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When Daddy Got Bored (One Piece Wall Art)

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Daddy's Art, Featured | 16 comments


painted white

When the weather goes 0°C, it’s either you go up the mountains and ski, or cuddle up in a corner with a good book and hot choco and just while the time away. Not! For hubby, it means going artistic and painting the walls and drawing on it! Whichever goes first…I woke up to this yesterday…him, sketching the characters of the anime One Piece (the mugi wara crew/Straw hat pirates).

wall art one piece crew

Zoro, Nami, Chopper, Usopp

One Piece is a manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda, it has also been adapted into an anime series running since 1999. One Piece is about the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a comical character who aims to be the Pirate King, and his crew composed of Roronoa Zoro (swordsman), Nami (navigator), Usopp (sniper), Sanji (cook), Chopper (reindeer-doctor), Nico Robin (historian), Franky (cyborg-shipwright) and Brook (deadman-musician).

Zoro finished

Conservative me suggested to have Nami (the navigator in a bikini) wear something else but he did it his way, anyway. :D

Outlining Franky

missing Sanji and Robin


Should be viewed from this side (so Brook and Franky won’t look smaller :)

Dekimashita! (finished)

It probably took a total of 4 hours doing the whole piece, below is a time-lapse video (sort of). ^_^

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Street Art, Florence

Posted by on Aug 4, 2013 in Featured, Street Art | 11 comments


florence panorama

Florence panorama (photo by hubby)

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is a must-see for art enthusiasts. Well, culture and politics, fashion and economy are areas this UNESCO World Heritage site has influences over but, it is well known for the numerous palaces, museums, sculptures and paintings by Donatello, Giambologna, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico among many others.

One does not need to enter a museum to view the famous works of art. The Loggia dei Lanzi, for example, is an open building at the Piazza della Signoria which holds a number of sculptures, for one – the bronze statue of Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini. The Loggia is adjacent to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the more famous museums boasting an art collection of the Renaissance artists themselves. The courtyard alone is a feast for artists’ eyes, each of the wings have niches holding a statue of Italian artists including Leonardo da Vinci and Dante Alighieri. The courtyard opens to the Arno River dramatically, like it was designed by Giorgio Vasari to be both artistic and nostalgic.


Uffizi Gallery courtyard at night – a painter sells his works

And it is not only in these buildings and museums that art can be enjoyed. The streets of Florence thrive with freethinkers, probably rebel artists but all in a different level than the usual ones we are used to. Every hour of the day, you’ll find them bringing their medium and skills on the streets for gawkers to enjoy. And it’s not on the walls but literally, on the streets.  Staying true to the Renaissance, the artists depict religious themes, royalty and such on their works.

Here are two of the artists we met one night. Their masterpieces might be displayed just for an hour or two (or the duration from when the painter started up until he finished) that’s why we were glad to have captured these for the sake of posterity.

streetart, painting

July 2013, Florence


July 2013, Florence, photo by hubby


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Two Google Doodles Today: Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and Illustrator Edward Gorey

Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Google Doodle | 0 comments

Best known for his thoughts on dissatisfaction and will, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was honored by Google in a doodle that ran in German-speaking countries on his 225th birthday last February 22.  The doodle depicted Schopenhauer walking his dog, one of the succession of poodles he had during his lifetime.  This philosopher was known to be attached to his poodles, believing them to be essentially similar to humans in terms of will.

Born in Danzig, Germany, Schopenhauer belonged to a wealthy German Patrician family.  He was educated in metaphysics and psychology and was exposed to the teachings of Plato and Kant.  These influences trailed his own studies towards the exploration of the human will.  His most popular work, The World as Will and Representation, was soon published.  Although this work stirred a lot of controversy, his lectures did not attract a lot of attendees.  As a result, Schopenhauer developed resentment towards the academe.  Nevertheless, he continued pursuing his investigation of the human will and motivation.  He kept on writing about his theories and philosophies which were akin to Eastern philosophies.  Other essays and papers written by this philosopher were published after his death in 1860.

His personal life was not all that pleasant.  His father was believed to have committed suicide and his mother left at some point to marry another man.  When he reunited with his mother, they continued to be in disagreement with each other.  His mother even criticized his work for being incomprehensible.  He defended his work nonetheless.  It is not surprising that Schopenhauer did not have positive thoughts about marriage.  He did not believe in marriage and, although he had some intimate relationships, never thought to get married.  He passed on alone on his couch with only his cat keeping him company.  He was 72.

Today, Schopenhauer’s works are often part of studies in pessimism.  His writings discuss the continuous search of humans for satisfaction.  He believes that the human will is driven by need to find satisfaction in various aspects of human life.  While he believes that this drive and desire cause human suffering, he also believes that there is a way to ease this pain.  This is through aesthetic contemplation or appreciation of the arts.  This, however, does not provide permanent relief.  Despite this belief, Schopenhauer maintains that music as an art is timeless and universal and can thus be considered as the perfect embodiment of will itself.  Complex and profound as Schopenhauer’s philosophies may be, they continue to stir investigations into the human mind and its motivations to this day.

