Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hallo all,

Here's an 'au naturel' (with the exception of frame and text that I added) picture I took this morning with my phone. It's the last sunrise of 2011. Here's saying goodbye to 2011 and welcome 2012!



Cheers!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Furry and Feathery

Here are a couple of sketches that were inspired by my desire to get up close with these animals.

Who doesn't fall in love on sight with these lovable creatures?



Monday, December 19, 2011

Paper Sculpting Fun

Some weeks ago, I visited Japan and had the opportunity to visit Ghibli Museum, a wonderfully whimsical museum that all Ghibli anime fans should go at least once in their lifetime. I will blog about the visit in another time. For now, I'd like to show you a paper sculpture made from a DIY paper sculpture pack bought from Ghibli Museum. 



Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Tree-mendous fun to make your own Tree

Not getting a tree for Xmas? Not to worry, the newspapers to the rescue!

Interestingly the classified section of the Straits Times had incorporated a DIY origami tree tutorial on its front page that readers could make and join in a contest. I wasn't too interested in the contest (having zilch luck in contests can do that to you) but was more interested in making the tree. It's really quite simple. Just follow the instructions below.



Instructions


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sketches inspired by Malaysia

Malaysia, Singapore's next door neighbour, is a resource rich country with an abundance of sights and scenery to enjoy. 

Although I've not been there before, I've heard rave reviews from divers about the pristine waters of Sipadan, near Sabah, Malaysia. Corals, turtles and many other marine species abound, Sipadan is one of the world's top ten diving site. Which is why it's become one of the places to visit on my bucket list. Despite having forgotten my diving basics, I resolve to go there someday, even if it means just snorkelling.




Monday, December 12, 2011

Lessons on Happiness

A friend lent me a book titled 'Hector and the Search for Happiness' by Francois Lelord and I found most of the lessons/observations about happiness made by the protagonist profoundly true. I'm listing all of his lessons here.



Australia Inspired Sketches Part II

I've 2 more sketches inspired by Australia. 

The lavender fields in Tasmania....which I wouldn't mind helping out at the farm for a stint.



And hot air ballooning in the famous Canberra hot air balloon festival.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sketches Inspired by Thailand

I'd like to thank all who've checked out my Sketchbook at the Brooklyn Library, it's been more than a year now since the 2011 project, and I'm glad my sketchbook is still being displayed and viewed by visitors till now. For completeness, I'd continue to upload the rest of the pictures drawn for the Sketchbook 2011.

Here are some sketches inspired by Thailand, ie, Phuket and Bangkok.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Niagara Falls' Grandeur

I have been so behind my postings again, sorry! 

I noticed blogger has a new layout called dynamic view (probably been around since yonks, except that I only noticed this now). I've applied it to this blog, do let me know what you think!

I will resume posting about the US trip last year. We're at Niagara Falls. This will be a picture intensive post, because it's all about the majestic sights, and words can do no justice.

We reached Canada specifically Niagara Falls at night. Although the Falls looked spectacular at night, alit with colourful lighting, I personally thought the Falls in the day was more picturesque, more natural and less jazzed up in Vegas-style.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Card for a 15-Year-Old

It's a friend's little sister's birthday, and she's just 15 years old. Whew, so young! I can't remember when's the last time I made a card for a teenager. So it was a little challenging to think of a suitable design.

Anyway, I decided on a baby blue card stock as my base and the design just developed from there 

Here are the tools I used.




And here's the end result.




I'm not sure if this is a 15-year-old appropriate birthday card design, but I hope the recipient appreciates the effort anyway.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Corning Museum of Glass

Now, I should get on with posting about our 3 day guided tour to Niagara-Canada.

Our tour bus was an interesting mix - all Chinese, but of different nationalities - a Taiwanese family of 3, an Australian/native to Guangzhou, China family of 6 and a local mother and daughter who lives in Maryland, and us, a pair of Singaporeans. The tour guide is effectively 'trillingual', and speaks Mandarin, English and Cantonese fluently. During his commentaries, he would switch effortlessly from Mandarin to Cantonese and vice versa in a heartbeat.

