king and 1 queen sized beds), 3 bathrooms, small functioning kitchen, laundry room, dining room and living room.
Everyone just rushed in the room so all my photos have someone in it.
The chef of the night checking the equipment in the kitchen.

For Friday dinner, my brother agreed to cook for us. We actually brought our own ingredients, including the sea bass and scallops. My mom prepared a salad bar and uncle brought some wine to complete dinner. I…poured water for everyone. 😛
The only downer I experienced during the stay is when the aircon leaked in our room when I lowered the aircon temp to 19 but it stopped when I put back the settings to > 20. And it took a long time for the housekeeping/IT person to bring up a remote control for the television (my lola is dying to watch TV). Our rooms come with breakfast buffet in the cafe at the ground floors. There’s a swimming pool on the 3rd floor, which I steered clear of naturally. My uncle went to look at it though and said that the swimming pool doesn’t look like picture on the website. Haha.
A lot of food photos ahead hehe~
For Saturday lunch we went to Single Origins which I heard has good coffee. But of course we ordered lunch first.
My brother and I ordered the Fried Chicken and Waffle. I’m so thankful for the side salad because this serving is too heavy for me. Chicken was ok, nothing spectacular.
Fried chicken and fries for mom and grandma. The fries was good.
Fish and chips

I was excited to try coffee here or Dean and Deluca. Since we had out lunch here, I ordered a Vanilla Latte after lunch. It was really good – just the right sweetness and milkiness. However, my tummy had a bit of trouble afterwards, it might not be the cause of the coffee but rather the combination of all the eating I’ve been doing. Huhu my stomach just rejects being super full.
Retreated back to the hotel to watch series in my laptop and paint an Easter Bunny hahaha. There’s nothing much to do after a trip to the mall. Doing nothing is basically what vacations are for.
Rambla with my fuchsia pants 😀
For dinner, we decided to look for Rambla, a Spanish restaurant nearby that has great reviews.
Since my tummy felt a little off I only ate bite size portions of the food. But I have to say – they are all delicious! All the food portions are small (as you can see through the photos below), that’s why we ordered a lot. This is on the pricier side.
Gambas Al Ajillo & Shitake Mushrooms – my faves!
Chipirones (baby squid with white beans)
Tuna and Arugula mini pizza
Jamon iberuco mini pizza
Salmon, brie & truffle oil air baguettes
Paella de marisco. The paella looks huge but the pan is very shallow.
Paella de cochinillo – really good!

We had a free dessert because my brother used an app that reserves seats for you (I can’t remember it right now). Our free dessert turns out to be churros (no picture) because Rambla has the same owner as La Lola. The churros were served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate dip – so delicious!

Lastly, before we checked out on Easter Sunday and head home, we dined at Pho Phat in Powerplant. Pho Hoa in Alabang Town Center is one of my fave restaurant because the Seafood noodle is so good so I was excited to try another Pho variety.

Chicken Pho. Not as good as the seafood in Pho Hoa.

I was supposed to get the seafood pho for proper comparison but the menu said the broth is spicy. Since I was still nursing my stomach I didn’t want to risk it. My uncle ordered it though and he said it wasn’t even spicy hahaha.

Fish cakes
Vermicelli Bowl
The true winner in Pho Phat. This gigantic mixed fried rice bowl which can feed 3 people.

If you got this far, thank you for reading this super long post, that’s all about food. My family likes to eat and it’s our way of bonding. 🙂

I’m still going to write about the Part 2 of our Tokyo travel. I have to finish those before next month ends! Please feel free to comment if you have anything to say about this blog. Do you enjoy reading about places to eat?