What better way to honor an illustrator than by having illustrations of himself published throughout the internet.  On his 88th birthday, author-illustrator Edward Gorey was featured on the Google search page.  This coincided with the Google Doodle for the 225th birthday of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.  While Schopenhauer’s Doodle appeared in Germany and other German speaking countries, Gorey’s Doodle appeared in English speaking countries.  Gorey’s Doodle featured several illustrations of his iconic characters.

Popular as a storybook author and illustrator, Gorey’s works are marked with his macabre and ominous style.  Aside from his illustrations, Gorey also forayed into set and costume designing.  He mounted “Edward Gorey’s Dracula” on Broadway and earned a Tony.  This story was published in 1957 and captivated readers with whimsical accounts of a mischievous creature wreaking havoc on the life of a quirky family.  In more contemporary times, Gorey’s influences can be observed in the stories and illustrations of Tim Burton.  Some of the modern animations are done in his distinct style.

Chicago-born Gorey claims to have inherited his knack for writing and illustrating from his maternal great grandmother.  Helen St. John Garvey is known in the 19th century as one of the most popular greeting card writers and artists.  He went through school just like every ordinary American, spent a couple of years in the army, and then went to Harvard University for his college education.  He graduated in the class of 1950 and later on established, with a group of fellow Harvard graduates, the Poets’ Theater in Cambridge.   Just like Schopenhauer, Gorey never married.  But while Schopenhauer was known to enjoy sensual relationships, Gorey was never known to have any desire to have such relations.

His first illustrated book covers came in the latter half of the 1950s when he worked for the Doubleday Anchor’s art department.  He did illustrations for books of such famous authors as Bram Stoker, H.G. Wells, T.S. Eliot, and then later on Bellairs and Strickland.  It was his association with Andreas Brown, owner of the Gotham Book Mark, that propelled Gorey to international fame.  The bookstore launched his career and served as the venue for the exhibition of Gorey’s works.  Gorey’s home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts now serves as a museum and is called the Elephant House or the Edward Gorey House Museum.  After Gorey’s death, Brown discovered a large cache of his unpublished works in the house.  The materials were in various stages of completion but are substantial enough to be used as basis for future Gorey feature books and plays.

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Orbiting Around Nicolaus Copernicus: Google Doodle

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013 in Google Doodle | 1 comment

The year 2013 is said to be a year for a lot of astronomical events in the world. Comet sightings, eclipses, and meteorites falling from the sky are just some of the events that the world has witnessed in the past few months. As such, it is but fitting for Google doodle to honor one of the greatest astronomers and mathematicians ever, Nicolaus Copernicus, on his 540th birthday.


Mikolaj Kopernik, more popularly known as Nicolaus Copernicus, was born in February 19, 1473. This Polish mathematician and astronomer earned the recognition of being the father of modern astrology when his heliocentric theory refuted the belief that the earth was the center of the universe. His 1543 book entitled “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” – On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres contained postulates and diagrams that show the sun as being at the center of the universe. It took quite some time before his theories became widely accepted, but the paradigm shift that ensued led his successors to discover concrete evidence to prove his theories. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects in his theory is the use of simple mathematics in determining planetary positions and movement. The original sketches of Copernicus’ Heliocentric Theory made use of flat circular patterns to illustrate the spheres and the planets that move around it. In this Google doodle, a flat surface with a central dome serves as the platform for six discs that represent the original 6 planets in the theory and one disc for the earth’s moon.

The doodle design is simple yet it catches attention easily with the slow and mesmerizing movements of the planets around the sun. It gives some depth and a modern touch to the original heliocentric illustrations that are found in his published works. And just like his theory, there is depth in the simplicity of the design, and it presents an intriguing vision that is hard to let go until one discovers the truth behind it.

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George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. on Google Doodle

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Google Doodle | 0 comments


The Google doodle team found their perfect match for 2013 Valentine’s Day with the combination of George Ferris’ 154th birthday and Valentines. George Ferris is an American engineer who became known for inventing a carnival ride which was popular with dating couples, the classic Ferris Wheel.

Until now, people continue to enjoy this classic ride not just for date nights but also for bonding with friends and loved ones.  It is just a coincidence that the creator of this ride celebrates his birthday on the same day that people celebrate love, Valentine’s Day, but it is fitting that his creation takes center stage in this year’s Google doodle feature.

The original Ferris Wheel was constructed in Chicago, Illinois for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. It stood at a height of 80.4 meters or 264 ft and was considered as the largest attraction in the exposition that year. The original ride was dismantled and re-assembled in different fairs or locations from 1894 until 1906 when it was finally demolished. During its existence the George Ferris’ Chicago Wheel was able to accommodate around 2.5 million passengers.