Our first destination before we reach Niagara Falls was the Corning Museum of Glass, which is located in New York and is some distance from the city. At first I thought all I'd see in the museum are varieties of glass crockery similar to the ones that my Mum has at home and wasn't too enthusiastic about this place. Well, I thought it was a Corningware museum cum factory. Little did I know that there was far more in the museum than I could ever imagine. Highly educational, the museum had thousands of glass exhibits, some artistic, some scientific, useful in educating visitors about the history of glass, properties of glass, art created out of glass. There was also live demonstrations of glass making conducted at specified times.

A hint of the museum's less than mumsy contents was this huge yellow, spindly glass sculpture near the entrance. This reminds me of the glass sculptures I've seen in Murano, Venice here.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back - intermittently

Hallo everyone, I think I've lost more than half of you regular readers since I haven't posted for many weeks now. I do apologise for my unannounced hiatus. I started a new job recently and have been working really, really late. And when weekends come I don't get round to blogging, just catching up on sleep at home or going out.

I was posting about my US trip, and I should be getting to Niagara Falls/Canada. I'd try to do that this weekend. This post is just to inform you that I'd be back intermittently when I do find the energy to post.

Here's a pretty picture of Niagara Falls at night for your viewing pleasure. 




The picture's taken by Milk, my night shots are as usual, CMI (cannot make it), plus to my defence, it was freezing at night and my hands literally shook while trying to take pictures. Anyway, have a good Friday, people!
 


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Australia Inspired Sketches Part I

Retrospectively I realised many of my sketches in the Sketchbook were inspired by Australia. I backpacked once in Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane for 2 weeks, and it was very memorable experience. The natural scenery is spectacular, the people are laid back and friendly and Melbourne city is cosmopolitan with a very cool hippy vibe. Add to the fact that Australia possesses some really special wildlife, like the koala bear, kangaroo, tazmanian devil that are endemic to the country and that travelers will not have a lack of things to do, you really should visit this interesting and unique country if you haven't.

Here are 3 of my Australian inspired sketches.


Whale and dolphin watching

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shopping in NYC Part II

After we came back to NY from our Niagara-Canada tour, it was evening, we collected our luggages from Schwartz Travel, and checked into the Big Apple Hostel (a 4 bed dorm).

We had time to take a walk at Times Square and saw the newly opened Disney store (literally, because it had not opened yet before we left for Niagara-Canada). Whether you have kids or are a kid-at-heart, you really must pop into this store! Even just admiring the store decor is a good enough reason, I say. Not convinced? Let the pictures do the convincing.



One of each, please

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shopping in NYC Part I

Sorry, I've been a little remiss in my US posting.

This post is part 1 of my 2 days and 1 evening of shopping in NYC, a thororoughly enjoyable affair, as can be expected from shopping in one of the world's most premier shopping destination. As SATC's Carrie puts it, there are 2 'L's women look out for in NYC, "Love" and "Labels". Forget about the former, the latter is what we most seek. ;) See also my post on Soho here.

We had breakfast at chain restaurant called PAX, at 225 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Ave). It can be found in several other locations too. I like their orange juice, very fresh and sweet, and the breakfast is pretty good too - fluffy pancakes and crisp bacon and toast.




Monday, March 14, 2011

A Village in Takayama

It has been depressing reading and watching the news recently, and I believe that regardless of our individual religous beliefs, most of us are in prayers for the Japanese. I fervently hope that good news will loom in the horizon, and the Japanese will emerge stronger from this ordeal.

In the last of my Japanese-inspired sketchbook project submission,  I attach here a sketch of Hida Folk Village in Takayama, a picturesque 'open air museum' in Gunma prefecture in Japan. It was one of the destinations in our packaged tour itinerary during my central Japan tour a few years back. It is one of the loveliest places I've ever seen, a green expanse of valley, scattered with carefully preserved traditional houses with thatched roofs, and surrounded by rising mountain peaks. I understand that the north-eastern coast of Japan was the hardest hit region, and I guess the Gunma prefecture, being in the northwestern part of the Kanto plain and mostly mountainous, was not affected by the quake and tsunami.




The village is far more beautiful than what my limited drawing skills could possibly render, so please excuse my lack of skill and do take my word for it, that it is one of the special places on earth that you wouldn't mind visiting again.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Perfect Bookshelf

Fell in love with this pretty bookshelf from Japan. Am loving the cubby-hole design. It would certainly be able to house my growing novel collection and still have plenty of space for my manga too.




From bookshelfporn.com, there's plenty more porn from where it's from!


See here for the perfect wardrobe (IMHO, of course)!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Treasures of Soho

The same day that we visited Liberty and Ellis Island and had dinner at Chinatown, we quite literally walked off our dinner calories, when we walked from Chinatown to Little Italy to Soho. It was late by the time we reached Soho, and we had a very lovely time browsing at a shop called Kate's Paperie at 72 Spring Street. The shop decor was amazing, and all the items in the shop were designed to tug at a paper lover's heart.




Huge paper flowers adorn the ceiling

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wow-ed

I have resisted the siren call of online shopping mammoths for years now - the likes of ASOS, Shopbop, Net-a-Porter, Revolve Clothing . Until 3 days ago, that is.

This was what broke my resolve.



Picture from Revolve Clothing

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Country of Immigrants

Ellis Island is just a few minutes away from Liberty Island, and so after lunch, we conveniently took a connecting ferry to get to the island.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Last Chance To See

Hallo everyone, as with my other posts, this post is still a write up on how I was inspired to draw some of my sketches in the Sketchbook Project. I know this sounds incongruous, but I'd like to recommend a book to you first. If you like National Geographic, or like animals, please do read this book. If not, watching the BBC series is a good alternative too.




Now, why would I recommend a non-fiction book written by a very likeable English bloke about his globe trotting wilderness adventures with another very funny English bloke and how does this book have anything to do with my sketches for the Sketchbook Project?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lady Liberty

The statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of freedom and of America. The statue was gifted by the people of France, while the pedestral was built by America.

Imagine being an early immigrant to America and greeted by the sight of Lady Liberty upon your first glimpse of the American shoreline.



Monday, February 21, 2011

So Japanese

Few years ago, I visited Japan, and I was charmed and captivated by the Japanese culture.

When sketching for the Sketchbook Project, I was inspired by 2 uniquely Japanese activities - 1. Temple visiting wearing a yukata, 2. Soaking in hot spring baths.

Regarding activity 1, I was inspired by a very famous temple in Tokyo known as the Asakusa temple, where centuries old traditions still prevail. During Japanese festivals, known as Matsuri, throngs of Japanese wearing yukata (casual summer kimono) or kimono would visit this temple to partake in the festivities and enjoy the carnival located on the temple grounds - complete with rides, booths and games.    

Below was my initial sketch. Subsequently I realised the picture on the left looks too plain, and doesn't show the vibrancy of Asakusa temple during Matsuri. The right picture shows the temple's main building and its 5-storied pagoda.





Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Relieved

I am so relieved.

I received an email from the Arthouse Coop guys notifying me that they've received my sketchbook! Whew!!! If you recall, I sent the sketchbook the Arthouse Coop guys about a month and a half ago, and got quite worried that the package would become lost since I've forgotten to write my return address. Thankfully all went well!

Here's another sketch from my sketchbook



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Green Lung of NYC

New York's Central Park is like what the Golden Gate Park is to San Francisco, or what Hyde Park is to London or what the Botanical Gardens is to Singapore - the most important green lung of the respective cities.

Central Park is exceedingly huge, and has a zoo, police precinct, a reservoir, a lake and a pond. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is located on the upper west side, while on the upper east side, lies the Guggenheim Museum (which we did not visit) and at the lower eastern edge is the Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka MET, as mentioned in my earlier post).

It was through Central Park that we took a short cut to get from AMNH to MET. Although the park is just 0.8km across, we took a slightly meandering path so we could admire the tranquil surroundings. I felt like there was a perceptible dip in temperature when we entered the park, hovering somewhere in the region of 10-12 degrees. Fortunately, the cheery sun helped somewhat in raising the temperature slightly, even if certain ares of dense foliage occasionally blocked the sun rays.