Over the years, several versions or designs of Ferris Wheel were created and featured in various fairs and amusement parks. Some of the tallest wheels built after the original include: the Grand Roue de Paris in France; the Star of Nanchang in China;  Cosmo Clock 21, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and Daikanransha in Japan; and the Great Wheel in London UK. Two of the most prominent wheels today are the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer.

People all over the world continue to enjoy the thrill and romance of a Ferris Wheel ride. Today, Google presents a fun and funky way to enjoy the wheel with their interactive doodle. Just like a date in the fair, visitors of the site can take a spin on the wheel by pressing the heart button at the center of the doodles. But instead of a scenic overhead view, the wheels will show unlikely matches of cute animals that have their own love story to tell. The stories may vary but one thing is for sure, this feature simply shows how much people love George Ferris’ Wheel.

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Totoro Snow figure

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Snow Figures | 0 comments


For some time, snow hasn’t been letting up – perhaps a day or two without and it comes pouring again. It’s of course the perfect time to make snowmen and other snow figures. We braved the cold and made Totoro…inspired by the many figures we found online. We attempted to make chibis too but we weren’t successful. :(

Totoro dayo! In defense - we were using our hands, no sculpting materials. :P

posing beside Totoro

Totoro is a character created by Studio Ghibli for their film Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), written and directed by a home favorite, Hayao Miyazaki. The story revolves around the family of Satsuki on their move to a new house. There they befriend a creature whom her younger sister, Mei-chan, calls Totoro – mispronouncing Tororo – troll.

The siblings went through a series of adventures that involve their sick mother, friendly neighbors and getting lost. We are introduced to Totoro and colleagues, chu (medium) and chibi (small) totoros and the Catbus/Neko no basu as well.


Totoro, Mei, Satsuki, chu and chibi totoros


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Art as a Form of Therapy

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in Art, Artists | 2 comments


Art is all around us, and yet, only a few people take the time to stop and truly appreciate a great piece of art. When people are introduced to great art, it’s generally while they’re in school, even though that is happening less due to budget cuts being made to school arts programs. Challenges aside, people who do appreciate art may gain cultural benefits that even they are unaware of. In fact, art, including photography created by artists like Tierney Gearon, Senol Zorlu and Lee Towndrow, is now being used as a form of therapy.

Although art therapy has a similar focus as psychotherapy and group talk therapy, the approach of art therapy is different. In addition, a person doesn’t have to be mentally or emotionally imbalanced to benefit from participating in art therapy. Art Therapy reports that some benefits to be gained from using art to heal include:

· Self-exploration or increased opportunities to connect with one’s authentic self
· Chances to process challenging emotions and thoughts
· Greater understanding of inner desires and motivations
· Pain reduction
· Lowered anxiety levels
· Improved social skills

Both children and adults can benefit from art therapy. During the therapy, clients generally create their artwork, focusing their efforts on new designs, similar to how established artists whose works are featured at a fine art gallery do. Other forms of art therapy might require clients to visit a fine art gallery and verbalize their emotions and thoughts about one or more art pieces.

TIERNEY GEARON – Frame 01, from the Explosure Series, 2008

People who feel depressed, anxious or angry when they arrive at a fine art gallery can, after spending several minutes at the gallery, find their mood lifting, turning in a more positive direction. This might be possible, in part, as people closely examine photographs and images of people depicted in situations that they, art observers, are currently struggling with. As shared in Art Therapy, “By expressing yourself through art, an art therapist can help you see things about yourself that you otherwise may not have comprehended.”

The article continues, “Don’t be surprised if the effects of art therapy lead to a general sense of relief and overall better mental health. Again, it’s therapy, but with a completely different ingredient than most people are used to, art.”

Attend a few structured art therapy sessions and people can learn how to explore parts of themselves they previously turned a blind eye to or ignored. They could discover why they feel the way they do about certain people, life events and experiences. They might also learn how to release painful memories so they can lead fuller lives.

Yes. Each of these (and more) benefits are derived from the work of artists like Tierney Gearon, Senol Zorlu, Roger Ballen, Lillian Bassman, Willy Ronis and Richard Renaldi. Perhaps it’s the effort, the passion and the laser focus that great artists put into their work that translates to viewers, that helps people to heal.

Furthermore, and as quiet as it’s kept, it might be for its benefits that Tierney Gearon, Senol Zorlu, Holly Andres, Sid Avery and other artists take their tools and create artwork to begin with. Historically artists have been known to perceive the world differently than other people, something that has, at times, caused artists to withdrawal from the masses. For these and a myriad of other reasons, it’s a wonderful happening when artists have their work featured at a fine art gallery, connecting artists and art lovers in rewarding ways.

Rhonda Campbell is an East Coast journalist who loves offering tips and advice about fine art and commercial art. Her work has been published in national periodicals like USA Today, Yahoo! Education and The Pittsburgh Quarterly.

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