We caught a glimpse of the Lake (I think?) from this vantage point

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Museum Hopping

Milk and myself were colleagues in a department where everyone loved food and would travel to the ends of the city to seek and eat highly recommended good food. So it isn't that surprising that we adopted a similar mentality by researching on a nightly basis, which highly recommended cafes, bistros or restaurants we would visit in NYC for our breakfast, lunch and dinner. However we did not have the luxury of travelling to the edge of the city just to eat a good meal, so we sourced for places near our hostel or near our daily destinations.

Our first breakfast wasn't anything fantastic, since we had no time to research, but 2nd day's breakfast was nice. It's a quaint, old fashioned cafe called Ess-a-Bagel.



We had bagels, of course. I think it was salmon cream cheese flavoured. Yum!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rockefeller Center - Day and Night

Hallo everyone! I hope you've had a Happy Chinese Year!

Just a couple of weeks after we came back from U.S., the weather in the U.S. turned extremely frosty and the cold, more frigid than ever. I guess our timing was more or less fortunate. I doubt I would be able to survive the blistering cold, much less enjoy myself, if I was there in December or January. I hope the weather turns back to normal soon.

Following our city tour earlier in the day, we decided to end our day at the Rockefeller Center to see the night view from Top of the Rock.



Murals at the Rockefeller plaza lobby

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sampling the Big Apple

Late last year, my friend (let's call her Milk) and I embarked on a whirlwind 2 week trip to the U.S. and Canada. It's whirlwind, because we had less than a week to plan our itinerary, buy all the necessary tickets, exchange currency, pack, etc etc. I've had at least 2 groups of friends planning to go U.S. this year and asking me for itineraries, so I thought I might as well blog about the trip here in greater detail.

Empire State Building

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Canadian Impression

My limited impression of Canada prior to visiting her was always of her ski slopes and her maple trees. And her ski slopes was the inspiration behind this sketch. It's from my imagination - of a ski slope and ski lodge in Vancouver, Canada.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Library of Congress

On my recent trip to Washington D.C., we made a trip to the Library of Congress, a popular tourist destination and also a must-go for fans of the movie 'National Treasure'. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures of the reading room, where the National Treasure characters, Ben, Riley and Abigail were seen, flipping through the book of secrets and then making their getaway. You see the reading room here.

The library interior reminds me of many of the cathedrals in Rome, with its ornate mural ceilings and intricate carvings.

Here's a picture of a portion of the ceiling in the library, in the Thomas Jefferson (or main) building.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sketches inspired by Taiwan

These sketches were inspired by 2 separate Taiwan trips I've made.

This sketch was inspired by my first night in Taiwan in my recent trip in 2010, mentioned here. We released heavenly lanterns that night, and the feeling was quite magical.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Origami Heaven

Once upon a time, my friend and I stumbled upon a most delightful place in the Land of the Rising Sun. We did not even have to step out of the airport, because it's located right inside Narita Airport, at the departure terminal.

It's an origami shop and I practically swooned and flew straight to origami heaven at the sight of all those beautiful works of art. Truly, I am a sucker for all beautiful things made of paper (you can find my previous posts on paper sculptures and origami here).



Friday, January 7, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

After 125 days and 40 sketches later, I am pleased to announce that I have finally completed the Sketchbook!


I have uploaded most of my works (24 so far) here. I haven't finished uploading yet, but it should be done pretty soon considering my progress.


I know most people post about their progress gradually, either on a week on week, day by day, or some kind of regular basis. In my case, since I speed-sketched/painted my way through in the last 2 months without regular updates, to make it up, I will update you 'post-mortem' instead.


You have already seen my earlier posts here , here and here. So I'd pick up from where I left off.


Here's a picture I took of the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool in front of it when I was in Washington D.C. I never knew how pretty an obelisk could appear against a cornwall blue sky with wispy clouds and a low skyline with an overall lack of skyscrapers to compete for attention.







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